By Patricia L. Fitzgerald And Cecily Walters 2014-10-03 11:37:23
Swimming through fresh water or salt? Caught in the wild or raised on a farm? How did your fish find its way to the plate? Not all seafood is fish, but all fish is seafood. At least that’s what we’ve concluded after exhaustive Internet research, but little definitive verification. No matter what you call the aqua-based foods that grace the plate (and we’re gonna stick with “fish,” for the most part), it’s a good thing to eat. Most nutritionists agree that fish is a terrific source of lean protein, heart-healthy omega-3 fats, vitamin D and other nutrients. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans eat fish twice a week! With so many species to consider, in this article we’re going to forgo a conventional overview of types, tastes, menuing suggestions and preparation tips. Instead, we’d like to share some interesting facts that we learned about two major types of fish often served in K-12 school meals (trout and pollock) when we were given unique opportunities to tour commercial production facilities for each. Fish On The Farm In October 2012, Patricia Fitzgerald traveled to Idaho for an editors’ tour focused on three key foods produced in the Gem State: potatoes, onions—and fresh-water farmed rainbow trout. Um, wait a second, did she just say trout? There’s nothing in that familiar children’s song about Old MacDonald having some fish around. (And what do fish say, anyway? “With a glug, glug here”?). But the fact is that several of the delicious and nutritious fish products that we enjoy at home or in restaurants—and that you serve in schools—are raised for commercial production in the same basic manner as beef, chicken, pork and other animal proteins. Trout, tilapia, carp, catfish and Atlantic salmon are examples of some fish that are produced mostly on farms. A Fish Story • Aquaculture is the term for raising aquatic animals or plants in a controlled fresh- or saltwater environment, as opposed to a commercial fishing and harvesting of wild fish. Trout is said to have been the first fish to be spawned in captivity, in Germany in the 1700s. • Eastern Idaho is the site of a huge underground aquifer or reservoir that is created by runoff from nearby mountains and is equivalent in size to Lake Erie! Water flowing out of the aquifer is a clean, clear, drinkable 58 degrees at all times. This is ideal for raising rainbow trout, which require a source of continually flowing cool water. Just a handful of trout farms located along the nearby Snake River produce an estimated 22 million pounds of trout every year—70% of all rainbow trout raised in the United States. Clear Springs Foods supplies 60% of this total, processing between 75,000 and 100,000 pounds of fish every day. • The average harvest size for a rainbow trout is roughly 19.5 ounces. At Clear Springs, fertilized eggs are placed in incubators for 10 days until they hatch. The young fish, called fry, are transferred initially to indoor ponds for about a month, before they are transferred outside. There are an estimated 7 million fish swimming in the tiered “raceway” channels (rectangular ponds) at the company’s farms at any given time. • The smallest fish out of the hatchery may stay at the top tier for several months, before growing large enough to pass to the next one. Metal combs are placed in the upstream end of the pond and gradually move downstream. Since the natural tendency of trout is to swim upstream, the smaller fish make it through the bars, while the larger fish remain on the downstream side before being transferred to ponds with fish of a similar size and growth rate. • The entire breadth of the raceways is covered with netting to keep the birds out. • The water flows naturally from the aquifer, with only gravity at work, no pumping. At the top of the raceway, it is totally drinkable. After flowing through the farm, it is treated before it flows into the Snake River and eventually is used to power an electrical plant. • Trout are carnivores, so most fish food features an animal protein, which is an expensive line item for the operation; 70% of the cost of the trout is its feed. Researchers are experimenting with a soybean additive to lower the cost, but find that the trout do not digest this very well. Trout are very efficient at converting protein to muscle gain, so a pound fed equals a pound gained. • A full 100% of the farmed rainbow trout is used for something. The guts are processed into an organic fertilizer. Fish oil is pasteurized and used in feed. Other pieces are put into a protein block that is sold to pet stores. Even the fish “poo” is collected and transferred to “settling ponds,” where it is dried and then given to farmers as a nutrient-packed manure for soil. • Unlike many food manufacturers, Clear Springs is completely vertically integrated, managing a brood station, “Hatch House” incubators, feed mill, farm, processing and even distribution of its product! From slaughter to packaging, processing takes just two hours. And with its own fleet of refrigerated trucks, the company ensures that by the time a restaurant in New York receives a fresh fish, it’s only five days old. • The company also has an R&D facility, testing for water quality, feed ingredients, illness, vaccine development and managing breeding. They’ve learned how to genetically designate the gender of the fish, as female trout are better for meat applications and males for reproduction. (It’s interesting to learn that farmed tilapia, on the other hand, produce all males for harvest.) • Sixty percent of the company’s production volume is in fresh fish; 40% is in frozen. Clients for fresh, whole trout range from restaurants to zoos (which need verification that the fish haven’t digested anything that will hurt the penguins!). Trout are further processed in numerous styles and cuts (e.g. “Dressed” equals head on, entrails removed, bones intact, for accounts like Costco; “Pin Boned Out Boned” equals backbone, rib cage, anal fin and pin bones removed, although it does not mean completely boneless; “Clear Cuts® Butterfly Style” does earn a boneless guarantee.) The company takes daily orders for fresh fish, accepting custom variations down to one-quarter of an ounce. • In a separate proprietary plant not available for a tour, Clear Springs manufactures a wide variety of frozen products for retail (such as specially crusted fillets, trout burgers) and foodservice, notably sticks, “treasures,” taco portions, melts and more for K-12 school meal operations. • Just a few miles down the road, Evel Kneivel attempted his famous jump of the Snake River Canyon on a rocket-powered motorcycle in 1972. Fish In The Wild Cecily Walters was invited in February 2013 to join other foodservice publication editors on a trip to the Aleutian Islands off of mainland Alaska to learn firsthand how several species of seafood that are caught in the wild are processed for foodservice and retail. Why travel so far—in the dead of winter—for an up-close look at the fishery industry? Amaknak Island, better known as Dutch Harbor, and nearby Akutan are the two largest fisheries ports in the United States by volume of fish caught. In fact, 60% of the fish Americans eat comes from Alaska. Winter offers the best time to observe the catch of three popular varieties: cod, pollock and snow crab. Dutch Harbor, accessible by a small airport, is well-known to fans of TV’s “Deadliest Catch” series on the Discovery Channel. It’s roughly 116 square miles, with some 4,700 year-round residents. In contrast, Akutan, just 18 square miles, is a traditional Aleut fishing community, with a population of only 1,000 year-round residents and accessible only by boat, amphibious aircraft, hovercraft or helicopter. Both communities see their populations quadruple during high processing seasons. Walters toured processing plants for both Trident Seafoods and UniSea in Seattle and Akutan. During that initial first stop in Seattle, it was impressive to see the 30,000 pounds of seafood processed daily at Trident’s plant there. But that was nothing compared to the staggering amount that is produced at Trident’s Akutan plant: Year-round, that site—with its own fleet of ships—is capable of processing more than 3 million pounds of multiple species per day, making it the largest seafood production facility in North America. Fish Facts Some interesting details learned on the tour about the capture and processing of certain Alaska seafood follow: • Trident Seafoods processes 900 pounds of crab every day at its Akutan location. For many crabmeat products, the complicated skeleton of the crab requires that bones be removed by hand, requiring a significantly more manual process than either pollock or cod. • While the majority of pollock is caught fresh in Alaska, the species called Alaska Pollock can be caught and processed in other parts of the North Pacific and the Bering Sea. School nutrition operators should specify that they want pollock that has been once-frozen and/or produced in the United States. • What does it mean to order “once-frozen” pollock? In this type of fish processing, after the fish is caught and brought to the fishery, it is cut into fillets and frozen immediately, then shipped to a secondary facility for further processing, as desired. A finished product— such as nuggets with breading—is made without thawing the raw material. Fewer steps ensure a higher-quality fish. • Surimi, a protein paste made from different fish species, often includes the parts of pollock that have been removed during the filleting process. The pollock industry prioritizes using every part of the fish in its sustainability efforts. Currently, surimi is not approved to be credited as a protein in reimbursable meals, but leading producers are lobbying the U.S. Department of Agriculture for it to be considered a lowfat meat/meat alternate that could be used as a salad bar item, on custom-made sandwiches and in other recipe and menu applications. • The American Fisheries Act went into effect in 1998, requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration to ensure compliance with ownership and control requirements for U.S. fishing industry vessels of 100 feet or greater in length. This law resulted in the phase-out of many large fishing vessels believed to be destructive to fishery resources and established cooperatives with specific provisions and rules such as annual reporting requirements and excessive share limits. • Sustainability is especially important in Alaska, where fishery is a billion-dollar industry and the state’s largest private employer. One threat to sustainability is “bycatch,” when non-target species or sizes of fish or other marine species are caught unintentionally. In addition, limits on the total number of fish caught each year are set and monitored through a detailed process, involving multiple state and federal agencies, academic institutions and other stakeholders. The Total Allowable Catch figure ensures that fish will be available in future seasons. Fish In Schools Pollock is quite frequently served most often in K-12 schools and also is a popular option at many quick-serve restaurants and other foodservice operations. One school nutrition operator who often menus fish— primarily pollock—is Wendy Weyer, RD, SNS, director of nutrition services at Seattle Public Schools. Since she arrived in the district about a decade ago, she and her team have given the typical fish options served a genuine menu makeover! Students had become bored with the products offered, she explains, which is why they ultimately were removed from the menu rotation. Weyer added fish “squares” and fish sticks at all school levels. Fish tacos, a fish-and-chips basket and fish with Provençal sauce are entrée options at secondary schools, where a fish sandwich is a daily offering. Weyer is always contemplating adding other fish options to the menu, particularly breaded items, which are a consistent favorite with students. Patricia Fitzgerald is editor of School Nutrition. Cecily Walters is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore., and a former managing editor of this publication. Photos are courtesy of both authors. Note: The companies who hosted the production facility tours highlighted in this article are not the only providers of high-quality, popular fish/seafood products developed for the K-12 foodservice segment and the details provided here are intended to give readers unique insights into commercial fish production and do not imply any endorsement. KITCHEN WISDOM SAYS . . . • We replaced the trout with pollock that we had on hand. We also used pita pockets in place of the taco shells. • We currently menu a fish taco in my operation [that is very] popular. • Consider offering the tomatoes as an optional side for students to top as they desire. Some students may not select the tacos with the tomatoes already added. WHOLE-GRAIN CITRUS SESAME FISH TACOS YIELD: 24 servings INGREDIENTS Trout, citrus sesame, whole grain•— 24 2.85-oz. portions Tacos, hard shell—24 Lettuce—4 cups Cheese, shredded—12 ozs. Tomatoes—3 cups DIRECTIONS 1. Dice the tomatoes. 2. Preheat a convection oven to 375°F and bake the trout taco portions for 12-14 minutes. • 3. Place the taco shells in a warmer until sufficiently warmed. 4. For each serving: Place one whole trout portion (or cut in smaller strips, if desired) inside one taco shell. Layer on top of the fish, 1⁄6 cup of lettuce, 1⁄2 oz. of cheese and 2 Tbsps. of tomatoes. Photo & recipe: Clear Springs Foods, www.clearsprings.com/foodservice • Notes: Clear Springs Foods Whole- Grain Citrus Sesame Trout Taco Portions can be used for this recipe. Prepare from a frozen state and ensure that all products reach an internal temperature of 160°F before consuming. According to the recipe source: One 2.85-oz. portion equals one bread serving and 1 1⁄2 ozs. meat equivalent. If this recipe passes the test with a small group of students, conduct a nutrient analysis. TILAPIA VERA CRUZ YIELD: 100 SERVINGS PER SERVING: 163 cal., 6 g sat. fat, 259 mg sod. INGREDIENTS Tomatoes, diced—2 #10 cans or ~13 cups Onions—6 cups or ~2 1⁄2 lbs. Lime juice—1 1⁄2 cups or ~8 limes Canola or olive oil—2 cups Chili powder—1⁄4 cup Garlic powder—1⁄4 cup Salt—2 Tbsps. Pepper, ground—2 Tbsps. Tilapia • fillets—17 3⁄4 lbs. Cilantro, fresh—2 cups DIRECTIONS 1. Dice the onions. Chop the cilantro. 2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomato, onion, lime juice, oil, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. 3. Place the fish fillets into three 2-in. steamtable pans. 4. Pour the tomato mixture as a topping for the fish, divided evenly between the three pans. 5. Bake uncovered in a convection oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or in a conventional oven for 20-25 minutes, until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. 6. For each serving: Portion 2 ozs. of fish and 3⁄8 cup of the topping. Top with a bit of cilantro and serve immediately. Recipe & recipe analysis: Let’s Cook: Healthy School Meals, http://tinyurl.com/projectbreadcookbook • Notes: The tilapia may be fresh or frozen and thawed. Other fish may be used in this recipe. According to the recipe source: One serving equals 2 ozs. meat/meat alternate and 1⁄4 cup red or orange vegetable. If this recipe passes the test with a small group of students, conduct a complete nutrient analysis. ALASKA POLLOCK BAJA SALAD YIELD: 50 SERVINGS DRESSING INGREDIENTS Salsa—3 1⁄3 cups Sour cream, lowfat or fat-free—3 1⁄3 cups SALAD INGREDIENTS Pollock fish sticks, once-frozen • —200 1-oz. each Romaine lettuce—100 cups Cabbage mix, red and green—12 1⁄2 cups Bell pepper, red—12 1⁄2 cups Bell pepper, yellow or green—12 1⁄2 cups Whole kernel corn, frozen, thawed—12 1⁄2 cups Tortilla chips, whole-grain or whole grain-rich • —100 ozs. equivalent Salsa-sour cream dressing (recipe above) —6 1⁄4 cups DIRECTIONS 1. To prepare the salsa-sour cream dressing: Blend the salsa in a food processor for a smooth texture. 2. Mix the sour cream into the salsa. Reserve the dressing until just prior to service. 3. To prepare the salad: Shred both the lettuce and the cabbage mix, if not pre-shredded. Seed and dice the red bell peppers and the green or yellow bell peppers. 5. Cook the pollock fish sticks according to the manufacturer’s instructions and until the internal temperature is 145°F and the breading is crispy. Cool to room temperature. • 6. For each serving: Portion 2 cups of lettuce and 1⁄4 cup of cabbage mix into an individual bowl, boat or tray. Add 1⁄4 cup of red bell peppers, 1⁄4 cup of green or yellow peppers and 1⁄4 cup of corn to the greens. Place four cooled fish sticks in a spoke pattern with the ends almost touching in the center of the salad. Serve with 1 oz. equivalent of tortilla chips and 2 tablespoons of dressing. Photo & recipe: Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers, www.greatfishforgreatkids.org • Notes: Genuine Alaska Pollock® Fish Sticks can be used for this recipe. According to the recipe source: One serving provides 2 ozs. equivalent lean meat/meat alternate, 1 cup dark green vegetable, 1⁄4 cup red/orange vegetable, 1⁄2 cup other vegetable, 1⁄4 cup starchy vegetable, 2 ozs. equivalent whole-grain or whole-grain rich product. If this recipe passes the test with a small group of students, conduct a nutrient analysis. Instead of tortilla chips, a tortilla bowl may be used, as shown in the photo. Operators also can use a different assortment of vegetables to top the salad. Note that the cooled fish sticks cannot stay safely at room temperature for more than 4 hours. KITCHEN WISDOM SAYS . . . • We prepared this recipe with pollock and also used 50% mayonnaise and 50% plain Greek yogurt for the sauce to cut the fat and increase the flavor. Cutting the fat in the tartar sauce would help this recipe correspond more closely to meal pattern regulations. • Swai or another white fish can be used in place of pollock. • Using a lowfat mayonnaise would reduce the fat in this recipe. • Consider offering the lettuce-and-tomato mixture on the side as optional toppers for the students. • Offer tartar sauce as an option on the side, as not all students may like the sauce. • The recipe is very tasty even without the cheese, so it can be cut to reduce the fat and the sodium, if the cheese is not needed to meet protein minimums. CRUNCHY POLLOCK “BURGER” YIELD: 100 servings PER SERVING: 360 cal., 10 g sat. fat, 758 mg sod. TARTAR SAUCE INGREDIENTS Mayonnaise—6 3⁄4 cups Pickle relish—1 2⁄3 cups Lemon juice—3⁄4 cup Onion, red—3⁄4 cup or 1⁄2 large onion “BURGER” INGREDIENTS Breadcrumbs, whole-wheat —17 2⁄3 cups or ~4 1⁄4 lbs. Garlic powder—5 3⁄4 Tbsps. Parsley, dried—3⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese—4 1⁄3 cups Pollock, frozen—100 2.5-oz. portions or ~16 1⁄4 lbs. or 1 2⁄3 10-lb. cases Water—as needed American cheese—100 1-oz. slices Romaine lettuce—2 heads Tomatoes—13 1⁄2 cups or 6 1⁄4 lbs. Hamburger rolls, Pan release spray—as needed whole-wheat—100 (1 1⁄2 ozs. each) DIRECTIONS 1. To prepare the tartar sauce: Finely chop the red onion. Mix the mayonnaise, pickle relish, lemon juice and red onion together and set aside. 2. Shred the lettuce if not already shredded. Dice the tomatoes. 3. To prepare the pollock “burgers”: Mix the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, parsley and Parmesan cheese together. 4. The individual fish portions should be defrosted. Dip each portion into water and then into the breadcrumb mixture to coat thoroughly. 5. Place parchment paper onto each sheet pan. As desired, spray the parchment paper with the pan release spray and place the fish onto the pan. Bake in a convection oven at 350°F until done, about 5-10 minutes. Top each portion with one slice of American cheese and place in a hot holding box. 6. Mix the shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes together in a bowl. 7. For each serving: Spread 1 1⁄2 tsps. of tartar sauce on each side of the hamburger roll. Place 1⁄4 cup of the lettuce-and-tomato mixture on the bottom half of each bun. Place tops and bottoms on a sheet pan until just before service, at which time, add the fish-and-cheese portion and the top bun. Recipe & recipe analysis: Let’s Cook: Healthy School Meals, http://tinyurl.com/projectbreadcookbook • Note: According to the recipe source: One serving equals 3 1⁄4 ozs. meat/meat alternate, 1 1⁄2 ozs. e quivalent whole grains and 1⁄4 cup total vegetable (1⁄8 cup dark green vegetable and 1⁄8 cup red or orange vegetable). If this recipe passes the test with a small group of students, conduct a complete nutrient analysis. BONUS WEB CONTENT Fish tacos have proven an especially successful way to menu this protein to students, and School Nutrition has collected a few extra taco recipes for you to try. Plus, check out a recipe for sole “burgers,” which was reviewed by SN’s Kitchen Wisdom Panel. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/snmagazinebonuscontent for these online-exclusive extras. TO YOUR CREDIT: For CEUs toward SNA certification, complete the “To Your Credit” test on page 56. Recipes obtained from outside sources and published in School Nutrition have not been tested by the magazine or SNA in a school foodservice setting, except for certain “Kitchen Wisdom” selections, which are evaluated by a volunteer pool of operators. When available, nutrient analyses are provided by the recipe source. Required ingredients, preparation steps and nutrient content make some recipes more appropriate for catering applications or adult meals. Readers are encouraged to test recipes and calculate their own nutrition analyses and meal patterns before adding a recipe to school menus. In addition, SN recognizes that individual schools use varying documentation methods and preparation steps to comply with HACCP principles; we encourage you to add your own HACCP steps to these recipes.
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