Fresh-frozen fish, chosen carefully, may aid health

It can certainly help you make a delicious dinner



If you’re trying to eat healthier, don’t rule out shopping the frozen fish aisle.

Many sources say that’s where you’re more apt to buy fish that was frozen at its freshest. And fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are thought to lower health risks.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, a diet incorporating lean meat, like fish, and plant-based foods, as well as limiting red meat can reduce one’s chances of getting cancer. With the spotlight on raising awareness about breast cancer, which took my mother, Mary Selasky, 29 years ago, eating good-for-you foods like some fish is a simple choice.

And those fish can be a great dinner option. Fish typically cooks quickly, needs little fuss and takes to a variety of flavors.

But it’s important to choose your fish wisely.

While sources such as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating at least two servings of fish per week, others urge caution. Some fish, such as king mackerel, have high mercury levels; others, such as salmon, have very little. For those with higher levels, moderation is key. Today’s recipe features mahi-mahi, which falls in the middle.

Also known as dolphinfish, mahi-mahi is a firm fish with a pinkish hue. It has a mild flavor with a hint of sweetness. Moderately fatty, mahi-mahi is a good source of protein, Vitamin B6 and selenium.

And if you’re concerned about our oceans’ health, you’ll be happy to know that mahi-mahi is listed both as a Best Choice and as a Good Alternative on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list at

To me, mahi-mahi is a treat (most people I know don’t eat it on a weekly basis). And, because it’s on the firm side, mahi-mahi holds up well to all cooking methods.

What also makes this dish terrific is the addition of lightly sautéed zucchini ribbons and grape tomatoes.

Slicing the zucchini into thin ribbons — a good vegetable peeler works just fine — makes for an elegant presentation. The tomatoes and briny capers brighten the dish. This recipe does include butter — it’s a small amount per serving — but you can leave it out if you prefer.

And, if you like, it works just as well with salmon.

Mahi-Mahi With Skillet-Sauteed Zucchini Ribbons and Grape Tomatoes

Serves 4. Preparation time: 15 minutes. Total time: 40 minutes.

From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.


3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove, minced, optional

For the FISH:

4 mahi-mahi pieces, about 5 ounces each

1 teaspoon Morton Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 shallots, peeled, sliced (about 1/3 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons capers, well-drained

2 tablespoons white or dark balsamic vinegar

2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ribbons

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the broiler.

To prepare basil butter: In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients and set aside.

To broil the fish: Lightly coat a broiler pan with cooking spray. Place the mahi-mahi on the pan and sprinkle with the seasoning blend. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

To make the zucchini and tomatoes: Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the wine, capers and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Add the zucchini ribbons; reduce the heat and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley. Set aside.

When the fish is done, arrange a few zucchini ribbons on each plate. Top with a piece of fish. Scatter the remaining tomatoes and skillet ingredients on top of the fish and garnish with a teaspoon or so of the basil butter.

Nutritional Analysis (includes basil butter): 286 calories (34 percent from fat), 11 grams fat (5 grams sat. fat), 11 grams carbohydrates, 36 grams protein, 688 mg sodium, 148 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.