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Seafood For All Seasons

Year round, local fish markets offer a tantalizing array of seafood from both local and international waters.

Crab E Bill is Bill Tiedge, seen here with a red snapper.

Crab E Bill is Bill Tiedge, seen here with a red snapper.

The rich variety of seafood teeming in the waters off the Florida coast makes it a popular choice when dining out or eating at home.

Seafood is also a healthy choice. Fish is low in calories and sodium, high in protein. Many varieties are high in omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce the risk of heart-related disease. Fish is also a source of minerals and vitamins. Most shellfish, including clams, crabs and oysters, contain insignificant amounts of fat and saturated fat and are low in cholesterol. Shrimp and lobster contain higher amounts of cholesterol, but they are exceptionally low in fat and saturated fat. Bottom line: all kinds of seafood make up an important part of a healthy diet.

Seafood is also a convenient food because its cooking time is short; in fact, the biggest danger in its preparation is overcooking. Seafood reaches its peak of flavor and perfection when it is just done. That’s the moment it loses its translucency and becomes opaque, which is also the moment the fish flakes easily. If cooked beyond that point, it starts to become dry and tough.
A rough timing guide is to cook fish 10 minutes for each inch of thickness, and adjust accordingly. Start testing for doneness by probing gently with fork tines. And do this early and often in the cooking process. If in the oven, don’t worry about how often you open the door. It’s fish and not a cake so it won’t fall!

For local cooks the availability of fresh seafood abounds. Many residents are fortunate to have a sport fisherman in the house or in the neighborhood who brings home or shares his catch. For others, fresh seafood is just a short drive to one the fish markets that specialize in locally caught fish and shellfish.

Read the entire article in the November 2011 issue