Looking for a good catch of the day? I am not talking about a pretty girl or a handsome guy. This is about choosing seafood wisely and it is a complicated affair. With federal, state and international laws controlling the fishing industry, it is difficult for the bureaucracy to keep a watchful eye on the overall market.
As a consumer, the key to choosing seafood is to know which species are sustainable and safe to eat. According to Greenpeace, a particular seafood is sustainable if it comes from a fishery with practices that can be maintained indefinitely without reducing the target species' ability to maintain its population and without adversely impacting on other species within the ecosystem by removing their food source, accidentally killing them, or damaging their physical environment. Buying seafood from a reputable source and asking where and how the fish was caught is a good first step. Fish caught locally means that it has not been flown halfway around the world. However, it is not that simple when you crave fresh seafood and live in a landlocked area.
Like fruits and vegetables, there are seasons for wild species. According to the International Pacific Halibut Commission, the 2016 Pacific halibut season opened March 19, 2016 in Alaska and British Columbia, Canada. The season closes on November 7, 2016. On the other side of the continent, wild Atlantic halibut was formerly an important fish. However due to its slow rate of population growth and poor recovery from overfishing, the wild Atlantic halibut fishery has collapsed. Consequently, wild fish labelled as "halibut" are usually the species from the Pacific Northwest.
Atlantic halibut is now being farmed in Canada, Iceland, the UK and Norway. However in 2010, Greenpeace International added the Atlantic halibut to its seafood red list of "fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries".
For this recipe, make sure to buy wild Pacific halibut, which is considered sustainable and is now in season. The benefits of eating seasonally and choosing wild sustainable seafood is discussed in my book Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy. The appendix includes a chart of sustainable seafood.
Baked Wild Halibut Recipe
- 2 (5-oz) boneless Pacific wild halibut fillets (1.5 inches thick)
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs, made from toasted and then crumbled fresh bread
- Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional garnish)
Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a large nonstick baking dish, add halibut skin-side down and drizzle top with olive oil. Evenly sprinkle top with lemon juice, breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, depending on thickness or until halibut flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serves 2.
Serve with steamed local vegetables and new potatoes.
Nutrition facts for 5-oz piece of baked halibut only: 129 calories, 1.88 grams fat, 0 g carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 96 milligrams sodium, 69 milligrams cholesterol, 269 IU vitamin D, 616 milligrams potassium.
For more healthy recipes and to learn about the secrets of the super-healthy, pick up a copy of my book Beyond The Mediterranean Diet.