Hello, smart shoppers! This column is a bit fishy.
We all know that fish is a super food, but because of the danger of mercury, which is in most fish, consumption should be limited to twice a week and less for pregnant women.
Recent studies suggest mercury may raise the risk of heart attack. Also, some experts are beginning to draw links between mercury and autism in children and Alzheimer's disease in adults.
It's not the fish that causes toxicity, it's the mercury in what the fish eat. I will give you the list of the safest and you take it from there.
Safe: salmon, preferably line-caught (it has less mercury), sardines, sole, freshwater catfish, tilapia, farm-raised trout, shrimp, clams, scallops, oysters.
Some symptoms of mercury poisoning are slurred speech, tingling in hands and feet and an all over sick feeling that defies diagnosis. Hair testing can detect mercury poisoning.
Did I mention, the wealthier the person, the higher the incidence of mercury poisoning? Who else can afford fish?
Enjoy. See you next week.
FISH FILLETS FLORENTINE
Any kind of smooth, white-fleshed, firm fish can be used. This is an elegant way of preparing fish and can be made high fat or low fat. If you took the time to make this dish both ways for comparison, I doubt that you could tell the difference. I always go the low-fat way, it's better for your health and your waistline.
1 small onion, chopped
1/4-cup butter or butter substitute OR 1 teaspoon canola oil plus 1/4-cup water
1 cup milk (regular, low fat or skim)
7-ounce can mushrooms (stems and pieces), undrained
1/2-cup dry white wine
1/4-cup cream or evaporated skim milk (undiluted)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
Two 10-ounce packages frozen spinach or 1 large package, cooked and well drained
1-1/2 pounds fish fillets
Melt butter in saucepan, sauté onions until transparent. For low fat, sauté onions in the oil, adding the water as needed to prevent burning, cooking onions until water evaporates.
Place flour and milk in a jar with a tight fitting cover, shake until blended. Add to onions along with liquid from mushrooms, wine and cream. Whisk until mixture thickens. Add parsley flakes, mushrooms, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
Treat a shallow 9-inch by 12-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread cooked spinach evenly over the bottom. Top with a little of the sauce. Lay fillets on top. Cover with sauce.
Bake uncovered in a 375-degree oven for 25 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.
GUY'S FISH FILLETS NEOPOLITAN (NIB)
My son, Guy, is an avid fisherman as well as a creative cook. Any fish can be used for this recipe.
2 pounds fish fillets
Extra virgin olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
One handful each of fresh parsley and basil
Salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper, ground (optional)
Half of 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2-can (3-ounces) water
1/2-cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
Lightly coat baking pan with oil. Place fillets in pan and turn to coat evenly. Sprinkle fillets lightly with salt, pepper and cayenne.
In food processor or by hand, chop garlic, parsley and basil together; distribute over fillets. Blend tomato paste with water; add wine and pour over fish. Drizzle with lemon juice and top with tomato slices. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Bake in a 400-degree pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes until fish flakes.
GUY'S SALMON ESPANOL (NIB)
When you want to cook fish that is different and amazingly delicious just ask my son, Guy.
1 pound fresh salmon (preferably line-caught)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed
Sea salt (or regular salt)
Dried dill weed
Handful of fresh cilantro and Italian parsley, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Dry white wine, such as chablis or Chardonnay
Spanish pimento olives (large)
Divide salmon into two pieces and place each on a piece of parchment paper large enough to encase the filet. Rub with the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with dill weed and top each with cilantro and parsley.
Drizzle generously with oil and wine. Slice olives and place them in a row atop the fish. Fold up the parchment and place packages on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes.
For a cookbook visit www.romancingthestove.net.