Plump, juicy scallops; delicate filets of fish; seafood pasta piled high with clams — seafood is downright delicious, and, when you shop right, it’s good for you and the planet, too.
Lately, eating in a more environmentally friendly way has been top of mind, as consumers become more and more eco-conscious. Over a third of Canadians say they are motivated to make this change, while 40 per cent are already cutting back on beef and pork. Leaning into more locally and sustainably sourced plant-based options is great, but the “green shift” isn’t the only way to eat more sustainably.
A recent study from Dalhousie University found that, “seafood can provide greater nutrition to people at a lower rate of greenhouse gas emissions than beef, pork and chicken.” And that doesn’t even take into account the use of land, fresh water, pesticides, fertilizers and the loss of biodiversity associated with the meat production industry. Making the “blue shift” to rely on sustainable seafood is a more planet-friendly option that’s just as delicious and nutritious.
Sure, sustainability can be complex, maybe even more so when it comes to seafood, but when you know what to look for, making planet-friendly choices doesn’t have to be a head-scratcher. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has one of the most rigorous standards for sustainable fishing, so the choice is easier for shoppers. The science-based non-profit works with marine experts, fisheries, governments, conservation organizations and industry experts to vet and highlight sustainable fisheries and seafood suppliers around the world.
When you shop at the grocery store, look for the MSC blue fish ecolabel so you know that you’re choosing certified sustainable, wild-caught seafood. Buying MSC certified sustainable seafood supports the dedicated fishermen and women who help to combat overfishing and protect our oceans.
Choose sustainable seafood and try it in one of these delicious recipes tonight.
Cantabrian anchovy pasta with red pepper pesto
From chef Lello Palomba, this delicious pasta recipe calls for anchovies, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, promoting brain and heart health.
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 1.5 hours
4+2 MSC certified anchovies in oil
½ lb whole wheat spaghetti
1 Tbsp capers in salt
1 red bell pepper
⅔ cup sliced/flaked almonds or ½ cup pine nuts
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 clove garlic
4 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil (for frying and for the pesto)
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Roast the whole bell pepper in the oven for about 1 hour. Then, put it in a paper bag or a pot with a lid and allow to cool completely before peeling, removing the seeds and slicing. Set aside.
For the fried capers: Desalinate the capers by letting them soak for 10 minutes in cold water, then drain them well. Gently warm them in a small saucepan to dry any excess water, being careful not to let them stick. Remove from the saucepan.
Then in the same saucepan, heat the olive oil until it’s almost boiling and add the capers back in, frying them until they explode. Remove the fried capers from the oil and allow to dry on absorbent paper without crushing them and set aside.
For the red pepper pesto: In a blender, place the bell pepper slices, 4 of the anchovies, ½ cup of the almond slices, the parmesan cheese, the garlic clove and the basil. Blend by pouring olive oil in a trickle, adding just enough until the pesto is creamy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and keep aside.
For the pasta: Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package. When cooked, set a little cooking water aside and drain the rest.
Add the drained spaghetti back into the pot and toss with the red pepper pesto. Add the cooking water in small increments to soften the pesto until the desired consistency is reached. Make sure everything is well combined before adding more water.
To serve: Arrange a spaghetti nest in the centre of a plate and garnish with an anchovy, the remaining flaked almonds, fried capers and a basil leaf.
Easy fish tacos with herbed slaw
Make weeknight dinner a breeze with this easy and quick fish taco recipe from chef Charlotte Langley.
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
1 box MSC certified battered or breaded frozen fish (we like breaded sole or haddock)
Small corn tortillas (soft or hard)
3 cups Savoy/Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
¼ cup lime juice + zest of 1 lime
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp ground cumin
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, sliced thin
2 Tbsp lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
Follow the cooking instructions on the box of fish. Cook at least 1 fillet per person (more if serving as a main course).
In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the slaw and season with salt to taste. Let marinate 10 minutes.
In another bowl, mix the ingredients for the crema and season with salt to taste.
Cut each fish fillet into thirds.
Arrange the slaw and a few pieces of fish on each tortilla. Drizzle with crema and serve.
Citrus dusted wild halibut with fresh avocado salsa
Wow guests with this easy recipe from chef Charlotte Langley that can be on the table in under 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a parchment lined baking sheet for later.
Season each piece of halibut with a little salt and a drizzle of canola oil.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine avocado, celery, cucumber, citrus juices and fresh herbs. Season with salt to taste and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine all citrus zests and set aside.
Use a pan large enough to fit all the halibut without crowding, or two medium pans. Heat to medium high and add a drizzle of oil. Decide which side of the halibut you want to present on the plate (the ‘presentation side’) and place the fish that side down in the pan. Do not move the fish for at least 5 minutes! This will create a nice, thick golden crust.
Flip the halibut onto the prepared parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 7-10 minutes to finish the cooking.
Remove halibut from oven and place on 4–6 individual plates. Sprinkle the crispy side with the zest mixture and season with a little salt. Evenly distribute the avocado salsa around or on top. Serve immediately.
For more sustainable seafood recipes, head to msc.org