Fried food might get a bad rap, but using wild-caught seafood is one way to integrate a serving of healthy omega-3 fatty acids into your otherwise indulgent meal. There are also other components or approaches you can use to make your fried seafood meals a little more healthy, without having to compromise by baking or faux frying anything.
Here are 7 ideas for crispy, golden seafood that have a somewhat healthier spin than your run-of-the-mill fried seafood recipes.
Crispy Pollock Bites with Sunflower Seed Aioli
The first dish in this collection of recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi fries up strips of pollock into crispy bites. There’s no wet batter involved here, just a dusting of seasoned flour which helps the fish develop a light, golden crust. Pollock quick cuts would be perfect to use — just make sure you’re diligent about basting and turning the pieces of fish — or use a sharp knife to slice a rockfish fillet into thin strips. The fish is served with a homemade sunflower seed aioli; the humble sunflower seed gives you a significant dose of vitamin E, along with other vitamins and minerals.
Tempura Fried Cod with Curry Sauce and Fresh Fruit
Just in case you need this myth dispelled: Tempura isn’t “healthier” than something in a flour batter, though its lighter texture can make it seem as if it is. Regardless, this tempura-fried cod recipe (3-ounce portions are a good size) from Food & Wine is a healthyish mix of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors. The cod is served with a fruit puree, fresh pineapple, and a curry sauce inspired by the Cape Malay cuisine of South Africa, spiced with fresh ginger, turmeric, and curry powder.
Panko-Crusted Halibut Strips with Ginger-Lemon Sauce
This recipe from Ching He Huang for panko-crusted halibut strips makes for a fun lunch or afternoon snack. While there’s nothing extraordinarily healthy about the panko breading — it is what it is — the strips are served with a fresh ginger, lemon, and honey sauce. That trinity of anti-inflammatory ingredients is enough for us to consider this a healthier alternative to another fried seafood recipe.
Gluten-Free Cod Fingers
For a gluten-free version of fried cod strips, try Serious Eats’ recipe for beer-battered cod fingers. The batter — made from a blend of white rice flour, sweet rice flour, and cornstarch — will be so crispy that you might want to make this recipe even if you aren’t someone who has cut gluten out of their diet. By the way, if you can’t find gluten-free beer, just use seltzer.
Beer-Battered Fish Tacos
It’s easy to up the health factor when making fish tacos, even when they’re fried. You can pile on lots of fresh and healthy additions like cabbage slaw, avocado, salsa, and the like, without burying the fact that you have a delicious piece of finish beneath it all. We like this recipe from Marcela Valladolid, who dips strips of fish into a batter made with a dark, Mexican beer like Negro Modelo.
Tempura Fried Maki Rolls with Salmon
This recipe from Ming Tsai makes tempura-fried maki rolls with thin strips of salmon, onions sauteed with a mix of aromatic herbs, and a honey-sweetened wasabi-soy dipping sauce. Making maki rolls will probably take you a bit of practice, but once you have the process mastered, you’ll be running a sushi bar from your home kitchen. At that point, you can freestyle this recipe by adding in strips of avocado, carrots, or whatever veggies suit your taste.
Salmon and Sweet Potato Chips
For a nutrition-packed and more colorful version of fish and chips, this recipe from Pineapple and Coconut swaps out the expected white fish for wild salmon, and regular white potatoes for purple Japanese sweet potatoes. The dish also has an Asian-fusion twist with its tempura batter and a honey-ginger dipping sauce. Serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and shredded nori.