Fresh Fridays 
August 24, 2012
Vol. IV, No. 17        
january grain of the month
How many times a week do you eat seafood?  The Mediterranean Diet recommends we build a meal around fish or seafood at least two nights a week for many reasons, among them its positive relationship to brain and heart health. There are so many good choices, including clams, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, salmon, sardines, shrimp, tilapia, and tuna.

Seafood is very easy to cook. Here are a few tips from the National Fisheries Institute:

Baking surrounds food with even, dry heat and is an excellent method for cooking whole fish. Smaller, delicate pieces of fish do not respond as well to baking and require a coating of breadcrumbs, or a splash of broth or olive oil to keep them moist. Most varieties of shellfish tend to dry out as they cook in the oven unless a combination of cooking techniques--steaming while baking, or pan searing then baking--is used (see below for more details).

* Oven broiling adds a nutty, browned flavor and crisp texture to foods and is a quick and delicious way to cook many types of seafood. Fillets or steaks of finfish, large scallops, or shrimp, and lobster tails are especially tasty when broiled.

Grilling gives a smoky flavor and crisped texture to finfish and shellfish. It works best for meatier, firmer-fleshed finfish cut into steaks or fillets with skin. However, flakier finfish, skinless fillets, and smaller shellfish (that would otherwise slip through the grill grates) can be grilled using a grill basket. Grill baskets are non-stick wire cages-with a top, bottom, and long removable handle-that hold food firmly in place so that it can easily be flipped or removed from the grill.

Marinating is a good technique to use with many fish and shellfish. A quick soak in a marinade boosts flavor and helps retain moisture. Use care when choosing marinade ingredients and limit the seafood's time in the marinade so as not to overwhelm its natural flavor. Usually half an hour is enough time to add flavor to a delicate piece of seafood: less time is needed if you are using a strong acid (such as lemon juice), which chemically "cooks" the food and alters its texture.

Pan searing is a technique that works well for cooking fish steaks and thicker, shorter fillets of fish. If the fish has skin, score it on the skin side with a few vertical slashes. This will help keep the fillet from curling when its skin shrinks as it cooks. Dry the fish thoroughly and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Web links 

On August 9, the US News Health "Eat + Run" blog ran the feature, "The Best Non-Diet Diet," outlining the key components of the Mediterranean Diet.
WG Basic Stamp  
Want to learn more about whole grains? 
Sign up for the monthly e-newsletter from the Whole Grains Council.

12 great ways to use yogurt  
Poaching is a moist heat method of cooking where food is submerged in a bath of flavorful liquid that's kept just below the boiling point (160 to 180 degrees). Seafood cooked using this technique will have a more consistent texture and milder flavor when compared with the same type that has been grilled, broiled, or baked.

Steaming is a gentle, fat-free cooking method that keeps the natural moisture in foods. This method uses the steam from a simmering liquid (usually water, seafood broth, or wine) to cook the food.  It is an excellent choice for preparing delicate seafood because there is a safe distance between the food and heat source, which helps to protect against drying. And steaming, unlike poaching or boiling, helps retain the seafood's flavorful juices and nutrients.

* Thawing. Seafood is extremely perishable. Quickly freezing it at the height of freshness (usually when it's still on the boat or shortly thereafter) is a successful way to keep the flavor and texture. When purchasing frozen seafood, look for solidly frozen pieces with few ice crystals to ensure they have not thawed and re-frozen at some point before purchase. Keep the seafood frozen until you are ready to use it by storing it in the coldest section of your freezer, on a low shelf towards the back.

Here are three easy recipes to help you put a healthy seafood meal on your table this weekend (Click on the title or photo to link to recipes.):

Crunchy and slightly sweet, this walnut-crusted salmon recipe is big on flavor. It's an easy recipe, perfect for weeknight dinners, yet elegant enough to serve for special occasions. Use any tender young greens you prefer: baby kale, baby spinach, and mesclun mixes are all delicious. 
Photo courtesy of California Walnuts     
Tuna and California Wild Rice
Looking for an easy meal to serve at a Labor Day picnic? Here's a delicious way to include both seafood and grains in a salad. Cook the wild rice ahead of time, according to the package directions, and allow time for the finished salad to chill so the flavors blend.       
Photo courtesy of California Wild Rice Advisory Board          
This is a wonderfully simple recipe that takes just a few minutes to prepare. If you can't find passata, which is popular in the UK, substitute your favorite tomato sauce (not tomato paste).  Serve with brown rice and colorful, lightly cooked fresh vegetables.           

Photo courtesy of Positively Good for You        

Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be.   
To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:    

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)      


Oldways logo
Let the old ways be your guide to  good health and well-being.    


Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter 

Find us on Pinterest   

Med Diet USA
21st Annual Seafood Festival
Long Island Maritime Museum 
West Sayville, New York 
August 25-26, 2012 
Sample seafood at its best. The event features raw bars, plus steamed lobsters, 
mussels, and clams, served up with plenty of live music.   
Oldways bookstore

By Nava Atlas

This beautiful book will help you discover ways to include more greens in your meals, and how to successfully pair them with other foods.