Welcome to week two of National Nutrition Month, and the next installment of how to use the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 in real life to go from expert recommendations to everyday healthy habits.
Regularly enjoying a variety of seafood is one of the best (and tastiest) ways to benefit from their heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. That’s the main reason health experts from the likes of the American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 all promote eating fish twice a week. There’s also emerging research linking omega-3s to improved mood and brain function.
Maybe you’re convinced that you should eat seafood, but you think fish is a kitchen challenge. You’re not alone!
To help, I talked with our Director of Research and Development, Chef Tina Bourbeau, who knows a thing or two about preparing seafood from her days working in New York’s finest kitchens. She’s also a tried-and-true New Yorker, which means she values a quick, delicious, no-mess dinner as much as the next person.
Check out Chef Tina’s recommendations here:
“I’ve recently discovered steamer bags, and love them because they save time, cook proteins and vegetables beautifully and leaves me with fewer dishes to wash.
“For fish, the ‘steaming-in-a-bag’ method works best for white, flakey and non-oily varieties like Dourade Royale (royal dorade), fluke or black sea bass. I like fish skin — but watch out — it gets slippery! If you don’t, take the skin off or get fish without skin.
“Also, pull the pin bones, if there are any, before cooking — this makes for a nicer eating experience.”
Simply Savory, Two Ways
Here are two simple, time-tested, can’t-miss flavor combinations:
2. Sesame oil, chili-garlic sauce (if you like it spicy), and a little white miso or soy sauce (Tina adds, “I have a tendency to dork out on super-high-quality soy sauces the way some chefs — like my husband — do on vinegars.”) If you are using miso, add a drop of water so that it doesn’t get too salty.
Either way, think about balancing the oil, salt and acid. The “marinade” that is created in the steaming process is the perfect dressing for the other items on your plate. Try steamed greens and vegetables, mixed grains, potatoes, etc.
Dinner in Two Minutes or Less!
- Open the bag and add your choice of marinade ingredients inside. Slosh everything around a bit so that it properly mingles. Place the fillet of fish flat in the bag.
- Seal the bag and place the entire bag on the bottom of your microwave, seam side up (the bag is marked to indicate which side goes up — make sure you follow directions or you will be cleaning up a messy microwave as these bags are perforated — even though you can’t see it.)
- Cook on high for an initial 1 1/2 minutes. The flesh should flake when gently pressed. If this is not the case, cook for an additional 30 seconds. Let the fish rest for about a minute before opening the bag. Be careful — the steam will be very hot.
- Open the bag and gently pour the contents out onto your dinner plate. Use the excess juices as sauce.
Pro Tips: Do not crowd the bag. The fish should remain flat for best cooking. If you want to cook several portions, repeat the process in separate bags!
Nutritionist’s favorites to complete your plate
Here are some of my favorite quick and easy ideas for whole grains and veggies to help round out a healthy weeknight meal.
- FreshDirect Sides in a Snap Three Whole Grains Mix
- Lundberg Brown Rice Couscous — all varieties
- FreshDirect Sides in a Snap Asian Veggies w/ Ginger-Garlic Sauce
- FreshDirect Green Asparagus in a Microwavable Bag
- FreshDirect Sugar Snap Peas in a Microwavable Bag
- FreshDirect Haricots Verts in a Microwavable Bag
- FreshDirect Sides in a Snap Steamed Quinoa
- Arrowhead Mills Organic Quinoa
For more of my nutrition tips (all with great savings!), check out my Healthy Living for Less section.