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Although I choose to eat a vegan diet (which does not include seafood), it is a very personal choice and it's not for everyone. But no matter what your diet or lifestyle, I think we should all be as environmentally conscious with our food choices as possible. For that reason I am happy to share with you a lovely guest post and eco-friendly seafood recipe!
The following is a guest post by Kate McLaughlin from Blue Ocean Institute:
Be happy with your seafood choices! This year, as you look for new ways to be more eco-friendly, why not resolve to be happy? Just as you’re thoughtful about other environmentally-responsible choices you make (like recycling, or buying farmers market vegetables), you can be thoughtful about your seafood choices and be happy with the results! When fish are caught or farmed in ways that protect the ocean, that’s something all seafood lovers can be happy about.
For me, being happy is sitting down to a plate of farmed mussels - these guys are ocean-friendly rockstars. First off, did you know that half of the seafood produced globally comes from fish farms? That’s a lot of seafood! Next time you’re at the store, look for signs on the seafood that note whether it’s farmed or wild, and you’ll see there’s more farmed seafood out there than you might have guessed.
Mussels are an ocean-friendly farmed seafood because you don’t have to feed them- they naturally filter their food from the surrounding water. They can filter 10-15 gallons of water a day- that means they’re eating a lot of microscopic plankton. It also means we don’t have to go fishing to catch fish to feed to them (as is the case with some farm-raised seafood, like Atlantic salmon).
Mussels are delicious and nutritious on top of all their ocean-friendly qualities (and kids love picking them out of their shells at meal time). Farmed mussels are just one kind of ocean-friendly seafood that you and your family can be happy about. Learn about other ocean-friendly seafood, at www.facebook.com/BeHappyFish.
Eight conservation organizations in the U.S. & Canada have teamed up to bring you fun and engaging seafood info. There are family- (and ocean!) friendly recipes, trivia to help you get to know ocean-friendly options, and you and your kids can sign a pledge to support ocean-friendly seafood or post a pic of your best fish face showing your support for the ocean.
For now, share this farmed mussels dish with your family, and Be Happy!
Linguini with Mussels and Spicy Tomato Sauce
This recipe is by Kristine Kidd, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Food Editor. For more recipes from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, visit: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/recipes/
Ingredients (serves 4)
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and pepper flakes and sauté until light golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the wine, thyme and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thick and flavors blend, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add the remaining 1/2 cup wine and capers to the sauce and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook until the mussels open, about 4 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and stir over high heat for 1 minute to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Divide the pasta and mussels among 4 plates. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.
* Hint from the chef - When you get the mussels home, remove them from the plastic bag, half fill a bowl with ice and place the shells on top. Serve them that same day. Mussels are cooked through when they open; discard any that do not open.
To prepare mussels for cooking, scrub the shells with a stiff brush. Remove any threads extending from the shell (called beards) by grabbing with fingers or a cloth and pulling towards the hinge end of the shell.--
About the author: Kate McLaughlin is the Seafood Program Director with the Blue Ocean Institute. Kate has studied fish for more than 10 years- she’s taken kids fishing in the urban parks of NYC, and tracked the salmon on the mighty Columbia River in Washington State. She’s studied river herring in the coastal rivers of Massachusetts, trout in the mountain streams of Montana, and manta rays along the jagged shore of Hawai’i. Kate earned a Master’s Degree in Fisheries from Humboldt State University in northern California. In her work with Blue Ocean Institute, Kate works with seafood lovers, scientists, chefs, and nutrition professionals to communicate the science of seafood.