Breathe some new life into your fish recipes with this easy roasted cod with mint chimichurri. And learn best practices for choosing fresh fish that's free from toxins.
I eat a decent amount of fish. My body needs a lot of protein. As much as I'd like to only eat a plant based diet, I require more energy than what greens and nuts can deliver. Unfortunately, I've had issues with heavy metals in my system, which my doctor believes came from fish I ate that wasn't up to par. Scary, right? So I've become uber-vigilante about sourcing my fish to avoid consuming added toxins. I have some tips on sourcing clean fish so you can make today's roasted cod with mint chimichurri without worrying about taking in pollutants.
What to look for when buying fish
Are you now wondering if you have heavy metals in your body? You might. We all have some, but it's when you become overloaded that problems occur, like a slowing down of nutrient absorption, which happened to me. I was eating well, and even taking supplements, but I wasn't reaping the rewards of all the vitamins and minerals I was consuming due to the toxicity of my system.
Fish can be so wonderful for you body. Seafood is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help you ward off inflammation, autoimmune disease, heart disease and can keep your brain in tip top shape. Unfortunately metals like mercury, cadmium and arsenic can end up in our water, which eventually can get into our system. Mercury, for instance, hits the water, mingles with bacteria and then gets converted into fish food. Little swimmers come by and eat it up, and then the bigger guys come and eat the little fish. Guess who then eats that big fish? We do! Not quite the circle of life you were hoping for, right?
Don't swear off fish forever. There are some ways around eating mercury-laden seafood. The bigger the fish, the more likely it contains heavy metals. You're going to want to avoid swordfish, shark and king mackerel - the steaks of the fish world. You're not going to miss those guys. I never thought they had much taste and can end up super dry in an instant.
What you want to look for is wild caught fish, swimming in unpolluted waters. Wild-caught salmon from Alaska is good stuff, as is much wild Pacific fish. The Atlantic has had more issues with clean water than our coast out here. When you're looking at fish to buy, make sure there's no smell, it's a consistent color, and if it's whole, there should be clear eyes. No lazy or pink eye please.
I don't like farmed fish due to the contaminants that are often produced in the water where they're housed - hello fish poop and chemicals. And farmed fish can be similar to mass produced beef and chicken where the producers are looking for fast results, so there's often antibiotic use and pollution that can spill out into water, and into the fish you want to eat.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has one of my go-to guides for purchasing fish. They Seafood Watch site and app list great options, including species, locations and details on what fish is best to buy. You can also input your chosen fish and they'll rate it and give you better alternatives if necessary. Cod has several "best choice" options on Seafood Watch so I often keep it stocked in my house, ie., my cod in white wine lemon caper sauce is a staple.
Where to buy clean fish
I usually start with checking my fish with the Seafood Watch site, and then source from there. Grocery stores are getting better with the fish they carry, but the healthiest choice isn't always the cheapest, so you do need to do your homework. My farmer's market has some good local caught, well-sourced meat and fish, and I'll often buy from them when I'm in town.
My go-to fish spot though, is Vital Choice. They do the legwork and make sure things are sourced from clean waters. It's flash frozen right after it's caught. They work with certified sustainable fisheries and have organic catch too. So I usually buy a big shipment from them once a quarter or so and load up my freezer. Having a good supply on hand at all times, guarantees I can always whip together a healthy meal, even if I might not have made a recent grocery store run.
That brings us to today's roasted cod with mint chimichurri. I always have fresh herbs in the house, so I took bunches of those, processed them with a few other spices and I had dinner in under a half an hour. Can't beat that. It's always a win for me to put a healthy and easy meal on the table in minutes.
Roasted Cod with Mint Chimichurri
Serves 2 (with leftover chimichurri for another use)
- 2 pieces of cod (I buy my cod here)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cup fresh mint, stems removed
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon
- 1/3 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the garlic in a food processor and chop. Add the mint, parsley, cilantro and lemon and pulse until combined. Slowly drizzle in the 1/3 cup of olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper.
- Warm one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Pat the cod very dry and then season with salt and pepper on both sides. Add to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes per side. The fish is done when it's opaque and cooked all the way through.
- Serve the fish immediately with the mint chimichurri on top. Reserve any leftover chimichurri in a glass container with a lid in the refrigerator.
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