Recipe Highlight: Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Seafood for any Occasion

The following three recipes show how versatile Hy-Vee Responsible Choice seafood can be, whether you’re planning an intimate dinner party, snuggling up near a fire on a cool autumn night or planning a down-home party on the bayou.

Any of these dishes pair well with a dry white wine such as a buttery Chardonnay or Elk Grove Vineyards Pinot Noir Rose, 2013.


Herb-Panko Encrusted Baked Cod with Lemon Butter Sauce

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 4 (5 oz each) portions fresh or frozen cod fillets
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard, divided
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 (4 oz) stick unsalted butter, melted

All you do:

For the fish:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Pat dry the fish fillets with a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Mix the panko, lemon pepper seasoning, salt, thyme and parsley together in a rimmed dish.
  4. Spread one-fourth of the mustard on top of each fish fillet, then dip the top of fish into panko mixture, pressing lightly to help it stick. Transfer the fish to the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

For the sauce:

  1. While fish is baking, place the lemon juice in a small saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Melt the butter separately.
  3. Slowly drizzle the melted butter, a little at a time, into the lemon juice while whisking until slightly thick.
  4. Serve with the fish.

For a side dish, try whole grain brown rice and crispy kale.


Seafood in Spicy Broth

All you need:

  • 1/4 cup Hy-Vee olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2012
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 24 small littleneck clams (about 2 1/2 pounds total), scrubbed
  • 24 farmed mussels (about 1 1/2 pounds total), debearded
  • 20 Responsible Choice sea scallops, washed, dried and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup fresh torn basil leaves
  • French baguette from the Hy-Vee Bakery

All you do:

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic, bay leaf and crushed red pepper, Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the wine and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the clams. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the mussels. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels open, about 5 more minutes.
  7. Using tongs, transfer the opened shellfish equally to 4 serving bowls. Discard any shellfish that do not open.
  8. Add the scallops and basil to the simmering broth. Simmer for about 2 minutes.
  9. Discard the bay leaf. Divide the scallops and broth among the bowls and serve with warm bread.

Molly’s Blackened Catfish Recipe

This is one of those recipes that requires a little bit of prep work and some patience, but the wait and the work are definitely worth it. This is another example of how versatile this fish can be. Try this at your next feast for family or friends.

All you need:

  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp whole thyme leaves
  • 4 catfish fillets (total weight about 3 pounds)
  • 1/2 stick (2 oz) butter
  • 1/4 cup Hy-Vee olive oil

All you do:

  1. Mix paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and lemon pepper together. This can be made ahead and stored in a lidded jar.
  2. Heat a black iron frying pan for at least 10 minutes over very high heat.
  3. Cut each of the fillets in half. Melt the butter and mix with the olive oil
  4. Place the spice mix on a plate.
  5. Dip the fish into the butter and oil and then dredge on both sides in the spice mix.
  6. Fry in a very hot pan just a few minutes on each side.

Source: Camp Cook

Sourcing Seafood from the Atlantic Illustrates Nuances of Hy-Vee’s Procurement Policy

Wrtten by John Rohrs & Kathleen Mullen-ley

Hy-Vee has made a strategic decision through its Responsible Choice seafood program to not regularly feature finfish from the Atlantic Ocean in its seafood counters – an example of the company’s commitment to responsible stewardship of the world’s oceans.

The sustainability of finfish stocks from the Atlantic Ocean is evaluated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s (MBA) Seafood Watch program. MBA uses a “traffic light” color rating system to assess the sustainability of species and make recommendations for seafood buyers, with a Green rating indicating a “best choice,” a Yellow rating indicating a “good alternative,” and a Red rating indicating consumers should “avoid.”

Some finfish species from the Atlantic Ocean are Yellow rated by MBA, meaning they are generally well managed. However, some species are Red rated, meaning that they are not being fished sustainably. There are even some finfish species that are Yellow rated in one region and Red rated in a different region due to differences in the type of gear used and in management effectiveness.

Two examples of species with both Yellow rated and Red rated sources are Atlantic cod and American lobster.

Atlantic cod is one of the best examples anywhere of the problems created by overfishing. There’s no denying cod was an important commodity in early American history, and one that helped New England develop. However, the cod fishing industry is one of the most famous examples of a fishery collapse. It takes a very long time for populations to come back – often decades – and some fisheries never rebound.

It’s good business to take a hands-off approach in overfished areas, and give stocks time to recover, and Hy-Vee is doing its part. The well-managed wild fisheries in Alaska and the Pacific are meeting Hy-Vee customers’ demands for the popular whitefish.

The Atlantic is an important source for most of Hy-Vee’s shellfish, including fresh American lobster.

The famous American lobster fisheries are doing very well right now, but sourcing demonstrates just how nuanced Hy-Vee’s procurement policies are. The Maine stock is doing very well (Yellow rated), but in southern New England, stocks are overfished (Red rated). So Hy-Vee is careful in its procurement, ensuring none of its lobster comes from regions pressured by overfishing.

Some of the best sustainability stories come from Green rated oyster, mussel and scallop fisheries. Oysters and mussels are cultured, growing in beds and on ropes, respectively, and are important soldiers in bay ecology efforts. Scallops are wild-caught in open and closed beds that are well-managed.

Blue crab, often called Chesapeake blue crab because of its importance to the region’s economy, environment and culture, is another success story. Blue crab populations are rebounding because of careful management of the fisheries with limits on commercial and recreational fisheries.

Demand for this tasty, versatile seafood is so great that Hy-Vee supplements its supply with blue crab from other countries. Overall, Hy-Vee’s approach to Atlantic seafood can be described as thoughtful and proactive, and the company will continue to shift its procurement practices to address fishing patterns, among other items.

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.

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: Thinking Globally While Eating Locally: Feel Good About This Cod Stew

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 grown in Grimes, as well as organic produce and vegetables 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 a good, versatile recipe you 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

All you need:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in small dice (choose locally sourced leeks if possible)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 (14.5 oz each) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 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)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

All you do:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 to 5 minutes.
  3. 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.

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

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.

Recipe Spotlight: Pacific Cod Takes on the Flavor of Vegetables when Cooked in Parchment Bag

Cooking cod, a mild, white fish that takes on the flavor of the vegetables and the sauces it’s cooked with, in parchment paper is a foolproof way to keep it moist.

If fish is cooked this way, it’s easy to avoid some of the common misgivings people have when cooking fish – that it’s going to be raw or undercooked, or that it’s going to be too dry.

Here’s an easy way to determine if fish is correctly cooked: When you press your palm, it gives some. Fish should do the same, and give just a bit when pressed. Remember, when fish come out of the oven, it will continue to cook for a couple of minutes.

A basic rule of thumb is to bake fish about 10 to 12 minutes per inch of thickness in a 425-degree oven.

Pacific cod is one of the Responsible Choice selections in the Hy-Vee seafood case. It’s from a well-managed fishery that has limits in place to ensure fish will be around for future generations to eat and enjoy.

The recipe below departs from the standard lemon and dill sauce that people can tire of, using dry white wine, fresh thyme and lemon zest. Here’s another bonus: Clean-up is super easy.

Some other variations include blood orange, which are in season right now and are very good with fish. I also like to add some fresh fennel for variety.


Cod En Papillote with Fresh Vegetables

All you need:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp plus 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 (5 oz each) cod fillets
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 parchment bag

All you do:

  1. Mash garlic and salt to a paste. Melt butter and 1 tablespoon oil in nonstick pan over medium heat. Add garlic paste and shallot; stir until pale golden, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice, wine, zest and black pepper. Remove from heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil inside the bag. Place cod fillets in the bag and spoon generous tablespoons of garlic-lemon sauce over fish; season with about 1/2 teaspoon of thyme. Cover with asparagus, roasted red peppers and shredded carrot. Roll the parchment bag up, enclosing completely and seal with a paperclip.
  3. Bake fish until just opaque in center and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately by ripping open the parchment bag, allowing steam to escape.

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.