We recycle, bring our own shopping bags to the grocery store, and have replaced our regular light bulbs with energy saving fluorescent light bulbs. “Organic”, “local”, and “free range” have become more than just buzz words; people are starting to have a better understand of the importance of purchasing chemical free produce and meat from farmers who practice good animal husbandry. Awareness has grown, and our purchasing practices are changing.
But when it comes to fish; how they are caught, and what is left behind when they are taken from the water, do people really have an understanding of what sustainable means?
What does sustainable fish mean to you?
Here’s what Green Peace has to say: “In simple terms, a sustainable fishery is one whose practices can be maintained indefinitely without reducing the targeted species’ ability to maintain its population at healthy levels, and without adversely impacting on other species within the ecosystem – including humans – by removing their food source, accidentally killing them, or damaging their physical environment.”
I think that pretty much sums it up. As responsible humans on this planet, we have to be care takers, and start making decisions that have a positive impact on our planet. When we open our wallets to pay for the food we purchase, whether in a market, or in a restaurant, what we choose to buy affects the way things will continue. If we give our money to those who pole catch albacore, that’s where our fish will come from. If we say we aren’t going to give our money to those who ravish the oceans, maybe those practices will go away. It’s all about the power of our choice, and the effects those decisions have upon our environment.
What can we do to help save our oceans for generations to come?
Make ocean friendly seafood choices when you go to the market or to a restaurant.
So how do you know what kinds of fish to buy, and which fish to avoid?
There are several excellent resources out there:
Fish To Fork The campaigning restaurant guide for people who want to eat fish – sustainably.
Seafood Watch Pocket Guide providing valuable information on best choices, good alternatives, and fish to avoid.
For this month’s 5 Star Foodie challenge, Sustainable Fish I decided to feature salmon, one of America’s most popular fishes, for its flavor and its health benefits; rich in omega 3.
When it comes to purchasing salmon, the sustainable choice is to buy wild Alaskan salmon. It’s caught from a healthy wild stock with sustainable methods, is free of contaminants, and avoids the problems with farmed salmon, which can not only pollute local waters near the farm but also be polluted themselves because of the fish meal they’re fed.
Wild caught salmon tastes incredible all on its own, but here is a recipe that gets you out using your grill, and enjoying the subtle hints of smoke from using cedar planks.
This dish makes an excellent entree for entertaining too. The peppery arugula pesto, and slow roasted tomatoes may be made ahead of time, which means you will have more time with your guests!
Wood Fired Salmon with Arugula Pesto and Tomato Confit
3 pounds large plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
4 large fresh thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
4 cups fresh arugula
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 (1 1/2-2 pounds) salmon fillets
2 cedar planks
For tomato confit:
Preheat oven to 300°F. Oil large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange tomatoes on baking sheet. Scatter thyme sprigs and garlic cloves over. Drizzle with 1/2 cup olive oil, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake tomatoes 45 minutes. Turn tomatoes over; continue to bake until tomatoes shrink slightly but are still plump and moist, about 1 hour longer. Cool completely. Peel off skins. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Combine arugula, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add pine nuts and Parmesan cheese to mixture and blend until incorporated.
Makes 2 cups
Begin soaking cedar planks (fully submerged) in water at least 2 hours before using. Set grill to to medium-high heat. Place salmon on each of the cedar planks. Spoon half of the arugula pesto over each salmon fillet, spreading evenly over fish.
Place the cedar planks in the center of the hot grate. Cover the grill and cook until cooked through, around 20 to 30 minutes. The internal temperature should read 135 degrees F. Cut each salmon fillet into 4 portions. Using a spatula, separate the fish from the skin, lifting onto each plate. Top with tomato confit.