Posted on September 1, 2011 - by Crystal Cun
Today’s guest post is courtesy of Ana Simeon from Sierra Club BC and Seachoice.
You’re watching your favourite cooking show and the chef is putting together something mouth-watering like “Pan-Seared Chilean Seabass” or “Grilled Monkfish with Olive Sauce.”
Enthused, you may be tempted to rush out to get the Chilean seabass. With candles and wine, the meal is a success and your culinary prowess toasted by your family and guests. And then a niggling thought pricks the bubble of contentment: isn’t Chilean seabass on the taboo list? You look up “Chilean Seabass” on your Seachoice iPhone app and, true enough, there’s a long laundry list of crimes against the ocean – from illegal overfishing (over 50% of Chilean seabass on the market is thought to be illegally obtained) to by-catch of internationally endangered wandering albatross and grey-headed albatross. Oh dear, oh dear!
Although many chefs are beginning to take ocean health into account when concocting their creations, this is a process that has taken root most strongly at the restaurant level, but has yet to penetrate the TV networks.
Does it mean you have to stop watching those benighted cooking shows? Not at all. For every red-listed fish there is a delicious, and more sustainable, alternative waiting to take its place. For example, sablefish has been described as the “fish version of chocolate” and its smooth, silky taste (with 50% more Omega 3’s than salmon) more than holds its own against the commercially touted Chilean seabass. To get you started, here’s a recipe for Caramelized Sablefish with Tangy Orange-Tamarind Sauce from Vancouver’s fabled Blue Water Café: http://houseandhome.com/food/recipes/sablefish-caramelized-soy-and-sake-recipe
As a cooking show viewer, you’re also in a perfect position to educate chefs and networks about sustainable seafood. Call in or drop them an email – spread the word!
The table below lists ocean-friendly substitutes for red-listed seafood in your favourite recipes:
|Red-Listed Species||Best Choice Alternative|
|Chilean Seabass||Sablefish(AK, BC)
Cobia (US Farmed)
|King Crab||Dungeness Crab (Canada; US West Coast)|
|Flounder or Sole||Halibut (Pacific)|
|Marlin (Blue or Striped)||Swordfish (harpoon and handline from Canada,
North Atlantic and East Pacific)
|Monkfish||Sablefish (AK, BC)|
|Orange Roughy||Pacific Cod (Alaska)|
|Red Snapper||Tilapia (US farmed)|
We’d love to hear of your experiences substituting these ocean-friendly choices! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Ana Simeon works as communications coordinator and grassroots organizer for Sierra Club BC and Seachoice, a coalition of five internationally respected Canadian conservation organizations working to shift the market to sustainable seafood. Ana also writes for BC print and online media on environmental topics. Providing social media and online content for Seachoice taps into her passion for local food, food security and all things culinary.
Ana enjoys hiking, bird-watching, and grows a sizeable vegetable garden with her husband Tom. On cold, rainy days, she keeps to her fireside with a book from her extensive collection of 1930 British detective fiction.