Seafoodies

 

 

There’s no reason to avoid Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice farm-raised fish and seafood

by Dennis Frauenholz | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

The reputation of farm-raised fish and seafood is improving to the point that you’re probably eating more farm-raised seafood than you know. Anytime you’re ordering it off the menu, it’s probably farm-raised unless it’s specifically labeled as wild caught.

The problem with farm-raised fish in the past was that it was penned too tightly. One of the problems with that is the same as putting too many people in a pressurized cabin on an airplane. If several people have colds, there’s a good chance many people will catch it. In the oceans, if disease gets to the native fish it can cause a kill.

Large pens of farmed fish also creates waste and uneaten feed that goes to the sea floor, causing negative impacts on crustaceans and other sea life.

But that’s the past. Hy-Vee’s commitment to responsibly choice its seafood by the end of 2015 means our customers won’t have to worry about those practices.

Modern aquaculture practices bear no resemblance to those Old World practices where shrimp was raised in the mud, tilapia in the water and poultry occupied cages resting above the water, creating a not so appetizing circle of life that might have seemed efficient. Today, fish aren’t packed in as tightly in the big enclosed systems used to raise tilapia and trout, and fresh water is filtered and recirculated.

One species where we’ve seen the biggest gains is in tilapia, a fish that has exploded over the last 10 years and is farm-raised all over the world.

We don’t have to go far down the road here in Iowa to see how it’s raised. The Waterfront Drive store in Iowa City, where I work, is one of the few places around that live tilapia can be found. It’s raised by Kingfisher Farms in Long Grove, Iowa, just north of Davenport, in an enclosed tank system. It’s a local, organic operation and you can’t beat it for freshness. Due to the environmentally friendly way that it’s farmed, Kingfisher Farm’s tilapia is a Hy-Vee Responsible Choice.

The system there is very similar. Tilapia are vegetarians, so farmers are able to avoid one of the biggest issues that gives farm-raised fish a bad reputation: in too many farm operations, it takes too many pounds of fish to grow a pound of fish.

One of most exciting developments in aquaculture comes from Chile, where Hy-
Vee procures its Responsible Choice Verlasso salmon. Chile is one of the countries where most fish farms still need a lot of work, because fish are packed in too tightly. Verlasso salmon is different.

What Verlasso has done is huge. Not only are fewer fish raised in a pen, the company has developed a feed that has achieved a 1:1.34 ratio in that the fish meal they’ve developed uses slightly over one pound of wild fish to create one pound of salmon. That’s the reason most salmon isn’t Responsible Choice; it uses too much wild fish in the meal.

Verlasso has changed the feed without changing the flavor, which is one of the biggest issues people have had with farm-raised salmon. It still contains those essential Omega-3 fatty acids people want, and it still has the same texture people want.

Salmon is a very popular fish, and wild-caught salmon can only supply about 10 percent of the demand for the salmon, so Responsible Choice options like Verlasso are very important.

Farm-raised mussels are also Responsible Choice. They filter and help clean the water, so they’re actually helping the environment rather than harming it. They grown and multiply quickly and they don’t have to be fed. So we haven’t seen huge changes in those practices, because the fisheries have been doing the right thing for a long time.

We’re watching a shrimp out of Belize very closely. The shrimp industry has been slow to change, but it is beginning to adopt better practices. Hy-Vee has picked up fully traceable shrimp from Belize Aquaculture Ltd., which last year earned a three-star rating from the Global Aquaculture Alliance. It’s the best farm-raised shrimp out there, and we’re glad we can offer it to our customers.

Thinking globally while eating locally: Feel good about this cod stew and make it your own with fresh garden bounty

by John Rohrs | Recipes | Leave a comment

John here:
Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice seafood initiative responds to a growing interest among eaters in knowing where their food comes from, as well as our commitment to healthy oceans to ensure a bountiful supply of seafood for generations to come.

When they choose seafood from Alaska, consumers can feel 100 percent confident about the fish. It’s written into the state’s Constitution that the fishing industry – Alaska’s largest private-sector employer – use sustainable practices to ensure a plentiful supply of fish and healthy oceans for many years to come.

The fisheries live and die by that principle. Some of the best fish to come out of Alaska is Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice cod. It’s a mild white fish that many people are familiar with – most of the fish sandwiches out there are cod – and one that Hy-Vee frequently features in the seafood case.


Andrew Kintigh here:
The spring and summer growing season is just around the corner, meaning more locally produced vegetables will be available in the produce section at local Hy-Vee stores.

Some examples: We’ll soon be featuring Foxx tomatoes being grown in Grimes, as well as organic produce and vegetables being grown right here in Iowa. We also have relationships with Deardorff corn out of Adel, Grady’s tomatoes from Carroll and Mariposa Farms herbs from Grinnell, among others.

Different stores carry different local foods, so be sure to check your produce aisle to find what’s being grown near your back yard.

This Moroccan Cod Stew is good, versatile recipe that people can make their own by adding almost any kind of locally grown vegetable – peppers, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, English cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, and green beans are some good choices.

The broth is very forgiving, and it’s also light. You may not think about stew as a summer recipe, but especially when locally grown produce is added, it just screams spring and summer.

If you’re adding to the recipe, you may have to throw in some extra vegetable stock, depending on how thick of a stew you want. Also, be sure to think about cooking times. Throw in the root vegetables in the beginning, and the fresher vegetables at the end so they’ll be crisp and retain their taste.

Pair this with a nice salad with local greens and tomatoes, and you’ve got a meal you can feel good about eating.


Moroccan Cod Stew with Chickpeas

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, small dice (choose locally sourced leeks if possible)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 ¼ pounds Alaska cod fillet, cubed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups rough chopped kale greens (choose locally sourced kale if possible)
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted

Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until softened. Add garlic, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper; sauté for 1 minute. Add brown sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring the soup to a simmer. Add cod and chickpeas and simmer until all are tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the kale greens to the pot and cook for 1 minute or until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper and top with toasted almonds.

Key takeaway from Seafood Expo in Boston: Sustainability is expected, no longer a hot, in-your-face topic

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

One of the greatest opportunities at the Seafood Expo North America (formerly the Boston Seafood Show) was found in the chance to talk face-to-face with the approximately 19,000 suppliers, processors and other professionals from around the world who attend this event.

Establishing that rapport makes the follow-up conversations much easier and more congenial.

For me, the key takeaway from the event in Boston is that sustainability isn’t the in-your-face, hot topic that it used to be. Everyone may not quite meet the same high standards that Hy-Vee and PDI have set with the Responsible Choice initiative, but everyone takes for granted that companies care about sustainability and are doing something about it. This is driven some by consumer demand, but primarily it’s due to competition for business between companies.

It was great to meet those domestic suppliers, the folks with boats on the water and processing plants, who are working directly with PDI and Hy-Vee to provide Alaskan King crab, wild salmon, because promotions around those species have been successful at bringing customers’ attention to Responsible Choice seafood.

At FishWise, we work with some of the better-acting companies and they are doing a great deal to advance conservation. These seafood suppliers from Alaska, who are leading the world in setting the standards for sustainability, appreciate that Hy-Vee is very direct about what its environmental standards are what companies need to provide for them.

They love that Hy-Vee does so much to draw attention to the way they do things. They know Hy-Vee appreciates quality. It’s kind of a mutual admiration society, which is rare.

At the expo, I also met with leaders of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, a certifying organization like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), to connect them with Hy-Vee and other distributors and help them better understand where the other is coming from. It’s a tough topic, because so many people are under the impression that farmed fish is not sustainable in any way, and we need to work to overcome that stereotype. The folks at GAA are very open to dialogue, and that will help to move it along.

Another prominent event during the Seafood Show was a panel discussion focused on improvement projects that companies like Hy-Vee and its vendors are supporting, like wild gulf shrimp. The shrimping industry can be dirty and have a lot of issues, yet customers want shrimp. Hy-Vee is doing the right thing by supporting practices that reduce turtle bycatch. The vendor Hy-Vee works with is making sure there’s a smaller amount of turtle bycatch in its fisheries.

Pineapple makes Responsible Choice swai tacos approachable – even for those who think they don’t like fish

by Stacey Wertzberger | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

Fish tacos are all the rage now. If it’s on a tortilla, you can call it fish tacos, and if you like a lot of different flavors, as I do, this recipe is one you’ll want to try.

Because swai – one of the Responsible Choice options in Hy-Vee’s seafood case – has such a mild flavor, it will take on the flavors whatever it is prepared with.

This recipe uses canned pineapple tidbits in juice, so that helps keep the fish very moist and adds both tanginess and sweetness. The crunch of the cabbage, carrots and onions are like taking a big, fresh bite out of summer.

We’ve prepared these fish tacos in our kitchen on a couple of occasions and served it on flatbread. The pineapple makes it very approachable. Our customers tell us they didn’t realize they would like it so much, especially those who believed they would only like fried fish.

This is a very healthy way to prepare fish. It’s a nice surprise for people who want to have healthy food that still tastes good.


Fish Tacos with Pineapple Slaw

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 swai fillets
  • 1 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 8 (6-inch) tortillas
  • 1 c. cabbage, shredded
  • ¼ c. carrots, shredded
  • ¼ c. cucumber, thinly sliced and seeded
  • ¼ c. red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ c. canned pineapple tidbits, with juice
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
  • ¼ c. thousand island dressing
  • ¼ c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet with nonstick spray, season swai fillets with lemon pepper and cook in the oven for 12-16 minutes until 145 degrees or until white and flaky. Take out of oven and set aside.

Meanwhile for the pineapple slaw, in a medium bowl add the cabbage, carrots, cucumber, red onion, pineapple tidbits with juice, and cilantro and mix until all combined. Set aside.

For the tangy dressing, in a small bowl add the dressing and yogurt and mix until all incorporated. Set aside.

To assemble the taco take one swai fillet and shred the fish onto two tortillas. Add a little over a ¼ cup of the slaw mixture on each taco shell and drizzle with dressing. Eat and enjoy!

So, you think fish and cheese aren’t compatible? That’s just an urban myth

by Jennifer Dougherty | Pairings | Leave a comment

You may have heard that cheese and fish should never be paired because one is light and the other heavy, and the two shouldn’t meet. That’s an urban myth, and some of these ideas will demonstrate that.

If you’re cooking a dense fish, such as Hy-Vee Responsible Choice tuna, salmon, or mahi mahi, crumble some lemon Stilton over the top as you let is rest after removing it from the grill or oven. Some of the cheese will melt, but the lemon bits will remain, just as if you had grated fresh lemon over it. It’s superb.

Many people like to blacken these fishes. While you’re letting the fish rest, top it with some Maytag Blue cheese crumbles, then serve it with a ramekin of mango chutney.

My personal favorite is Cajun shrimp on a bed of spinach with carrots and shallots. I use raw, peeled and deveined shrimp. Throw it in a pan with some olive oil, throw in the Cajun seasonings and cook for about five minutes. When it’s done, drizzle some of the seasonings over it and top with BelGioioso, a four-cheese blend of Asiago, Parmesan, Romano and Fontina. The Fontina melts to give it a buttery texture. This is a good source of protein in one meal.

Some of the hard cheeses from Italy also pair well with seafood. Some basic rules of thumb:

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • If you’re making a pasta Alfredo with seafood, use a four-blend Asiago mix.
  • If you’re making seafood chowder, use Asiago if the base is white. If the base is red, use Parmigiano Reggiano – this is one of the cheeses I never substitute.

Another divine pairing is fresh halibut with goat cheese and herbs. It’s not just a piece of fish or a piece of cheese, but how well they pop together. The cheese is so tangy. You could use a garlic and herb goat cheese, but if you’re using fresh herbs, I’d go with the plain.

Satori basil and olive oil cheese is a great complement with a mild fish, such as tilapia. Just make a breading using panko, Italian herbs and sun dried tomatoes, then top it with the grated cheese before baking.

My colleague Chris Smith, also a cheese specialist at the Urbandale Hy-Vee store, likes to serve Satori black pepper cheese with smoked Responsible Choice salmon on an appetizer plate.

Macaroni and cheese is huge and there are a multitude of recipes around. I like to make mine with gorgonzola, a veined Italian blue cheese, and lobster and peas – maybe some carrots to make it more colorful. You can also use shrimp, shredded tilapia or salmon in this recipe.

Shrimp, lobster and oysters (if you can find an option with the Responsible Choice logo) pair well with baked brie, spinach and fresh herbs. Just put them all together in a puff pastry shell. The flavors all work very well together.

In all of these pairings, it’s all about the taste experience. It’s not just about the fish, or the cheese, but how pairing them takes each to a new level.

Responsible Choice Seafood Recipe Highlight: Have a Taste of Summer with These wild Salmon Recipes

by Stacey Wertzberger | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

In a winter that seems to have gone on and on, here are two recipes featuring Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice frozen wild salmon that will fast forward to the summer months.

One of my favorite recipes is Grilled Salmon with Blueberry and Corn Relish. I like it because it’s colorful – I’m all about color – and because you can get your fruit, vegetables and protein all at the same time.

When cooking, I always make sure everything looks appealing so you don’t have to garnish and it looks artistic without even having to try.

This combination is something you might not think about, but once you’ve tried it, I think you’ll like it. A lot of people pair salmon with mango or a fresh pico, but this is like a blueberry pico de gallo.

Another great recipe as warm weather months approach is grilled wild salmon served on flatbread and garnished with a refreshing cucumber relish. Very much like a salmon gyro, it’s a nice fresh, crunchy and light sandwich for summer.

When we sampled this to customers, we got a nice response. They liked the freshness and because it’s light, it made them think of summer.


Grilled Wild Salmon with Corn and Blueberry Relish

All you need:

  • 2 ears sweet corn
  • ½ medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced finely
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 4 (5 oz. each) wild salmon fillets
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

All you do:

  1. To cook the corn, place in boiling water for about 5-7 minutes. Cool and cut the kernels from the cob.
  2. To prepare the relish add the red onion, blueberries, and jalapeno to the corn.
  3. In a mason jar or shaker with lid, place the vinegar, lemon juice, honey and cumin and shake. Add to the corn mixture.
  4. To grill the salmon, heat grill to high. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon, skin-side-down, with the cover closed, until golden brown and a crust has formed, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Turn the salmon over and continue grilling for 3 to 4 minutes for medium doneness.
  6. Place salmon on a plate and add one-fourth the relish to each filet. Enjoy!

Grilled Wild Salmon Sandwiches with a Cucumber Relish

  • 6 (5 oz) wild salmon fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 pita bread

Cucumber Relish

  • 1 English cucumber- cut in ½ lengthwise, and thinly sliced
  • ¼ red onion- thinly sliced
  • 1 Roma tomato- cut in quarters, and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove- minced
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper

To prepare the cucumber relish, add all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix together until all incorporated, and set aside.

Dill Yogurt Sauce

nutritionFacts

  • ½ c. reduced fat mayonnaise
  • ½ c. plain Greek yogurt (0% Fat)
  • 2 tsp. dill weed
  • 1 clove garlic- minced
  • ½ tsp. celery salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper

In a separate bowl add the mayonnaise and Greek yogurt together until all incorporated. Add the dill weed, garlic, celery salt and pepper to the mayonnaise mixture and set aside.

To grill the wild salmon
Heat grill to high, and season salmon with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon, skin side down, with the cover closed, until golden brown and a crust has formed, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the salmon over and continue grilling for 3 to 4 minutes for medium doneness.

To prepare the sandwich take the pita and lightly place pita on grill for 30-45 seconds on each side. Take the pita off the grill, add about a tablespoon of the dill yogurt sauce to ½ the pita, place 1 grilled salmon filet on top of the sauce, and place the cucumber relish on top.

Enjoy!

What was that Fish? Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Initiative Means New Varieties are Showing Up in the Seafood Case

by Dennis Frauenholz | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

As Hy-Vee moves toward its self-imposed deadline to responsibly source all of its fresh and Hy-Vee brand frozen seafood by the end of 2015, customers will begin seeing some new varieties in the seafood case.

One variety our customers may not be familiar with is sablefish. Fisheries in Alaska have been harvesting this tasty, buttery fish since the 1800s, and new management practices have eliminated some of the problems that nearly depleted sablefish populations in the 1970s.

Before practices changed to trawl-and-pot, the fisheries used longline methods. The whales really love it because it’s very tasty, and they would eat the fish right off the lines, decimating the fisheries’ catch – a whale’s going to do what a whale’s going to do.

You’ll love it, too. Sablefish, which some people know as black cod, is one of best fish out there to eat, but one of the reasons people haven’t heard much about sablefish is that large quantities are shipped overseas to Japan, where there’s a high reverence for it.

Sablefish, like halibut, has a relatively short season, but it’s in season now, so we’ll be able to get it fresh in our stores.

Hy-Vee is also getting a farm-raised salmon that has earned the go-ahead from Monterey Bay and bears our Responsible Choice seal of approval. There are myriad issues related to farm-raised salmon, so it often gets all lumped together. But Verlasso, an Atlantic farm-raised salmon raised in Chile away from development is an exception.

Two big issues with farm-raised salmon are that the fish are grown in high densities, creating a high risk of the transmission of diseases to native salmon populations, and also that the feed contains an unsustainably high amount of wild fish, making it a lose-lose proposition. But Verlasso salmon is penned with 50 percent less fish, and the fish meal has been replaced with a meal that is rich in Omega-3, but has 75 percent less fish in the meal. They’re switching out the protein, but the fish still has the same texture and is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. And there’s no net loss to the environment.

Verlasso salmon should be available in our stores by April 1.

We’ve also added Idaho Rainbow Trout from Clear Springs Foods, which I’ve previously blogged about. Clear Springs is the only trout supplier we’re featuring now. We had some others that weren’t as environmentally friendly, so this is a big change that comes with Hy-Vee’s commitment to responsibly source our seafood.

Currently, there is no farm-raised shrimp that meet Responsible Choice standards, but because shrimp is such a popular item, we’re eager to provide one for our customers. We’re getting in a cooked shrimp from Belize that is farmed in a closed system that pumps in fresh water, and the shrimp aren’t packed in as densely as at some other farms. It hasn’t hit the rating system yet.

It’s hard to read the crystal ball to determine when Monterey Bay will evaluate a species, but one thing customers can feel confident about is that, overall, we’re getting better items, even if we can’t immediately label them as Responsible Choice. The fisheries know the bar has been raised.

We’re also getting in Responsible Choice swai, which is like catfish, coming out of Vietnam. Protectionist legislation by U.S. catfish farmers means this mild white fish must be marketed under another name, so you may have seen it marketed as basa, though that’s an entirely different fish, or even under the shortened version of its scientific name, Pangasius hypophthalmus.

Another best choice-rated fish is Arctic Char, a cross between salmon and trout. It’s very tasty and has many of the characteristics of both species. It’s farm-raised in the deep, cold waters of glacial lakes, and you’ll occasionally find that in our case.

We’ve also switched to a Responsible Choice mahi mahi, a very good fish for grilling. That’s Yellow rated, as is the grouper, flounder and sole we will be getting in.

We expect to see many more new items coming in that may introduce our customers to fish they’ve never had before. It’s a process. The warehouse can’t just turn on a dime, because they have to get the assurances and checks and balances in place to make sure the fish is what the suppliers say it is.

This shows that we’re following the Responsible Choice initiative letter by letter. We’re not taking shortcuts or just assuming it’s right. Hy-Vee’s commitment is more than just words.

Responsible Seafood Recipes: Affordable Doesn’t Mean Boring

by Andrew Kintigh | Recipes | Leave a comment

Hy-Vee’s seafood cases are filled with Responsible Choice options that can turn family dinner into a culinary adventure.

These recipes also work well for families who want to stretch their food budgets. Affordable doesn’t have to be boring.

In the recipes below, a zesty sauté jazzes up scallops. The elegant presentation of a roasted red pepper, kalamata olive and arugula salad transforms tilapia. Or consider a classic cloppino that brings several types of fish together in a savory stew.


Creamy Scallop, Tomato & Spinach Sauté

Serves 4 people.

  • 1 small box angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ cup white wine, optional
  • 1 (14-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 pound frozen bay scallops, thawed
  • 1 pound uncooked angel hair pasta
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil; add angel hair pasta and boil until cooked, about 5-6 minutes. Drain pasta and reserve.
In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the garlic and shallot, sauté until fragrant. Add white wine and reduce by half. Add petite diced tomatoes, heavy cream, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper; reduce for 3-5 minutes. Add spinach and scallops and cook until opaque, 2-3 minutes. Toss pasta in pan until sauce coats all ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Seared Tilapia with Roasted Red Pepper, Kalamata Olive & Arugula Salad

  • ½ cup roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tilapia portions
  • olive oil, as needed
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Stir together the roasted red peppers, shallot, garlic, kalamata olives, basil, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat, and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season tilapia fillets with salt and pepper and place in the sauté pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Toss the arugula with the pepper mix and place atop each tilapia fillet and serve immediately.


Classic Cioppino

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • 5 cups fish stock (vegetable stock if fish is not available)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 ½ pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 1 pound assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as cod or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks

Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ¾ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.

Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the fish and simmer gently until the fish are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with crusty baguette bread.

Cheers! Choose the Right Wine and Beer to Complement Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Seafood

by Brian Hoppe | Recipes | Leave a comment

Whether wine or beer, the beverage paired with Hy-Vee Responsible Choice seafood is as important to its taste as the spices and sauces used in the preparation of the fish.

Sue Navratil here:
One of my favorite seafood choices is Pacific halibut. It’s easy to prepare and has a delicate, almost sweet taste. There are many wines that go well with halibut and other white fish, but one of the best is an unoaked chardonnay.

These wines have brighter fruit, they’re not heavy and laden with oak and butter, and their fruit shines through for a clean, crisp taste.

Some other good choices:

  • Dry roses have nice acidity and a bit of fruit that will complement that bit of sweetness and delicate taste of the halibut.
  • Dry chenin blanc. When dry chenins are their best, they will have a bit of sweetness of the grape. The wine is still dry, so it leaves the palate nice and clean.
  • Beaujolais. This wine from the Beaujolais region of France has a very light body and is dry and fruity. It has more body than a dry rose and has nice fruit, but not a lot of sugar to get in the way of the flavors of the fish. It’s also a bit more delicate, so it’s nice to pair with delicate fish.

The old adage that only white wine is paired with fish isn’t necessarily true. Many do accompany fish well, but so will red wines with nice acidity, light to medium body, and low in tannins.

With Responsible source labeled salmon, tuna and some of the meatier fishes, you can get into some red wines for sure. Pinot Noir has wonderful fruit and strong acidity that make it pair well with food in general, but with fish especially well because it doesn’t have all those heavy tannins.

Chardonnays with some nice butter and oak work especially well with salmon because it’s a fairly fatty fish. When you pair them, those buttery textures in the chardonnay and the fat in the salmon are a nice complement.

Go with a California pinot noir for tuna, a dense, meaty fish. Even if it’s only seared and is still a bit raw, it has a meaty texture so it can handle the heavier body and riper fruit in these wines.

Rieslings, which have a drier, clean, crisp and almost citrusy taste, are good to pair with fish prepared with wasabi or spicy Thai seasonings. A taste of sweet, cool Riesling soothes and helps correct that crazy taste sensation you get with wasabi.

Champagne is also great with any fish that’s prepared tartare.

About the Author
I’m Sue Navratil, and I am a certified specialist of wine (CWS), which I earned by passing rigorous exam through the Society of Wine Educators. There are only seven of us in the Hy-Vee system.

I work in the North Ankeny Hy-Vee store. I love my job. Besides getting to work every day with wine, which is my passion, I get to help customers learn about wine and choose wine for their events, and facilitate their events by pouring wine.

I do a monthly wine club at the store and other occasional special wine events. I also write my own personal wine blog, naviwine.blogspot.com, which features wines that are available in my store.


Brian here:
The idea of pairing is for the dish and the beer to complement each other and make a new experience. Both can be great experiences on their own, but when you pair well, you end up with a truly exceptional dining experience.

The same principles used in wine pairing apply when choosing a beer to serve with fish. The important thing is to find something complementary that will not overpower the delicate nature of the seafood.

A lot of fish is very light, with a bright flavor and often made citrusy with lemon condiments and sauces.

With lighter white fishes, I like to serve crisp wheats. Two good ones are Boulevard Wheat or Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat. Both of these American wheats are crisp and citrusy, so they lend themselves well to seafood. And they will cut through the butter if you’re topping it with a creamy sauce, and bring out the brightness of the fish.

Pale ales – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Mirror Pond from Deschutes Brewery – are also good for delicate white fish, like Pacific halibut.

I wouldn’t move too much out of the American wheats or American pale ales. They all have that citrusy note that lends itself well to any of the seafood. If you waiver too much, the beer will be overpowering and wash out the flavor of the fish.

As you move on to heartier fish, you want to step up the depth of beer. Shellfish can handle something maltier, like an IPA. Try to match the strength of the beer with the dish. The main thing is to make sure they work together.

For more traditional pairings, porters (Central Waters Muddy Puppy Porter just came in) and stouts (old-world Guinness is a good one) have a rich caramel quality that accentuates the creamy aspect of the seafood. Oysters and stouts go great together.

Responsible Choice Seafood from Alaska, a World Model for Sustainability, Sells Itself

by John Rohrs | Our Efforts | Leave a comment

All of our Responsible Choice products meet high standards and Hy-Vee’s commitment to bring customers the freshest, best-quality fish and seafood available today, but seafood from Alaska is in a league of its own.

Throw the name “Alaska” in front of a species of fish and it sells itself and stands for a high quality that is unmatched. Customers feel confident purchasing fish they know is from Alaska, whether it’s Alaskan king crab, salmon, Pacific halibut or black cod.

Customers know where it comes from – some of the cleanest, purest waters anywhere – and they know it’s not only safe to eat, but has superior flavor and texture as well. The flavor is a result of the fish feeding on a natural diet of marine organisms and the texture comes from their annual migrations in the cold waters of the North Pacific.

Alaska’s seafood industry, the state’s largest private-sector employer, is a world model of seafood sustainability and fisheries management – and has been for 50 years. Continuing that livelihood – and a healthy supply of fish and healthy oceans for generations to come – is so important that the Alaska Constitution mandates that fish are “utilized, developed and maintained on the sustained yield principle.”

The quota system is well managed and the fisheries live and die by it. Once their quota is met, they’re done. As a result of these practices, no species of Alaska seafood has ever been red-listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The Pacific halibut and black cod (sablefish) harvest season just opened, and limits have been set at 16.8 million pounds before the season ends in November. Alaska has more than 95 percent of the Pacific halibut and catches are closely monitored. In the last few years, they’ve cut back on the amount of halibut to ensure the availability of this favorite – the largest of the flatfish, known for its mild flavor and firm texture.

Salmon is one of the most popular seafoods in the world. People live for it. King salmon is in season year-round, but the seasons for sockeye, coho, keta and pink salmon generally run May-September. The fisheries take great care to manage the populations during spawning season, allowing significant numbers to escape so they can make it up river to spawn.

As a result of these time-tested management practices, the fisheries have been able to make abundant salmon harvests for more than three decades.

When Hy-Vee launched its Responsible Choice initiative – our pledge that by the end of 2015, all of our high-quality fresh and Hy-Vee brand frozen seafood will be responsibly caught – it was no big deal for the three vendors we work with in Alaska.

Alaska knows they are doing it right. They get it.