Fresh Fridays

May 15, 2015
Vol. VII No. 10
In This Issue

Tales from the Sea


The Mediterranean Sea is a vast resource for seafood, so it makes sense that there is a great history of delicious dishes from the sea in the Mediterranean diet, from Italian pasta with clams to Moroccan fish stew.


Seafood, like most parts of the Mediterranean diet, also happens to be good for your health. It is a nutritious source of protein, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, iron, and zinc. Oily fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon also contain omega-3 fatty acids, essential nutrients for health that are associated with reduced risk of heart disease, depression, and dementia.


Scientists recommend that the average adult get two servings (8 ounces) of seafood per week. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should eat a little more - about three servings per week. According to the U.S. dietary guidelines, Americans do not get enough seafood, and should replace some meat and poultry with seafood to compensate. They also recommend eating a variety of seafood to maximize health benefits (e.g., if you typically turn to shrimp for your seafood fix, try salmon or tuna now and then).


Buying Fresh Seafood

Buying seafood can be expensive, so it's important to get the freshest available to get the most flavor and nutrients from your purchase. Seafood should smell like the sea if it's from the ocean; a strong "fishy smell" is a good indication that the seafood is not fresh. 


For fish, look for shiny scales, clear eyes, and wet flesh. If anything looks dull, the fish is not fresh and it's not worth your time. The flesh of the fish should also be firm to the touch.


For shellfish, the shells should be closed, or if they are open slightly, they should close when tapped. They should be alive!


Once you buy fresh seafood, it's best to use it within 24 hours. Otherwise, the best way to store it is in the freezer, where it will stay good for a few months. 


Frozen and Canned Seafood

If you don't have time to choose fresh seafood, or if you don't have a good selection at your grocery store, frozen or canned is the way to go. Frozen seafood is a perfectly good substitute for fresh because most frozen seafood is processed and frozen immediately after it is caught. Thaw it in a bowl filled with cold water and it's as good as fresh.


Canned fish is also a great alternative, and it's one of the most affordable ways to get the same nutrients found in fresh fish. Cans are inexpensive to buy and they have a very long shelf life. If you are concerned about sustainability, look for products labeled troll, pole and line, hook and line, FAD-free, or school caught. These labels indicate an effort by the fisherman to reduce bycatch. 


Check out our 12 Great Ways To Use Canned Sardines for recipe ideas.



Leftover fish and seafood is difficult, if not impossible, to revive to its original glory. Leftovers are easy to overcook, and they tend to give off an unwanted "fishy" smell. Never fear! Leftover seafood can be transformed into completely new and delicious dishes:

  • Seafood tacos. Gently reheat seafood in a sauté pan, add your favorite sauce, fresh herbs, avocado, and some lime juice.
  • Soup. Add it to soup just before serving so it reheats on its own.
  • Seafood cakes. Combine chopped seafood with breadcrumbs, eggs, a little milk, fresh herbs, and spices, form into patties and cook them in a bit of olive oil.
  • Paté. Make a spread for toast by mashing seafood with plain yogurt or cottage cheese, fresh herbs, lemon juice, and spices.
  • Salad. Most varieties of seafood are delicious cold or brought to room temperature in a salad.
  • Pasta. Stir seafood into a cooked pasta dish and it will reheat on its own.

Read on for more delicious ways to prepare seafood!


Click on a title or photo below to go to the recipe.


This beautiful, elegant dish - although traditionally Vietnamese - follows the principles of the Mediterranean diet. Grains, greens, vegetables, healthy fats are the stars of the show.  


Recipe and photo courtesy of The Peanut Institute.



Keep cooked shrimp on hand as a quick and easy mix-in for this fresh, luscious salad. The shrimp and avocados combined provide a healthy dose of good fats.


Recipe and photo courtesy of The National Fisheries Institute.



Cod is a delicious, flaky white fish, and a great blank canvas for bold flavors of your choice. In this recipe, the cod is served on a bed of baked tomatoes and topped with a fennel and orange salad. 


Recipe and photo courtesy of The North American Olive Oil Association.


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)        





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



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 This month-long celebration, created in 2009 by Oldways and the Mediterranean Foods Alliance, generates awareness of the delicious foods and amazing health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet and its vibrant lifestyle through media, supermarkets, health professionals and social networking.

For more information, visit Med Diet Month.

Fish & Shellfish: The Cook's Indispensable Companion
by James Peterson

Fish & Shellfish demonstrates every conceivable method for preparing sumptuous meals of fish and shellfish, from baking, braising, deep-frying, grilling and broiling to poaching, panfrying, marinating, curing and smoking, steaming, and microwaving. Whether your taste runs strictly to shellfish or to everything seafood, Fish & Shellfish offers the equivalent of a complete cookbook on each subject.


by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Nick Fisher

Authors Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Nick Fisher examine the ecological and moral issues of fishing, teach individual skills such as catching and descaling, and offer a comprehensive (and fascinating) species reference section. They also demystify the cooking of fish with 135 recipes for preparing fish and shellfish in diverse ways, from pickling to frying to smoking. 


by Editors of Phaidon Press

From traditional seafood groups to simple grilled fish with herbs, the recipes in Fish are simple and authentic, explained with clear step-by-step instructions and vivid color photography. The chapters in Fish are divided by fish variety and include White, Oily, Flat, Freshwater Fish, and Seafood. The cookbook offers tips on how to take an Italian approach to cooking with seafood including how to choose, prepare, and cook local, sustainable fish and produce, as well as offering ideas for substituting varieties.