August 5th, 2011 - By Lari Robling
Barton Seaver, author of For Cod and Country, is all about saving the world's seafood through responsible consumption. Best part is, you don't have to resort to expensive cuts of fish!
We know that fish is a healthy protein. There are concerns with overfishing, environmental issues, and cost. Sustainable halibut can be $17 dollars a pound or more. Barton Seaver, author of For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious Sustainable Cooking. says, "sustainable seafood doesn't necessarily make it more expensive. As sustainable seafood is not a marker of quality necessarily. Most of the species that we consider unsustainable happen to be the ones that are most popular, and therefore you are paying the highest price for them." In addition to buying lesser-known species, he says there's an even more affordable option, "in every 7-Eleven, in every corner bodega in Harlem and in every Wal-Mart and big box store across the country things like canned mackerel, some canned tunas, canned pink salmon from Alaska, sardines, and anchovies really represent a great opportunity for nutrition. Accessible, affordable, and sustainable proteins for everybody in this country."
"I prefer not to eat canned fish, I like fresh fish."
"I'm a meat and potatoes guy, I'm not a fish man at all."
"I actually wouldn't eat canned fish at all, period."—"Yeah neither would I."
"I would not eat canned fish, under any circumstances would I eat canned fish. Even if it was sustainably caught."
Well, what does Barton Seaver have to say in response to that? "I would say leave your preconceptions at the door and give it a fair shot to change your opinions on it. Because you're talking a can of pink salmon, you get two 7-ounce cans pink salmon both about $1.59 each. You drain them, mix them with a little bit of mayonnaise, a little bit of mustard, some chopped fresh dill, a little bit of bread crumb, mix gently and then form them into patties throw into lightly buttered dish and under the broiler for 10 minutes and you have the start of a beautiful, healthy meal feeding a family of four for just over $3 dollars."
Now, he's got me hooked! What are some tips to easing ourselves into the canned option? "First of all, look for fish that are just lightly smoked or packed by themselves in water. That ensures that you are getting top quality of fish from the processor. The hot sauce or the mustard or the smoked tomato sauce, those can tend to mask the quality of sometimes lesser quality products." And if you are still not buying it, Seaver has one more inducement, "talk about a stressed Tuesday night coming back from soccer practice, flip open can of tuna, flip open a can of mackerel, and you are ready to go in 10 minutes. Beautiful!"