Tag Archives: shellfish

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.

Food Safety: The Shelf Life of Meats and Seafood

Nothing makes weeknight dinners easier than having a fridge fully stocked with a variety of delicious possibilities. Purchasing meats and seafood on sale can save you a lot of money in the long term. But before you fill your cart full of groceries, read this simple guide on safety practices for keeping eggs, poultry, beef and more.

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Eggs
Whole eggs are one of the top contenders when it comes to having a long shelf life. They will keep safely in the fridge for a full 5 weeks. Over time, eggs take in air, which pushes the white away from the shell making it extremely easy to peel — a bonus for deviled egg lovers!

Liquid, pasteurized eggs may seem more convenient, but they have a shorter shelf life. Once opened, they need to be used within 3 days. Regardless of the type of egg you purchase, they should never be stored in the freezer.

Beef
When you buy fresh, ground beef, you don’t have long to cook it, as it has to be consumed within 2 days of purchasing. Other cuts of beef, such as steaks or roasts, are a bit more forgiving; they can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freeze it: To extend the shelf life, freeze any type of beef in a tightly sealed container. Ground beef can be used within 4 months, and all other cuts can be kept for up to 12 months.

Cook it: From a rich Bolognese to a saucy stew, if you like to make big-batch meals with beef, they can be cooked and safely stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, and the freezer for up to 3 months. Just make sure to transfer any hot food into small, shallow containers to ensure it cools quickly, which prevents bacteria from growing.

Pork
It’s hard to grocery shop without picking up a package of the ever-beloved bacon and luckily, you have a full week to safely consume it. Fresh sausage and ground pork are also delicious options, however, they should both be cooked within 2 days of purchasing. Other cuts of pork, such as chops, can be consumed within 5 days.

Freeze it: Freeze any pork in a tightly sealed container. Bacon will keep for up to a month, fresh sausages and pork for up to 2 months and other cuts for up to 6 months.

Cook it: Cooked pork of any kind can be safely stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and the freezer for up to 3 months.

Poultry
Poultry is a great staple for delicious and affordable meals. From chicken to turkey and quail, all fresh poultry should be consumed within 2 days of purchasing.

Freeze it: Freeze any poultry in a tightly sealed container. Individual cuts, such as breasts or thighs, can be used within 9 months and whole poultry, such as chicken, can be kept for an entire year.

Cook it: Cooked poultry can be safely stored in the fridge for 4 days and the freezer for up to 4 months.

Lunch Meats
Your sandwich meats should be consumed within 4 days of purchasing. If you’re looking for something that will last the full week, try buying cured meats, such as summer sausage, which can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Freeze it: Freeze any lunch meats in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 months.

Seafood
Whether it’s trout, haddock, spot prawns or lobster, all fresh fish and shellfish should be consumed within 2 days of purchasing. However, smoked fish has a longer shelf life and can be kept for up to 14 days.

Freeze it: Freeze any fish or shellfish in a tightly sealed container. Fatty fish, such as mackerel, along with any shellfish or smoked fish will keep for up to 2 months and leaner fish, such as sole, will keep for up to 6 months.

Cook it: All cooked fish can be safely stored in the fridge for up to 4 days and the freezer for 4 to 6 months.

*Note: Always remember you can never re-freeze any food that has previously been frozen, regardless of the type of meat or seafood.