Get Creative with Every Bit of Your Seafood

In an era when ocean habitats are experiencing stress due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing, it’s more important than ever to ensure that the seafood we buy is both sustainable (see our shopping guide) and not wasted once it reaches our home kitchens. While using as much of the fish, crustacean, or mollusk as possible may seem like a complex and daunting task for the home cook, preventing seafood waste in the kitchen is easier than one might expect. It just requires some creativity and a willingness to think beyond the recipe you’re preparing.

In order to arm you with some seafood waste-fighting tips, we consulted with Bon Appétit Executive Chef Shaun Holtgreve, our Louisiana-born, in-house seafood specialist.

Got Shells? Try a Stock!

  • Don’t throw away your lobster and crab shells or shrimp peels! Put them into a pot of water along with your favorite herbs and spices to make a savory seafood stock.  After boiling, filter the stock through a strainer or cheese cloth, and voila!

Fin to Skin, Fish Many Ways 

  • While many Americans discard salmon skin, it’s actually extremely nutritious and perfectly good to eat. Before getting started on your salmon belly entrée, remove the skin and flatten it between two lightly oiled cookie sheets, then bake it in the oven. The result? A crispy salmon skin jerky snack. Here’s another way to roast salmon skin.
  • When deboning a whole fish, use a spoon to scrape the bones of the tender meat that remains. You’ll end up with a substantial amount of chopped up fish which can be used in a variety of ways like fish cakes or balls.
  • Fish fins and tails make for a tasty, crispy snack when coated in an egg wash and corn starch and deep fried.

An Unlikely Friend for your Garden 

  • Don’t chuck your oyster shells! Oysters and other mollusks possess shells that are rich in calcium and other minerals beneficial to plants. You can crush up the mollusk shells (use a hammer and safety glasses!) and add them directly to your soil for long lasting fertility benefits.