Tag Archives: mussels

The 5 Best Sustainable Seafood Options to Eat (Plus Recipes!)

Seafood is a staple in the Canadian diet, but choosing sustainable options can be confusing. According to the Ocean Wise Seafood Program, sustainable seafood is defined as farming or catching species of fish in a way that ensures their long term health and the health of the greater marine ecosystem. Right now, 85-90% of the world’s fish stocks are over-exploited, so organizations like Ocean Wise, Seafood Watch and Marine Stewardship Council are working hard to ensure we make the right choices when it comes to our seafood, not only to preserve future generations of fish, but also to protect our oceans and our health. Here, we break down the best sustainable seafood for you to buy and start cooking.

1. Arctic Char (Farmed)

Arctic char may look similar to salmon or rainbow trout with its pinky flesh, but its texture is more delicate with a milder flavour. You can cook it simply with a little lemon, salt and pepper, or get creative and smear a rich miso glaze on top. Arctic char is farmed in indoor recirculating tanks in the US, Canada and Iceland, which are considered one of the most environmentally responsible designs. This method of raising fish ensures the water is treated and filtered, decreasing the risk of pollution, and minimizing any negative impact on other aquatic habitats.


Get the recipe for Pan-Seared Arctic Char with Miso Gastrique

2. Cod (Pacific)

Cod is a buttery, delicate option that’s often touted as the “not-so-fishy” fish (so seafood skeptics may find it more palatable). Cod was a large part of Canada’s history, but unfortunately, in the 1990’s the cod industry off the shore of Newfoundland collapsed, and the stocks were depleted. Now, the best cod to buy is caught just off the coast of Alaska, using either long-line, pots or bottom-trawl methods. All of these methods impact the ocean, either by damaging the ocean floor or harvesting non-targeted fish species, but these Alaskan cod fisheries are so incredibly well-managed that they ensure regulations exist to evaluate fish stocks and reduce negative impacts to the seafloor.


Get the recipe for 30-Minute Cod with Lemony Braised Fennel

3. Albacore Tuna (B.C. & Atlantic)

It may shock you to see tuna on our list of the most sustainable seafood, but tuna that has been pole or troll caught, using lines off the coast of British Columbia and the Atlantic, are great choices. These methods reduce the rates of by-catch (unintentionally catching other species of fish), and if non-targeted fish species are caught, they can be released. Fishing this way also prevents damage to habitats, since these methods don’t touch the ocean floor. You can find albacore tuna fresh, frozen or canned. It’s most commonly known as the “white meat” tuna, and it’s the heart of a delicious tuna sandwich.


Get the recipe for Albacore Tuna Crumpwich

4. Shellfish: Clams, Mussels, Oysters, Scallops (Farmed)

Shellfish are a popular part of Canadian cuisine, from seared scallops to steamed mussels and clams to freshly shucked oysters. They’re farmed mainly in Eastern Canada and British Columbia using the off-bottom method, meaning they use floating rafts, bags or suspended ropes to raise the shellfish. Off-bottom farming doesn’t touch the ocean floor, and there is minimal by-catch, if any, so it’s incredibly sustainable. Shellfish are also known as filter feeders, because they eat particles found in the water, which actually filters and cleans it, allowing other marine life to thrive.


Get the recipe for East Coast Summer Scallops with Pea Puree 

5. Sablefish (Alaska & B.C.)

Sablefish, also known as black cod, is a true delicacy. It’s buttery, velvety, mild and oh-so delicious, and luckily, it’s also sustainable. Sablefish is most commonly found along the pacific coast, especially near British Columbia and Alaska where the stocks are healthy. These fisheries are well-managed and have strong regulations that assess stocks, fishing levels, by-catch rates and restrict gear and entry in certain areas. This ensures there is no over-fishing or depletion of non-targeted fish.


Get the recipe for Roasted Sablefish in Dashi Broth 

Fore more handy pointers, we’ve rounded up the best chef-approved tips when it comes to buying and cooking fish.

Chuck and Danny’s Perfect PEI Breakfast

It’s the end of the road for Chuck and Danny as their epic culinary trip draws to a close. Driving the RV across the Confederation Bridge (the longest one in the country), the chefs are on the search for seafood — and Prince Edward Island is home to some of the best that Canada has to offer. Chef Ross Munro of Red Door Oyster Co. points the chefs north to harvest some of the ocean’s bounty onboard Lester the Lobster boat. “We’re here to show them PEI’s best,” says Munro, who gives the chefs a surprise gift: a huge bag of local mussels for a true Maritime breakfast.

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Ross Monro (right) takes Danny and Chuck out lobster fishing.

Mussels are big business in PEI, producing 50 million pounds (22,730 tons, if you’re counting) per year, according to The Mussel Industry Council of PEI. Canadian mussels should be shiny and blue-black when you buy them from the store. “You know they’re fresh when they smell like the ocean,” says Chuck.

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Acadian bread from  ‘the weirdest baker on PEI’.

Since Chuck and Danny have got straight from the source, they want to show off their mussel power with a nontraditional eggs Benedict, Maritime-style. Even though they’re camping beach-side, Chuck and Danny are still chefs at heart — no store-bought English muffins, here. Friend and fellow chef Robert Pendergast (the self proclaimed “weirdest baker on PEI”) is camping at the same park with his family, and he stops by with some of his famous fresh-baked heritage bread, made Acadian-style with chunks of pork and potato.

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Danny and Chuck have a PEI breakfast with Robert Pendergast (center).

“Bread, mussels — it’s a PEI breakfast, no?” says Chuck. Danny offers to whip up a fast hollandaise in the trailer, while Chuck gets started on the mussels. The rule of thumb when cooking mussels is that they should be closed (or at least, close when you tap them.) Scrub them clean with a brush (no soap, obviously, says Chuck) and steam them in an inch and a half of seawater in a large pot with the lid closed for a few minutes.

See how Chuck and Danny make their Mussels Benedict:

For a classic hollandaise, Danny separates the eggs, using just the yolks for the emulsion. Since there’s no room in the camper for a full standup blender, Danny is using an immersion hand blender, which home cooks can emulate. Slowly adding the melted butter until the mixture is emulsified and thickened, Danny adds his own twist: white balsamic vinegar instead of the traditional lemon juice to complement the mussels with its sweetness. “This white balsamic is great and won’t change the colour of my hollandaise,” says Danny. A bit of salt and the hollandaise is ready to go.

Time to dig in — the chefs start popping the mussels out of the shells (and a few into their mouths while they’re working) and set them onto the bread. Their creation is finished with a healthy dollop of hollandaise, and a sprinkle of cayenne “for that extra little bit of spice to wake you up in the morning,” says Danny.

“Anybody who puts potato and bacon into their bread is okay with me,” says Chuck, taking a bite with a loud crunch.

“This is one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while,” says Pendergast.

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The sun sets on this road trip;  PEI is Chuck and Danny’s final destination.

Bring mussels to your table with 25 Marvelous Mussel Recipes or for more inspired Benedict ideas, check out 10 Brunch-Worthy Eggs Benedict Recipes for everything from devilled eggs to pizza. Get Chuck and Danny’s recipe for their PEI breakfast of champions here and be sure to check out their most bromantic moments from the road.

Missed the episode? Catch it online at Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip.

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Quick Canadian Dinner: Linguine with Bacon, Beer and PEI Mussels

This savoury, creamy pasta is a symphony of Canadian flavours. The beer adds a crispness to the rich sauce — we recommend a light, refreshing microbrew ale or lager. Thanks to the way PEI mussels are grown and harvested, they rarely have beards or grit inside them, so cleaning them just means giving them a good rinse.

Linguine with Bacon, Beer and PEI Mussels

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 lb (900 g) mussels
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1 cup ale or lager
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup whipping cream (35%)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 tsp pepper
Pinch salt
12 oz (375 g) linguine
3 Tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley

Linguine with Bacon, Beer and PEI Mussels

Directions:
1. Rinse the mussels. Discard any that don’t close when you tap them firmly on the counter; set aside.
2. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Fry the chopped bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan to a paper towel and let drain.
3. Add the onion and celery to the fat in the pan. Cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beer and bring to a boil.
4. Add the mussels then reduce heat. Cover and simmer until the mussels open, about 6 minutes. Discard any that do not open. With the slotted spoon, remove the mussels to a bowl. Add the cream, tarragon, salt and pepper to the pan. Boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, cook the linguine according to the package directions until al dente; drain. Add pasta and mussels to the pan, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley and bacon.