I've been opposed to eating seafood my whole life. Not for a particularly good reason either; my dad didn't eat it, I was a daddy's girl, so I didn't either. As my Primal journey is progressing and I've learned that I like a lot of things I previously didn't think I did(yum califlower!), I'm thinking it might be time to give fish a try. I figured I would come out of my usual lurking state and ask you great guys/gals for advice!
I guess my question has multiple parts so here goes nothing! 1) Anyone here learn to be a fish lover since changing your diet to Primal/Paleo? Or even before after a long time thinking you didn't? If so, what types of fish did you try to start building your palate? 2) I do eat tuna from a can so I figured tuna would be a good place to start. I bought some wild tuna from Trader Joe's recently and I was hoping someone would have "THE BEST TUNA RECIPIE EVER" to share with me. So, do you? 3) Any other advice on fish to try, recipes that might make a fish lover out of me?
It's worth noting I've given some types of seafood a chance in the past, I've tried and hated shrimp, crab, and catfish. I have had fish tacos a few times before going Primal and hidden under corn tortillas and sauce I could almost say I liked them.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Don't be scared off by mercury levels, [eating fish is a lot safer then not eating fish].1
I would suggest you avoid the pre-frozen filets you find in the forzen food isle in your grocer. If you can get fresh fish (whole fish is best IMO :)) you'll be much liklier to find you like the taste. I used to think all fish tasted like fish sticks which is why I used to think I didn't like it.
- Look for bright, clear eyes. The eyes are the window to a truly fresh fish, for they fade quickly into gray dullness. Dull-eyed fish may be safe to eat, but they are past their prime.
- Next look at the fish. Does it shine? Does it look metallic and clean? Or has it dulled or has discolored patches on it? If so, it is marginal.
- Smell it. A fresh fish should smell like clean water, or a touch briny or even like cucumbers. Under no circumstances should you buy a nasty smelling fish. Cooking won't improve it.
- Look at the gills. They should be a rich red. If the fish is old, they will turn the color of faded brick.
- Look for vibrant flesh. All fish fade as they age. If the fillet still has skin, that skin should look as pristine as the skin on an equally good whole fish – shiny and metallic.
- Smell it. The smell test is especially important with fillets. They should have no pungent aromas.
- Is there liquid on the meat? If so, that liquid should be clear, not milky. Milky liquid on a fillet is the first stage of rot.
- If the fishmonger lets you, press the meat with your finger. It should be resilient enough so your indentation disappears. If your fingerprint remains, move on.
I personally love whole Chinese style steamed fish but the options are endless! Whole salmon filets smoked on an applewood plank bbq style is also one of my all time favs although its a little bit technical :)
Fish is a healthy food source in general but some fish are better than others, and some should not be eaten very often. For example:
- most larger sea fish contain mercury. Mercury toxicity is a serious matter; removing (chelating) mercury from one's body is a difficult endeavor. Tuna has a fair bit of mercury. Check this out:
- many farmed fish are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which is generally inflammatory, versus omega-3 fatty acids (..the good stuff) associated with healthy fish (like salmon). So wild caught fish is usually preferable over farmed fish.
I am not trying to dissuade you from eating tuna or fish in general. I am just suggesting you be a bit prudent about it. And no, unfortunately, I really don't have any good fish recipes. I usually just try them up.
If you're just starting out, pick white, mildly flavored varieties (hake, haddock, flounder, sole, perch, turbot, basically anything that looks white at the fish counter). Also, it should be absolutely as fresh as possible, this way it will have the least flavor and be most appealing (most fish should really have little flavor). One way to do this is to go to a place that sells a lot of fish so their inventory turns over quickly, ask them what came in that day, and don't be afraid to spend a little bit of money. You can figure out how to get cheap, super-fresh fish later.
The best way to figure out how fresh fish is is to smell it. This might seem a little weird at the fish counter if you have to ask the person to hand you a piece of fish to smell, or maybe you can just bend over and hover your nose over the counter. But fresh fish should have very little smell, ocean fish should smell very faintly of the sea, river fish should smell like almost nothing. If it smells "fishy" then it isn't fresh. Or, just tell the fishmonger that you aren't a big fan of fish and want the freshest thing they have, most people will accommodate.
Probably the two easiest ways to cook it are to just bake it plan, maybe with salt and pepper, and put fresh lemon on it when it comes out of the oven. The other is to cover it with some kind of crust (not usually Paleo friendly) and pan-fry it, everyone loves crispy fried fish.
You can also bury it in a strong sauce such as putanesca if you want to hide the flavor.
I would avoid farm-raised fish of any kind, especially tilapia, which is very high in both toxins and omega-6's and kind of defeats the purpose of eating fish in the first place.
Before going Paleo, I too had not tried fish extensively. I am not partial to the "fishy" taste and generally supplement my diet with fish oil to compensate.
When trying to branch out and incorporate more fish, I have found salmon to be quite malleable.
My fav recipe so far- http://www.amazingpaleo.com/2012/06/17/salmon-parsley-patties/
I have also had success with “bland” fish, like cod or tilapia. I just try to focus on making a flavorful side dish! Hope this helped txprimalgirl! Good Luck!
Fresh is key! I never really liked seafood until I started eating it down the shore. My boyfriend's mom makes an awesome tequila lime butter with herbs that she cooks some fish in and it also helped to convert me. I like swordfish, I think it's pretty mild.
Good luck :)