Nutritionists have known for decades that seafood is a fantastic source of high-quality, low-fat protein. Research continues to show that regularly eating seafood can, among other benefits, decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and hypertension thanks to an abundance of healthy long chain omega-3 fatty acids. Fish and shellfish accumulate omega-3 fatty acids by eating nutrient rich algae and phytoplankton. The human body cannot produce omega-3s, which means the only way we can get them is through the foods we eat.
Fish is also a great source of Vitamin D, which is essential for optimal mineral metabolism. It has also been shown to decrease inflammation, and may be critical in controlling auto-immune diseases. As we spend less time outdoors (our bodies naturally synthesize Vitamin D in response to sun exposure) due to long work hours and busy schedules, dietary vitamin D becomes more and more important.
Fish is naturally rich in iodine and selenium as well, which are two very important minerals that can be challenging to get in sufficient quantities from other foods. Iodine is vital for normal thyroid function but is also extremely important for proper immune system function, wound healing, and fertility. Since many people have switched to sea salt as of late, which is not iodized, it is very important to include food sources with this essential mineral. Selenium is required for our body’s natural protection against oxidants, and optimal brain health. Selenium deficiencies have been linked to thyroid disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Ever since embarking on my healthy healing journey, I aim to eat seafood about 2-3 times a week. But how does one source fresh seafood when they live in land locked upstate New York? They pay a visit to “Captain Rick”, owner of Pura Vida Fisheries and Moby Rick’s Fish Shop in Saratoga, of course!
Captain Rick Lofstad is a third generation fisherman. His grandfather emigrated from Norway and began the family’s fishing business on Long Island, NY over half a century ago. Rick has happily followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and uses only sustainable ‘ocean to table’ fishing practices. As a former representative for the New York Seafood Council and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Rick has a lifetime of experience and integrity for the seafaring lifestyle he loves. The name “Pura Vida” means ‘pure life’ which sums up Rick’s philosophy about his occupation perfectly.
Rick prides himself on being the only provider of fresh fish in our area. All of his fish are brought to Saratoga within 24 hours of being caught. He and his trusty crew can be found selling their fresh catch every Saturday from 9-1pm at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market and at Moby Rick’s on Lake Avenue 7 days a week. Pura Vida Fisheries offers more than 30 different types of seafood, including: sushi grade tuna, octopus, clams, crab, lobster, salmon, halibut, trout, grouper, and more! Rick’s sustainable practices ensure that he only offers what’s available locally and in-season, reducing the strain on global fisheries.
Over the winter, Rick was hard at work rehabbing a 55 foot Steel Trawler in Nova Scotia. Aptly named ‘All for Joy,’ this boat will help Pura Vida Fisheries increase its fishing production, bringing even more of the ocean’s freshest fish to the Saratoga area!
Summertime means grill-time, and here are a few of Captain Rick’s tips for grilling fish this summer:
1. Keep the Skin On!
Grilling fish is an action cooking method. You’ll need to pay attention to get it cooked right. Leave the skin on– it will help prevent the fish from falling apart when you move it.
2. Consider Using a Fish Basket!
Instead of flipping the fish itself, you flip the basket which holds the fish together and makes grilling it much easier.
3. Use a Wooden Plank!
Soak a wooden plank in water for at least 2 hours. Place your fish on the plank, and place it on the grill. Cover and wait until it is done. No flipping required! The aroma of the wood infuses into the fish as heat is applied. Cedar, hickory, apple, maple, or cherry planks are great choices.
4. Use a Skewer!
Skewers work best for shrimp or scallops, but can also work for tuna, sword or monk fish. Be inventive and create colorful, tasty fish kabobs alternating seafood and vegetables on the skewer.
One of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy Captain Rick’s fresh catch during the summer is by making these Quick & Easy Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos:
QUICK & EASY SPICY GRILLED FISH TACOS
PREP TIME: 10 mins
TOTAL TIME: 30 mins
INGREDIENTS: *Available seasonally at the market
2 lbs firm white fish* (such as tilapia, cod or mahi mahi), cut into 1-inch strips
“Spicy Dry Rub,” to taste (see recipe below)
12 corn tortillas
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Mexican crema, or sour cream
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 large tomatoes*, chopped
2 limes, cut into wedges
Salsa, avocado, or hot sauce (optional)
“Spicy Dry Rub” for Fish (yield: 2 Tablespoons)
1 tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
Dip a paper towel in a bit of olive oil and, using tongs, brush over a clean, hot grill. Season fish all over with the “Spicy Dry Rub,” and arrange on grill over medium heat. Cook, flipping once until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, warm a few tortillas at a time by sprinkling them lightly with water and placing them on the grill. Turn tortillas frequently and once done, transfer to a kitchen towel to keep warm. Add mayonnaise, crema, and ketchup into a small bowl, mix well and set aside.
When fish is done, place a few strips in each tortilla, top liberally with squeezed lime juice, shredded cabbage, chopped tomatoes, avocado and a spoonful of the reserved crema sauce. Serve with lime wedges and fresh salsa on the side.