Basics for the Refrigerator and Freezer
The refrigerator and freezer are essential to a good pantry. When it comes to the refrigerator, goods from the sea are as necessary as eggs and butter. Look for items such as smoked fish, fish dips, and pasteurized crab that can be added to warmed corn tortillas, omelettes, soups, and more. When it comes to the freezer and fish, frozen really is the new fresh. Best-in-class freezing techniques mean that it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between fresh and frozen. The best of the best in fish and seafood now comes straight from your freezer, so stock up!
Recommend: I like keeping jumbo lump crab meat on hand.
Sustainability: I recommend pasteurized, frozen blue crab caught in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay with trotlines – a domestic crab that is considered a “Best Choice” by Seafood Watch. Blue crab stocks in the U.S. are considered healthy in most states with the exception of Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay waters. In these areas, there is an endangered turtle called the Diamondback Terrapin which lives in the brackish waters of estuaries, tidal creeks, and salt marshes of these states and gets caught in the pots used to catch crabs.
Frozen lobster meat from Maine is incredible.
Recommend: You can never go wrong with smoked salmon – I love smoked Kvaroy Arctic and Santa Barbara Smokehouse’s Rope Hung Smoked Salmon. Kvaroy Arctic’s Salmon Burgers & Hot Dogs are also phenomenal.
Recommend: Shell and tail on and frozen – look for the ASC or BAP label and read more about sourcing shrimp in this blog post. I also recommend Kauai Shrimp, a farm on the west shore of the island of Kauai, is also rated “Best Choice.”
Sustainability: Keep an eye out for giant freshwater prawns farmed in Central and South America and giant tiger prawns from Selva Shrimp Verified Farms in Southeast Asia, which are rated green for “Best Choice.”
“Good Alternatives” (the yellow rating from Seafood Watch) include white leg shrimp from ponds from Ecuador and Honduras, white leg shrimp grown in infrequent exchange ponds from Thailand, and giant freshwater prawns from Asia.
For wild-caught “Best Choice” shrimp, look for spot prawns (aka spot shrimp) and two other closely related coldwater shrimp: the sidestripe and the coonstripe (both of which may be marketed as spot shrimp or prawns). These are caught on the Pacific Coast, primarily from Washington to Alaska.
For Chilean sea bass, look for the MSC label.
A smoked seafood dip is great to have on hand for snacks and appetizers. Here is the recipe for my Tinned Smoked Salmon and Caper Dip
Albacore tuna steaks are delicious!
Basics for the Refrigerator/Freezer
- Butter, unsalted
- Eggs, large grade A
- Garlic: fresh cloves, minced in oil
- Yogurt, plain non-fat