From The Nutritionist

Kate Williams, RD, LD
Guest Author:
Kate Williams, RD, LD

A Fish Tale – A Nutritious Story to Share

Two of my favorite hobbies are fishing and crabbing, which pair perfectly with one of my favorite foods to enjoy - seafood. Life near the Chesapeake Bay provides a wonderful opportunity to “catch and eat” versus “catch and release”. Coastal living brings the opportunity to enjoy fresh caught crabs, clams, shrimp and more during the peak season. Two years ago, I went clamming off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard for the first time. Now, I look forward to it every year.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines specifically recommend eating about 8 oz. of fish per week.1 This amount of seafood each week (from a variety of sources) contributes about 250mg of essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Eating these healthy omega-3s are associated with heart health benefits, as well as better infant health outcomes when fish is consumed by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Dietary patterns that include seafood may also be associated with reduced risk of obesity.2 All great reasons to fit in fish two times a week!

Lean versus fatty fish

White-fleshed fish is one of the leanest sources of animal protein and is a healthful addition to the diet. This type of fish also tends to be mild in flavor, so it pairs well with many dishes. Higher fat fish are also an important part of a healthy diet because they provide essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are not able to be made by the body. Fish high in omega-3s (EPA and DHA) include: wild salmon from Alaska (fresh, frozen and canned), sardines, anchovies, farmed rainbow trout and albacore tuna from the U.S. and Canada. Omega-3s may reduce inflammation, triglycerides, blood pressure and stroke risk.3

Noteworthy nutrition

Based on 21 commonly consumed fish, a 3oz. serving provides on average, a mere 115 calories and whopping 20 grams of protein. Although most fish contain a significant amount of cholesterol, they do not contribute saturated fat to the diet, a form of fat linked to increased risk for heart disease.

Looking for a good source of iron? A 3oz. serving of oysters and clams are an excellent source of iron while shrimp and scallops are good sources. Many fish and shellfish are also a good source of potassium, a nutrient related to heart health.

Fresh, frozen – both forms work

Did you know that two-thirds of fish consumed in America is ordered in restaurants?4 One main reason why people consume seafood away from home is that they are uncertain how to tell if seafood is fresh and concerns about preparation. Seafood can be expensive so we want to make sure to prepare/cook it correctly. To make your seafood meal cost effective, check your supermarket circular for seafood sales!

Shopping tips for fresh fish –

1. Should not have a strong, unfavorable odor
2. Choose fish with elastic, firm flesh
3. Skin should be moist and not faded
4. Use purchased fish within 2 days of purchase

Shopping tips for frozen fish –

1. Fish should be solidly frozen, without any appearance of freezer burn
2. Quality frozen fish should have little or no odor
3. Vacuum-packed plastic is best option
4. Thaw in refrigerator for 18-24 hours, or under cold water if quicker thaw is desired

For more information on selection, including specific species, like shellfish, click here.

Mercury and raw fish

Mercury - You may have heard that some fish contain higher levels of mercury (for example shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish) which can pose a health risk, in particular among pregnant women. Women who are not pregnant (and not planning on becoming pregnant) and men are at lower risk of mercury exposure. Consume fish with low-mercury levels, in the amounts recommended by the Dietary Guidelines (~8oz. per week) to reap health benefits without risk.

Raw fish – Keep in mind, eating raw fish can pose health concerns, especially those considered high risk (those with compromised immune systems or with decreased stomach acidity, as well as pregnant women, infants, young children and older adults). If you choose to eat raw fish, choose previously frozen fish, which kills potential parasites, however won’t protect against all harmful organisms.5

Fish Recipe Finds – compliments of Campbell’s Kitchen®


Flounder with Clams en PapilloteMediterranean Fish Soup

Fish with Pineapple SalsaFish Stuffing Bake

Seafood Tomato AlfredoHot Crab Salsa Dip

           One of my favorite ways to prepare fish, is to simply grill fillets and top them with any Pace® specialty salsa. Another great protein swap is adding crab, mussels, scallops or shrimp in place of meat in a pasta with sauce dinner.

Kate's Bio

Kate received her bachelor's degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware and completed her dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She has over ten years of experience in a variety of nutrition-related practice areas including clinical nutrition, weight management counseling, health and wellness and nutrition education. Kate has worked as a nutrition consultant to the Campbell Soup Company since 2005

  1. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/
  2. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/#callout-seafood
  3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/omega-3/art-20045614
  4. https://www.thefreshmarket.com/tips/seafood/guide-to-choosing-buying-fish
  5. http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food/is-raw-seafood-safe-to-eat

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.