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Seafood 101

Seafood can be such a wonderful meal, but gosh it sure can be tricky to prepare. At least that’s what many of us think. We are afraid that it will smell up the house, or we are just not sure when it’s done. So many questions and so much fear for a nutritional meal! Let’s start with the basics… first, make sure that you are buying a good quality fish that is either fresh or it’s only been frozen once. Know the area that you’re buying fish in. If you are land locked then clearly you are probably going to be getting seafood frozen then thawed. If you are on the coast then you should be able to get some local caught fresh seafood. Now, what’s the real difference between farm raised and wild caught? The simple answer is the quality of the seafood; another factor is that the fish is a bit fattier. There are many things to consider when cooking seafood, but first just know where it’s coming from and know how it was fished. After all that, it’s easy!
Once you’ve purchased your seafood, there are two main things to remember when cooking it. First, make sure your seafood is fresh and hasn’t been sitting in the refrigerator for a couple days. Second, don’t overcook it! If you dry anything out, a quick fix is to sauce it! That said, extra sauce equals extra calories so try to cook your food to perfection. To do this, use a thermometer when cooking your food. Thermometers are wonderful things, and most of us have them we just don’t use them or know how to use them. Start by cleaning your thermometer and making sure It reads the room temperature. If it reads something way out of that range then you need to calibrate it in a glass of ice water until it reaches 32 degrees. Once it has reached 32 degrees, dry it off, then let it come back up to room temperature. Now we may begin! Follow the chart below to know when your fish is done:

Fish and Seafood Internal Temperature Chart

Fish (steaks, filleted or whole) 140 degrees F flesh is opaque, flakes easily

Tuna, Swordfish, & Marlin 125 degrees F cook until medium-rare (do not overcook or the meat will become dry and lose its flavor)

Shrimp
Medium-size, boiling 3 to 4 minutes cook until medium-rare (do not overcook or the meat will become dry and lose its flavor
Large-size, boiling 5 to 7 minues cook until medium-rare (do not overcook or the meat will become dry and lose its flavor
Jumbo-size, boiling 7 to 8 minutes cook until medium-rare (do not overcook or the meat will become dry and lose its flavor

Lobster
Boiled, whole – 1 lb. 12 to 15 minutes meat turns red and opaque in center when cut
Broiled, whole – 1 1/2 lbs. 3 to 4 minutes meat turns red and opaque in center when cut
Steamed, whole – 1 1/2 lbs. 15 to 20 minutes meat turns red and opaque in center when cut
Baked, tails – each 15 minutes meat turns red and opaque in center when cut

Scallops
Bake 12 to 15 minutes milky white or opaque, and firm
Broil milky white or opaque, and firm

Clams, Mussels & Oysters
point at which their shells open – throw away any that do not open

Something fun about fish is that you can usually pan sear, panko crust, bake, steam, or grill. There are so many options to make your seafood different every time—also, try adding variety by making something other than fish. Visit h3daily.com to find out some of our seafood recipes! Some of my favorites are the panko and almond crusted fish, and the coconut and macadamia nut crusted and served with a pineapple sauce! Yummo!

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