Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Dish On Fish: Sorting Through Polluted Waters

As I trolled the fish aisle in Whole Foods yesterday, their gleaming bodies and bright eyes called to me. I haven't purchased fish in more than a blue moon and I felt it was time to end the moratorium. There had to be something safe from the pristine-looking selection. Would I choose, Striped Bass, Red Snapper, Atlantic Cod fillets, whole Sardines or Tilapia? I knew Salmon and Tuna were no-nos for us but what of the other choices?

I chose the Atlantic Cod simply because I didn't think it was a large fish and I knew that was one way to gauge their level of toxicity. Then I went home cooked it and did some fish research after dinner.

I found a great website that spelled things out quite clearly and seemed very sensible for those of us feeding small children. Although these guidelines are from 2004, they still seem fairly accurate and compare to more current list.

I like the way this list breaks down choices in terms of Mercury levels, rating the fish High, Moderate, and Low and also in terms of eco-friendliness as well. It turns out that Atlantic Cod is in the moderate category as far as mercury level (kids can eat one serving of fish from this category only ONCE per month). It scores low in terms of eco-friendliness since it is endangered. Alas, I will have to find a more suitable substitute, which is too bad as it was awfully tasty. Izzy liked his so much that he was already asking when I would make it again. The good news is that I can probably replace the Cod easily.

Pan-fried Cod with Spiced Chickpeas and Couscous
1 1/2 lbs. Atlantic cod or other white fish fillets
2 cans organic chickpeas
1 large onion chopped fine
4 cloves garlic chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
hot pepper flakes to taste
1. Soak fish fillets in milk. Dredge in flour (seasoned with salt and pepper).
2. Heat large frying pan. Add olive oil to coat bottom and a tablespoon or two of butter.
3. When butter foams, place fillets in pan, saute about 3 minutes per side or until golden. Keep warm in low oven.
4. Meanwhile, saute garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil, over low heat. When soft, add chickpeas, thyme and hot pepper and 1/4 cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Prepare instant coucscous according to package.

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