Fish and shellfish are a great addition to a healthy diet. In fact, seafood is so healthy, many dietitians and health professionals recommend that we eat at least two portions of it every week. So, why is seafood that good for us? Here are some facts you should know!
- High In Omega 3 Fatty Acids
By now, we all know that there are good and bad fats. One of the good fats is Omega 3. which fish and some shellfish are both extremely high in. All of these good oils and fats that come from Omega 3 are important to improve the health of your heart. That isn’t where the benefits end, though. A diet rich in Omega 3 is also said to improve brain functions. Some studies also show Omega 3s to be extremely useful when it comes to blood clotting and healthy blood vessels.
- Great Source Of Protein
Fish is also a healthy source of protein. Beef and other red meats are very high in protein, but they should be restricted in a healthy diet. However, you can eat fish as much as you want! It is also incredibly lean, so you don’t have to worry about overindulging and putting on weight.
- Fish Is The Best Dietary Source Of Vitamin D
One of the best sources of vitamin D is from the sun. Our bodies simply absorb it from the light through our skin. Unfortunately, there are not many dietary sources of this crucial vitamin. However, one of the best sources is fish. If you eat plenty of fish throughout the week, you can be sure that your body is getting enough vitamin D. Even if it isn’t very sunny outside!
So these are the three main reasons why you need to increase your weekly intake of seafood. Unfortunately, fish and shellfish aren’t the easiest things to cook. Especially for beginners! So to help you eat more fish, here is a handy guide to different kinds of seafood and how you should be eating them!
CodMost people know cod, because they enjoy it battered with chips. However, battered fish isn’t actually healthy because of deep frying! So you will need to learn how to enjoy cod in some other way. Thankfully, cod has a very mild fishy flavour, which makes it many people’s favourite fish. It also has a nice firm texture that is not slimy like some soft fishes have. Therefore, the best and most healthiest way to cook cod is to oven bake or pan-fry. Cook it with plenty of fresh herbs to really enhance its natural flavour. You can also add it to a hearty fish pie.
BrillBrill is a flatfish that is eaten widely in Scandinavia. Thanks to its meaty texture, it is very versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways. As it is a flatfish, it looks quite attractive when cooked whole. But you can also enjoy it filleted if you prefer. Try poaching the brill fillets in milk with some fresh dill and bay leaves. Serve the poached fillets with some fluffy mashed potato and pea puree for a delicious and healthy meal.
ShrimpIf you want to try some shellfish but aren’t feeling too adventurous, shrimp are the perfect place to start from. Many supermarkets sell them frozen and you just need to stir them into stir-fries and fish pies. However, you can’t beat fresh shrimps! They will be a lot tastier and will be packed with plenty of essential vitamins and nutrients. However, there is one important thing to remember when you are cooking fresh shrimp – don’t cook them for too long! Otherwise, they will end up being quite tough and chewy. For the perfect texture, you need to pan-fry fresh shrimp very quickly. If you are cooking frozen ones, don’t defrost them before you add them to the pan as this would toughen them up.
ScallopsIf you thought shrimp were tricky to cook, you might need a bit more practise before you move onto cooking scallops! It is absolutely crucial that you do not overcook your scallops. Otherwise, they will be incredibly tough. You just need to pan-fry them a couple of minutes on each side. These little shellfish are very sustainable, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding fresh scallops. Try to always buy them fresh, though, as opposed to frozen. You will certainly be able to taste the difference! Many people like to add scallops to pasta dishes. Use plenty of lemon to flavour them and get a good quality white wine to go with your dish.
SalmonSalmon is an incredibly healthy fish, but some people are put off because of its strong flavour. However, you shouldn’t let this put you off. It is a fantastic flavour, one which I am sure you will grow to love! There are two types of salmon that you can buy and use in your cooking. Smoked salmon is very popular and doesn’t require any cooking, because it is already smoked. Many people enjoy this for breakfast along with scrambled eggs. Kedgeree is a traditional Scottish breakfast that usually uses haddock. However, there is no reason why you cannot use salmon instead. You can also buy fresh salmon, which is ideal for cooking and adding to dishes. You can simply chop it up and add it to fish pies. Alternatively, wrap salmon fillets in some tinfoil and oven bake with some fresh herbs or eat it raw in sushi.
HakeHake is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of deep-sea fish that have become incredibly popular throughout Europe and America. Hake has a very mild flavour and can sometimes be even milder in flavour than cod. So it is another great fish for beginner fish lovers to try as they won’t find the flavour too overpowering. The fish’s flesh is quite soft, but it hardens up once cooked. Hake is the British name for these types of fish. In America, they are known as whiting or ling. Not sure how to cook hake? It’s really easy! Simply drizzle it in olive oil and oven bake until cooked. Serve with fresh potatoes and plenty of seasonal vegetables!
CrabOnce you start to branch out into more seafood, you should consider using crab in your cooking. Fresh crab can be fairly expensive, but it is certainly worth those extra pennies! Crab tastes fantastic and can be used in a variety of dishes, including fish pie and crab cakes. Many people are put off from cooking crabs themself, because they need to boil the shellfish while it is still alive. Thankfully, there are humane ways you can do this in which the crab doesn’t suffer. However, if you don’t want to go through all that trouble, you should be able to find plenty of tins of prepared crab meat in your local supermarket. One of the best ways to use crab meat is to mix it with flour and fresh herbs to make crab cakes. These can be cooked on a frying pan or in the oven. There are also lots of Thai curries that use crab meat.
LobsterIf you feel like spoiling yourself, why not treat yourself to a yummy lobster?! You will have to pay quite a bit for the freshest and tastiest lobster, but it is definitely worth it. As with crabs, lobster is supposed to be boiled alive, however some supermarket fish counters also sell dead lobsters now. so it is perfectly fine to buy one of these if you prefer. Just make sure that they are very fresh. Most people enjoy their lobster on its own with some melted butter, however if you want to get really fancy, you could try making lobster thermidor instead. You can also use lobster meat in a number of different curries and stews or why not use both crab and lobster meat to cook a tasty seafood tart?
Many people believe that mackerel is one of the healthiest fish that you can eat. And that's because it is jam-packed with healthy omega 3 fatty acids that I mentioned earlier. As a result, mackerel have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and controlling blood pressure. So, how do you cook mackerel? It tastes best if grilled until the skin goes nice and crispy. The Japanese also love mackerel and enjoy it with rice bowls. You can do this, or simply enjoy a whole mackerel on its own with lime and chilies. However you choose to eat yours, you certainly won’t be disappointed!
As you can see, there is a wide range of seafood out there and I’m sure that you’ll be able to find something to please your taste buds!
Lastly, let me know - what's your favourite seafood?
Lastly, let me know - what's your favourite seafood?
Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post.