You are What You Eat: Seafood for one

By Katy Wilkens, MS, RD

We are so lucky in the Pacific Northwest to have an abundance of seafood. Chosen wisely, it can be a healthy option for yourself and the environment. Seafood also has another great thing going for it: It’s easy to prepare for one person.

Try these environmentally friendly, healthy seafoods from our area:

  • Albacore tuna (troll- or pole-caught from the United States or British Columbia)
  • Freshwater Coho salmon (farmed in U.S. tank systems)
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • Dungeness crab (wild caught from Oregon or Washington)
  • Pacific sardines (wild-caught)
  • Rainbow trout (farmed)
  • Salmon (wild-caught from Alaska)
  • Mussels (farmed)

Fresh seafood is always best, but when you cook for one person, you can make more servings and freeze extras for later. When you buy fish, try this: cut it into cubes, rinse and then freeze on a parchment-lined cookie sheet until fully frozen. Then store the cubes in a freezer bag or container so you can take out one serving at a time to defrost. This works for other seafood as well.

Whether it is salmon or crab, mussels or squid, you can use these different preparation ideas to make interesting, healthy and fast meals for yourself.

  • Sauté fish or shellfish in unsalted butter or oil with herbs, garlic and lemon juice.
  • Dip in dry herbs and spices for a crispy coating and brown in olive oil.
  • Marinate in olive oil, lemon, herbs or spices and grill over charcoal. Use two water-soaked skewers to turn easily.
  • Dip in rice flour or cornstarch, then beaten egg or egg white, then panko crumbs. Fry in peanut or canola oil.
  • Poach in seasoned water. Cool and add to green salad or chop and add mayonnaise to make a seafood sandwich.

If you are home on a nice rainy weekend this spring, throw a couple handfuls of each seafood into a pot to make a great fish soup (recipe follows). The saffron you add will remind you that sunny days are ahead!

Seafood and Leek Soup

1-2 pounds assorted frozen or fresh seafood (salmon, mussels, crab, etc.)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leeks
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons flour
2-4 cups water
1 packet powdered saffron or 2 large pinches saffron threads infused in the wine
1/4 cup heavy cream

Add saffron to wine and let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, wash mussels and seafood. Put in stockpot with enough water to cover. Add the wine. In a saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the leeks, then mix in the flour and brown lightly. Add the cream. Add this mixture to the stockpot and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Nutritional information (per serving):
Calories: 324; Carbohydrates: 8 grams; Protein: 27 grams; Fat: 20 grams; Sodium: 272 milligrams

The recipes in this column are meant for people who want to keep their kidneys healthy and blood pressure down by following a low-sodium diet. In most cases, except for dialysis patients, a diet high in potassium is thought to help lower high blood pressure. These recipes are not intended for people on dialysis without the supervision of a registered dietitian.

Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. She has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. See more of her recipes at

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