Sustainable Seafood and Delicious Seafood Alternatives
Written by: Anna Cloherty
Industrial fishing - a particularly indiscriminate type of commercial fishing - is having a devastating impact on fish and marine life populations. Industrial fishing practices utilize massive nets, bottom trawling, and harmful long-line fishing. This week I’m going to discuss ways to sustainably eat seafood, and for those who wish to stop eating seafood completely, I’ll introduce you to some of my favorite fish-free alternatives!
There are a few main rules to follow if you wish to eat seafood sustainably and responsibly, which are listed in an article by The Ecologist. The first is to pay attention to the species that you choose. Some species are more at risk than others, so it’s important to know which species are more abundant. When you can, you should be buying local and seasonal seafood. Eating local seafood results in a smaller carbon footprint, and if you buy based on the season, you’re more likely to be buying fish when it is most plentiful and therefore most sustainable. It’s also always nice to support your local fishermen! Lastly, it’s very important to know how the fish you’re purchasing was caught. Line caught is what you should be looking for. This puts the least amount of ocean inhabitants in harm's way, and has a low level of bycatch.
Now let’s talk about some seafood alternatives. I haven’t eaten seafood in years. After learning more about the fishing industry, it’s the decision that I am most comfortable with, and it means I get to experiment more in the kitchen! I have found many fish-free seafood alternatives that taste just as good as the real thing, and I’d like to share them with you.
Yes, you heard it right. Calamari without… the calamari. This recipe uses oyster mushrooms to mimic the chewy texture that traditional calamari is known for. This calamari alternative is battered with all different kinds of spices, and deep fried until a crispy golden brown. Pair it with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, and a squeeze of lemon!
Tofish and Chips
Fish and chip’s cousin, tofish and chips, features fried fish made from tofu. Yes, the texture is different from real fish, but the flavor is there. This recipe uses tofu slices, and adds a sheet of nori, or seaweed, to the outer layer of the tofu before battering and deep frying it. By adding a sheet of nori, the tofu takes on a similar ocean-y flavor that is common in fish. It’s delicious!
Vegan King Oyster Scallops
These are the real deal. This recipe uses king oyster mushrooms to replace a real scallop. They sear the same and have the same texture. This recipe uses different ingredients to create an umami flavor and is also incredibly easy to make.
So whether you are a seafood eater or not, you can easily find ways to eat sustainably. It’s important to know where your food comes from and at what cost. As I mentioned earlier, I will be writing a post later in the week to discuss the fishing industry in greater depth, so keep an eye out for that!