Smoked oysters packed in olive oil are rich enough to seem like a decadent treat, but are actually a good source of essential nutrients. With beneficial nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and protein, and reasonable amounts of fat, sodium and cholesterol, smoked oysters are a optimum choice for adding more healthy seafood to your diet. A traditional way of eating them is straight out of the can as an appetizer served with crackers, but smoked oysters are versatile and many recipes are enhanced by the smoky, briny flavor.
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Smoked oysters typically come in flat 65 g cans. Each can is considered a serving and contains 150 calories and 8 g of fat. Seventy calories stem from the fat content, which provides 13 percent of your daily value for fat. One serving contains 20 mg of cholesterol, 150 mg of sodium, 11 g of protein and 8 g of carbohydrates. A serving will provide 15 percent of the vitamin A you need each day and 35 percent of your recommended daily intake of iron.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids and smoked oysters contain 0.47 g of omega-3 in every serving. Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced by the body but obtained through food sources and provide several important functions: They help control the clotting of blood and a diet with adequate amounts may help prevent heart disease. Dr. Frank Sacks of the Harvard School of Public Health points out that studies indicate omega-3 fatty acids may help with cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, among other things, although results are not definitive.
The olive oil that smoked oysters are packed in provides some of the fat content as well as health benefits. Olive oil contains the antioxidant vitamin E and polyphenols that can lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. Regular and moderate amounts of olive oil can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. You will want to drain most of the olive oil from smoked sardines to make them easier to cook with and eat, but leaving a little to coat the oysters is tasty and nutritious.
Smoked oysters work well in both hot and cold dishes and can easily become a staple in your pantry with a little creativity. Mix with olive oil, lemon juice, celery and seasonings for a quick sandwich filling or topping for bruschetta. Replace the clams in your favorite chowder recipe with smoked clams for an even richer taste. Emeril Lagasse recommends a relish made with smoked oysters and artichokes as a topping for fried fish in a recipe featured on Food Network.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Crown Prince: Oysters
- Harvard School of Public Health; Ask the Expert: Omega-3 Fatty Acids; Dr. Frank Sacks
- Meals Matter: Health Benefits of Olive Oil
- Food Network; Pan Fried Flounder in Cornmeal With Smoked Oyster-Artichoke Relish; Emeril Lagasse
- "Bon Appetit"; Black Cod With Fennel Chowder and Smoked Oyster Panzanella; September 2009
- "Food & Wine"; Smoked Oyster Po'Boys; Grace Parisi; March 2004