Schooled on fish

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Schooled on fish

Durango purveyors offer sea of fresh and frozen choices
Nancy Vogel of Flying Fish measures the temperature inside the coolers in her store.
Nancy Vogel writes a list of the never-frozen fish to be offered for sale that day at Flying Fish.
Albertsons Seafood Department Manager Scott Krick holds a filet of barramundi, a healthy and tasty fish from Vietnam.

Schooled on fish

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Nancy Vogel of Flying Fish measures the temperature inside the coolers in her store.
Purchase
Nancy Vogel writes a list of the never-frozen fish to be offered for sale that day at Flying Fish.
Purchase
Albertsons Seafood Department Manager Scott Krick holds a filet of barramundi, a healthy and tasty fish from Vietnam.
Selecting safe, sustainable fish requires some research

With the increasing availability of most fish and seafood comes controversy surrounding sustainability and safety. Consumers and restaurants face questions about what fish to buy and what fish is best left alone.
Not all farmed fish is bad and not all wild-caught fish is good. Understanding fishing methods, including the impact of specific commercial fishing practices on the ocean, can be confusing for consumers. Also to consider are population size, the rate at which a species is being diminished and “bycatch” or the harm done to other marine life. Sustainable fish is caught or farmed without harming other species or reducing the individual species’ ability to maintain their populations.
Half of all seafood consumed in the United States is farm-raised, yet farmed fish is not free of adverse ecological effects. Depending on where fish farms are located and how fish are raised, diseases can be spread to wild populations. Fish can escape from farms and breed with wild fish, genetically altering a species. Water and environments surrounding fish farms can be polluted by fish waste. Closed farming systems that recirculate water can be more environmentally friendly than open-water systems. Fish maintained in circulating systems often are lower in concentrated toxins and thus safer for consumption.
Get to know and trust your fish or seafood purveyor and have a conversation about where and how the fish are caught or raised. If fish are farm-raised, ask about aquaculture practices. Consult reputable educational Web sites such as www.montereybayaquarium.org and www.sustainablesushi.net that offer objective rankings of which fish are safe to consume, which are endangered, which fish should be avoided and what species are good alternatives to those being overfished. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program is science-based, peer reviewed and compiled with the recommendations of a panel of representatives from academia, the government and the seafood industry.
Because it isn’t always easy for consumers to trace the supply of fish from ocean to display case, general wisdom suggests avoiding large, predatory fish such as swordfish or shark, due to their high mercury content. Farmed oysters, farmed barramundi, freshwater Coho salmon raised in tank systems in the United States and farmed rainbow trout are all considered safe.
As more consumers become aware of the many nutritional benefits of fish as a low-fat source of protein and omega oils, environmentalists caution that it’s time to restrict our intake of overfished species, such as Chilean seabass, grouper and haddock, before they face extinction and we risk dangerously altering the ecological balance of our oceans.

Steamed Fish in Parchment Paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Set one 15-inch-square piece of parchment paper on a clean, dry work surface.
Place a 6-inch fillet of mild, white fish* (up to ¾-inch thick) in center of paper. Suitable fish include whiting, red fish, red snapper, sheephead, cod.
On top of the fish, place a variety of julienne-cut vegetables: red, green, yellow and orange peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots or scallions.
Finely chop one teaspoon each of fresh garlic and peeled ginger. Sprinkle on top of vegetables, then drizzle pile with a tablespoon of toasted Asian sesame oil.
Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
Fold parchment paper diagonally, making a triangular envelope.
Crimp and securely fold the three open sides to seal.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
Remove from parchment paper immediately before serving and serve with side of Thai jasmine rice.
(Recipe courtesy of Heather Bryson, Gable House Bed & Breakfast.)

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