Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Scallops and Sustainability

Big NEWS! I ate scallops for the first time ever this weekend! This is big news because I am not very fond of anything that comes from the sea (or freshwater for that matter)...not because I study it...but because I don't like the "fishy" flavour everything has...blek : P

So in my mission to become a less picky eater (this has included eating onions and mushrooms too), Diego has been preparing extra fresh seafood, smothered in sauce of course, for me to try.

These were still alive when Diego shucked fresh can you get! This is what they look like on the inside! The round white part is the abductor muscle (when flexed it closes the shells). The rest is the mantle (muscle that lines the shell), gills (the equivalent of our lungs), eyes (the little black spots all around the shell when they are closed up) and digestive system. Mostly, people only eat the abductor muscle because, as we found out, the mantle can be chewy...

Diego prepared "deviled scallops", a Mexican recipe that includes, onions, bacon, cream, chipotle chili and cheese. I also made some baked eggplant slices with tomato and brie cheese to accompany the scallops.

Let's just say...they were OK. Unfortunately, we used a strong white cheddar for the scallops and it overwhelmed any other flavour. They weren't fishy but they weren't delicious either. The texture was fine so I gave Diego the OK to make it again with the proper cheese to give it a real try! Also, for the eggplant...the brie was too strong too, next time I will try some goat cheese. I'll let you know how it all works out!

One final note on trying to like seafood. Although, I don't eat it because I don't like it...I also have issues eating seafood that is being fished (or aquacultured) in an unsustainable manner. This unfortunately goes for almost all of the world's fisheries and much of the shrimp and finfish aquaculture. There are some exceptions and I don't want to get into the controversy here. However, I do want to point to some good initiatives for you to know what seafood is sustainable and which is not. Here are some links to an article about biodiversity loss from overfishing among other causes, as well as wallet cards and initiatives indicating sustainable and non-sustainable seafood species. Check it out! You have the choice and the power to make the change!


Sustainable Seafood Initiatives:

The scallops we ate were cultured in St. Margaret's Bay here in Nova Scotia. These are locally grown, so hardly any fuel was spent getting them to me and I am supporting the local economy. Also, they feed on naturally occurring phytoplankton so there is no need to feed them, adding extra nutrients to the system or fishing other species of fish to feed them or feeding them a mix of fish and corn (like in most finfish culture). So, in a nutshell, I am morally ok with eating these scallops...let's hope Diego can convince me to get some much needed seafood based omega-3s (for the heart and brain) by eating them more often with some delicious recipes! : )

Bye for now!

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