This spring you may see salmon prices skyrocketing. An infestation of sea lice is devastating the farmed salmon supply, which is boosting the demand—and price—for wild salmon. But you can cook alternatives that, like salmon, are delicious, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury. Bonus: These recipes are super easy to make!
You can use fresh or frozen fish for these recipes, but thaw frozen fish first. The best way to thaw fish is to place it in the refrigerator to slowly thaw, rather than leaving it on the countertop. Thawing slowly in the refrigerator slows the melting of the ice crystals in the fish, helping to preserve the fish’s texture.
This simple recipe calls for a whole trout. Don’t worry—it’s easy to cook. When buying a whole trout, it should come “dressed,” which means that it has been cleaned, with the gills and internal organs removed. Usually the backbone and rib cage remain intact. If the bones are not removed, ask for the trout to be deboned. You also can ask for the head and tail to be removed if that’s what you prefer.
Hot Glazed Trout: Whole trout is perked up with a sweet-and-hot sauce that takes only minutes to make.
- 3 Tablespoons orange marmalade
- ¾ Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Several drops hot pepper sauce
- ½ Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 whole trout, about ½ pound each, deboned
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Mix together the marmalade and mustard in a small bowl. Add a few drops of hot pepper sauce. Set aside. Open the trout flat. Heat the oil in a skillet large enough to hold the trout in one layer over medium-high heat. Add the trout, skin side up. Sauté for five minutes. Turn the trout over, skin side down, and sauté for four minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Remove to two dinner plates. Add the marmalade mixture to the skillet, and sauté for 30 seconds or until the marmalade melts, scraping up any brown bits in the skillet. Spoon the sauce over the trout, and sprinkle the parsley on top. Serves two.
There are many varieties of flounder including sole, turbot, plaice and halibut. Although somewhat lower in omega-3 fatty acids than trout, this tasty, delicate fish is low in mercury and takes only minutes to cook.
Greek Lemon Flounder: A secret to this simple recipe is using best-quality extra-virgin olive oil and fresh oregano.
- 1½ Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided use
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- ¾ pound flounder fillets
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk the lemon juice and one tablespoon of the olive oil together. Stir in the oregano leaves. Set aside. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat, and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Make sure that the skillet fits the fillets in one layer—or use two skillets. For half-inch fillets, sauté for two minutes. Carefully turn them over, and sauté for another two minutes. For one-inch fillets, sauté for four minutes per side. Sprinkle the fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between two dinner plates, and spoon the lemon sauce over the top. Serves two.
Most people don’t realize that six ounces of mussels are as high in omega-3s as three ounces of salmon. Here’s a classic French recipe that very few people make at home, but it is so easy to do. Figure on two pounds of mussels per person. Rinse the mussels in cold water as soon as you get them home, then place them in a bowl in the refrigerator, covered with a damp cloth, until needed. It’s best to buy them on the day that they will be used or one day ahead. To prepare them, scrape off the beard—or thin hairs—along the shell, and rinse them again in cold water. If any are open, tap them gently. If they don’t close, they are dead and must be discarded. Also, discard any with cracked shells.
Mussels in White Wine: Be sure to have plenty of fresh French bread to soak up every last drop of the irresistible broth!
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 cup sliced onions (about quarter-inch slices)
- 1 cup sliced carrots (about quarter-inch slices)
- 1 cup sliced celery (about quarter-inch slices)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 pounds mussels
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, carrots and celery until they start to shrivel but not color, about 10 minutes. Add the white wine and some freshly ground black pepper. Add the mussels, and cover the saucepan tightly. Bring the liquid to a boil, and let it boil about three minutes. The wine will boil up over the mussels, and they will open. As soon as the mussels are open, take the pan off the heat. Do not overcook—the mussels will become rubbery if you do.
To serve, lift the mussels out of the pan with a slotted spoon, and place them in two large soup bowls. Discard any mussels that did not open. It means they were not alive and, therefore, are not safe to eat. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
Meanwhile, return the saucepan to the stove, and bring the liquid (the wine and the liquid released from the mussels) to a boil and reduce, about one minute.
After the mussels have been eaten and the shells discarded, serve the broth with the vegetables, along with French bread. Leave about one-quarter inch of broth in the pan—this may contain some sand from the mussels. Serves two.