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Living so close to the Gulf Coast means more delicious seafood

There are many advantages of living so close to the Gulf Coast. One of them is, it’s easy for us to enjoy eating fresh seafood as we celebrate October as National Seafood Month

Fish and shellfish are easy to prepare and swimming with nutritive value.  Fish and shellfish have become an even more important part of the diet as people turn to more healthful eating. People are choosing fish and shellfish more for several reasons.  It is economical, versatile, high in nutritive value, quick and easy to prepare, and it tastes good, too.

When purchasing fish, look for bright, clear, bulging eyes; reddish or pink gills, tight, shiny scales; firm, elastic flesh that springs back when pressed; and a pleasant saltwater-like odor.

Fish and shellfish are best if cooked the day of purchase but can be stored no more than two (2) days in the coldest part of the refrigerator, preferably on ice.  Frozen seafood will remain fresh for four to six months.  Cook seafood immediately upon thawing.  Do not thaw fish at room temperature or in warm water because it loses moisture and flavor. Never refreeze uncooked fish.

Most fish and shellfish can be cooked using a variety of methods. Fish and seafood can be broiled, grilled, deep-fried, poach, steam, baked, pan-fried and sautéed. Care must be taken not to overcook fish or seafood. Fish are done when the flesh, pierced at its thickest point with a fork flakes easily, and flesh turns from translucent to opaque.  Proper cooking develops flavor, softens connective tissue and makes protein easier to digest.

Many seafood enthusiasts prefer flavoring their dishes with small amounts of salt, pepper, and occasionally lemon. The delicately taste of seafood blends exceptionally well with a variety of herbs, spices, and seeds, as long as these seasonings are used sparingly.

The next time you are in the neighborhood of your local seafood market, stop in.  Remember that fish and shellfish from the Gulf are nutritious, economical, quick and easy to prepare, and taste great.  So, enjoy local fish and seafood today. Source: Facets: Consumer Education Through Sciences

Here are some delightful seafood recipes to try:

Ingredients

• 4 U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Fillets

• 1/2 fresh lemon per fillet

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Citrus Sauce

• Juice and zest of 1 lime

• Zest of 1 lemon

• Zest of 1 orange

• 6 ounces pineapple juice

• 1/2 cup brown sugar

• 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• Instructions

• Preheat grill.

To make Citrus Sauce, combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Place catfish in shallow dish and squeeze 1/2 fresh lemon over each. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let sit 5 minutes.

Place catfish fillets on grill skin side up for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip over and grill 2 to 3 more minutes.

Transfer catfish to serving plate and spoon warmed Citrus Sauce over fillets.

Serves 4.

Shrimp Kabobs

• 1 pound frozen raw, peeled. Cleaned shrimp

• 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

• Teaspoon salt

• 2 large green peppers cut into 1-inch squares

• Dash pepper

• 8 slices bacon cut into sixths

• 3 cans (4 ounces each) button mushrooms drained

• Thaw frozen shrimp.  Alternate shrimp, bacon, mushrooms, and green pepper on 48 skewers or round toothpicks, approximately 3 inches long.  Place kabobs on a well-greased broiler pan.  Combine remaining ingredients.  Pour half of the sauce over kabobs.  Broil about 4 inches from source of heat for 5 to 7 minutes.  Turn carefully and baste with remaining sauce.  Broil 5 to 7 inches longer or until shrimp are pink and tender.  Makes approximately 48 hors d’oeuvres