Crab dip is tops in sustainable fish dishes

Crab is a safe bet

Crab is a safe bet

Everybody loves fish for its lean protein and its omega-3s that do wonders  for our brains. But these days our poor heads are so bombarded with info on which fish are facing extinction or which types are loaded with deadly mercury that we are almost afraid to try any fish at all.

I’m here to tell you though that plain steamed crab meat is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. For a minimal amount of calories, you get lots of protein, a multitude of minerals and several B vitamins.

Crab meat is incredibly lean and low in calories. Blue crab meat offers just 70 calories from a 3-ounce cooked portion. If you prefer Alaska king crab, the same amount has around 80 calories, while a 3-ounce portion of Dungeness crab contains 95 calories. Only Russian crab is a little suspect for Russia’s bad reputation regarding  sustainable harvesting.

Avoid a butter or cream sauce to keep saturated fat to a minimum. A single tablespoon of melted butter adds another 100 calories, almost all of which is from saturated fat.

Instead, try this crab dip. Hot, bubbly, and browned, this dish is an easy family favorite, served up in a pretty, ceramic baked-brie bowl.

Serve a hot bowl of crab dip with veggies and crackers.

Serve a hot bowl of crab spread with veggies and crackers for dipping. No double-dipping, please…

Kris’s Favorite Crab Spread

  • 7 1/2-ounce can crab meat
  • 1 8-ounce package low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  1. Combine cheese with milk and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Add drained and flaked crab meat and chopped onion.
  3. Put into small shallow baking dish.
  4. Top with toasted almonds. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with assorted crackers and raw veggies. Have spreaders handy.

Variations

I love the new cream cheese made from Greek yogurt. Try it if you see it.

A little red paprika sprinkled on top is also nice.

Or you can garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro or dill, if you are using these herbs for another of your dishes.

Finally, you can substitute lobster meat, for a nice change. The flavor is more pronounced and the nutrition is similar to crab.

Picasso's "Night fishing in Antibes"

My photo of Picasso’s “Night fishing at Antibes,” 1939

Which fish are safest?

I’ve bolded the fish you can look for when shopping for good health. This is a general guide to a complex subject. Feel free to do the research on fish available in your own neck of the woods.

  • Salmon – Buy wild Pacific salmon. Wild Atlantic salmon is endangered and farmed salmon is considered polluted.
  • American or Canadian albacore tuna – It’s the white-fleshed tuna, caught young, before mercury levels have a chance to accumulate to dangerous levels. Or switch to Pacific salmon. Avoid Atlantic bluefin tuna completely. Its mercury levels are sky-high, the highest of any tuna.
  • Canadian or U.S. wild shrimp – Imported farmed shrimp are the dirtiest fish you can buy. Also, avoid shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico since the recent oil spill has contaminated the beds.
  • Pacific Halibut – Avoid all Atlantic flatfish, like flounder, sole, and halibut, because of heavy contamination and over-fishing that dates back to the 1800s.
  • Canadian and US crab and Atlantic lobster – A healthy food choice, caught sustainably.
Avoid red tuna copletely as it's high in mercury and is being fished excessively and illegally.

Avoid red tuna completely as it’s high in mercury and is being fished excessively and illegally. Choose white tuna (albacore)  instead.

Which fish should we avoid completely?

  • Chilean sea bass – Avoid it. It’s facing extinction. Try haddock instead for a similar texture.
  • Shark – Avoid it. Shark is high in mercury and is over-fished. Eat Atlantic mackerel or Pacific halibut instead.

 

 

 

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chef mimi
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 10:34:30

    A very informative post. I was about to mention that I can’t get real crab meat where I live – I can only get that rubbery, sweetened pink stuff – then I noticed you used canned crab. I’ve never dared try it. So obviously you approve?!!

    Reply

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