Grilled Tuna Tostadas with Black Bean-Mango Salsa
I scare easily.
And not just when my roommate sneaks up on me, or the Internet threatens a sriracha shortage. I’m talking about the big stuff. You know, spontaneously combusting cell phones, microwave radiation, Toxic Shock Syndrome, eating too many carrots and turning orange, getting a cramp and dying in the pool after lunch because your food hasn’t fully digested, etc. These are the things that have kept me up at night since like 2nd grade, which is when I made the terrible discovery that pretty much anything can kill you, depending on who you ask.
(Fun Fact: Circa 2000, my sister and I trekked home from school with textbooks on our heads because some asshole in her class claimed you could get cancer from walking underneath telephone wires. Our parents were not impressed.)
Over the years, I’ve confronted and/or overcome my more irrational fears, but a few favorites have stuck with me, namely drowning after a meal (I’m not a strong swimmer!) and mercury poisoning from seafood. Funnily enough, I know plenty of people who share the latter fear, which is why I was very excited when Fishpeople asked me to partner with them on their much needed #FearNoFish campaign.
Today’s the day, people. We’re going to face our fishy mercury fears together!
Let’s be very clear about one thing: I love seafood, I eat a lot of it, and I try to go wild and sustainable when possible. I find it delicious, duh, but I’m also a sucker for its glorious health benefits. Fish is an excellent source of lean protein, vitamins and minerals, and it’s chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy brain and heart (excellent news for those of us who want to be geniuses and live forever). So I hate the fact that I often find myself worrying about the amount of mercury lurking in my favorite fish dinners and its long-term effect on my well-being.
As you may (or may not) know, mercury is inflammatory and can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, so fear of consuming the chemical is completely understandable—especially when it comes to pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children. And since mercury naturally occurs in lakes and oceans and unavoidably makes its way into the marine food chain, it’s equally understandable that one might make the following association:
fish consumption = mercury consumption = dangerous
But I’m here to tell you that the above couldn’t be further from the truth. After a crash course in mercury and sustainable seafood, I’m psyched to share a few simple facts that will hopefully mitigate mercury anxiety by helping you make smarter seafood choices.
1. When it comes to mercury levels, not all fish are created equal. Because mercury and contaminants become concentrated higher up the food chain (as smaller fish are eaten by bigger ones), large predatory fish—like swordfish, orange roughy, tilefish, and certain species of tuna—tend to contain the most toxins. Familiarize yourself with the lower mercury species (I recommend printing out this handy NRDC guide), and choose those when possible.
2. Choosing farmed fish over wild is not the answer. While farmed fish may be slightly lower in mercury than its wild caught counterpart, it’s often much higher in other scary contaminants. Plus, many fish farms cause serious environmental damage.
3. You can still eat higher mercury fish in moderation. The occasional spicy tuna roll or swordfish steak won’t hurt you. Just make sure that you’re eating a variety of seafood and not solely consuming high-mercury fish. (However, if you suffer from an autoimmune disease or are pregnant/nursing, it’s safest to avoid high-mercury options.)
4. Mercury poisoning from fish is very rare. (HALLELUJAH.) Ultimately the benefits of eating fish far outweigh the risks—don’t let a little mercury stop you from reaping your seafood rewards.
Knowledge is power, so I’m hoping you’ll now be able to approach your fish counter with a little more peace of mind on the mercury front. But if you’re still feeling anxious (and/or lazy), I recommend letting Fishpeople eliminate the guesswork. I’m newly obsessed with their line of individually portioned frozen fish fillets, which are sustainably caught by American fishermen (those that are a little fuzzy on the finer points of sustainable seafood may want to skim this) and contain low levels of mercury, PCBs and other contaminants. Fishpeople offers wild Pacific rockfish and wild caught keta salmon, but the wild albacore tuna fillets are my favorite. And they really stole the show in these epic Grilled Tuna Tostadas with Mango-Black Bean Salsa.
Crispy baked tostada shells topped with creamy avocado, marinated grilled tuna, and a sweet and tangy mango-black bean salsa make for a deceptively easy and nutritious fiesta-worthy feast. (FYI, while tuna is known for being a high-mercury fish, albacore tuna has very moderate amounts of mercury compared to Ahi.) For those whose fish fears extend to the actual cooking process, I promise this recipe won’t traumatize you or stink up your kitchen! Just give the fillets a quick soak in a spiced citrus marinade, throw them on the grill(pan) for a couple minutes on each side, and then flake the cooked fish with a fork. You got this.
If you’re in a hurry, feel free to use store-bought tostada shells, or simply serve the fish and toppings soft taco style on warmed corn or flour tortillas. Tuna haters, please try these tostadas with salmon or your go-to firm white fish (cod is a good low-mercury option as well). Now, go forth and #FearNoFish!
To help get you psyched about eating more fish, Fishpeople is giving away a badass prize pack that includes a supply of their products and a signed copy of Diane Morgan’s cookbook, Salmon: Everything You Need to Know, to one lucky reader. Enter to win below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post is sponsored by Fishpeople Seafood. As always, all opinions are very obviously my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Domesticate ME! delicious.
Grilled Tuna Tostadas with Mango-Black Bean Salsa: (Makes 8 tostadas/Serves 4)
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 large garlic clove, grated or finely minced
1 package Fishpeople Wild Albacore Tuna, defrosted
8 small corn tortillas
Freshly ground black pepper
For the Mango-Black Bean Salsa:
1 ripe (but still firm) mango, diced small
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lime
1 shallot, minced
¼ packed cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
For the Avocado Mash:
2 ripe avocados
Juice of ½ lime
Freshly ground black pepper
For serving: (optional)
Thinly sliced baby radishes
Freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Preparing your Tuna Tostadas with Mango-Black Bean Salsa:
-Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
-Start by making the mango-black bean salsa. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salsa and season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
-In a small bowl, whisk the lime zest and juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic, and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil until well combined.
-Place the tuna fillets in a large Ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, and gently squish the fillets around to make sure they’re well coated. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, turning the fillets over once halfway through.
-Meanwhile, lightly brush the tortillas on both sides with extra virgin olive oil and place them on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt. (I like to add a sprinkling of chili powder too, but that’s optional.)
-Bake for 6 minutes, then turn the tortillas over. Bake for another 5-8 minutes until lightly browned and crisp. Briefly set aside.
-Moving on to the avocado mash. Slice the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the lime juice and a generous pinch of salt and mash until relatively smooth. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside while you cook the fish.
-Pre-heat a lightly oiled grill or grill pan over medium heat. (You can also use a nonstick skillet if you prefer.) Remove the fish from the marinade and pat it dry. Season the fillets on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
-Place the fish in the hot pan and cook for 2½ minutes per side for medium-rare. (Feel free to cook it slightly longer if you prefer your tuna medium or medium-well.)
-Transfer to a cutting board and flake into small pieces with a fork.
-Time to assemble the tostadas! Spread each tortilla with a generous amount of avocado mash.
-Top with flaked tuna and mango-black bean salsa. Garnish with extra cilantro and sliced radishes (if using). Serve with lime wedges.
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