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by Ann Ogden on June 8, 2017
by Ann Ogden on June 8, 2017
By Ann Ogden
Fish is undoubtedly one of our most nutritious, varied sources of protein, and it’s especially good for cancer survivors — quick to cook, easy to digest, and full of B vitamins and important nutrients such as omega 3 oils. Yet despite all these benefits, the mere fishiness of fish – and the sheer mystery of what to buy and how to judge quality — can put people off from buying or cooking our water-borne bounty.
Our little guide aims to take the angst out of choosing seafood. If you aren’t ready to take the plunge, especially if you’re in treatment and don’t feel like cooking, canned fish is a great alternative to fresh to get the benefits. For the sake of the oceans’ future, whether buying canned or fresh always look for sustainably fished or farmed products. (See “Ann’s Tips” below for some helpful hints on checking for freshness.)
What Kind of Fish Can I Buy?
Cold Ocean Fish:
These species have the most omega 3 oils, and come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny sardines to giant tuna.
Most of the larger species can be bought in filets or steaks, and lend themselves to being grilled, poached, or baked. Poaching and baking have the least smell when cooking. The AICR recommends that before grilling thick fish steaks, marinate them in olive oil and herbs. Grill 4-5 minutes each side.
Firm White Fish:
Flaky White Fish:
Wait until you’re done with treatment, then go for it. Shellfish has essential minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium, and many are also rich in vitamin B12. Their culinary possibilities are almost endless: Mussels and clams can be steamed with herbs and garlic and added to pastas or seafood soups; shrimp and scallops can be blended into salads, soups, or risottos; lobster is simple to boil, crab can be made into cakes – we could go on and on.
Buying fresh fish is extremely important. Seek out a really good fishmonger or buy from your local greenmarket. A really fresh fish has bright, unsunken eyes, and shiny, lustrous scales, with the inside of the gills a deep red when you lift them up. It should have only a faint smell of fish. If it smells too fishy, the eyes are concave, or the gills are pale, you’re looking at a fish that has been too long out of water. When a fish has been packed in ice, the eyes can go cloudy, but if the inside of the gills are a deep red, it’s still okay to buy.
When buying fish fillets, if you’re not sure of your fish vendor, choose a whole fish you like the look of, and ask for it to be cleaned, scaled and filleted for you.
Don’t eat shellfish such as mussels and clams if their shells are broken before cooking, throw them out, or if they don’t open during cooking.
Fish en Papillote is very popular at our CFYL classes, and a great way to cook fish if your experience is limited. For a delicious and simple fish stew check out our Bacalao Fish Stew. For asian inspired fish dishes , try our Lemon Soy Baked Fish, Spicy Miso Fish ‘En Papillote, or our Fish with Tangerine Miso Sauce. Click here for other delicious fish recipes.