When I was growing up, my family only ate seafood on special occasions. "It's expensive," my mom would remind me whenever I'd casually beg for lobster or shrimp on a weeknight. It's true, seafood can be expensive, but if you know just what you're doing, you can make it affordable. A handful of budget-friendly tips and tricks plus simple affordable recipes are all you need to get started.
For one, canned seafood is actually really great (in some places, like in parts of Spain and Portugal, it's considered a delicacy). That fancy stuff will fetch a high price, but cans at your local grocery store can cost as little as $ 1.50 (and occasionally even less if they're on sale). Sure, it's not as fresh as something straight from the sea, but it's flavorful in its own way, ready-to-eat, and full of protein, which makes it perfect for adding to salads, pastas, and more. Smoked fish is another cost-effective option, and while it may be famously served in bagels, it's also great in an assortment of other dishes. And finally, frozen fish is usually just as good as the fresh options at the store, but for way less money. Fun fact: most of the fish you see at the fish counter was frozen for transport then defrosted to sell. So, technically, the frozen fish you're buying might even be fresher than the fresh fish.
Use these 14 recipes to give these tricks a try. They're great for dinner because they're as delicious as the fancier fish dishes you might have eaten, but they only cost $ 3 per serving to make—often less. Enjoy jambalayas, salmon Caesar salads, crab cakes, and more whenever the feeling strikes, even if it's on a weeknight.