I love salmon as much as the next guy, and it’s definitely what I reach for most often, but it’s worth remembering that there are other fish in the sea.
Why? Because it’s good to eat a lot of seafood and if all you’re eating is shrimp, salmon, and canned tuna—the three most popular types of seafood according to the National Fisheries Institute—that can get boring.
(You know what’s not boring? The Pan-Seared Rosemary Rainbow Trout with Cherry Tomato Relish pictured in this post.)
And what’s so good about eating a lot of seafood? One, it’s healthy. We all know about the all-important omega-3 fats, calcium, and vitamins. But even more impressive, there are studies that say eating seafood will help you live longer and more happily. Whoa.
And two, eating a lot of seafood is a good choice for the environment. If you’re going to eat animal proteins—I realize that’s up for debate for some, but if you’re not one of them—fish and seafood is the most sustainable, least environmentally damaging way to do that.
All that is why we reach for salmon when we do (plus it’s delicious!). But how about a little variety to keep us reaching for fish and seafood more often?
Here are some of my favorites beyond the big three, all pretty easy to find and all available from sustainable sources:
When I was a kid, trout was considered a delicacy, with fancy restaurants serving it. But it’s since fallen way off the radar and I’m on a mission to bring it back—trout is delicious, readily available, relatively inexpensive, and sustainable.
Meaty. Rich. Indulgent. And they cook up in minutes.
Halibut has a mild, sweet flavor and its thick fillets have big, beautiful flakes. It’s great for grilling, pan-searing, or roasting. It’s pretty lean, so be sure to follow these tips to keep it from sticking to your cooking surface.
Chilean Sea Bass
Also known as Patagonian toothfish, Chilean Sea Bass is a delicious choice—as long as it’s from a sustainable source. Its big, succulent flakes practically melt in your mouth. That said, I enjoy most types of sea bass and all are interchangeable in recipes.
You don’t hear a lot about sablefish, but you absolutely should. Like sea bass, it has a succulent, velvety texture—perfect for poaching, grilling, smoking, roasting, and pan-searing.
How can you not like a fish that you associate with visits to Hawaii? Like halibut, mahi mahi is a lean, white fish and takes well to grilling, pan-searing, and roasting. Here’s lots more good info about it from The Kitchn.
Flounder and Sole
These flat fishes have mild, light flavors and come in delicately thin fillets, so they’re best in delicate, simple preparations. Floured and lightly fried is how we usually go in my house, with a few lemon wedges and a pile of oven fries on the side. But it’s also lovely pan-seared and served with a light pan sauce.
I could go on and on—I’m a certified seafood fan—but this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. It’s just a few ideas to get you thinking beyond shrimp, salmon, and tuna.
Because if there’s more fish and seafood in your repertoire, you’ll enjoy it more and eat it more. And that’s good for you, and ultimately, all of us.
More on fish and seafood:
Search sustainable seafood options on Seafood Watch
Think, then eat gently, my takeaways from a conference on sustainable food at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
19 types of fish for eating and cooking from MasterClass
A great article in GQ by Mark Bittman (though a few years old now), How to Eat Fish and Still Save the Earth
My post on 5 tips for delicious fish