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Easy, Breezy Seafood for Summertime

Last updated: 7/6/21
3 readers recommend
By: Catherine Newman

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines.

Four delightful and healthy recipes that star both canned and fresh fish and seafood, come together quickly, and are sure to keep you (and your family!) happy and full.

Seafood is pretty much my favorite thing in the world. It tastes like a beach vacation to me, and it’s full of protein and healthy fats. But, sure, it can be a little bit daunting to cook at home. On the one hand, you might live with the kind of people who complain about fish having a FISHY taste (well, yeah). Or you might be confronting seafood recipes that stress you out with dire warnings about the terrible things that will happen to you if you overcook it (it will be fine). Or it might be too hard to figure out, in terms of what’s sustainable and safe for both you and the planet (here’s a handy guide). Or it might simply be too pricey.

That’s where these recipes come in. They’re easy, forgiving, adaptable, and fairly foolproof. Plus, two of them rely on canned seafood – which is an amazingly economic alternative to fresh and, when doctored up with bright seasonings, is amazingly tasty. Plus, we’re keeping all the carb counts nice and low so that you can eat any of these delicious meals without your blood glucose spiking all over the place. Go ahead and try them (and encourage the skeptical eaters in your house to try them too).

A few other fish recipes:

1. Zucchini with Garlic-Butter Clam Sauce

If you have access to fresh clams, well, then you probably know what to do with them. But this recipe, using already-prepped, easily obtained, amazingly economical supermarket canned clams (look for them near the canned tuna) is shockingly delicious. Especially considering that you’re using zucchini noodles rather than linguine noodles! (If lowering carbs is not your particular aim, you can use ¾ pound cooked linguine instead of the zucchini noodles.) I have to give you a range of serving sizes here, though, because I wanted the recipe to serve four – but it’s actually kind of too good to. If you do eke out four servings, just be sure to serve a ginormous salad alongside so that you have somewhere to direct people who are sad to find their plates empty.

View the recipe.

2. Lemon-Dill Salmon Cakes

If you’ve never used canned salmon before, prepare for a revelation. This is an old-fashioned thrifty type of recipe in that it’s designed to stretch an already fairly inexpensive ingredient (canned fish), but then – thanks to the herbs and lemon and Old Bay seasoning – it ends up tasting very deliciously like the kind of fancy crab cakes that you would follow around at a wedding reception when they were passing hors d’oeuvres. Cold the next day, and wrapped in a lettuce leaf, one of these makes my ideal lunch. Please note: these are a little bit fussy to fry as they’re inclined to fall apart if you don’t use a very light touch as you’re flipping them. If the fragility is going to drive you crazy, swap in an egg and 1 tablespoon of mayo for the 1/3 cup of mayo. (I like the fluffy texture of the all-mayo version, but maybe it might not be worth it to you.) Also, not to be immodest, but this is pretty much the most delicious tartar sauce.

View the recipe.

3. Chipotle-Lime Shrimp Salad with Radishes and Avocado

If shrimp were free, I would eat this every night. It’s crunchy and creamy (thank you, radishes and avocados), and the shrimp themselves are tart and tender and a little bit spicy. So it’s basically a perfect food. It’s also fairly forgiving, in terms of the shrimp you use: mine were on the smaller side this time, and tailless, but you could use bigger ones with or without tails and – sorry if this sounds like heresy – you can even start with *cooked* shrimp. I have done this, and I still marinate and fry them more or less as directed here, because I’m a sucker for the flavors, and they’re great that way. But it would be easier simply to dump the cooked shrimp on top of the salad and then dress the whole thing, and you should feel free to try that.

View the recipe.

4. Pineapple-Glazed Salmon and Vegetables

This dish manages to achieve a delicious teriyaki vibe without adding any refined sweeteners, and when our son was little, this was pretty much the gateway for him becoming a lover of salmon. I’m lazy, so I like to broil it, but if folks in your household will be more excited by kabobs, then by all means cut the salmon into 1-inch chunks and thread salmon, zucchini, cherry tomato, and red onion chunks onto bamboo skewers (first soak the bare skewers in water for 30 minutes). Then broil the kabobs or grill them on a well-oiled grill for 5 minutes. Another possible variation is using a different fish – black cod, maybe, or sea bass – but there is something truly magical about the flavor of the fruity sweet-tart glaze with the rich salmon. Serve with cauliflower rice, if you like.

View the recipe.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her book "How to Be A Person" was published in 2020. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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