Summer Seafood – Versatile, Nutritious and SO Tasty!
Well summer is rolling in and definitely making its presence known. Flooding, bushfires, crazy hail storms; every year we seem to be surprised by the weather but every year, it all happens again.
One thing I know I look forward to each and every summer is enjoying the bounty of seafood Australia has to offer. We’re very fortunate to have so much choice in this country where barbecuing prawns and fish on the balcony, in the backyard or at the beach is simply normal. For us, it’s as natural as an Italian Nonna serving up big, steaming bowls of pasta under a grapevine-covered pergola.
Tinned seafood has its place too
Even I have to admit though, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be fresh seafood that gets my mouth watering. I quite enjoy tinned seafood from time to time and to me, what matters is what you do with it. Tinned seafood is just so convenient! From sardines and anchovies to salmon and tuna and of course, the occasional little can of crab meat, it definitely has a place in my pantry and that of many other Australian householders.
Wild-caught or farmed seafood; which is better?
It’d be easier to answer the question: “How long is a piece of string?” A lot of people assume that wild-caught seafood is healthier because it’s ‘natural’. But consider this: wild-caught trout contains more iron and calcium but farm-raised trout boasts higher levels of selenium and Vitamin A. Farmed Atlantic salmon is being shown to deliver dramatically more omega-3 healthy fats than wild-caught salmon.
In terms of sustainability, some harvesting of wild-caught fish does damage to the ecosystem and other fish. Over-fishing and catching undesirable species in nets hardly rates as ‘sustainable’. But then, raising farmed fish can be a pollution risk and upset the delicate balance of the surrounding ecosystem too. Unfortunately, readers, I can’t claim to have the answers here. It may literally come down to a personal preference for you.
Does sustainability matter?
I believe it does, yes. It’s important to do our best to support sustainable fishing so that we can continue to enjoy eating seafood now and into the future. The sustainable seafood website goodfishbadfish.com.au suggests that we consumers have a responsibility to make decisions that support sustainable fishing. The website lists a few resources on how to do just that.
Local or imported seafood?
It’s hard to believe that a country like Australia imports seafood. We are entirely surrounded by oceans!! Unfortunately, some of the imported stuff is sub-par and conversely, we send some of our best to high-paying international customers like Japan and China. I think buying local is really important when it comes to seafood, not just for the economy but also because our waters are clean and safe and we have a reputation the world over for the quality of our fish, prawns, crabs, oysters and other seafoods.
The Latasha’s Kitchen range features plenty of products that can help bring out the very best in your seafood meals.
- Barbecued seafood – Where do I start? Salmon fillets or tuna steaks rubbed with Green Chimichurri Sauce and cooked on the grill are divine! Serve with a green leafy salad or quinoa tossed with char-grilled vegetables and a yoghurt dressing.
- Coriander and coconut – Mix together some yoghurt or coconut cream and Green Coriander Sauce. Put together some aluminium foil parcels with fish fillets and julienned vegies and brush with the yoghurt mix. The aromas will be tantalising!
- Curries – There’s nothing like a curry for depth of flavour and satisfying gravies to mop up with naan or rice. My Homestyle Seafood Curry with Crab is an absolute winner and I receive hearty praise when I cook it for friends.
- Fish cakes – These are brilliant for dinner parties, gatherings with friends and to get older kids to eat their fish. Spicy Red Curry Fish Cakes have a bit of a kick to them, thanks to the Thai Red Curry Paste.
- Grilled squid – In a small bowl, mix together about a tablespoon each of Date & Tamarind Chutney and Green Coriander Sauce with some extra virgin olive oil to use as a dressing for grilled squid.
- Grilled snapper salad – If you see a lovely piece of fresh snapper at the market, grab it! Take it home and marinate it in a mix of Tikka Masala Paste, yoghurt, coriander and mint. Give it at least 30 minutes then grill or barbecue.
- Tuna pasta – Take a tin of tuna and mix in some Zingy Tomato Chutney. Spoon over hot pasta or zoodles and top with cheese.
- Prawn stir fry – Whip up a quick stir fry of prawns and asparagus, flavoured with Eggplant Kasaundi.
- Fish burger – Create the most flavoursome fish burger ever by adding a spoonful of Red Chilli Onion Relish atop the warm fish before placing the other ingredients. The relish is spicy, sticky and sweet, the perfect complement for the fish.
- Fish tacos – Change up your usual taco fillings and go for fish! Load them up with char grilled corn, mashed avocado and diced red tomato and spoon a little Jalapeno Onion Relish on top. Also great for wraps.
- Vindaloo fish skewers – This is a fabulous way to enjoy fish and vegetables without going to a lot of effort. View my Vindaloo Fish Skewers
Seafood is a healthy, enjoyable protein
Just as ‘man cannot live by bread alone’, we should also try to vary our proteins as much as possible. It staves off boredom (and who hasn’t been in a cooking rut at some point?), it adds different nutrients to the diet and seafood is mostly light and healthy. Of course, it depends on how you cook it and what you serve with it!
Nutritionists recommend swapping out one or two meals a week with seafood so instead of sausages and mashed potato, try grilled fish and a baked potato. Instead of shepherd’s pie, put a fish pie together. Put some tinned salmon or tuna into a lasagne instead of beef and add anchovies to your salads, pizzas and pasta dishes. For anyone who thinks seafood smells and tastes ‘too fishy’ for their liking, adding a spoonful of my relishes, sauces or curry pastes will do away with any undesirable aromas and flavours!!