Braised Monk Fish with Pancetta and Vegetables


Four 8 oz monk fish tails
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
1/4 cup oil
1/2 lb pancetta, minced
2 medium onions, cut into small dice
1 medium carrot, cut into small dice
1/2 fennel bulb, cut into small dice, fronds reserved
2 cloves garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp grated orange zest


  1. Coat the monk fish with flour and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a 2-inch-high, heavy-bottomed saute pan with a cover over medium-high heat. Set the monk fish tails in the pan without crowding and sear on one side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn them over, add the pancetta to the pan, and sear the tails on the other side for 2 minutes. Use a spatula to remove the fish and pancetta to a plate and cover with foil to keep them warm.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and garlic to the pan and saute over high heat, stirring, to begin caramelizing the vegetables, 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Spread the vegetables over the surface of the pan and set the fish and pancetta over them. Pour the wine and tomatoes into the pan, raise the heat, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the liquid is simmering, cover the pan, and simmer for 12 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, put the parsley and orange zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  6. Transfer 1 monk fish tail to the center of each of 4 dinner plates. Top with some of the vegetables and sauce and finish with the orange-parsley mixture and some fennel fronds.

Source: Nightly Specials

Exposure to Mercury, Seafood Associated with Risk Factor for Autoimmune Disease

One of the greatest risk factors for autoimmunity among women of childbearing age may be associated with exposure to mercury such as through seafood, a new University of Michigan study says.

The findings, which appear in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that mercury – even at low levels generally considered safe – was associated with autoimmunity. Autoimmune disorders, which cause the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells by mistake, affects nearly 50 million Americans and predominately women.

“We don’t have a very good sense of why people develop autoimmune disorders,” says lead author Emily Somers, Ph.D., Sc.M, an associate professor in the departments of Internal Medicine in the division of Rheumatology, Environmental Health Sciences, and Obstetrics & Gynecology at the U-M Medical and Public Health Schools.

“A large number of cases are not explained by genetics, so we believe studying environmental factors will help us understand why autoimmunity happens and how we may be able to intervene to improve health outcomes. In our study, exposure to mercury stood out as the main risk factor for autoimmunity.”

Autoimmune disease – which can include such conditions as inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis – is among the 10 leading causes of death among women.

Researchers analyzed data among women ages 16-49 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999-2004. Greater exposure to mercury was associated with a higher rate of autoantibodies, a precursor to autoimmune disease. Most autoimmune diseases are characterized by autoantibodies, proteins made by a person’s immune system when it fails to distinguish between its own tissues and potentially harmful cells.

Many fish consumption recommendations are aimed at pregnant women, those who may become pregnant, nursing moms and young children. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) say pregnant women can safely eat up to 12 ounces (340 grams) of seafood a week. Fish such as swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish contain the highest levels of mercury while shrimp, canned light tuna and salmon have lower levels.

Authors note there are many health benefits to seafood, a lean protein packed with vital nutrients. However, the findings provide further evidence that women of reproductive age should be mindful of the type of fish they’re eating.”

“The presence of autoantibodies doesn’t necessarily mean they will lead to an autoimmune disease,” Somers said. “However, we know that autoantibodies are significant predictors of future autoimmune disease, and may predate the symptoms and diagnosis of an autoimmune disease by years.

“For women of childbearing age, who are at particular risk of developing this type of disease, it may be especially important to keep track of seafood consumption.”

Source: EurekAlert!

Fish and Dishes

The Fish – Japanese Huchen (イトウ)

The Dishes


Fish Roes

Grilled Fish

U.S. Advisers Rethink Cholesterol Risk From Foods

Trans fats are a bigger threat to heart health, doctors and dietitians say.

Decades-old advice to Americans against eating foods high in cholesterol likely will not appear in the next update of the nation’s Dietary Guidelines, according to published reports.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture panel assigned the task of revamping the guidelines every five years has indicated that it will bow to new research that has undermined the role that dietary cholesterol plays in a person’s heart health, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee plans to no longer warn people to avoid eggs, shellfish and other cholesterol-laden foods, the newspaper reported.

One of America’s top cardiologists endorsed the move.

“It’s the right decision,” Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told USA Today. For years, “we got the dietary guidelines wrong. They’ve been wrong for decades.”

Nissen said recent research has found that diet influences only about 20 percent of a person’s blood cholesterol levels. The rest is governed by genetics.

However, dietitians and other heart doctors noted that saturated fat plays a direct and more important role in blood cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol — or cholesterol consumed through foods. And they expect the forthcoming federal guidelines to maintain their strict stance on limiting such fats.

“I have long recommended to my clients that the type of fat they eat is a much bigger issue to their blood cholesterol level than the amount of cholesterol they consume,” said registered dietitian Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.

That means that, while a person might be able to eat more eggs, shrimp and lobster under the new guidelines, they would still need to limit foods heavy in saturated fat like prime rib, bacon, cheese and butter, she said.

“The challenge for the Dietary Guidelines has been the fact that they need to relate to all Americans and they need to convey a broad message,” Diekman said. “The potential elimination of a cholesterol recommendation isn’t a concern in terms of health but is a concern in that many will view this as, ‘Good, I can eat what I want.’ ”

The federal panel discussed its cholesterol decision in December, the Post reported. The group’s final report is due within weeks.

High levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in a person’s blood have long been linked to the formation of arterial plaques that can impede the flow of blood and contribute to heart attacks or strokes, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

But many nutritionists and heart doctors now believe that for a healthy adult, cholesterol consumed at mealtimes does not significantly affect blood cholesterol and, thus, the risk of heart disease.

Instead, they have focused on the body’s natural ability to produce cholesterol. This type of cholesterol is used for a wide variety of purposes — to create hormones, to produce bile acids, to make vitamin D and to maintain healthy cell membranes.

Some people seem genetically predisposed to create unhealthy levels of this cholesterol in their bodies, experts say. But as many as one in four people still may be more vulnerable to diets high in cholesterol, and these people will need to continue watching what they eat, the experts said.

However, this does not mean that people can start eating foods high in saturated fat, which are a major source of “bad” LDL cholesterol, warned Dr. Robert Eckel, chair of atherosclerosis for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and a spokesman for the AHA.

“Saturated fat is still bad for your blood cholesterol,” as are trans fats, he said.

Eckel noted that the AHA itself has remained ambivalent regarding dietary cholesterol intake, neither condemning nor approving it.

“It just means the types of studies and the inadequacies of the data makes us uncomfortable,” he said, arguing that there needs to be new, well-designed studies that compare dietary cholesterol intake against diets heavy in saturated fats.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s proposed cholesterol recommendations run counter to dietary directives promoted for decades by a wide range of federal health agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In fact, the panel now poised to shrug off dietary cholesterol had deemed it a public health concern just five years ago, when the panel last convened.

The last federal Dietary Guidelines, produced in 2010, advised Americans to limit their cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams a day — about the amount in one egg.

Members of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee told the Post said they wouldn’t comment until the publication of their report later this year.

The Dietary Guidelines serve a major role in American life. They influence meals served at schools, affect the decisions made by food manufacturers, and guide consumer decisions at the supermarket.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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