March 16, 2017 — You know fish is good for you, but shopping for it is dicey. Much of the fish behind the counter is mislabeled, or not exactly fresh. And even if you can trust the labels, there are just so many of them: Should you buy American or Chilean? Wild-caught or farmed? Follow these six steps to guarantee you bring home the freshest, tastiest, and healthiest filet.
1. Buy American
A fish’s country of origin must be disclosed; it’s an FDA rule. Stick to USA seafood: Reports have revealed worker exploitation and unsanitary processing and storage methods in Asian fisheries, says Norah Eddy, cofounder of Salty Girl Seafood. Also look for the phrase “processed in the United States.” Some Alaskan salmon is sent to China for processing, a journey that can take more than two weeks before you buy the fish, Eddy says.
2. Keep the Skin On
Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and lake trout bring a healthy dose of omega-3s to the table. (Here’s why you need those good fats.) Skip the skin and you’re not maxing out on these good fats, says dietitian Robert Lazzinnaro, R.D. Chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins in New Orleans crisps the skin this way: Melt butter in a pan over medium high. Scale the fish and score the skin in a crosshatch pattern; season both sides. Start skin side down; cook 3 to 4 minutes. Flip. Repeat. Eat.