Recipe Spotlight: Affordable Doesn’t Mean Boring

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. All you need:

  • 1 (16 oz) box angel hair pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine, optional
  • 1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 pound frozen bay scallops, thawed

All you do:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil; add angel hair pasta and boil until cooked, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add the garlic and shallot; sauté until fragrant. Add white wine and cook until reduced by half. Add petite diced tomatoes, heavy cream, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper; reduce for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and scallops and cook until opaque, 2 to 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

All you need:

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade*
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4 tilapia portions
  • olive oil, as needed

All you do:

  1. Stir together the roasted red peppers, shallot, garlic, kalamata olives, basil, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat; add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season tilapia fillets with salt and black pepper and place in the sauté pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  3. Toss the arugula with the pepper mix and place atop each tilapia fillet; serve immediately.

Classic Cioppino

All you need:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 5 cups fish or vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 1/2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 1 pound assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as cod or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks

All you do:

  1. 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.
  2. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon 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.
  3. 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 clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes. Discard the bay leaf.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with crusty baguette bread.

Recipe Spotlight: Responsible Choice Seafood Doesn’t Have to Break Your Grocery Budget

When people tell me they’d like to add more seafood to their diets and are looking for some budget-friendly options, I push them toward Pacific cod, tilapia, catfish, mussels and clams.

Responsible Choice swai is another good choice. It’s a product of Vietnam and is very much like catfish. It’s very reasonably priced. Right now, Hy-Vee is selling two one-half pound fillets for $5.

Pacific cod ranges between about $7 and $8 per pound, which is very affordable when you consider a pound will feed four people.

Mussels and littleneck clams run range from about $5 to $6 a pound and can stretch a food budget. Recipes are very basic, using olive oil, garlic and shallots, some fresh Italian herbs and liquid, either white wine or citrus juice. Don’t forget to buy a loaf of crusty baguette bread for $1.99 to sop up that good broth.

Fish tacos are a hot food trend right now, and they don’t use many ingredients, which makes this an affordable meal. The same goes for blackened catfish, which has a lot of spices, but most people have them in their cupboards already, so it’s easy to throw together. This recipe can also be used with swai.


Spicy Tilapia Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

Serves 4.

All you need:

  • 1 pound tilapia fillets
  • Old Bay Blackening Seasoning, as needed
  • 2 cups cabbage slaw mix
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 container Hy-Vee peach mango salsa
  • 6 to 10 soft or hard corn or flour tortillas

All you do:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place fish on a prepared sheet pan and season with Old Bay Blackening Season. Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

2. Toss cabbage with red pepper, green onion, rice wine vinegar, sugar and olive oil; season to taste with salt and black pepper.

3. To assemble tacos, place flaked tilapia on tortilla shells. Top with cabbage slaw and peach salsa.


Blackened Catfish with Fresh Lemon

All you need:

  • 2 tbsp Spanish paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 5 (5 oz each) catfish fillets, skinned
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 to 4 tbsp sweet cream butter, softened
  • 5 fresh lemon wedges

All you do:

1. In a pie plate, combine paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

2. Pat dry the fish and roll in the blackening spice mixture.

3. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil until nearly smoking. Place catfish fillet in pan and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until done. To serve, top each fillet with a little softened butter and fresh lemon wedge.

Recipe Spotlight: Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon Will Change Your Mind About Farm-Raised Fish

Farm-raised cold-water fish like salmon can get a bad rap. Conventional wisdom is that it can have a different taste than wild salmon, but advances in aquaculture are closing the gap.

One of the best options in the Hy-Vee seafood case is Mt. Cook Alpine salmon, which is disrupting expectations about farm-raised salmon in a big way. This fish is raised in a canal fed by glacier runoff from New Zealand’s Southern Alps. There’s no human interaction in these clean, fast-flowing waters, no runoff from human activities and the water is so pure that you can drink it both before and after the fish leave.

The fish in these waters are disease-free; never get antibiotics, hormones or other chemicals; and are killed in a humane way that minimizes unnecessary stress and pain, a method that ensures better flesh quality.

Mt. Cook salmon is also incredibly healthy. The Omega-3 fatty acids in this fish are comparable with wild-caught salmon, and have three times the amount of Omega 3 oils as Atlantic salmon and in comparison, has very low intramuscular fat.

This flavor of this fish is so clean that I hate to mask it with heavy sauces. Just make a light crust of seasonings, sear the fish and finish it off in the oven. Try this:


Seared Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon with Garlic Spinach

All you need:

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 (5 oz each) Mt. Cook salmon fillets, skinned
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp shallot, minced
  • 1 to 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • squeeze of fresh lemon

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine brown sugar, salt, black pepper, cumin, dry mustard and cinnamon in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture on the top side (non-skin) of the salmon fillets.
  3. Heat an oven-proof sauté pan over medium-high heat; add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sear fillets, rub-side down, until fish is browned, about 2 minutes. Flip fillets and place pan in oven; finish cooking for 5 to 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
  4. While fish is in oven, heat another sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add butter, shallots and garlic. Sauté until garlic is fragrant and add spinach; sauté until slightly wilted; season with salt and pepper. Serve spinach with salmon fillet on top; squeeze fresh lemon on fish just before serving.

Eating on a Budget: With Current Meat Prices, Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Seafood is a an Affordable Center-Plate Replacement

Until they’ve had a chance to compare the price of Responsible Choice seafood with some of the other items in our meat counter, customers think “if it’s ‘sustainable’, it’s got to be more expensive.” That’s the perception, but it’s not true.

We’re currently seeing higher beef prices because of a combination of factors – fewer cattle in the system, for one – and fish is a good center-plate protein replacement.

It’s important to get more fish in your diet, so it’s a good choice for your family and a good choice for your wallet. Couple that with the Responsible Choice label, and you can be confident that the fish has been caught in a way that protects other species and is good for the environment.

I’ve seen people at the fresh meat counter, looking back and forth, first at a signature beef item and then at tuna steak, which is priced at $2 or less a pound. They have that “aha!” moment, that they can have a tuna steak and pay less, and it’s going to be a healthier choice.

You can have seafood more often – it’s not just for your birthday or some other special occasion – and it’s not going to kill your budget. Our Responsible Choice lobster, king crab and snow crab can be bought at the same price as a ribeye steak.

Some of our Responsible Choice seafood can be purchased at an incredible value. Mussels sell for around $4.99 a pound – that’s cheaper than ground beef – and clams from $3.99 to $6.99 a pound. Both are great for paella, or just put them in wine and garlic, steam them until they open, and serve them over rice or pasta. It’s a great way to stretch your food budget.

Tilapia and swai are also very affordable, anywhere from $4.99 a pound to $7.88 for two pounds if the fish is frozen. Tilapia is on sale off and on, and both of these are mild white fishes that can take on the flavor of whatever you’re preparing them with.

It’s just a matter of overcoming that preconceived notion that responsible choice seafood will break the family food budget. That’s just not true. A lot of the seafood we carry has been sustainably caught for some time; we just haven’t been shouting about it.

Recipe Spotlight: Chef Mike Zoeller’s Crab with Avocado

Dungeness Crab with Avocado

Serves: 6 (1/2 cup each)
Source: adapted from Hy-Vee Seasons Holiday 2011

All you need:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Hy-Vee lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • Hy-Vee salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional
  • 12 oz lump crab meat
  • 2 green onions

All you do:

  1. Halve avocados. With a paring knife, cut avocado meat into 1/4-inch squares and scoop out into a bowl.
  2. Mix garlic, lemon juice, paprika, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Toss with crab and avocado.
  3. Garnish with green onions and chill.

Daily nutritional values:
4% vitamin A
20% vitamin C
4% calcium
4% iron
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories: 170
Carbohydrate: 7g
Cholesterol: 45mg
Dietary Fiber: 5g
Fat: 11g
Protein: 14g
Saturated Fat: 1.5g
Sodium: 220mg
Sugar: 1g
Trans fats: 0g

Recipe Spotlight: Lemon-Crab Linguine

Lemon-Crab Linguine

Serves: 8
Source: Hy-Vee ad from December 8, 2013

All you need:

  • 1 (16 oz) package Hy-Vee linguine
  • 1 tbsp Hy-Vee Select olive oil
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Hy-Vee shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Hy-Vee salt and Hy-Vee black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, optional

All you do:

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add crab and heat through. Stir in wine and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in lemon juice. Add cooked pasta and Parmesan, tossing to coat well. If pasta needs more liquid, stir in reserved pasta water. Season with salt and black pepper. Top with parsley, if desired.

Daily nutritional values:
0% vitamin A
10% vitamin C
6% calcium
10% iron
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories: 300
Carbohydrate: 44g
Cholesterol: 40mg
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Fat: 4g
Protein: 20g
Saturated Fat: 0.5g
Sodium: 250mg
Sugar: 4g
Trans fats: 0g

Recipe Spotlight: Corn-Crab Cakes with Chipotle Cream

Corn Crab Cakes with Chipotle Cream

Serves: 8 (1 jumbo corn-crab cake or 2 mini corn-crab cakes each)
Source: adapted from Hy-Vee Seasons Summer 2010

All you need:

  • 1 cup Hy-Vee mayonnaise, divided
  • 1/2 cup Hy-Vee sour cream
  • 1 to 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Hy-Vee lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp Hy-Vee salt
  • 4 fresh ears of corn or 2 cups Hy-Vee frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 3 tbsp Hy-Vee butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 Hy-Vee large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp stone-ground mustard
  • 1 tsp Hy-Vee Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups Hy-Vee plain bread crumbs, divided
  • 12 oz lump crab meat
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal

All you do:

  1. For chipotle cream, stir together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, sour cream, chipotle peppers, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  2. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cobs. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet. Add corn, onion and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes or until onions and peppers are soft. Cool 10 minutes.
  3. Stir together eggs, remaining 1/2 cup mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Stir in cooled corn, onion and peppers. Gently fold in 2/3 cup bread crumbs and crab meat. Chill mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  4. To make jumbo corn-crab cakes, using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, shape crab meat mixture into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) patties. To make mini corn-crab cakes, using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, shape crab meat mixture into 16 (1/2-inch-thick) patties. Place on baking sheet and chill patties 10 minutes for easier handling.
  5. Stir together remaining 2/3 cup bread crumbs and cornmeal in a 9-inch pie plate. Dip patties into crumb mixture, turning to coat.
  6. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add patties and cook until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes per side for jumbo cakes and 3 to 4 minutes for mini cakes. Repeat using remaining tablespoon butter and remaining patties. Serve with chipotle cream.

Daily nutritional values:
8% vitamin A
10% vitamin C
8% calcium
10% iron
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories: 450
Carbohydrate: 29g
Cholesterol: 110mg
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Fat: 32g
Protein: 13g
Saturated Fat: 8g
Sodium: 640mg
Sugar: 4g
Trans fats: 0g