Last year on this very day, I was exploring the fjords of Norway, hanging tight to the railing of a bobbing and rolling fishing vessel. Specifically, I was evaluating the safety and efficacy of farmed Norwegian Salmon.
During my week in Bergen and its surrounding cities, I ate fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and while that may sound extreme, it really wasn’t. Norway has 15,000 miles of coastline, 150,000 lakes and 50,000 islands, so it makes perfect sense that seafood dominates this country’s cuisine.
Interestingly, Norway’s population is among the slimmest in the developed world, and the country saw a precipitous drop in heart attack deaths around the end of the 20th Century.
This begs the question whether there’s a link between seafood consumption and health, and recent science is conclusive. Two, new scientific reports, one from the U.S. government and the other from a prestigious global health organization, recommends the general population, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, eat 8 to 12 ounces of seafood weekly to boost brain health and avoid the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Other current seafood research shows:
- Choosing fish rich in essential Omega-3 fatty acids (such as tuna and salmon) may lessen post-partum depression.
- Omega-3s promote immunity and, consumed in infancy, may reduce the chance of childhood allergies.
- Enjoying fish during pregnancy and lactation can improve a babies’ eye and brain development.
- Regular consumption of fish provides high-quality, lean protein and a range of essential nutrients.
At a time when we’re being bombarded with messages such as “don’t eat this” and “don’t buy that,” it’s refreshing to know we can consume more seafood, something I love to prepare and enjoy in good conscience. There’s no reason why you can’t do the same.
If cost is a factor, consider the more convenient forms of fish; frozen cuts and canned fish like tuna and salmon are a huge bang for their nutritional buck. If you opt for fresh fish, cook it simply. Grilled, poached and broiled fish are fuss-free and delicious.
To make my point about how simple a great fish dish can be, I’m sharing my recipe for Pasta with Tuna and Fresh Basil. The recipe is also healthy, tasty, quick and inexpensive. What more could you ask for?
PASTA WITH TUNA AND FRESH BASIL
Makes 4 – 6 Servings
¼ cup lemon-infused olive oil
2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes or good-quality canned, chopped Italian tomatoes Salt, to taste
1 (5-oz) can tuna fish, packed in olive oil
10 mild-tasting black olives, pitted and chopped
Crushed red pepper, to taste
1 pound short cut pasta like Penne Rigate or Fusilli
1 bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Zest from 1 lemon
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and salt, to taste. Cook the tomatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until the juices have evaporated, then turn off the heat and add the tuna, olives and crushed red pepper, to taste. Set aside. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions. When al dente, drain the pasta and reserve some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture, toss in the basil leaves and lemon zest and stir gently to mix. If the pasta seems a bit dry, add some of the reserved pasta liquid. Stir gently, and taste again for proper seasoning. Serve immediately.