Seafood Specials: Great Recipes that Help Save Oceans
Recipes from NRDC's home cooks and a few of our chef friends help you take the guesswork out of serving a healthy, feel-good seafood meal.
Contributing chefs Nora Pouillon, Thom Fox, Monica Pope & Eric Ripert
Buying the right fish these days is no longer as simple as checking for clear eyes and pink gills. You can't eyeball a fish and tell where it comes from, how it was caught or whether it might contain dangerous levels of mercury. Many of the fish we love to eat, and which we're used to seeing on restaurant menus -- orange roughy, bluefin tuna, cod, Chilean sea bass -- are vanishing because of the intense pressure we're putting on our ocean resources. Bottom-trawling boats are sailing farther and fishing deeper than ever before, hauling in hordes of fish with heavy, weighted nets that tear up the ocean bottom. Fish are being caught too young, before they can reproduce. Tons of unwanted fish are scooped up and tossed out in the search for more desirable catch. Pollution in coastal waters is destroying important fish habitat and imperiling the health of our oceans. Throw in toxic mercury contamination, and it's enough to make a concerned seafood lover swear off fish altogether.
But there is a way to make better seafood choices. By choosing to buy fish that are in healthy supply, we can give dwindling fish populations a chance to recover -- and keep fishermen at work. By avoiding fish caught using destructive methods such as bottom trawling, we give an incentive to suppliers to switch to less harmful techniques that will cut down on waste and preserve the health of ocean ecosystems.
These recipes from NRDC staff and some of our chef friends feature sustainable seafood -- fish that's abundant, caught or raised in an environmentally friendly manner, and low in mercury. You can browse through these pages for culinary inspiration, or print out favorites to add to your own collection. And keep in mind that these recipes offer just a taste of your sustainable options. See the Monterey Bay Aquarium's frequently updated Seafood Guide to find sustainability ratings for almost any fish, and be sure to check NRDC's guide to Mercury Contamination in Fish to make sure you're eating fish safely.
Tasty (and Sustainable) Seafood Recipes
- Baja Fish Tacos with Cabbage Salsa (Barry Nelson, senior policy analyst, NRDC San Francisco)
- Baked Halibut with Three Colored Peppers and Red Bliss and Fingerling Potatoes (Nora Pouillon, chef/owner, Nora's and Asia Nora, Washington, D.C.)
- Buttermilk Fried Fresh Anchovies with Harissa (Thom Fox, executive chef, Acme Chophouse, San Francisco)
- Catfish Lafitte (Erin Kiley, program assistant, NRDC Santa Monica)
- Chermoula Halibut with Red Quinoa, Edamame and Shell Bean Salad with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette (Monica Pope, chef/owner, t'afia, Houston)
- Firecracker Salmon with Roasted Corn Medley (Melissa Bez, program assistant, NRDC Washington, D.C.)
- Grilled Fresh Sardines with Preserved Lemon Salsa Verde (Thom Fox, executive chef, Acme Chophouse, San Francicso)
- Honey Salmon (Claxton Francis, director of information technology, NRDC New York)
- Kerala-style Fried Fish (Shanti Menon, website editor, NRDC New York)
- Krissy T's Wild Salmon (Kim Ranney, website marketing associate, NRDC New York)
- Pacific Cod Potpies with Dill Biscuit Crust (Alex Kennaugh, publications director, NRDC New York)
- Poached Alaskan Halibut, Sweet and Sour Golden and Red Beets, Citrus and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Emulsion (Eric Ripert, executive chef/co-owner, Le Bernardin, New York)
- Seared Farmed Striped Bass with Chive Whipped Potatoes, Truffle Vinaigrette and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms (Rick Moonen, chef/owner, RM Seafood, Las Vegas
- Sopa de Pescado (Evelyn Arévalo, program assistant, NRDC San Francisco)
- Steamed Halibut on a Bed of Leeks and Carrots (Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist, NRDC San Francisco)
See all recipes (PDF)
last revised 11/3/2006
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