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Showing posts from 2007

A BUSY DECEMBER : IN THE FISH BIZ

I finally have a few spare moments to write about the past few weeks. It has been some time since I last wrote anything the public could seem remotely valuable. I had intended to fill these pages with information covering the full spectrum of Holiday related seafood and fish information. The feast of the seven fishes and the like. Instead I spent my time endeavoring to supply the local distributor I work for an ample amount of product for our accounts. The mere fact that the Christmas and the New Years holidays both feel on a Tuesday have made it increasingly difficult to secure the desired products for the holidays. I am always reminded that this biz is actually a logistic and supply paradigm. One of the biggest challenges is convincing the chefs and restaurateurs that the particular product desired is not available due to conditions entirely out of both of our control. When you desire a wild product one has to have a pliable imagination and bountiful creativity. I also spent an after

FRESHWATER GROUPER ASSOCIATION

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Friday night my wife and I had the greatest time as we watched Garrison Keillor bring his Prairie Home Companion to The Town Hall, right here in NYC. And the best part was his story piece Guy Noir , and his foray into the New York Seafood Biz. The skit featured Guy Noir as the newly established President of the " Freshwater Grouper Association ". This association and Guy are charged with the task of bringing walleye to the tables of New Yorkers. We busted at the seams last night, but today I have a real taste for the fish fry of my childhood...bring me some walleye. Anyway the show was great and it inspired me to start a blog of the same name. Garrison please don't sue me, imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery.

FRIDAY'S FISH PLATE

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Sargocentron tiere (Cuvier, 1829); squirrelfish. Collected at Palumbanes Islands, east coast of Luzon, Philippines, 1 June 1909. The specimen on which this painting was based cannot be located. Squirrelfishes are nocturnal reef dwellers, and they hide in caves and crevices during the day. Most species are brilliant red in life, sometimes with patterns of lines or spots. ( CLICK HERE FOR WEBSITE SOURCE )

Fish Illustrations

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I have recently started to collect realistic fish prints. Most of these were produced over 100 years ago and are of amazing accuracy, and beauty. Among artist I have in my collection currently are Denton, Edmonson, and Cuvier. I am very interested to acquire something from Kumataro Ito. Until then I will enjoy the illustrations like the one above online .

Sweet Maine Shrimp (Pandalus Borealis)

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December first we will be seeing the first of these little beauties. Cold water shrimp have numerous names: bay shrimp, tiny shrimp, baby shrimp, pink shrimp, cooked & peeled, salad shrimp, cold water shrimp. Cold water shrimp are wild-harvested from the northern waters of Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and the U.S. coasts of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Maine. They have bright, reddish-pink shells, both raw and cooked. The meat is white with skin tones that range in color from pale pink to a rich, reddish-pink. Cold water shrimp are small in comparison with warm water species; yet take four to five years to reach maturity. Most come to the U.S. market cooked and peeled and range in size from 150 to 500 shrimp per pound. Cold water shrimp have a sweet taste and soft texture. A small quantity of cold water shrimp is available fresh, shell-on, and headless, often from Maine or Oregon. They are available in the local market during the harvest periods.

Top Ten Seafood Sellers

Here are two lists showing seafood consumption. The first is from the N.F.I. (National Fisheries International). The next one is from sales data for New York only. Compiled from various sources. Both are for the last full year. U.S. CONSUMPTION (N.F.I.) SHRIMP CANNED TUNA SALMON POLLACK TILAPIA CATFISH CRAB COD CLAMS SCALLOPS FLATFISH NEW YORK CITY RESTAURANT SALES SALMON FRESH TUNA FLATFISH SHRIMP LOBSTER COD BASS CLAMS, MUSSELS OYSTERS SCALLOPS SNAPPERS / BREAMS

Thansgiving Seafood Meal

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I had heard that the first Thanksgiving meal was very different than the kind we have today, it was heavy on the seafood selection! How great is that? So here is my ultimate reproduction seafood centric Thanksgiving menu suggestions Lobster Fisherman, James Ormsbee Chapin Soups lobster and leek bisque cod chowder, winter squash and Holland cheese Appetizers smoked herring spread, watercress and sourdough biscuit roasted clams and oysters, salt pork and sorrel bay scallop, apple cider vinegar Main Courses whole grilled bluefish, cabbage and radish slaw maple roasted striped bass , dried wild berry compote chestnut and oyster cornbread dressing Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. If you would like to read more on the first festival that we have come to know as Thanksgiving, you can find out more by visiting these websites. Pilgrim Hall Museum History.com Chefs.com Plimoth Plantation

Crabing OK'd

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Despite the recent oil spill in the San Francisco Bay area the Department of Fish and Game has said it will allow the dungeness crab season to open in areas not directly affected. photo courtesy of : Washington department of Fish and Wildlife

FAKE SCALLOPS?

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I am often asked about fake scallops by sales people and chefs. Here is a very brief summary of some general definitions. Dry- untreated product that has been removed from the shell, that is all. Wet - processed in a tri-sodium phosphate solution, also called dipped. Frozen - of varied quality see above. Sea - ocean harvested scallops sizes range from under 6 to 40 per lb. Bay - harvest locations vary and determine flavor, northern products are preferred. Scallop product - this is analogous to "Krab" aka surami, and is made from scallop pieces glued together with bovine hemoglobin, yum. So fake scallops do exist, but it is very unlikely that they will be cut from any species of ray or skate. While it is quite possible to cut out circles from these fish: the texture and fiber direction is very different. And honestly not worth the effort.

Dungeness Crab Fishing Delayed

Due to the effects of the recent fuel spill dungeness crab fishing has been delayed . This is just one of what may be many problems that could arise from the fuel spill in San Francisco Bay. Local fisherman are eager to help in the cleanup.

Ocean Sweets

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Here come those sweet as candy scallops from Nantucket , Massachusetts . The first harvests started on November 1st. Every year our chefs start salivating at the mention of these translucent gems. Nantucket bay scallops are harvested by a limited group of skilled fishermen supplementing their income. These treats garner top dollar to these baymen, and even in the peak of season supply can be tight. I must confess that when they first arrive in the warehouse I am quick to gobble down more than I need to determine quality. Some interesting facts a bout Nantucket Bays: Bay scallops only live a year or two, and usually die after spawning the first time. Scallops must be over two and one quarter inches. But may grow to four or more. Only scallops with an annual growth ridge are allowed to be harvested. Rules are enforced by the local Constable or Fish Warden. The catch limit is 5 bushels (provided by the Town) per person per day and no more than 10 bushels

ICELANDIC COD

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Every winter a new twist on an old fish arrives, Icelandic cod. The cod that comes from Iceland never ceases to amaze me, despite the fact it is the same species as the cod Gadus morhua we receive from the eastern U.S. seaboard everyday. Cod is shipped in 50lb boxes containing 4 fish each weighing 10-15lbs head off. The state that this fish comes to the United States is just awesome. My supplier in Iceland tells me that it is because of the cold waters that the fish come from. Well to some extent I can believe that that is true, but I think they must be handling the fish in a much better way. And the first clue is the use of gel packs and not ice. Although keeping fish buried in ice will keep it cold and limit deterioration, the ice itself often causes physical damage to the flesh of the fish. The Icelandic cod we receive is packed carefully and in a box that allows any liquid to drain away from the fish. This cod stays in rigor for days. As a final note, the Icelandic cod fisher

Siberian Sturgeon

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Siberian sturgeon comes to New York via Florida. Arriving Monday, November 5th from Mote Marine Aquarium is an environmentally friendly and sustainable aquaculture product. About 9 years ago the aquarium started a project to raise these prehistoric fish in an effort to find out if it could be a practical solution to the depletion of wild occurring specimens in their native regions. The deciding factor would be to see if the farming of this sturgeon is economically viable on a commercial scale. The fish are grown in the best of ways. All effluent is treated and there is no negative impact on the local environment because Mote uses a closed recirculating tank system. The fish is fed a controlled diet that is free of pigments, antibiotics, and hormones. The feed is also certified melamine-free. All in all this is a great fish on its own. The sturgeon is firm, rich, meaty and full of healthy omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. In addition Mote shares all its data with other Florida aquaculture

Rainbow Smelt (osmerus mordax)

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The Canadian fishermen have started to haul in huge landings of fresh smelts in droves. These tiny fish are in the family of fish osmeridae. Small anadromus fish, they live in salt water and move into fresh water to spawn, like salmon. They are fairly common in rivers and lakes of North America . During the spring they can be observed in large schools up and down the eastern seaboard as they make there way to the spawning grounds. When you are small 6 inches or less you make a very tasty meal for all sorts of salmon, trout, walleye, striped bass and pike to name a few. They also make a very tasty meal for humans, and that is why you can find sportsmen trying to catch smelts using dip nets or even ice fishing. Smelts are often fried and eaten bones and all , all one needs to do to clean them is to remove the head and guts. They are usually sold this way at your local seafood counter, and if not your fishmonger should be able to clean them for you. Smelts are also known by the other ma

What a Waste

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A vessel fishing for whiting in New Zealand waters has been charged with dumping its entire contents during the night. The charges allege that over 300 tonnes were dumped in September and October. To read full story click here .

A Cook Remembers

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Native Seafood was a great experience, it was pure pleasure to have been able to go in everyday and be able to utilize the freshest seafood available. To be have available the most diverse and bountiful on site herb garden I was truly blessed. I miss all my friends, customers and comrades. The years spent there could never be replaced. It has made me the person I am today. Native Seafood was a conduit for a great vibe that was both exhilarating and tiring. Long days spent cooking over that wood burning stove drained the juice right out of you. The front of the house could be maxed out at 150, and things just flowed. The line was small, with barely room for three. I always liked the saute station best. The small pass through window allowing me a glimpse of the dining room, and the wait station. Native Seafood lasted in one form or another over 8 years, and in the restaurant biz that ain't half bad. We only served the best products even when cheaper alternatives existed. Native Sea

PACU AND PINTADO

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New species come to the market so rarely. Now is an exciting time as three new products have come to fruition in a short window. The first two will be covered in this post with the third fish to be announced soon. Today we received some samples of pintado fillet, a relative of the catfish with a beautiful black and white scaleless skin. The skin on this 6 to 8 ounce fillet is the biggest selling point, as one of my co-workers described it as a Pollack painting. This will make for a great plate presentation and the flesh is very mild so it is able to take on the chef's own seasonings. It is also offered as a 1 to 2 ounce skin-off medallion they market as a mignon, this is cut from the belly of the fish, and is available at a lower price point. The second fish is really interesting, and comes in a totally unexpected form: fish ribs! Cut from large 5 to 6 pound pacu fish (piaractus mesopotaicus ) this yields a "rack" of ribs about 10 joints each that can be grilled or se

Lobster Thermador

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Here is the recipe for Lobster Thermador as served aboard the last voyage of the Titanic. This one will be easy to enjoy knowing it is not your last meal, and not the last time you will enjoy lobster. The North American Lobster is part of a well managed fishery. Makes 4 servings. 2 (1 1/2-lb) live lobsters 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter 1/4 lb mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 2 tablespoons medium-dry Sherry 1 cup heavy cream, scalded 2 large egg yolks Plunge lobsters headfirst into an 8-quart pot of boiling salted water*. Loosely cover pot and cook lobsters over moderately high heat 9 minutes from time they enter water, then transfer with tongs to sink to cool. When lobsters are cool enough to handle, twist off claws and crack them, then remove meat. Halve lobsters lengthwise with kitchen shears, beginning from tail end, then remove tail meat, reserving shells. Cut al

What Fish Can I Eat?

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These days this is a question that becomes difficult to answer in a simple way. Unlike the protein choices of land based creatures, almost all of them farm raised; there exists a plethora of choices from the sea. Maybe it is that plethora that has led us to abuse and deplete our ocean resource. It is hard to comprehend that we are in trouble when you stop by the seafood department and see so many choices. I hope that we can keep this open to debate as so much is unknown for now. I am recommending that everyone take a look at one or more of the following sites: Blue Ocean Institute , Marine Stewardship Council , Montery Bay Aquarium , NOAA Fish Information . Many of these groups have a list of good and bad choices. If that information wasn't enough, then of course there is the question of Mercury, and other harmful pollutants. Just be smart here, do not eat the same fish or class of fishes every day for the rest of your life and you will probably be able to have the occasional tuna

New product Farmed Black Cod

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Here is some information provided to me from the distributor of fresh farmed raised Black Cod , sable fish. I generally try to buy wild product of this species because it is considered sustainable. I will be taking a better look at this particular farm to see if we can give them a good sustainability rating. Fresh Farmed BLACK COD (Sablefish, anoploploma fimbria) Black cod, or Sablefish as it is more commonly referred, gets its name from its black or dark green skin our. The flesh is a beautiful pearly white that results in large velvety flakes. Due to a high Omega-3 fat content, Black Cod has a smooth, rich, buttery taste combined with a smooth and luxurious texture. Cooked black cod makes an excellent substitute for the endangered Chilean Sea bass . With its similar taste and texture, it can be prepared and served using a myriad of techniques. Farmed black cod is prized for its raw use in the sashimi market as, unlike its wild caught counterpart

Save our Fish

Help pass the Menhaden bill .

Menhaden Rant

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Menhaden is the most important fish we do not eat. Shad, bunker, shiner are just a few names, all describing the menhaden ( brevoortia patronus ).. Menhaden grow to approximately one foot and are very similar in appearance to the freshwater shad, but are not the same fish. Menhaden are extremely oily, which is why they have been commercially netted for so many years for the oil and meal that can be produced from them. Commonly used as bait for almost all species, using them alive, dead, or cut. Menhaden are plankton filter feeders and near the bottom of the food chain, they can only be caught with a net. Sometimes when you see bait rolling on the surface, it is a school of menhaden, with bigger fish sure to be following. And this brings me to an important point. Menhaden are the largest by weight of all commercial catches. The vast majority are processed into feed for fish and livestock, and used in the growing number of food products containing omega 3 oil. Currently a limited number

Will the Real Grouper Please Stand Up

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If you live in Florida, or have vacationed there you would know that the Grouper Sandwich is the default State meal. From Gainesville to Key West you would have a hard time not finding the ubiquitous selection on the menu of most restaurants. Fried, blackened or grilled millions have been served to locals and unsuspecting tourists alike. The big dirty secret is finally out in the open. The chances that the sandwich you or anyone else ate was local grouper -- slim to none. It turns out that most of these establishments were buying frozen "grouper", and that some was an imported species of grouper. At least that is what they thought they were getting. It was more likely that the frozen fish was either a box of mixed species, with some Asian grouper included, or it could have easily been basa, panga, or some other mild white flesh fish, even..gulp tilapia. So who is to blame? The Restaurant for trying to sell cheap Asian grouper? The supplier for not verifying species? The con

Types of Shrimp

Although 342 species of shrimp worldwide have commercial value, there are only a few species that are important to the U.S. market. Their species fall into three basic groups: warm water shrimp , freshwater shrimp , cold water shrimp Shrimp can be either wild-caught or farm-raised. Wild-caught (or "free-range") shrimp naturally exist in bays, estuaries, and oceans. Farm-raised shrimp are grown in a more controlled environment. Shrimp eggs or larvae are either gathered from the natural environment or grown in hatcheries after being taken from female brood stock. The shrimp are then raised to maturity in shallow ponds. Farm-raised shrimp are also known as pond-raised, cultured, aqua cultured, or maricultured. Warm water shrimp These are the most popular and plentiful shrimp on the U.S. market. Most warm water shrimp are categorized by the color of their shell (not the meat) when raw: White, brown, pink, and black tiger. Another warm wate

Bush moves to protect striped bass, red drum

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Seafood Currents Oct 22, 2007 SFB Staff — President Bush on Saturday signed an executive order to protect striped bass and red drum from overfishing during a stop at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. The order encourages states to declare striped bass, known locally as rockfish, and red drum “game fish,” making both species off-limits to commercial fishermen. After signing the order, Bush fished for striped bass off Tilghman Island for an hour before eating Maryland crab cakes for lunch at Vice President Dick Cheney’s St. Michaels vacation home. But states will be reluctant to give up their right to regulate fishing in their waters, Dennis Abbott, a New Hampshire legislator and member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which monitors the striped bass

The Canadian Rule

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How to cook fish: Here is a really simple and easy rule to follow and your fish will be cooked to perfection every time. This will work for any method of cooking. The only requirement is that the heat source is as very hot. Now the secret; for each inch of thickness cook the fish 1o minutes. That's it, now go cook some fish.

Sustainable Seafood Blogging

While looking around on the net to see who is blogging about seafood and such I came across this... leather district gourmet So check it out Sustainable Seafood Month.

Nantucket Bays are on the way

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Start looking for those sweet as candy scallops from the eastern seaboard. The first harvests will start on November 1st. Every year chefs start salivating at the mention of these translucent gems. Hand Harvested with rakes by a limited group of skilled people, these treats garner over $20.00 to wholesalers and distributors. The regulations do not allow harvesting to occur when the mercury falls below 29, and even in the peak of season supply can be tight. All the product is shucked nearby and packed in tins surrounded in ice. I must confess that when they first arrive in the warehouse I am quick to gobble down more than I need to determine quality. Also be on the look out for The Nantucket bays close Long Island relative: The Peconic Bay scallop. Opens a week or two later.

CHEFS NIGHT OUT

Sign up now for a night on us, Stop by 535 3rd ave between 11 and 2am for free drinks and late night snacks. Sample Stone Crab, Nantucket bay scallops, local oysters and Kona kampachi . Local craft brewed beer and Long Island's best wines. Date to be decided.

A fish in trouble

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Information about the American Eel

Sample fish info

--Alfonsino: New Zealand , related to red snapper. White flesh, 3-5# fish, oval- shaped like John Dory. --Barramundi: habitat: from northern Australia and Queensland; one of the largest and most important commercial fishes; also popular with sportsmen; found in brackish waters, lagoons, and mangrove creeks; returns to saltwater to spawn; season runs year-round, though most active in warmer months; caught with live lures, either cast or trolled; description : white flesh, soft and delicate, mild, low oil; filets are round and thick, and have only a few large bones; preparation : frying, grilling, bbq-ing, steaming; --Black cod: from North Pacific; 5-7 pounds, head off; “The white meat of the sablefish is fine-textured, oily, and succulent. The flavor is rich and distinctive; the fat content is high. The skin is edible;” --Blackfish: habitat: Nova Scotia to South Carolina, Pacific Ocean, especially Narragansett Bay (RI); season from April to June, then from October;

Some Sustainable Choices

Clams-Hard clams are raised in bottom culture systems, and have very few enviromental concerns. Spawning clams may actually hepl populate wild areas

blog action day

My first day of blogging just happened to be blog action day. I hope that in some small way any knowledge I can impart here will help.

Stone Crab

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Stone crab is a seasonal treat. The season is now. On Monday fisherman in Florida pulled in the first of the season stone crab claws. The great thing about these treats is that they are sustainable. Only the claws are harvested every year by the Florida Fleet. Fisherman place pots and mark them with buoys . It is against the law to tamper with crab pots. When they bring the traps to the surface they select the largest claw and remove it from the crab. The crab is then returned to the water so that by this time next year it will have fully regenerated a new claw. The claws are quickly iced, or cooked right on board. Season is from October 15 th to May 15 th . Prices are stable from last year. Retail pricing for medium 6-8/lb should be $18-$25, large 4-6/lb $30-$40 depending how close you are to the Gulf.

First Fish

I spent the morning with two leading researchers from The Blue Ocean Institute. They were speaking on Sustainable Seafood. This is a very complex issue, but one that we can give momentum to. Check back as I highlite some fish that can be labeled sustainable.