Because seafood is generally eaten far less frequently in the U.S. than beef, pork, and chicken, many Americans never gain real familiarity with seafood in general and fish in particular. But thanks to modern science, we now know that there are many fish that are essentially superfoods, providing abundant nutrition with very little fat. The flavor can take some getting used to, but once you learn to enjoy a wide variety of fish, your health and your palate will benefit. Here are ten fish that are great for your health, your culinary delight, and the environment.
Pacific salmon: Salmon is widely regarded as one of the healthiest fish to eat, abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and calcium, but it's also delicious, with a distinct aroma and a delicate flavor to its pink and meaty flesh.
Pacific cod: Atlantic Cod has been overfished and is best left alone. Pacific cod, however, are abundant, and they're generally caught using more sustainable methods. There are lots of ways to cook it, but my personal favorite is baked with lemon juice, flour, and paprika.
Sardines: These tiny fish are extremely abundant both in the wild and on farms, so feel free to eat as many as you like. They're also healthy, and they have been used in a number of studies to prove the considerable health benefits of fish in general. It's easy to find them canned, but if you look hard enough, you can also find fresh sardines.
Herring: Herring are among the most environmentally sustainable fish to eat, so have as much as you want. They're great pickled, fried, baked, or even raw.
Anchovies: Anchovies are highly versatile for culinary purposes, serving as the bases for many types of fish sauce as well as a somewhat popular pizza topping. They're eaten in virtually every country in the world, and they're widely farmed, which means they're okay to eat.
Sablefish: This sweet fish is sometimes known as a "butterfish" due to its soft texture and delicate flavor. It's extremely healthy, and the fish are abundant in the North Pacific, so there are no ethical concerns with eating them. They're best fried, but their softness makes them versatile.
Mackerel: Mackerel is the perfect fish for seafood lovers who don't mind its strong taste. Along with the powerful flavor comes a meat that is firm and full of healthy materials. A smaller relative of tuna, these fish are widely abundant and perfectly fine to eat. They're eaten poached, baked, or fried, often as an appetizer or side dish.
Pacific halibut: This white fish is highly versatile and tends to appeal even to picky eaters who resist seafood. It's low in fat, rich and nutrients, and delicious in a wide variety of dishes. The Pacific halibut is abundant in the wild, and conservation groups approve of its consumption. The Atlantic halibut has been overfished and should be avoided.
Rainbow trout: Rainbow trout is similar to salmon but with a nuttier, slightly milder flavor. Like salmon, it's rich in fatty acids, and it also contains plenty of B12, which helps reduce heart disease. Rainbow trout are threatened in the wild, but it's perfectly acceptable to eat trout raised on farms.
Catfish: Catfish are among the coolest fish in the world, with a distinctive appearance and lots of character, but they also make great food. Varieties farmed in inland U.S. ponds make great, robust meat that's delicious fried up with vegetables and white wine sauce.