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I know that food aficionados would tell me that fresh fish is always better than frozen, but come on! Seriously? Fresh, not previously frozen fish are expensive, I definitely don't eat it everyday, and even if I did, I'm not about to make a trip to the grocery store every few days to buy more. SO....my freezer always has frozen fish stored away, and why not? Fish have been found to be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. It's a good kind of fatty acid our bodies can't produce on it's own, so we need to ingest it from a marine or plant source. Granted, not all fish are raised equal.

Different fish have different levels of omega-3 in them, but you always want to pick a fish that is wild caught and NOT FARMED RAISED (if you can)!! Farmed fish, aside from sometimes deplorable living/growth conditions, can be raised using food sources that aren't healthy for us humans. Some farms feed their fish pellets made of other smaller fish and plants that have been collected from polluted waters, meaning that those contaminants can end up in the fish that you eat. In addition to that, since one sick fish could endanger a large group in an enclosed space, fish farmers like to administer antibiotics. That's just more unnatural chemicals added to your diet if you're not careful. Sure there are other pros and cons in the wild vs. farmed fish debate, but if you can, spend the little extra that wild fish will cost you. I think it's worth the price, especially if you aren't eating it ALL the time.

There's a lot of talk out there about mercury levels in fish and which fish are better for you. It's true, mercury is bad. There are other sites like Eat Well or Rodale that will tell you which fish they believe are the best vs. the worst in terms of omega-3s and mercury. Personally, I like to buy frozen wild caught salmon or cod. I tend to buy from Costco because it's convenient, sold in bulk, and lasts me a long time. However, I'll occasionally buy fresh fish from a smaller grocery store if they have a special or I need something more specific. In a normal week, though, my Costco bought fish work just fine for me. Just as a side note: Don't be swayed by any of the pre-marinated fish that are available. It sounds like a good idea at first since it has more flavor and it's halfway to already being a complete meal, but don't do it! Those tend to have more sodium and sugar and all that nonsense from whatever they've added to the sauce.

The best thing about buying non-marinated fish is that they're a lot more versatile as far as what you can make with them. For example, I found a hake loin fillets at Costco the last time I went and had absolutely no idea what it was. A quick googling of it on my phone told me it was actually part of the same order as cod and sort of tasted similar as well. I decided to try it out and came up with the recipe below one day when I was in a rush.


Hake Loin & Sauteed Spinach

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Serves 2

Ingredients:
  • 2 (5oz.) hake loin, thawed if frozen (can substitute with cod if preferred)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C white cooking wine
  • 2 C (about 85g) spinach

Directions:
  1. Season hake on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat medium sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray and cook hake 2-3 minutes on the one side before flipping.
  3. Flip hake over and reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add white wine to pan and let simmer for 1 minute. Remove fish and set aside.
  5. Add all the spinach to pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until all of the spinach is wilted, stirring often. The spinach will most likely absorb all of the remaining white wine.
  6. Divide the cooked spinach over each hake loin and serve hot!


Sources:
http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1282

Photo: http://www.thatorganicgirl.com/2012/05/farm-raised-vs-wild-caught-fish.html



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