Toxic Tuna Redux: Five Lower Mercury Fish Dishes

Okay, so the bomb has dropped. Bluefin tuna has mercury like the Titanic has water — but does that mean you can’t eat fish? As we mentioned in last week’s post, “Toxic Tuna (or, why Bottom Feeding Is Good for You),” some fish are higher in mercury than others. In fact, some tuna is higher in mercury than others, with yellowfin and albacore being less mercury-laden than the bluefin that tested highest by the Times. This week’s article in the New York Times notes some better choices, besides salmon and pollock, “among the sea creatures with the lowest known levels of mercury are shrimp, oysters, clams, sardines, anchovies and herring, as well as the somewhat less exciting hake, tilapia, crayfish and whiting.”

While we won’t recommend that anyone eats tilapia — it tastes like old aquarium filter to us — we can recommend these local choices for tasty lower mercury dining:

1) Sizzling fresh sardines at Zitoune. These salty, lemony fillets come on a spitting black-iron pan — they’re addictive, like ocean-going potato chips

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2) Pickled herring at Mount Kisco Smokehouse. As noted in Emily DeNitto’s piece in the Times, Mount Kisco offers pickled herring in both wine and cream sauce — you can get lower mercury smoked trout and mussels, too

3) F.I.S.H. pizza at F.I.S.H.  Loaded with shrimp, scallops and clams, this is a great alternative to even the finest, most toxic bluefin tuna.

4) Raw bar at Restaurant One. Choose from among a gourmet selection of exotic oysters, New Zealand green-lipped mussels, shrimp and littleneck clams –OR big spenders can splurge on The Royale: $99 worth of littleneck clams, colossal shrimp, East and West coast oysters, calamari, jumbo lump crab salad, Prince Edward Island mussels and Maine lobster. (Don’t eat that lobster, though—it’s one of the higher mercury fishes.)

5) Savory oyster chowder at Ocean House Oyster Bar and Grill (49 N. Riverside Ave., 914. 271-0702 ) This warming chowder contains both Wellfleet oysters and bacon, so it’s pretty much perfect right there.

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