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by a.b.

Yesterday, when I was grocery shopping at Safeway, I saw large U-12 scallops in the seafood section with my favorite tag, 50% off. The 50% off tag is usually reserved for items expiring that day, which I don’t usually risk with seafood, however, those U-12 babies looked gorgeous!

For those that don’t know, U-12 scallops means there are a maximum of 12 scallops per pound. My four scallops were a third of a pound of meat! Normally at $14.99/pound ($11.99 after club card), my favorite tag dropped the price of the scallops tray to $5.74. Sauteed in a little bit of olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and the juice from 2 limes (50 cents each), over buttered fettucini noodles, the scallops were a complete meal. We added a little jalapeno cheese bread, and had fruit for dessert. Total cost of the meal: $9.74 for a meal that served 3, with dessert. While not my most frugal, it was still an excellent bargain for a gourmet meal.

Seafood is an excellent source of protein, but many frugalists dismiss it as too expensive. At the Milwaukie Farmer’s Market on Sunday, I found a dozen fresh caught oysters for $7, whole salmon fillets for $7. Trader Joe’s has excellent canned crab that I tried in a pasta at their tasting section. When I expressed how good the crab was, the demonstrator said, “Yeah, we had to try something. It wasn’t selling because people didn’t believe it was real crab; it was too cheap.”

Don’t dismiss any potential protein based on cost. If you can find the source of your seafood, and can identify how, or even if, it was processed, you can find excellent fish. The best ahi tuna fillet I’ve ever seen, was at Costco! Look for the bargains, and learn how to cook simply. Your budget and your palette will thank you.

Photo Courtesy of maggiephotos