Chefs get beyond the ‘fish and chips’ mindset and dive into seafood dishes that lend a healthy boost to the heart, brain and soul.
Heart health. Brain function. Immunity. When you consider all the benefits seafood can deliver to the human body, it’s downright crazy we don’t eat it more. Fatty fish like salmon can reduce inflammation in the heart’s arteries. The omega-3 fatty acids can boost brain health—and mood. And those same omega-3s may tone down overactive immune responses, whether you’re young or old. Eyesight and gut health are other areas seafood can improve.
With public health in the forefront, now is the perfect time to take action and get healthy seafood into the kitchen and onto your customers’ plates! If you’re in a recipe rut with seafood, read on.
Sustainability from salmon bowls to shrimp and grits
While diving into seafood’s health benefits for those who consume it, a chef who’s a good steward of the oceans will look for sustainable, underutilized seafood whenever possible. Morrison Healthcare’s retail marketing team has made a big push to educate guests on where seafood comes from and why it’s important to get to know your fishermen.
When Morrison Health chefs come in, that’s when the magic happens—healthy seafood dishes that guests can crave and anticipate. Global bowl builds, reimagined local and regional classics and flavor-packed handhelds are in the culinary toolkit of Chef Jeffrey Quasha, Morrison Health’s director of retail culinary innovation.
Quasha’s play on the Low Country classic shrimp and grits features onions, peppers and fresh local corn, sauteed together with good-sized local shrimp, andouille sausage and a splash of dry white wine. The grits are stone-ground, a detail that some chefs swear makes a big difference.
On the casual grab-and-go side, Quasha and the team developed sriracha-lime salmon sandwiches, made brunchy with a fried egg on top.
Morrison’s sweet and spicy salmon bowl with sriracha honey-glazed salmon plays into both the bowl trend and the hot honey trend. It’s served over a bed of spring greens, pickled radishes (similar to what you’d use on a banh mi), fresh citrus and edamame. Quasha reinforces citrus’ longstanding partnership with fish. “You can decrease salt by driving flavor with citrus,” he says, pointing to other applications, like ceviche or escaviche.
And the bowl game doesn’t stop there: Morrison Health’s Onolicious Hawaiian pop-up concept featured a sweet and spicy garlic mahi bowl with roasted mahi over fragrant jasmine rice, mango-cilantro slaw, toasted sesame seeds and fresh scallions. This very ono bowl, like all the other bowls in the lineup, comes in under 500 calories. Check out Quasha in an episode of FM’s On Demand video series for more tips on serving healthy seafood.
Deep dive into sustainability and health
Diving deep into seafood’s very important sustainability aspect, Stony Brook University’s Faculty Student Association and the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences worked with Alaska Seafood and hosted chef/fisherman/aquaculture evangelist Barton Seaver.
Stony Brook FSA Executive Director Van Sullivan says the program “was a great way to educated everyone on how to be sustainable for future generations,” and praised Seaver’s seafood know-how and “experience as a successful chef serving delicious sustainable seafood, connecting the environment to our health and ensuring that local food producers make a living.”
Seaver talked to students about the healthier lifestyle seafood can promote, resilient ecosystems and of course, sustainable seafood. In a social media contest, a dozen students made avocado-dill soup with Seaver. Over 3,500 students enjoyed Seaver’s special dinner menu, which included tomato gazpacho with smoked mussels, bluefish with soy-citrus marinade and basil quinoa pesto, smoked salmon carpaccio with shaved fennel salad, roasted potato-zucchini cakes and panna cotta.
Seafood gets Mindful
Sodexo’s Mindul offering is well-established as a straightforward way to serve healthy options. This fall, the Sodexo culinary team turned its focus to seafood with three new menu items: shrimp pesto pizzetta, the Cali cod burger and Thai shrimp and peanut salad.
The cod burger in particular represents “all the right notes” in what Minful aims to achieve, says
Sodexo’s Chef Rob Morasco. “Mindful means it’s very healthy, but has an indulgent flavor profile that has all the sensory layers you could ever want—crunch from the pickled cabbage, creamy awesomeness from the yogurt-based tartar sauce and avocado slices, and juicy, flaky meatiness from the [sustainably caught] cod.”