Recipe Spotlight: Responsible Choice Belize Shrimp Stars in Spring Appetizer with Avocado Lemon Chevre Mousse

Full of lean protein and low on calories, Belize shrimp is a smart addition to health-conscious diets. The Responsible Choice seafood item contains all the amino acids your cells can’t synthesize on their own, boosts your intake of zinc and selenium, and provides vitamins A and B-12 to support healthy red blood cells.

Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Belize shrimp is sourced from Royal Mayan Shrimp Farms and is certified by the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standard to a 3 Star level, providing assurance that the shrimp was produced responsibly.

Here is one of my favorite recipes, a light appetizer that is perfect for spring. The starter focuses on rich avocado, crisp shrimp, bright lemon and goat cheese. Pair it with a Vinho Verde white wine to kick off any gathering this season.


All-Natural Responsible Choice Belize Shrimp with Avocado Lemon Chevre Mousse

Makes 25-30 individual crostini.
Belize Shrimp Avocado Mousse
All you need:

  • 1 French baguette, sliced on the bias, 1/4-inch thick
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 ripe avocados, seeded
  • 4 to 5 oz chevre, softened
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb cooked (51-60 count) shrimp, tails removed
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced on the bias

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place sliced French bread on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes or until bread is browned and crispy; cool completely.
  4. In a food processor, combine the avocado, chevre and lemon zest; pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. With the food processor running, add heavy cream and continue to mix until light and smooth. Adjust seasoning.
  6. To serve, place a small amount of mousse on a crostini, top with a cooked shrimp and garnish with diced roasted red pepper and green onion.

Recipe Spotlight: Responsible Choice Oysters Rockefeller with Goat Cheese and Kale

The inspiration for this Responsible Choice oyster dish is the wonderful, fun-filled holiday season. This recipe provides a twist on a classic, adding some health benefits with the addition of kale.

I enjoy serving appetizers with a sparkling wine. Enjoy these oysters with a glass of sparkling wine such as Gruet Brut from New Mexico. This wine offers a budget-friendly price and is great for any occasion. Cheers!


Oysters Rockefeller with Goat Cheese and Kale

oystersrocnyeServes 6 (2 oysters each)

All you need:

  • Rock salt
  • 12 fresh Responsible Choice Oysters, on the half shell
  • 2 tbsp Hy-Vee unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp Hy-Vee extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 (4 oz) package Hy-Vee Herbs & Garlic goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp Hy-Vee panko bread crumbs, divided
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Tabasco sauce, optional

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle a baking pan with rock salt, enough to cover the bottom evenly.
  3. Arrange oysters in the salt to steady them; set aside.
  4. In a sauté pan, heat the butter and olive oil until shimmering.
  5. Add the kale and sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Season with salt. Remove from heat and cool.
  6. Once cooled, mix in the goat cheese.
  7. Top each oyster with 1 teaspoon filling, then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon panko bread crumbs over kale mixture.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with lemon wedges and Tabasco, if desired.

Responsible Choice Oysters Will Please Your Holiday Guests

Hy-Vee customers who love oysters can feel confident that they are making a Responsible Choice when buying wild oysters from the fisheries of U.S. Gulf of Mexico states. The Gulf of Mexico is a well-managed area, and because oysters are often eaten raw, the beds are constantly monitored to make sure their oysters are safe to harvest and consume. All Hy-Vee’s shucked oysters are considered a Responsible Choice, so rest assured that you are purchasing a fresh product that was harvested in a manner that is also safe for the ecosystem.

Hy-Vee’s fresh shucked oysters vary in size and weight depending on season and harvest area. Our shucked oysters are sorted into three categories: standard, select and count. Our standard oysters are normal-sized oysters perfect for stews and stuffing. Select oysters are larger than normal and are great for stews and frying. Count oysters are the very largest of the harvest and are ideal for large fried oysters.

Each shipment of shucked oysters is inspected by our onsite U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) inspector at our warehouse in Ankeny, guaranteeing the highest quality and freshness throughout Hy-Vee’s eight-state region.

If you’re entertaining guests and serving oysters, consider offering beers that complement the oysters’ flavor. Brain Hoppe, a certified cicerone at our Hy-Vee South store in Iowa City, says stouts — Old-World Guinness may be a good one — have a rich caramel quality that accentuates the creamy aspect of seafood, making them the perfect match.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and have fun entertaining!

Recipe Spotlight: Responsible Choice Alaska Crab Provencal

When celebrating winter holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Responsible Choice Alaska crab legs are the perfect addition to your parties. Enjoy this delicious recipe with family or friends and they’ll be sure to thank the chef. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Responsible Choice Alaska Crab Provencal

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 tbsp chopped additional herbs such as lemon thyme, parsley, rosemary or lavender
  • 1 (750ml) bottle Brut champagne
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 to 4 pounds Responsible Choice Alaska crab legs, thawed or frozen
  • 1 small loaf warmed crusty French bread, sliced

All you do:

  1. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in garlic and shallot; cook 3 to 4 minutes, until garlic is soft. Stir in thyme, marjoram and additional herbs; cook 2 minutes. Open champagne; pour 1/2 cup champagne into butter; stopper champagne. Bring sauce mixture to simmer; cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until sauce is reduced slightly. Add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste. Keep sauce warm.
  2. If frozen, rinse Alaska crab legs under cold running water to remove any ice glaze; pat dry with paper towels. Discard towels. Steam or boil crab in large pot, 8 to 10 minutes for frozen crab or 3 to 4 minutes for fresh/thawed crab, until heated through.
  3. Serve crab with dipping sauce, warm bread and chilled champagne.

Recipe Spotlight: Surf and Turf with Responsible Choice Seafood and Angus Reserve Beef

A meal that pairs Responsible Choice seafood and Hy-Vee’s Angus Reserve Beef offers both satisfying taste and the confidence of knowing that the seafood is responsibly harvested and the beef is 100 percent natural and comes from Midwest-raised, grain-fed cattle.

Surf and turf is a favorite American cuisine. Angus Reserve Beef is naturally aged, so it’s also naturally tender. I like the contrast of somewhat sweet scallops with the char of the grill.

A word of caution: Don’t overcook the scallops or they will become rubbery. A minute to a minute and a half on each side is sufficient. Before cooking, be sure to pat them dry to remove excess moisture; otherwise, they will steam rather than sear.

The Angus Reserve Beef offers is priced at three tiers to meet different budgets: Prime Reserve, Choice Reserve and Angus Reserve.

Following are some surf and turf recipes to consider:

Crabmeat-Stuffed Lobster Tail

All you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 (8 oz. each) lobster tails, thawed
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 5 tbsp minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup crushed round butter crackers
  • 1 1/2 cups jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 5 tbsp dry sherry
  • 2 tsp olive oil

All you do:

  1. To make lemon butter: combine 1/2 cup melted butter, lemon juice and lemon zest. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Split lobster tails in half. Remove tail meat, then replace in shells. Place lobster on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then brush with melted lemon butter. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan or sauté pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Do not brown. Fold in crushed crackers, crabmeat, salt, white pepper, lemon zest, sherry and olive oil.
  4. Remove lobster tails from the oven after 5 to 6 minutes. Brush again with melted lemon butter, then pack stuffing tightly on top. Bake for 12-1/2 to 13 minutes, until lobster meat reaches 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Brush one final time with melted lemon butter before serving.

Grilled Filet with Herb Butter

All you need:

  • 1 tbsp whipped or regular butter, slightly softened
  • 3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh chives
  • 3 tsp minced fresh oregano, divided
  • 1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest, divided
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound filet mignon, about 1 1/2 inches thick, trimmed and cut into 4 portions

All you do:

  1. Preheat grill to high.
  2. Mash butter in a small bowl with the back of a spoon until soft and creamy. Stir in 2 teaspoons oil until combined. Add chives, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and place in the freezer.
  3. Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, rosemary, minced garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub on both sides of steak. Grill the steak 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Spread the herb butter on top of the steaks and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Grilled Sea Scallops with Lemon

All you need:

  • 3 scallops per person
  • extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • herbed sea salt, as needed
  • cracked black pepper, as needed

All you do:

  1. Prepare grill for medium-high heat cooking and make sure the grates are clean.
  2. Toss scallops with olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper, just enough to coat. Place on grill for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side or just until cooked through.

So, You Think Fish and Cheese Aren’t Compatible? That’s Just a Myth!

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, toss with Cajun seasonings and cook for about five minutes. When it’s done, sprinkle some extra seasoning over it and top with BelGioioso 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.

Sartori 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 Sartori 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.