Safe Seafood for Better Health (with recipes)

BY ON January 9, 2012
Baked Stuffed Sole

Baked Stuffed Sole (recipe below)


I was so thrilled when the EPA announced the new Mercury and Air Toxics Rule. These new limits on atmospheric pollutants will have a positive impact on not only our air, but also our water, soil and food chains as well. And the announcement was made on the day before Solstice, no less! Out of the darkness and into the light, am I right? What a great way to move into 2012.

My big resolution for 2012 is to make eating real food a permanent lifestyle change, and part of that is eating seafood. Unfortunately, we are still dealing with the impacts of all that mercury that is already in the environment, and seafood is one way that humans continue to be exposed. I’ve made no secret about the fact that I love seafood, but the nutrition in seafood is also important for me at this stage in my life. As a nursing mother (yes, 22-month-old Joshua is still nursing and we’re proud of it!), I worry about toxins like mercury and PCBs that can be found in fish and the possibility of them getting into my milk and being passed on to Joshua. Because Joshua also eats solid foods, I worry about his toxin exposure directly from the fish that he eats as well. My husband and I also have hopes of adding to our family in 2012, and so I also think from the perspective of a mom who plans to conceive. Nursing moms, women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy, and young children: the three segements of the population are most impacted by toxins. That’s us!

With all the concern about mercury and other toxins contaminating seafood, why not just skip it altogether? Many women mistakenly believe that seafood needs to stay off their plate when pregnant. Unfortunately, when a pregnant or nursing mother or small child skips seafood, they are missing out on important nutrients that play a role in the development of the nervous system. The Mayo Clinic’s pregnancy specialist Roger Harms, M.D., states Seafood can be a great source of protein and iron — crucial nutrients for your baby’s growth and development. In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids in many fish can promote your baby’s brain development.”

Our family chooses to eat seafood for a variety of nutritional benefits in addition to the fact that we live near the Long Island Sound and my husband’s family works in aquaculture, growing clams and oysters. We also enjoy salt-water fishing and eating freshly caught fish. When choosing what type of seafood to eat, I keep in mind the Seafood Watch guidelines set forth in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Pocket Guides. Seafood Watch also now has Apps for iPhone and Android, which makes it even easier to make smart seafood choices while in the grocery store or at a restaurant (or even on a boat!).

Based on the Seafood Watch recommendations for the best choices for seafood, I plan to try out the following recipes over the coming weeks. These recipes use seafood that is nutrient dense but low in toxins.

If that wasn’t enough seafood yumminess for you, here’s my own favorite recipe for Baked Stuffed Sole.

Baked Stuffed Sole

  • 4 fillets of sole (or other thin fish fillet)
  • stuffing for seafood (recipe below)
  • 4 Tbsp breadcrumbs, for topping
  • 1 Tbsp butter, for topping
  • sprinkles of paprika, for topping

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place 2-3 Tbsp of stuffing in the center of each fillet. Roll the fillet, and place open-end down in a greased baking dish. Repeat for remaining fillets. If there’s stuffing left over, arrange it around the fish or in the center of the dish. Top each roll with 1 Tbsp breadcrumb, and dot with butter. Sprinkle paprika on top, and bake for 20 minutes.

Stuffing for Seafood

  • 1 small red or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • water, as needed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

In a large skillet, saute the onion in the butter and olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until it’s translucent. Add the breadcrumbs, stirring to coat in the butter and oil. Add water, 1/2 cup at a time, until the stuffing holds together. Stir in parsley and paprika and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to cool slightly before stuffing fish.

Do you have a favorite *safe* seafood recipe? Please share with us in the comments!


Photo Credit: Abbie Walston

TOPICS: Mercury Poisoning, Motherhood, Pollution