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8 Dishes That Will Get You Hooked on Sustainability

Maggie Borden

February 08, 2017

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It’s a confusing time for fish fans: on one hand, we’re being told to up our intake and pump ourselves full of omega-3s—but at the same time, environmental advocates are sounding the alarm of near-extinction for many sea species. If you find yourself struggling to navigate these choppy waters, take heart: more and more chefs are championing the diverse and delicious world of sustainable seafood. From a simple grilled fillet with a zippy sauce to a Southwestern surf ’n’ turf, we’ve reeled in recipes from our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change alums (and from JBF Award winners around the web) that will appeal to both your taste buds and your conscience. 

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Thai-Style Rockfish with Spicy Tamarind Sauce

JBF Award winner Tory Miller fries rockfish in a light batter and coats the pieces in a spicy-sweet sauce for an impressive dinner that’s easier to make than it seems.

Brioche-Crusted Skate Wing with Pistachio Pistou

This dish from JBF Award winner Jennifer Jasinski puts together a cornucopia of delicious components (think Brussels sprouts with prosciutto and pistachios) that elevate the sweet and delicate skate wing meat for an irresistible entrée.

Lionfish Ceviche (pictured above)

According to Hari Pulapaka, the best way to deal with an invasive species is to eat it, especially if it’s as mouthwatering as lionfish. Simply marinated in ginger, citrus, and as many chiles as you can handle, this ceviche lets the fish take center stage.

Andrea Reusing’s Grilled Mackerel with Green Sauce

Don’t be intimidated by mackerel’s reputation for a strong, fishy taste—armed with the right information, you’ll get a meaty fish that grills up to a crispy golden-brown, as in this recipe from JBF Award winner Andrea Reusing, which pairs the fillets with an herbaceous green sauce.

Michael Mina’s Dungeness Crab Cioppino [Food & Wine]

Winter is the perfect time for warming, flavorful cioppino, and who better to whip up a San Francisco standby than JBF Award winner Michael Mina? Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch recommend Dungeness crab as a good alternative when the mood for seafood stew strikes. 

Rick Moonen’s Clams and Chorizo [Coastal Living] 

Not only are bivalves like clams and oysters delicious, but they actually help to clean the waters around them, improving their environment the more they grow. In this recipe, JBF Award winner Rick Moonen pairs them with meat, spicy Spanish chorizo, for a land-and-sea combo that serves as a perfect hors d’oeuvre.

Andrew Zimmern’s Grilled Striped Bass [Food & Wine] 

Seafood Watch recommends Atlantic, line-caught striped bass as a best choice, which means you should have no reservations about grilling it up and slathering the fillets in this addictive savory caramel sauce from JBF Award winner Andrew Zimmern.

Alton Brown’s Broiled Sockeye Salmon [Seafood Watch]

JBF Award winner Alton Brown developed this recipe specifically for sockeye salmon, which is rated best choice by Seafood Watch if sourced from Alaska or Washington state. Topped with a simple crust of brown sugar, salt, pepper, and lemon zest, this is a straightforward but sumptuous dinner perfect for a weeknight.

Check out Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch for more tips on buying sustainable seafood.

Learn more about the JBF Impact programs.

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Maggie Borden is associate editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.