March 31st, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
Whole Foods Market, the nation’s leading natural and organic supermarket chain, has announced effective Earth Day (April 22), the retailer will be the first national grocer to no longer offer its customers any seafood carrying a “red rating,” which the Blue Ocean Institute and the Monterey Bay Aquarium use to identify species that are either being overfished or employ methods used in catch that put ecosystems and other marine life at risk.
Read More:Whole Foods Pulls the Line on ‘Overfished’ Seafood Out of All Stores
May 31st, 2011 - Jill Ettinger
A New York Times article last week revealed that researchers are finding widespread fraudulent labeling of seafood in supermarkets and on restaurant menus.
Read More:Fraudulent Fish Labels Causing an Ocean of Commotion
August 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
You have only about 3 more weeks to take advantage of Whole Foods Market’s sustainable swordfish catch.
To inspire you, here’s one of the natural and organic food chain’s deliciously simple recipes, featuring a zesty Italian sauce.
If sustainable swordfish is unavailable in your area, you can substitute a firm white fish like Pacific halibut.
Sicilian-Style Swordfish with Pasta and Capers
8 ounces whole-wheat linguine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups diced fresh or canned tomatoes, with all juices
2½ tablespoons drained capers
1 pound swordfish, skin removed, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta until al dente, about 9 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until just golden around the edges, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in pepper flakes first, then tomatoes and capers. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 5 minutes.
- Add swordfish and stir into sauce. Cover skillet and simmer, stirring gently once or twice, until chunks of fish are almost opaque in the center, about 4 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
- Drain pasta, transfer to a platter or large bowl, ladle sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with basil.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market
Read More:Sicilian-Style Swordfish with Pasta and Capers
July 20th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Swordfish has been on the eco-worst list of seafood choices for as long as I can remember. Between high mercury levels and ocean-savaging fishing practices, this protein has been banned from my shopping list for 20 years.
In January 2007, I bashed swordfish in Making Safe Fish Choices and substituted Pacific halibut in a featured recipe for Kabobs with California Dried Plums and Bay Leaves.
But the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program now rates Hawaiian, Canadian and some U.S. swordfish as “best choices,” while discouraging the purchase of imported and certain U.S. swordfish. (Click here for the fishy details.)
And just this month, Whole Foods Market introduced sustainable swordfish that has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). If you’re interested, shop quickly: The fish will be available only through August and while supplies last.
Whole Foods has been working with an “incredibly special fishery” in Nova Scotia, says Dan Rand, one of the natural/organic food chain’s port buyers. He and his colleagues hand-select and grade swordfish as it arrives on dock, and they choose fish that meets specific criteria: white meat, firm texture and bright blood lines. These requirements help ensure that the cooked fish has a mildly sweet flavor, optimum moistness and a meaty texture.
“To get this many fishermen on board 100% with the MSC fishery sustainability program is no easy task, and it is a testament to their commitment to the future of the fishery and the fish,” Rand says.
Caught one at a time by harpoon, a swordfish is targeted only when it’s mature. Whole Foods is working with the Canadian government to avoid overfishing, which means swordfish are caught over three 5-day intervals.
“As [Whole Foods] customers better understand the importance of certified sustainable seafood products and the rigor of the MSC’s independent, internationally recognized standard, the more consumers can play a role by their choices in realizing the vision of oceans teeming with life for this and future generations,” says Kerry Coughlin, MSC’s Americas Region director.
Read More:Sustainable Swordfish Available at Whole Foods Market
May 21st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
It’s no secret that sustainable fish should be an integral part of a heart-healthy diet.
That said, finding new ways to prepare it can prove challenging. Our weekend recipe solves this problem with a tasty, easy-to-prepare wild Alaska salmon entrée.
Canola oil’s high smoke point allows you to sear the salmon and create a spicy, flour-free crust.
Working with strips of fish facilitates handling and provides built-in portion control.
Healthy and unique, today’s recipe may become a family favorite. All of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store.
Makes 4 servings
1½ tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. wild Alaska salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into 8 strips
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Lemon wedges, for garnish
- In medium mixing bowl, combine cumin, paprika, coriander, salt and pepper.
- Coat salmon strips completely with cumin mix.
- Heat large skillet brushed with canola oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Gently place fish strips in hot skillet. Sear strips until crusty and salmon is cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes.
- Top with a sprinkle of cilantro. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.
Per serving: 170 calories, 10 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 g carbohydrate, 20 g protein, 0 g dietary fiber, 190 mg sodium
Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research
Read More:Cumin-Crusted Salmon
May 6th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Craving shrimp, crab, oysters and other seafood indigenous to the Gulf Coast?
Good luck finding them.
Supermarkets and restaurants are taking fish and seafood off their menus—a result of the British Petroleum oil spill that’s threatening area wildlife and marine animals.
And if you do happen to locate these ocean delicacies, expect to pay a substantial premium.
Todd Waldschmidt, manager and seafood buyer for Peoria, IL-based Jonah’s Seafood House, told the Peoria Journal Star that the greatest price increases may be felt toward summer’s end. Similarly, restaurants and grocers from New York to California may be forced to jack up prices or source seafood from overseas.
A $2.5 Billion Price Tag
As the Environmental Defense Fund notes:
“A huge fraction of the fish production in the region is at risk—a body blow both to marine ecosystems and the multibillion-dollar coastal industries tied to commercial fishing and seafood, and sport fisheries and recreation. It is especially sad that this catastrophe threatens the fishing communities of the Gulf that have become national leaders in transforming ocean fisheries to models of sustainability.”
CNBC reports the ultimate price tag for spill cleanup may exceed $14 billion. As for the seafood industry, Louisiana could lose $2.5 billion.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has restricted fishing in the area, and its scientists are testing water and seafood samples.
“There are finfish, crabs, oysters and shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico near the area of the oil spill,” confirms NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Administrator Roy Crabtree. “The Gulf is such an important biologic and economic area in terms of seafood production and recreational fishing.”
NOAA estimates that Gulf Coast commercial fishermen, whose livelihoods depend on healthy seas, harvested more than 1 billion pounds of finfish and shellfish in 2008.
Read More:Oil Spill Creates Seafood Shortage
May 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
You should eat fish at least twice a week, according to the American Heart Association. It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease.
But concerns over mercury toxicity have prompted many consumers to avoid the fish counter. Luckily, resources like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector allow you to make safe, healthful meal decisions.
Pacific vs. Atlantic
Pacific halibut, caught along the West Coast from California to Alaska, is an eco-best choice. Alaska, in fact, is home to 75% of the halibut caught in the United States.
Fresh, wild Pacific halibut is usually available between March and November. Frozen halibut roasts, fillets and steaks are available year-round.
Atlantic halibut is another story. It’s an eco-worst choice, as it contains unsafe levels of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), toxic industrial chemicals.
The Price Factor
Pacific halibut is one of my favorite fish selections because it’s firm and flaky in texture, mild-tasting and extremely versatile. You can grill, bake, roast and sauté it, as several of our blog recipes prove:
Halibut fillets, however, can be expensive. On my latest shopping trip, I blanched at the price: $20 per pound.
Feeling frugal, I opted for sustainable Alaskan cod, which has been on sale over the last month for $6 to $8 per pound at local markets. Another firm fish, it can replace halibut in any of the recipes cited above.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Ocean Friendly Cuisine: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the World’s Finest Chefs
Photo courtesy of Robert Hsiao
Read More:Sustainable Halibut: Yes to Pacific, No to Atlantic
April 29th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
When sustainable Pacific halibut is paired with olives and tomatoes, the result is a true palate pleaser.
Olives, which are actually a fruit, fall into two basic categories:
- Green (picked before they’re ripe)
- Black (fully ripened before they’re cured)
Today’s recipe calls for black olives, and you can choose from Greek Kalamatas and Italian Gaetas to large California olives. No matter which you use, they’ll produce a true Mediterranean taste when combined with tomatoes.
Tomatoes add vitamin C, lycopene and other compounds that act as antioxidants to help lower your risk for many cancers. They also contribute their unique consistency and taste, making this a perfect entrée to serve over a bed of brown or wild rice.
All of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store.
Pacific Halibut with Olives and Tomatoes
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large onions, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
20 large black olives, pitted
1 can (14 oz.) plum tomatoes, chopped
4 Pacific halibut fillets, 4 oz. each (any dense white fish will do)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Chopped parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté garlic, onions and pepper until softened.
- Add olives and tomatoes, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Gently wash fish, and pat dry. Season on both sides with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Heat remaining olive oil in large skillet over high heat. Cook fish for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. When turning fish, take care to keep fillets in one piece.
- Place fish in baking dish, and cover with the sauce. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon chopped parsley on top.
- Bake for about 10 to 20 minutes, until fish is cooked through.
- Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve over a bed of brown or wild rice.
Per serving: 270 calories, 12 g total fat (trace saturated fat), 14 g carbohydrate, 26 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 470 mg sodium
Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research
Read More:Pacific Halibut with Olives and Tomatoes
March 29th, 2010 - Laura Klein
If you are cooking for yourself or family it may be easy to choose a sustainable fish that is wild caught, but in a restaurant you may have no clue. Fish2fork.com, a new website, is a restaurant rating system that rates a restaurant on its performance of serving sustainable fish and the quality of food. The website is run by Charles Clover, environment editor of The Daily Telegraph and creator of The End of the Line, a documentary about industrial fishing based on his book with the same title.
For the past decade our oceans have been under constant attack and are now suffering from overfishing, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, endangered sea mammals and pollution. Overfishing is just one part of larger problem that needs to be fixed, but this is at the core of Fish2Fork’s mission. What makes the problems with our oceans so scary, is that the problem for humans is out of sight, which usually means out of mind. It’s kind of like a smoker. If a smoker could see the damage they were doing to their lungs everyday with each puff of a cigarette, they may not be so inclined to smoke. If we could see the damage we were doing daily to our oceans, perhaps we would be making different choices.
Today, most restaurants give little or no information on where their fish comes from, which plays a large part in disconnecting a diner from their food. What if you knew before you went to a restaurant or ordered your sushi, sashimi, or fillet that what you were about to eat was the last of an existing species? Fish2Fork is hoping that consumers with a little bit of knowledge about the food they are about to eat, or the restaurant they choose, will make better choices and help protect our oceans and sea life.
When rating restaurants, Fish2Fork has a number of criteria by which they score restaurants. They review a restaurant’s menu too see if any of the seafood they serve is listed on the endangered species list and/or the “fish to avoid” list. They also rate restaurants on whether they provide full information about the fish or shellfish they serve e.g. it is farmed, wild, line caught etc.. Customers can also complete a questionnaire where they can “rat on a restaurant,” or praise a restaurant they like.
If you want to eat only sustainable seafood, check out Fish2Fork’s website. They have a growing database of restaurants that you can search before you leave home.
Read More:Fish2Fork Rates Best, Worst Restaurants for Sustainable Seafood
March 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
British organic chef, cookbook author and activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall takes viewers on a series of sustainability-minded fishing trips this month on Sundance Channel’s The River Cottage Treatment: Gone Fishing!, which premiers tomorrow night.
Here’s the three-part episode guide (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT):
March 2: “Channel Islands”
Fearnley-Whittingstall sails to the Channel Islands, between Britain and France, to fish out—and cook up— deliciously sustainable alternatives to the United Kingdom’s imperiled seafood mainstays: cod and haddock.
Joined by local anglers at various spots, he catches and dines on an array of underrated and sometimes obscure fish, including pouting, gurnard and garfish.
But the open sea isn’t the only place to source marine goodies. On the island of Alderney, Fearnley-Whittingstall discovers the fine, eco-conscious eating available from seaside rock pools.
March 9: “Hebrides”
Fearnley-Whittingstall heads to Scotland’s Hebrides Islands, where the sea and food it provides have shaped life for generations.
On the sparsely inhabited island of Rona, he goes fishing with Caretaker Bill, who has run out of his frozen fish reserves and is awaiting the annual return of the area’s mackerel. After a close look at the woeful state of Scotland’s iconic fish, the wild salmon, Fearnley-Whittingstall tries out a traditional Scandinavian cooking method on salmon raised without chemicals by a local farmer.
He later box-fishes for langoustines with two brothers; bargains more work-for-food with their father, who cultivates mussels; dives for scallops and razor clams with local enthusiasts; and visits a fish-and-chips shop on the Isle of Skye, frying up batches of beer-battered pollock for a clientele accustomed to the increasingly scarce haddock.
March 16: “The West Country”
Fearnley-Whittingstall wraps up his fishing adventure in the West Country, in England’s southwest.
In Cornwall, he joins a family of fishermen to lay gill nets for the local sardines known as pilchards, which have rebounded from a near-total population collapse.
Further inland, he sees symbiotic farming in practice on neighboring organic farms—one grows watercress; the other, rainbow trout—and prepares a sumptuous lunch using both bounties.
At a hub of England’s commercial fishing industry in Devon, Fearnley-Whittingstall ventures out on a beam trawler with a skipper who has devised methods to make his catch more selective and less harmful to fish and the ocean floor.
He brings a load of cow manure to his final stop: a fledgling organic fish farm in Devon, where a couple is raising a species beloved in Asia and largely dismissed in Britain: carp. After returning home to River Cottage, Fearnley-Whittingstall and the River Cottage Canteen chef host the U.K.’s first public tasting of farmed organic carp with a two-course meal.
Photo courtesy of Sundance Channel
Read More:An Organic Chef Goes Fishing