Recipe Spotlight: For Lighter Summer Fare, Try Salads and Ceviches with Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Seafood

During the summer months, salads and ceviches are often the main dish. By including Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice seafood with the lighter fare, you can be assured that you and your family are getting healthy proteins and Omega-3 fatty acids.

The recipes below include one for ceviche (pronounced “seh-VEE-chay”), a Latin American favorite made with raw fish and seafood marinated in citrus juice, primarily lime and lemon juices. Before you wrinkle your nose and purse your lips, keep this in mind: The acid in the citrus juice coagulates the proteins in the fish, effectively cooking the seafood.


Responsible Choice Tuna and Avocado Ceviche

All you need:

  • 3/4 pound Responsible Choice ahi tuna
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 red pepper, cut in small dice
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut in small dice
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp sriracha hot chili sauce, or to taste
  • 1 avocado, cubed*
  • 1 to 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

All you do:

  1. Dice the tuna into small cubes and place into a glass bowl. Squeeze the limes over the tuna. Add the red pepper, onion, a small amount of salt and black pepper and sriracha. Cover and let marinate for about 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  2. Just before serving, add the avocado and cilantro, and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with tortilla chips.
  3.  Chef’s tip: To serve, save the avocado shells and fill with the ceviche.

Grilled Responsible Choice Ahi Tuna Chopped Salad

All you need:

  • 1 pound Responsible Choice sesame crusted tuna, from the Hy-Vee seafood case
  • 2 (12 oz each) bags Dole chopped Asian blend salad
  • 1 small red pepper, diced small
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 small bunch scallions, sliced thinly on a bias
  • 2 mangoes, cut in medium dice
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle Walden Farms sesame ginger vinaigrette

All you do:

  1. Using an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan, grill tuna 2 to 3 minutes per side, not cooked all the way through, as it is best served rare to medium-rare. Remove and keep warm.
  2. In a large bowl, add the chopped Asian Blend, diced red pepper, jalapeños, green onions and mango. Toss with the vinaigrette, just enough to coat the vegetables.
  3. Carefully break the tuna up and fold into the slaw. Serve as a side or as a main course.

Seafood Salad with Strawberry and Watermelon Vinaigrette

All you need

Dressing:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 pound watermelon (to equal 1 cup pureed)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 pound fresh strawberries (to equal 1 cup pureed)
  • 2 tbsp red or white wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey, more or less depending on the sweetness of the fruit
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad:

  • About 16 ounces Hy-Vee Responsible Choice seafood (salmon, raw shrimp or crab)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Grapeseed oil or a little olive oil and butter, for sautéing
  • About 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 pound fresh watermelon, rind removed, cubed or cut into small triangles
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into slivers
  • About 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

All you do:

  1. To make the vinaigrette: In a blender or food processor, add the strawberries and watermelon. (You will need about 1/4 to 1/2 pound of each fruit to equal 2 cups puree.) Strain the mixture.
  2. To the same blender, add the vinegar, honey, lime juice, cilantro, mint and the 2 cups fruit puree. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Start with a little oil, and add more if needed. Taste to see if more honey is needed. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. For the seafood: Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add oil to a hot pan; omit if using crab. If using salmon, cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. For shrimp, cook just until they turn pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. If using crab meat, don’t cook; just add to the salad before serving.
  4. To serve: Place mixed greens on platter or plate. In a decorative fashion, arrange strawberries, watermelon, cucumber, red onion and seafood. Drizzle vinaigrette over the top; add the feta.

Courtesy of Chef Jess (makes about 2 1/2 cups)

Hy-Vee’s Commitment to Responsible Choice Seafood doesn’t Stop at the Seafood Case; It Continues into Market Grille Restaurants

When dining out, the source of seafood entrees is always a gamble. Unless it’s specifically noted, there’s no way of knowing if the seafood was raised and caught using responsible methods.

logo1That’s not the case at Hy-Vee’s in-store, sit-down Market Grille restaurants, currently found at eight locations, but on tap at up to 50 stores in our Midwest market over the next three years.

The Responsible Choice initiative – Hy-Vee’s pledge to responsibly source all of its fresh and frozen Hy-Vee brand seafood by the end of 2015 – doesn’t end at the seafood case. The push is consistent throughout the company and the Market Grille restaurants are no exception.

So when diners order any of our entrees containing wild Alaska salmon (grilled and in Caesar salads), seared scallops, Ahi tuna or potato crusted cod, they do so with the confidence of knowing that other sea life wasn’t harmed when the fish was caught.

The menus at our Market Grille restaurants will change every 10 months, but what won’t change is our commitment to Responsible Choice seafood. You can find Responsible Choice items by looking for the circular logo.

If you’re not familiar with the Market Grille concept, they can be found in several of our stores. Hy-Vee also has one stand-alone Market Grille, located in the lovingly restored historic Hotel Charitone in Chariton, Hy-Vee’s longtime home.

The full-service Market Grille restaurants offer customers a sit-down dining experience with a wait staff and alcoholic beverages. In addition to Responsible Choice seafood, the menu includes steaks, half-pound handcrafted burgers, entrée salads, ribs and other smoked meats, pizza and other items prepared in an open kitchen.

Grilling Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Seafood: Let the Grill Do the Work

Grilling is one of the best ways to prepare Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice fish and seafood in the summertime, but it also can be intimidating. Fish is so delicate that a few wrong steps can cause the fish to fall apart

Two of the top tips are to touch the fish no more than necessary – let the direct heat of the grill do the work for you – and to start with a clean surface lightly sprayed with Hy-Vee non-stick cooking spray.

Wild salmon, which is coming into our stores fresh from Alaska for the next couple of months, is great on the grill. So are halibut steaks, swordfish and tuna. Other fish can work well with some extra precaution, and I’ll get to that later.

Plank it:

A popular way to prepare wild salmon is to cook it on cedar planks, which adds nice smokiness and a cedar flavor to the fish. To plank salmon, just soak the plank in water overnight.

Or, if you want to infuse some other flavors, try soaking the planks in smoked porter beer or an oaked chardonnay.

Pouch it:

If you don’t want to take a chance of the fish sticking, cook it en papillote, which literally means cooking “in paper.” If you’re using parchment paper, as the French recommend, use medium-high indirect heat. Add a little white wine, some fresh herbs and vegetables or citrus fruits, like lemon, orange or grapefruit, and you’ve got a meal in a bag.

A foil pouch also works. Just make sure you poke a few holes in the foil to allow the smoke flavor to infuse.

Marinate it in alcohol:

An alcohol marinade can release a new flavor sensation, but be sure not to overdo it. Alcohol is great for tenderizing meat, so don’t overdo it – 30 minutes tops, just long enough to infuse the flavor. If the fish is in the marinade too long, especially if it’s an acidic marinade, the proteins can begin to coagulate and the cooking process can begin.

Some combinations to think about include tequila-lime scallops, bourbon and brown sugar-glazed wild salmon, whiskey and brown sugar-glazed wild salmon, and vodka and wild salmon.

Skin on or off:

This is a matter of preference. If you’re going to remove the skin, start with the presentation side down on the grill, and flip it only one time, after about 4 minutes.

If you’re going to leave the skin on, that’s the presentation side and there’s no need to flip it. Just make sure the skin is crispy and not mushy.

Again, you don’t want to mess with it too much. It will release itself from the grill when it is cooked. Moving it around on the grill tears up the flesh.

Other fish:

Catfish, tilapia and some of the more delicate white fishes generally don’t hold up well during grilling, but you can still enjoy them. Hy-Vee sells stainless steel fish baskets that will hold them together.

Whole rainbow trout also works well. Score the skin on both sides and slip citrus and herbs under the skin to add more flavor. Some of the herbs that work well include thyme, tarragon, fennel, dill, rosemary and oregano.

Don’t ever do this:

One thing you never want to do is re-cook shrimp. You can reheat it briefly – 30 seconds tops –  but any more than that will make it a rubbery mess.

A good way to grill raw, deveined shrimp is to skewer, add some lemon and pepper and grill a couple of minutes on each side. Be sure you use some of the larger shrimp available in our seafood cases. Shrimp is not a Responsible Choice at Hy-Vee yet, but we’re working on it and will have shrimp that meets our environmental standards by the end of 2015.

Don’t overcook it:

One of the common mistakes in grilling fish is to overcook it. Here’s a guide:

Fillets (tilapia and catfish): 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness, medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes

Firm steaks (halibut, wild salmon, tuna, swordfish): 1-inch thickness, medium to medium-high heat, 10 minutes

Lobster tails: 8- to 10-ounce, medium heat, 8 to 10 minutes

Raw shrimp (not a Responsible Choice): 21- to 25-count per pound, medium heat, 4 to 5 minutes; under 10-count per pound, 6 to 8 minutes, medium heat

Farmed scallops, clams, mussels: under 12 per pound, medium heat, 4 to 5 minutes

How Deep is our Commitment to Responsibly Sourced Seafood? The Answer is Found on Hy-Vee Select Private Label Tuna

If you want to know how deep Hy-Vee’s commitment runs in its Responsible Choice seafood initiative, take a closer look at the fine print on Hy-Vee Select Private Label Tuna.

You’ll find guarantees there that you won’t find with major-label brands. Much of the canned tuna available on the market today is caught using industrial scale purse seines and longlines, which result in high levels of bycatch of non-target species, such as dolphins, sharks, turtles and other marine life.

That was a big concern for Hy-Vee, so we looked to FishWise to help us develop two private label lines that are making a huge difference.

Our new pole-and-line skipjack tuna and pole-and-troll albacore tuna are among the most progressive canned tuna offerings of any major retailer. The pole-and-line skipjack tuna, called ‘chunk light’ on the can, is especially impressive, given that the Monterey Bay Aquarium says it is the most sustainable option for any canned tuna.

The pole-and-troll albacore, called ‘solid or chunk white’ on the can, is sourced from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries in the United States and New Zealand, and pole and troll are the two most selective albacore fishing methods, resulting in very little bycatch of non-target species.

This is a huge step forward in our sustainability program and our commitment to responsibly source all of our fresh and private label seafood by the end of 2015. For any retailer to do this is impressive, but it’s more so because Hy-Vee was able to pull this off in less than a year. It’s a matter of having the right suppliers, the right communication and a strong commitment to doing the right thing.

Also noteworthy: Hy-Vee’s private label products allow consumers to stretch their food dollars without sacrificing nutrition, taste or quality.

Recipe Spotlight: Make Restaurant-Quality Sushi at Home with Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Seafood

Sushi’s meteoric rise into the mainstream over the past several years hasn’t occurred without some environmental risks, as some of the most desirable species for sushi are overfished or caught using methods that threaten other sea life.

The recipe below uses Hy-Vee Responsible Choice ahi tuna, offered to customers as part of our commitment to source 100 percent of our fresh and Hy-Vee brand frozen seafood and fish from responsible fisheries and farms.

If you’re new to making sushi in your own kitchen, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • The No. 1 thing to do to make restaurant-style sushi at home is to choose the freshest fish possible.
  • Keep the area clean while working to avoid cross contamination.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the fish, then wipe the blade with a damp cloth between cuts. This keeps the fish from sticking to the knife.
  • Dip your fingers in water as you roll the sushi to keep the rice from sticking to your hands.

One common misconception about sushi is that the word refers to raw fish. It’s true that many, but certainly not all, sushi recipes call for raw fish, but the word “sushi” itself refers to the vinegared rice.

If you’re shy about raw fish, try tempura sushi, made by dipping the entire roll in a light batter and briefly frying it. But one way to take the fear out of eating raw fish is choose sushi-grade fish that is FDA-certified as being frozen at 4 degrees below zero, such as Responsible Choice ahi or yellowfin tuna. Keep it as cold as possible.

Sushi offers a great opportunity to be adventuresome and blend different tastes to create an entirely new taste. I call it fusion sushi. Responsible Choice Copper River wild Alaskan salmon available in select Hy-Vee stores now is a great choice for fusion sushi.

You can top the sushi with anything you want – for example, add the sweetness of mango salsa to the spicy tuna – and put your own spin on a classic. It’s fun to adapt recipes to regional locales and give it a name that reflects that area’s traditions.


Spicy Tuna Roll

Makes 4 rolls

All you need:

  • 6 cups prepared sushi rice, cooled
  • 1/2 pound Responsible Choice ahi tuna
  • Sriracha hot sauce, as needed
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, sliced thinly
  • 4 sheets nori, seaweed sheets available in the Hy-Vee HealthMarket
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds, divided, optional

All you do:

  1. Prepare rice ahead of time.
  2. Chop tuna and mix with hot sauce and green onions. Set aside.
  3. Lay a nori sheet down on a bamboo mat and spread one-fourth of the sushi rice on top of the nori sheet. Sprinkle one-fourth of sesame seeds on top of the rice.
  4. Place one-fourth of the tuna mixture lengthwise on the rice. Roll up the bamboo mat, pressing forward to shape the sushi into a cylinder. Press the bamboo mat firmly and remove it from the sushi.
  5. Repeat the process to make 3 more rolls.
  6. Tips: When rolling the sushi, dip your fingertips in a bowl of water, to help the rice from sticking to your hand. Before slicing, carefully wipe knife with a wet towel. Cut roll in half, then each half into 2 to 3 pieces.

What’s the Catch? Key Issues Affecting Seafood Sustainability

Four primary issues affect the sustainability of seafood, and Hy-Vee is paying close attention as part of the company’s efforts to responsibly source its fresh and private label frozen seafood products by the end of 2015.

One is no more important than another. If one of the issues gets out of balance, it can affect another.

1. Impacts on target stock – is the species being overfished? One example of a species that is being overfished is Bluefin tuna, which is called “toro” in fancy sushi restaurants. Hy-Vee doesn’t carry Bluefin tuna because of the many environmental issues associated with this fishery.

These days, the United States does a good job managing its fisheries and products from domestic fisheries usually meet Hy-Vee’s definition of responsible sourcing. But there have been problems in the past – with Atlantic cod, for example – and when fisheries are depleted, recovery takes a very long time because the fish are long-lived and don’t reproduce quickly. That means a long period where certain species are unavailable from the time the overfishing stops and the population rebounds.

One issue we’re seeing now is that as domestic stocks are recovering, international fisheries are being depleted.

2. Impacts on other species (bycatch) – how much bycatch is occurring and what non-target species are being caught accidentally? Some gear types like huge longlines indiscriminately catch endangered species like sea birds, sharks, and sea turtles, while some gear types are more selective and only catch one fish at a time.

In the conservation world, the incidental catch of large marine mammals like dolphins helped inspire people and catalyze a movement toward more awareness of the serious issues with fishing. That problem is less severe now, but bycatch is still a problem and we’re seeing issues with other species.

3. Habitat and ecosystem impacts – is the fishing gear affecting the surrounding habitat? Is the fishery removing all the top predators from the ecosystem and changing the dynamics of the marine community? Some gear types like trawl nets that drag along the seafloor can have a significant impact on ancient coral communities – some of them 1,000 years old or more – while some gear types like pole-and-line never come into contact with the bottom.

We have to be mindful that when we take away too many predators, the ecosystem can get out of balance and that can affect the habitat sea life needs to survive.

An example of this is found in kelp forests, where sea otters were hunted for their furs. With the predators gone, that allowed the sea urchins to invade and eat the kelp. The effects were felt throughout the ecosystem, as the kelp is important habitat not only for marine mammals like sea otters, sea lions, seals and grey whales, but also for many types of rockfish.

4. Management – are the rules regulating the fishery working? Most fisheries in the US are very well managed but some international fisheries have lax regulations, or no regulations at all. Illegal fishing can be a major problem in fisheries with poor management. Illegal fishing harms honest fishermen, weakens coastal communities, is associated with crime such as narcotraffic and human rights abuses, and undermines companies like Hy-Vee that are trying to do the right thing.

Assessing these four criteria gives FishWise an understanding of the wild fisheries supplying Hy-Vee’s seafood products, and whether those products qualify for one of Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice labels. When Hy-Vee’s customers see the Responsible Choice label, they can be confident that the seafood they’re buying is not contributing to unhealthy oceans.

Recipe Spotlight: Ahi Tuna with Mango Salsa Sizzles with Summer

Finally, it’s grilling season. Ahi tuna, also called yellowfin, is a great fish for the grill because it’s firm, moist and takes very little time to cook – meaning you can get back to enjoying summer.

When choosing Ahi tuna, one of our great Responsible Choice species, look for firm flesh and a bright red color with little to no blood line.

I like this recipe because it is a versatile dish that can be used as an appetizer or it can be paired with a couple of summery side dishes to make a complete meal. It is a great choice whether your goal is to impress your guests with a bright flavor sensation or take care of a weeknight meal in short order.

The mango salsa can be prepared ahead of time and the tuna takes only 4 minutes on the grill, so you won’t be spending a lot of time cooking while your guests wait, which can be a hassle.

This is a great light dish that will leave your guests feeling full and satisfied, without adding a lot of calories.


Grilled Ahi Tuna with Mango Salsa

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4 (5 oz each) ahi tuna fillets
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • salad or grilled asparagus, for serving

All you do:

  1. In a medium-size bowl, combine the mango, red onion, red pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Refrigerate for 1 hour to bring out the flavors.
  2. Preheat the grill. Season tuna with lemon pepper and grill on high heat for 90 seconds to 2 minutes per side for a rare to medium-rare steak. Set aside.
  3. Top each steak with a generous portion of mango salsa. Serve with a side of fresh salad or grilled asparagus for a complete meal.

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

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 white wines do accompany fish well, but so will red wines with nice acidity, a light to medium body and low 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 rare in the center, 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 a 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 Boulevard Hy-Vee store. I love my job. Besides getting to work every day with wine, which is my passion, I 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, such as 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 (like Central Waters Muddy Puppy Porter) 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.

Hy-Vee’s Seafood Cases are Brimming with Responsible Choice Options from Around the World

Seafood Case

The seafood cases at Hy-Vee stores are brimming with sustainable seafood options, branded Responsible Choice to demonstrate our commitment to healthy choices for your family, the environment, and the world’s oceans and the various species they support.

One of the best choices is Idaho rainbow trout from Clear Springs Foods. They are definitely the leaders in the industry for Responsible Choice trout, and 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 all of its fresh and store brand frozen seafood by the end of 2015.

Clear Springs Foods made the grade because the fish are farm-raised in a closed system of concrete raceways fed by pristine natural spring waters. The same company provides ready-to-bake options, such as Parmesan-crusted Idaho rainbow trout.

Customers can also feel confident about Pacific cod, which is probably the most recognized fish in the world. People like this white fish because of its mild flavor and low fat content. Back in the day, sea merchants traded cod for supplies, and Atlantic stocks have collapsed as a result. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program has rated some Atlantic cod fisheries as a Red ‘Avoid’ because of the long history of overfishing.

Pacific cod, on the other hand, has been very well managed, so the stocks are good. Our cod comes from Alaska, where limits have been imposed on what can be caught and how much can be caught.

Previously frozen, this Pacific cod coming out of Alaskan waters lives close to the sea floor and is caught in pots – not by bottom trawls – and bycatch is mostly eliminated. If other species are caught, they remain alive and they can be thrown back into the water. With longlines, which aren’t included in the sustainable practices we require at Hy-Vee, the fish can be dead when it’s pulled into the boat.

Halibut is another popular responsibly sourced Pacific fish. Its availability is limited, though, because limits were put in place because conservationists have noticed there haven’t been as many juveniles. We’ll see more fresh supplies in early March – great timing, as this is a good grilling fish.

A good starter fish for people who want to introduce more seafood into their diets is tilapia, which Hy-Vee brings in fresh from Ecuador. It’s a clean, white fish that takes on the flavor of whatever you put with it. If you want a non-fishy-tasting fish, tilapia is the way to go. Tilapia are vegetarians, so farmers don’t have to use fish meal or other fish, making it very environmentally friendly. It’s also a good value fish.

Very close to tilapia in taste is swai or basa, a less common name for this river fish from Vietnam. It’s a type of catfish.

Another very popular Responsible Choice in the Midwest is channel catfish, a river fish that many of us grew up with and know well. Hy-Vee’s catfish is domestic and farm-raised in ponds, mostly in Mississippi. We offer it in three forms: as fillets (the most expensive option), whole fish (about $3 less per pound than fillets) and as catfish nuggets (the most affordable variety).

Also popular are ahi tuna and swordfish, which are pole caught in Indonesia without using other fish as bait. Each shipment comes with a letter certifying that it was caught using this sustainable practice. Both are great grilling-weather fish.

Our Responsible Choice initiative has changed what’s available in the seafood case, and in some cases introduced people to some new fish. Our customers are overwhelmingly supportive of this and think Hy-Vee is doing the right thing.

Like Other Vendors in Partnership, Soho Foods Made Seamless Switch to Pole-Caught Tuna

When Hy-Vee and its wholly owned subsidiary, Perishable Distributors of Iowa (PDI), announced the new Responsible Sourcing Commitment to its seafood suppliers, their switch to more sustainable catch methods was so seamless as to register barely a hiccup.

The Responsible Choice label on seafood products sold at Hy-Vee is customers’ guarantee that the fish they’re buying was caught using responsible methods that don’t threaten other species, are environmentally sound, and ensure seafood will be around for future generations to enjoy.

Our partnership with suppliers is long-standing. It’s a friendship, with loyalty that cuts both ways. One example of this is PDI’s relationship with Soho Foods, LLC, which supplies much of Hy-Vee’s frozen tuna. Soho Foods has been one of our vendors since PDI started in the early 1980s, and we were able to build on that relationship when we asked them to use a different catch method. They quickly complied and each shipment comes with a letter guaranteeing that the tuna is100 percent hand-line caught.

Soho Foods works with multiple fishing boats, so it was easy for them make the switch to environmentally friendly handlines and help us honor our commitment to offer responsibly sourced seafood to our customers.

All of our suppliers have readily embraced Hy-Vee’s commitment to responsibly source all fresh and Hy-Vee brand frozen seafood by the end of 2015. It’s a win-win situation for all of us, and it all goes back to that relationship, or friendship, and being able to communicate as our needs change.

We didn’t want to drop vendors when we made the switch to Responsible Choice seafood, and we haven’t had to. Soho Foods is just one example; all of our vendors have been great to work with in making this change.