Frozen fish offers a healthier alternative that is cheaper than going fresh


If you’re trying to eat healthier, don’t rule out shopping the frozen fish aisle.

Many sources say that’s where you’re more apt to buy fish that was frozen at its freshest. And fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are thought to lower health risks.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) website, a diet incorporating lean meat like fish and plant-based foods as well as limiting red meat can reduce one’s chances of getting cancer. With the spotlight on raising awareness about breast cancer, which took my mother, Mary Selasky, 29 years ago, eating good-for-you foods like some fish is a simple choice.

And those fish can be a great dinner option. Fish typically cooks quickly, needs little fuss and takes to a variety of flavors.

But it’s important to choose your fish wisely.

While sources such as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating at least two servings of fish per week, others urge caution. Some fish such as King Mackerel have high mercury levels, while others such as salmon have very little. For those with higher levels, moderation is key. Today’s recipe features mahimahi, which falls in the middle.

Also known as dolphinfish, mahimahi is a firm fish with a pinkish hue. It has a mild flavor with a hint of sweetness. Moderately fatty, mahimahi is a good source of protein, Vitamin B6 and selenium.

And if you’re concerned about our oceans’ health, you’ll be happy to know that mahimahi is listed both as a Best Choice or Good Alternative on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list www.montereybayaquarium.org.

To me, mahimahi is a treat (most people I know don’t eat it on a weekly basis). And, because it’s on the firm side, mahimahi holds up well to all cooking methods.

What also makes this dish terrific is the addition of lightly sauteed zucchini ribbons and grape tomatoes.

Slicing the zucchini into thin ribbons — a good vegetable peeler works just fine — makes for an elegant presentation. Adding the tomatoes and briny capers serve to brighten the dish. This recipe does include butter — it’s a small amount per serving — but you can leave it out if preferred.

And, if you like, it works just as well with salmon.

MAHIMAHI WITH SKILLET-SAUTEED ZUCCHINI RIBBONS AND GRAPE TOMATOES

Ingredients:

BASIL BUTTER (OPTIONAL)

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove, minced, optional

FISH

4 mahimahi pieces, about 5 ounces each

1 teaspoon Morton Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend

ZUCCHINI AND TOMATOES

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 shallots, peeled, sliced (about 1/3 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons capers, well-drained

2 tablespoons white or dark balsamic vinegar

2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ribbons

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Preheat the broiler.

To prepare basil butter: In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients and set aside.

Lightly coat a broiler pan with cooking spray. Place the mahimahi on the pan and sprinkle with the seasoning blend. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

To make the zucchini and tomatoes: Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic cloves and saute 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the wine, capers and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Add the zucchini ribbons; reduce the heat and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley. Set aside.

When the fish is done, arrange a few zucchini ribbons on each plate. Top with a piece of fish. Scatter the remaining tomatoes and skillet ingredients on top of the fish and garnish with a teaspoon or so of the basil butter.

From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis includes basil butter.