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)

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

Recipe Spotlight: Preparing Responsible Choice Seafood with Wine: If You Wouldn’t Drink It, Don’t Cook with It

Cooking Hy-Vee Responsible Choice seafood with wine can add a new dimension to the fish, enhancing flavors and adding new ones.

Remember, it’s only the alcohol content that diminishes when cooking, not the flavor of the wine. A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t drink the wine, don’t cook with it. It’s best to avoid wines that are labeled as cooking wine because they are often salty and can incorporate some different herbs and spices that will make your attempts at more adventurous cuisine fall flat.

A few words about this recipe: It uses Aborio rice, an Italian-style rice. Risotto refers to the method in which it is cooked.

Choose a good quality dry white wine, such as a buttery chardonnay.

Another tip: Have everything ready and measured out before you start to cook.


Shrimp Risotto with Peas and Parmesan

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 1/2 cup onion, cut in small dice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine, divided
  • 3 cups seafood stock, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound raw, peeled and deveined (16 – 20 count) Responsible Choice wild-caught Gulf shrimp
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lemons, 1 zested and juiced and 1 wedged
  • Lemon thyme, for garnish

All you do:

For the risotto:
1. Sauté onion in 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter for 3 minutes. Add rice, cook and stir for 2 minutes.

2. Stir in 1/4 cup white wine and 1 cup stock. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed. Gradually stir in the remaining stock, 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup.

3. Once liquid is incorporated and rice is el dente, fold in the Parmesan and peas. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until shrimp are done.

To sauté shrimp:
4. In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the shrimp. Season with lemon pepper seasoning and a little salt. Cook for about 2 minutes.

5.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with remaining 1/4 cup wine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the juice and zest of 1 lemon and continue to cook for another minute.

To serve:
6. Place a bed of risotto on each plate. Top each with 6 to 8 shrimp. Garnish each with thyme and a lemon wedge.

Key Takeaway from Seafood Expo in Boston: Sustainability is Expected, No Longer a Hot, In-Your-Face Topic

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.

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

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.