“This was a surprisingly straightforward and delicious way to warm up on a chilly lakeside outing,” says Cosco. “Polenta requires only a little bit of heat, a 1:4 cornmeal-to-water ratio, and a generous portion of Parmesan to be delicious. I like to add a bit of ‘luxury’ by adding a stock cube and a knob of butter to the boiling water.” His twist on a classic gremolata uses fish-friendly dill and parsley and cuts through the creamy richness of the polenta, itself a counterpoint to the crispy-skinned salmon.
The trick to getting that perfectly crispy skin is to sprinkle fillets with salt as soon as you’ve cleaned them. While you prep the vegetables, the salt removes excess moisture, which you can wipe off with paper towel (to be used as fire-starter) just before searing.
Look for a low-sodium stock cube without preservatives.
For polenta, in medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, then add stock cube and butter. Whisk in cornmeal and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, covered, stirring every few minutes, depending on how hot the fire is. If polenta starts to stick or burn, reduce heat or add water. Whisk in Parmesan. Season, to taste, and set aside pot.
Meanwhile, for gremolata, in medium bowl, combine lemon juice and zest with garlic, chopped dill, parsley, and pinch of salt.
Over medium-high, heat 12 in (30 cm) cast iron skillet. Be patient; the pan is hot enough when you place a hand above it and feel a fair bit of heat, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, still on the vine, and cook until lightly charred but not bursting. Remove tomatoes from pan.
For salmon, add oil to pan. When hot, add salmon, skin side down. Cook until the line of opacity reaches halfway up the side of salmon, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. If the two lines of opacity meet, the fish will be overcooked, so remove them sooner rather than later.
To serve, plate polenta and fish and top with gremolata, and place tomatoes on the vine alongside. Sprinkle with fleur de sel or kosher salt.
While sablefish’s texture and fat content stand up admirably to the heat of the grill, this firm fish is also delicious poached. For this recipe, sablefish’s luxurious taste is combined with a light fragrant broth of lemongrass and ginger punctuated with the heat of Thai chili. Sustainability status Sablefish, also known as butterfish or black cod, is a rich and satisfying fish, plentiful in omega-3s and sourced sustainably from the Pacific Northwest. Skin and bones Sablefish has large pin bones. Ideally, your fishmonger will remove them, but if not, before you begin, locate them along the fish’s centreline and, using a pair of needle nose pliers, grasp them firmly to remove. You can leave the skin on for this recipe, which may help the fish hold together a little better while cooking, but it can be tricky to peel the skin away from the cooked fish and discard before plating. I opted to remove the skin first and simply keep a close eye on the cooking time, being careful to remove the fish from the poaching liquid before it flakes apart.
These mildly spiced salmon tacos served with sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds will bring a party together. Make a small quantity of salmon go further when you pair it with a fresh red cabbage slaw featuring citrus and cilantro. Drizzled with some bright lime yogurt, the flavours come together perfectly. Sustainability status Wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are considered among the most sustainable, as the fishery is subject to limited harvests. With salmon stocks in decline, supporting managed fisheries such as these can help maintain populations into the future. That may also mean eating salmon less often than we do now. Salmon is a favourite Salmon is the most popular variety of fish in Canada and the second most popular in the US.
B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.
The delicate flavour of shrimp is highlighted with just a touch of lemon and a hint of mustard, while radish and celery give some fresh crunch to this dish. Eat it in lettuce cups, on top of greens, or served on whole grain bread for a filling snack. Sustainability status Both wild and farmed shrimp can be sustainable depending on where they’re caught and how they’re raised. See our article “Sea Change” for more information about choosing ethical shrimp.