Seafood You Can Trust

by John Rohrs | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

When it comes to quality and freshness, Hy-Vee always wants to be the best at it. That’s why Hy-Vee placed a full-time U.S.D.C. Lot Inspector onsite at PDI, our perishable distribution center in Ankeny, Iowa.

The inspector examines all of our fresh and frozen seafood to ensure that products meet all of Hy-Vee’s standards and specifications. This is a voluntary program that goes above standard government requirements for seafood.

Seafood is a global industry, which requires Hy-Vee to source responsible seafood from all over the world. Having a full-time government inspector in our warehouse every day, inspecting the products we bring in, helps us to ensure that we are truly sending our stores and customers the freshest, highest quality responsibly sourced seafood in the Midwest.

I have worked with Bryan Sauve, our inspector, for several years now. He is one of the most thorough and knowledgeable people I have ever met in the industry. He takes pride and ownership in what he does. We are very thankful to have him onsite and as a part of our seafood program. He has helped Hy-Vee create one of the best seafood programs in the country.

Our customers can buy Hy-Vee seafood with confidence, knowing that they are bringing home some of the best seafood available.

Grilled Red Snapper with Fresh Avocado, Tomato And Corn Salsa

by Andrew Kintigh | Recipes | Leave a comment

Serves 4.

All you need:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 4 red snapper fillets, thawed
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen sweet corn
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:

  1. Prepare grill for medium-high heat grilling.
  2. Combine cumin, cayenne, paprika and salt. Season fish with spice mixture and place flesh side down on a well-oiled grill. Grill 4 to 5 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily.
  3. Meanwhile in a bowl, combine avocado, tomato, corn, cilantro, red onion, lime juice and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve warm fish with chilled salsa on top.

Wild about Alaskan Salmon

by Dennis Frauenholz | Our Seafood | Leave a comment

Alaskan Salmon

World Oceans Day is on June 8, and the theme is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.” The United States does an excellent job at managing its fishery resources, and among the coastal states, Alaska stands tall.

Abundant – that’s the word I would choose to describe Alaskan salmon.

How can such a popular fish be called abundant when so many other fish in the world have been overfished? Alaska has conservation embedded in its state laws and everyone involved understands the importance of protecting its natural resources. Salmon return to Alaska every year to spawn and keep the sustainability of the stocks intact. No one is allowed to fish until enough fish have traveled up the rivers to ensure an equal return of salmon years later. The availability of salmon can vary from year to year. Some years are great and others the returning stocks are small and very little is allowed to be harvested. Lots of factors affect the salmon stocks, and Alaska uses scientific data to determine how much salmon can be harvested. It is a model that I believe all other fisheries should look up to.

Alaska is home to five commercially important species of salmon. King salmon is the largest and least abundant of the group. It is highly prized and will cost you the most at the Hy-Vee fish market, but it is definitely worth it! The thick fillets are perfect for the grill and the high oil content makes it as tasty as it is healthy. Sockeye is the second-most abundant of the salmon, but is also one of the smallest salmons. It has a bright red flesh and is usually one of the more reasonably priced of the Alaskan salmon. Coho is the second-largest of the salmon and has more of an orange flesh. These fillets make great grilling as well and are usually moderately priced. Their season tends to come later in the summer and into the fall. Keta salmon has the firmest flesh of all the Alaskan salmon and is usually much less expensive than the first three salmon. You will find Keta salmon to be very abundant in the freezer section at Hy-Vee. Last, but not least, is the Pink salmon. It is the most abundant of all the salmon and is the least expensive of all of the salmon. You will find a lot of Pink salmon in the canned fish section of Hy-Vee.

Customers ask me what is my favorite. I tell them that they call it King salmon for a reason. It is simply the best. I found this out firsthand last summer. I was very fortunate to take a fishing trip to Alaska with one of Hy-Vee’s suppliers, Trident seafood. Trident is the largest crab, pollock and salmon processor in Alaska. They treated us aboard their vessel the Annandale. I saw firsthand the true abundance of Alaskan salmon. Looking over the side of our fishing boat, it was not uncommon to see massive schools of Coho and Pink salmon rushing by! Catching my first Alaskan King salmon was a dream come true.


Sport fishing in Alaska is just as regulated as commercial fishing is. We were only allowed one King salmon each day! This helps ensure that neither fishery causes a depletion of the natural resource.

That’s why Hy-Vee has great partnerships in place with the best Alaskan salmon producers to ensure an abundant amount of quality Alaskan salmon all summer long. You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to get excellent, fresh Alaskan salmon, just go down the street to your local Hy-Vee fish market.

Salmon season is in full swing, so take the time to try several of the species and learn which one you like best. But don’t wait too long, as the season is short and the fish are at their peak right now.

Responsible Choice Salmon with Hoisin Glaze

by Reynolds Aultman | Recipes | Leave a comment

I enjoy using our famous Copper River Salmon filets for this recipe, and pairing it with a quick vegetable stir-fry. This glaze is versatile, so you may cook the fish to your preference.

All you need:

  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • ¼ tsp sriracha hot sauce
  • Responsible Choice salmon filets

All you do:

  1. Mix rice vinegar, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, ginger and green onions in a bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring chicken broth to a simmer; whisk in hoisin sauce mixture and bring to a boil.
  3. Whisk in corn starch and continue to whisk until it starts to thicken. Add sriracha and cool.
  4. Serve over cooked Responsible Choice salmon.
  5. To bake salmon, bake salmon at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees. To grill salmon, season the salmon with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Sear the salmon, flesh side down, over high heat and flip over onto the medium-heat side of the grill to finish cooking. Figure about six minutes per inch of filet or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Remembering A Trip To The Gulf

by Dennis Frauenholz | Our Seafood | Leave a comment


In December of 2012, I was lucky enough to go on a tour of Paul Piazza’s shrimp operation in Louisiana. It was a trip that opened my eyes to the wonders of Gulf shrimp.

Most of what I knew about shrimping in the Gulf, I learned from Forrest Gump. I was about to get a real education on the workings of a real shrimp boat. We had the opportunity to go out on a shrimping vessel and experience a small sample of a day’s work on a shrimp boat. It’s hard enough to just find and catch shrimp, but the work has only just begun after the catch.

The nets full of shrimp are dumped on the deck and the deckhands squat a position much like a baseball catcher for hours, picking and sorting the shrimp into sizes. They are quickly flash frozen right on the boat to preserve freshness and quality.


When the boat is full, the shrimp are taken to the docks where they are quickly transported to the nearby Paul Piazza processing plants. There they are sized, sorted and packed. They have numerous quality check points throughout the automated process to make sure only the best shrimp make it to Hy-Vee.

I used to think that shrimp for the most part were all the same. I was wrong. I mean really wrong. The Paul Piazza plant owner himself cooked fresh Gulf shrimp for us. I was blown away. The flavor and texture of Gulf shrimp was like nothing I had ever had. The flavor was sweet and delicious. I was hooked.

From that day on, I told my customers that the Gulf shrimp at Hy-Vee was the best shrimp you could ever eat. Paul Piazza knows our standards are the highest in the industry and sends us only the best quality shrimp. We also carry all-natural Gulf shrimp in our service seafood cases – it has no additives or preservatives. Shrimp can spoil very quickly, so most shrimp boats treat their shrimp right away with preservatives. It is actually very rare in the shrimping industry to refrain from adding preservatives to shrimp, because it requires a higher level of care when handling the shrimp.


Paul Piazza has several dedicated shrimp captains who catch shrimp to our expectations without using chemicals. Why do we go the extra mile to require our shrimp not be treated? For one, the shrimp taste better without the preservatives. Also, some customers can be allergic to the preservatives used on shrimp. So when you choose Gulf shrimp out of the Hy-Vee seafood case, you can be sure it’s pure, natural Gulf shrimp!

Classic Salmon Burgers with Asian Slaw

by Andrew Kintigh | Recipes | Leave a comment

Serves 4.

All you need:

    salmon burger with asian slaw

  • 1 small bag coleslaw blend
  • 1 green onion, sliced on the bias
  • ½ red pepper, julienned
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 ½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
  • 1½ tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp peanut or almond butter, optional
  • Butter or oil, as needed
  • 4 Chef Kim-inspired classic salmon burgers, available in the Hy-Vee meat case
  • 4 hamburger buns or ciabatta rolls

All you do:

  1. In bowl, combine coleslaw blend, green onion, red pepper and cilantro. In separate bowl, mix vinegar, vegetable oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger root, sesame seeds, garlic and peanut butter. Do not combine until ready to serve. Refrigerate.
  2. Heat butter or oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Cook patties 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Alternately, grill patties for 6 to 8 minutes, carefully turning once.
  3. To serve, combine cabbage mixture and dressing. Place each salmon patty on a bun or ciabatta roll and top with Asian slaw.

Bairdi: The Other Snow Crab

by John Rohrs | Our Seafood | Leave a comment

Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Alaska Bairdi Snow Crab are considered by fisherman and crab lovers as the best crab on the market. Bairdi’s exceptional sweet flavor and firm texture is easily noticeable over its cousin, the Opilio Snow Crab.

Just how good are the Bairdi? We asked an Alaska Bairdi crab fisherman his opinion.

“I pull out the king crab for guests. I keep the Bairdi for myself!” said Jake Jacobsen, captain of the Polar Sea and Ocean Hunter. Jacobsen has worked for Alaska and West Coast fisheries since 1968 and has operated many vessels. He is currently executive director of Inter-Cooperative Exchange, a crab harvesting cooperative that typically harvests about 70 percent of the Bering Sea crab quota.

Bairdi Snow Crab are found throughout the Bering Sea and typically caught through the use of crab pots, similar to those used to catch the larger King crab. The pots are placed at depths ranging from 114 to 1,100 feet. The season opens in January and typically runs through March or April. The catch is all based on a strict quota basis that is managed by the State of Alaska, the leader in seafood sustainability.

Hy-Vee crab lovers will have the opportunity to try some of this delicious crab throughout the month of June at their local Hy-Vee seafood market.

Blue Moon Glazed Responsible Choice Shrimp

by Stacey Wertzberger | Recipes | Leave a comment

All you need:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz Blue Moon beer
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 8 oz raw Responsible Choice shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Steamed rice or quinoa, for serving

All you do:

  1. Sauté garlic in olive oil until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add beer and simmer for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add honey, sriracha and lemon juice and simmer until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp, and cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Serve over rice or quinoa, if desired.

Note: If the sauce is not thick enough when the shrimp are cooked, remove the shrimp and simmer the liquid until it coats the back side of a spoon.

Guardian + FishWise Interactive Article

by Kathleen Mullen-Ley | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

FishwiseFishWise is a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy that works with Hy-Vee and other major U.S. retailers to promote the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems through environmentally responsible business practices. We partnered with Hy-Vee in 2011, and since then, we have worked together determined to transform Hy-Vee’s seafood department into a top destination for sustainable seafood.

Recently, FishWise partnered with the Guardian to create an interactive article to raise awareness of seafood sustainability issues and progress, highlight key FishWise business partners as part of the larger sustainable seafood movement, and encourage consumers to choose seafood with a better understanding of sustainability. The article shines a spotlight on Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice labeling program as a model for promoting customer education and awareness of sustainable seafood at the seafood counter.

From the article: “One way that Hy-Vee ensures supplier accountability is by performing traceability audits on high-risk seafood products – tracking shipments from Hy-Vee stores back through the supply chain to the source, like a vessel or a farm, with FishWise’s help.”

Read the entire interactive Guardian piece featuring Hy-Vee, other retailers, restaurants and suppliers here:

Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon

by Dennis Frauenholz | Our Seafood | Leave a comment

Salmon CanalsOur favorite fish returns in May when the Alaskan season kicks off and eventually ends in September. But there are only so many fish that can be caught – a sustainability model that Alaska has perfected in order to allow us to have the best fish in the world year after year. So what do we do when we can’t get our favorite fresh wild fish? We have to turn to aquaculture to feed our need for salmon. However, not all aquaculture is created equal. There are some folks in New Zealand who are doing things in a different way, and it’s for the better.

Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon is as unique as the country it hails from. Nestled in the shadow of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, is a fish farming operation like no other. With King salmon bloodstock taken from descendants of the California King salmon, it starts with the best salmon available. From there Mt. Cook uses glacier water that is both cold and pristine to fill canals that house the salmon stock. The swift water simulates a river environment and keeps the fish fit and healthy. The operation hand feeds them a diet of fishmeal that is non-GMO and sustainable. It doesn’t rely on antibiotics and chemicals, and it doesn’t overstuff their pens with salmon so they can be kept happy and healthy.

What does that mean for us? It means we get the best alternative to fresh wild salmon without harmful side effects to the environment. And, of course, these fish taste really good.

Mt. Cook lpine SalmonI find the flavor to be a bit milder compared to its wild cousin. You can easily substitute this salmon in any wild salmon recipe you have and you will be delighted. One of the great attributes of King salmon is its size. It’s the biggest salmon available and we get some nice thick fillets from Mt. Cook salmon. It has a really rich oil content, which I think makes it the best salmon to smoke. When smoked, it comes out very moist and tender with a wonderful flavor.

This fish never touches salt water like its fresh counterparts. They spend their whole life cycle in fresh water, and that in itself gives them a unique flavor all their own. Most salmon is raised in pens in the ocean without the fast-moving fresh water that these King salmon enjoy. You can see why they are so unique and so good: the best water, the best food, the best stock, the best care and the best processes available.

I think Mt. Cook salmon in a way is much like Hy-Vee. When you take ownership of your product, you produce the best product. These people care about their fish and it shows in the final product and that’s why they are a great partner for Hy-Vee. If you have never tried it, you really should. Mt. Cook is a salmon that I am proud to sell, and I think you will be more than satisfied and maybe a bit surprised when you take it home!

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