We were among a few lucky journalists invited by Elaine Doran of E L Doran Public Relations, to dine at McCormick’s & Schmick’s as they celebrated National Seafood Month. We met at the Beverly Hills location on 206 Rodeo Dr. at 6:30 for cocktails and a magnificent dinner at 7 to find out how we can eat healthy with seafood. It was a very fun evening with hands on healthy cooking demo, dinner featuring the healthiest season catch, education and great company.
McCormick’s & Schmick’s is heavily vested in sustainability and go to great lengths to make sure they are not only providing the best fish for their customers but that they are not harming the environment or any fish species. As an example, one of the most scrumptious fish we enjoyed that evening was Chilean Seabass and because it was not sustainable, McCormick’s & Schmick’s has not served it in eight years. Now that Chilean Seabass is sustainable, McCormick’s & Schmick’s is again serving it. In fact, McCormick’s & Schmick’s follow all sustainability fish notices.
There are nine McCormick’s & Schmick’s in the LA area and their knowledge of what is healthy is very impressive. Some of their fish come from fish farms where the fish are raised in open ocean cages. If they use aqua farms, they go and check out these farms to make sure the condition of the fish lives up to their high standards.
We were lucky enough to have Executive Chef David Iino prepare our meal. Iino is a native Angelino, who descends from Japanese ancestry. His parents were actually in the internment camps during WW2. Iino prepared each and every dish with elegance. To demonstrate his finesse, we even had several different flavors (yes flavors) of salts to try. Surprisingly each had its own taste that totally influenced whatever we put it on.
After pleasant socializing, the meal began with the cooking demonstration with tuna poke with live ogo seaweed, tomato, red onion, scallions and Hawaiian sea salt.
Our first course was absolutely delicious Kona Kampachi sashimi served with soy salt
and Alaskan King Crab and cucumber salad. Interestingly, the King Crab was from the boat ‘Early Dawn’ from the popular TV series ‘Deadliest Catch’
Then Iino served the amazing Chiliean seabass served with fingerling potatoes and baby bok choy with a lobster broth. The third course was succulent wild Alaskan salmon served with wild rice and a wild mushroom demi.
Finally we enjoyed a refreshing dessert of pavlova with macerated berri es.
Below are some interesting facts that I am sure you will find useful.
The National Fisheries Institute launched National Seafood Month in the 1940s as a week-long event to promote seafood. It evolved in the late 1950s into a promotional event spanning all of October. October initially was chosen because it was a slow period for seafood sales.
Now, however, with modern technology, refrigeration, overnight shipping and other advances, seafood sales are strong year-round and diners have access to terrific seafood every month. Today, October still remains a great time to educate consumers about the many benefits of seafood.
Facts about Seafood Consumption
- Americans consumed 4.9 billion pounds of seafood in 2007—an average of 16.3 pounds of seafood per person.
- The National Fisheries Institute expects worldwide per capita consumption of seafood to
- Seventy-five percent of Americans say they eat seafood once a month, nearly half eat seafood once a week.
- The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week as part of a heart-healthy diet.
TIPS FOR BUYING & PREPARING SEAFOOD
- Only buy seafood from reputable, commercial sources.
- Buy only well-refrigerated or properly iced seafood products.
- Once purchased, refrigerate product immediately.
- For optimal freshness, use seafood products within three days.
- If you purchase live shellfish, (i.e., lobsters, crabs, oysters, clams and mussels) discard any that die during storage.
- Don’t buy cooked seafood, such as shrimp, crabs or smoked fish, if displayed in the same case as raw fish. Cross contamination can occur.
- Don’t buy frozen seafood if the packages are open, torn or crushed on the edges. Avoid packages that are above the frost line in the store’s freezer. If the package cover is transparent, look for signs of frost or ice crystals. This could mean that the fish has either been stored for a long time or thawed and refrozen.
- The little plastic signs, which list the price per pound, should be stuck into the ice (or a lemon wedge) next to the fish, not into the fish itself.
- When buying a whole fresh fish, look for bright clear eyes, glistening skin, and very firm flesh.
- To check quality of fish, press index and middle finger into fish skin. The indentation should pop back very quickly.
- Smelling the fish is a sure way to tell quality. Fresh fish should smell like fish, with a slight, sea-breeze odor. Bad fish has a sour smell similar to ammonia.
- Thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator or under cold running water, not at room temperature. Marinate seafood in the refrigerator.
- Prevent cooked seafood products from coming into contact with raw product as well as the cutting boards and utensils used to prepare them.
- Equipment: Most important equipment is a good knife. Doesn’t have to be expensive. Anyone can fillet a fish using a very sharp knife.
- Cooking Time: Measure the fish at its thickest part. Allow approximately six to twelve minutes of cooking time per inch of thickness.
- Challenge: Cooking fish makes the house smell bad
- Solution: Pour a little vermouth in a pan and simmer it on the stove while you’re cooking. The smell of vermouth neutralizes the smell of fish.
- Challenge: Fish sticks to the grill
- Solution: Take a raw white potato, cut in half and rub it across the warm grill grates before putting the fish on. The starch from the potato coats the grill and helps prevent sticking.
HEALTH BENEFITS of OMEGA-3s
Scientific research has found that certain fats can be healthy and actually help the human body fight against cancer and heart disease. For years, studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood, especially salmon, can help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Now, aggressive medical studies are showing that fish oils, including Omega-3, alter the production of an important group of biological compounds known as eicosanoids. These compounds affect blood pressure, blood clotting, inflammation, immune function and coronary spasms.
Omega-3 Fats are Healthy
Many types of seafood, particularly salmon, are rich in Omega-3 oils. Scientists have known for years that Omega-3 offers heart-healthy benefits, including:
- Helping to decrease blood lipids (cholesterol, LDL's, and triglycerides)
- Reducing blood clotting factors
- Increasing relaxation in larger arteries and blood vessels
- Decreasing the inflammatory processes in blood vessels
Additionally, the Omega-3 oils found in many types of seafood have been linked to improvements in or prevention of certain kinds of cancer, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, arthritis, asthma, certain kinds of mental illness, depression and lupus.
Wild salmon in particular contains two critical Omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA:
- EPA fats promote normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels and improve blood flow. They also promote healthy skin and enhance immune function.
- DHA fats play an essential role in brain function. DHA levels play a critical role in cognitive functioning throughout life and normal levels are needed for optimal memory and brain function.
Sources of Omega-3
The preferred choice for Omega-3 consumption is from eating seafood because the fat is better absorbed by the body and it comes with many other nutrients. Many modern diets aren't high enough in Omega-3 oils to realize optimum health benefits. That's why various types of seafood should be included in weekly diets.
Regular seafood meals could include salmon, which is particularly high in these "good fats." In addition, Sockeye salmon has the highest amount of Omega-3 of any fish with approximately 2.7 grams per 100-gram portion. Therefore, just one serving of salmon per week can help to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
How often should Omega-3 fats be consumed?
Studies have shown that including seafood rich in Omega-3s in the diet two to four times a week can improve health.
McCormick & Schmick's A Pacific Seafood Grill
206 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills, Ca 90210