Five benefits of a food systems view for New England fisheries

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New England fisheries are at a crossroads. This heritage industry, which has provided livelihoods for so many for so long in our region, now finds itself challenged by a changing and unpredictable natural environment, an increasingly cutthroat global marketplace, shifts in demographics and public attitudes, and above all, a bulging regulatory burden that often reacts to one problem at a time and limits the adaptive space available to fishermen as they strive for resilience.

For the past year, Eating with the Ecosystem has been participating in the Food Solutions New England network. Food Solutions New England is a regional, collaborative network organized to support the emergence and continued viability of a New England food system that is a resilient driver of healthy food for all, racial equity, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities.

A food system is defined as “all those activities involving the production, processing, transport and consumption of food, [including] the governance and economics of food production, its sustainability, the degree to which we waste food, and how food production affects the natural environment [1].”

Eating with the Ecosystem is participating in Food Solutions New England because we believe that a food systems approach has tremendous value for New England fisheries. Here are five reasons why:

1. Governance, not just government

Compared to other parts of our food system, the wellbeing of fisheries is disproportionately affected by formal government regulatory processes. Fisheries management mechanisms such as licensing, open and closed seasons, legal sizes, individual and group quotas, and others determine who can fish, when and where they can fish, what gear they can use, and how much they can catch. Because of its overarching influence, formal fisheries management has long been the primary lever that fishermen, their allies, and adversaries try to pull in order to influence their future. But this emphasis on formal government decision-making – as opposed to the broader concept of governance - misses a large part of the potential field of action available to these actors as they try to shape a future for New England fisheries.

"Governance is the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, influence their common affairs. It is a continuing process through which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and co-operative action may be taken. It includes formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce compliance, as well as informal arrangements that people and institutions either have agreed to or perceive to be in their interest [2]."

In fisheries, governance can include consumers, wholesalers, retailers, fish workers, educators, chefs, and policy makers outside of the fisheries management process. Each of these actors can provide skills, connections, and spaces for interaction that can support regional fisheries in new ways that complement the role of government management. Food systems work innately includes the full governance spectrum; by enhancing the integration of fisheries into food systems work and vice-versa, fisheries can benefit from these forms of thinking and acting.

2. Defining societal goals and values

The public tends to be distanced from the decisions that shape fisheries. Fisheries are isolated by their geographic marginalization (i.e., their activities take place on the land’s margins and at sea, not interspersed with human settlements like farms) and the arcane nature of fisheries science and management. Ironically, the public tends to feel much closer to farming – an activity that takes place on private land – than it does to fishing – an activity that takes place in public waters and harvests publicly owned and managed resources.

A coherent regional public vision for fisheries would strengthen the values basis for decisions about the future of our ports and working waterfronts, regulations on harvest and sale of seafood, and many others. It would help guide fisheries management, especially as it moves from narrow piecemeal approaches that manage individual species to a more holistic, ecosystem-based framework called Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) that manages the whole ecological system – a process that is currently underway but that lacks a north star.

Additionally, food can give the public a more meaningful role in decision-making and can help overcome historical tensions between the fishing community and the environmental community in New England fisheries. It can help members of the public view themselves as stakeholders and ultimately bring greater transparency and democratic participation to fisheries management decisions.

3. A vision for the Anthropocene

Marine ecosystems are highly dynamic and adaptive, responding on a continuous basis to food web fluxes, natural climate cycles, fishing activity, and increasingly, manmade climate change. But many in the sustainability movement have applied a preservationist lens to fisheries, attempting to sustain a static ecosystem configuration free of human influence. This objective is misapplied for two reasons: first, marine ecosystems are not static, and second, they are not free from human influence. What, then, should be the benchmark by which we evaluate fisheries? This is an open question that will become increasingly important in the coming years. But one concept – the “Anthropocene” – may provide a roadmap.

In After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene, Jedediah Purdy singled out the food movement as the best example of an Anthropocene social movement. In “The New Nature”, he writes:

If we embrace not just the Anthropocene condition but also the insight—if we accept that there is no boundary between nature and human action and that nature therefore cannot provide a boundary around contestation—we may have the basis of a democratic future…

The food movement provides a possible model of the next politics of nature. If the old vision of nature was one of wilderness and the pristine, which assumes the separateness of humans and nature, the new one might be agriculture, which emphasizes how the constant, inescapable metabolism between humans and the rest of the world shapes both…[3] 

4. Replacing end-of-pipeline approaches with positive feedback loops

Until now, both government- and consumer-led efforts to promote sustainability of marine ecosystems and their resources have focused almost entirely on controlling the actions of end users: the fishermen who harvest seafood. This end-of-the-pipeline focus misses many other things that affect the production of wild seafood, perhaps most notably the habitat base that provides refuge, sustenance, and other services to the animals that inhabit our rivers, coasts, and oceans – and that eventually become our seafood. Government fisheries management is ill equipped to deal with upstream factors affecting seafood because, by law,[4] its purview is limited to regulating seafood harvests. While some aspects of fisheries habitat do come under government decision making, this is largely through other (non-fisheries) processes such as land use and waterway planning, water quality management, energy planning, mining permits, etc. – in other words, decision processes that are not linked to the production of wild seafood as a social goal.

A food systems approach can help by engineering positive feedback loops between the enjoyment of wild seafood and participation in seafood habitat advocacy. Crafting these feedback loops requires education and democratic activation of seafood consumers, as well as the charting of pathways to support seafood habitat through local land use planning processes, water quality work, marine spatial planning, and other arenas outside fisheries management. A food systems approach can lay the bedrock for these pathways.

The same logic applies to the socio-economic underpinnings of fisheries. In a region where seafood consumers far outnumber seafood producers, it is important to strengthen connections between the public and fisheries practitioners and to give consumers the education and tools they need to become fisheries constituents. In this vision, the flow of food through the food system is accompanied by a flow of information and political will that feed back into the goal of sustaining regional fisheries for the public good. Priming and activating these linkages can bring greater transparency to the seafood system and greater social support for fisheries and the people who practice them.

5. Achieving business-level viability

Until the 1990s, the emphasis in fisheries management and economics was on building up fleets to harvest greater quantities of seafood. Since the 1990s, the emphasis in many fisheries has been on downsizing fleets and reducing harvests, often through means that reduce the viability of individual businesses and the resilience of the fisheries system. There is a need now for a third approach that focuses on enhancing viability and resilience within a steady-state resource economy by diversifying incomes and opportunities, providing social support through waterfront and fisheries access, and reducing regulatory red tape and inefficiencies that hamper business-level adaptation.

The food system is a set of nested systems where viability of the components (i.e., individual businesses) contributes to the performance of the whole. The farm viability approach employed by food systems practitioners to understand and support farms within the New England region and beyond is a valuable model that should be applied in greater measure to fisheries. Viability of individual businesses is affected by systemic issues. Critical issues such as obstacles to new entry, low levels of participation by young people, issues and costs of waterfront access, global and local market forces, and the increasing costs of regulatory compliance (e.g., at-sea monitors, permits, etc.) are areas that can benefit from a viability approach.

Learn more

Head over to Food Solutions New England's website to learn more about this network and its goal to obtain 50% of the total regional food supply by 2060 from the region’s own coasts and fields.

[1] http://www.futureoffood.ox.ac.uk/what-food-system 

[2] Commission on Global Governance. 1995. Our Global Neighborhood. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[3] Purdy, J. 2016. “The New Nature.” Boston Review. Online at: http://bostonreview.net/forum/jedediah-purdy-new-nature

[4] The primary federal law setting the stage for fisheries management is the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Law.

Week 16

Chris Dodge from Connecticut

Lobster Benedict on sweet potato hash. Everything from scratch

Lobster Benedict on sweet potato hash. Everything from scratch

This week's list had a gimme, so I knew I wouldn't have to search very hard. Was able to easily pick up some lobster that was from Maine. I realized all of my meals have been either lunches or dinners, so to mix things up I wanted to get a breakfast meal involved. I knew I wanted to make a Lobster Benedict. I'm gluten-free so it was done on top of a sweet potato hash. It was also my first time poaching an egg and making hollandaise sauce. Everything was from scratch and amazing!

Julek Chawarski from Maine

Devon, enjoying razor clams after an Old Crow concert on the Portland waterfront. What a night!

Devon, enjoying razor clams after an Old Crow concert on the Portland waterfront. What a night!

I was very happy to see these were available at the market. They came from Biddeford pool, just a few miles south of Portland. I used to walk around and forage in the marsh when I lived in the area, and never found razor clams. I'm glad to see there is a market for this local delicacy. I sauteed them with some Casco Bay Butter, garlic, red pepper, and a touch of white wine. They were quick and delicious as a late night snack with a glass of wine.

Carolyn St Jean Gogan from Rhode Island

Jonah Crab feast!

Jonah Crab feast!

Jonah Crab was the only species on my list that was found. And I had never bought live Jonah Crabs before. They are very easy to cook because I just steamed them for 20 mins. However, you really must work for the meat. Most is in the claws and a little in the legs. A lot of cracking is necessary and it can get messy! This is a fine crab to buy if you are having an outdoor cookout or at the beach and don't want to spend too much money.

Rachel Hutchinson from Massachusetts

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This weekend we harvested honey from our bee hive for the first time ever. As a result we located a recipe in our bee manual for honey glazed sea scallops that we were excited to try. I felt guilty about going with sea scallops again instead of the quahogs, which I hadn't had on my list all summer, until I sat down to eat my honey glazed scallops.

Catherine Schmitt from Maine

Southeast Asian fish stew with halibut and savoy cabbage

Southeast Asian fish stew with halibut and savoy cabbage

I usually only buy halibut during the Maine (inshore) fishery, which happens in May-June. But halibut from the groundfish fishery seems to be more available lately, especially beyond the coast- so I was pleased to find it in Bangor.

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut

Steamed scup with scallions

Steamed scup with scallions

This week I was looking for scup, peekytoe crab, periwinkle, and black sea bass. Whenever I am assigned a species I am not too familiar with, I do some research about it. This week while looking into it more I found current data from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). According to the ASMFC, “the 2017 benchmark stock assessment found black sea bass not overfished nor experiencing overfishing.” After finding this data I was open to trying black sea bass. This week I found scup and black sea bass. I was planning on buying the black sea bass, but after looking at the two fish, the scup looked fresher, so I ended up buying it. I cooked it differently then the last time I had it, and it did not disappoint. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, steamed it whole with ginger slices and served with scallions. Very tasty.

Maria Vasta from Massachusetts

Someone else was also very interested in the lobster!

Someone else was also very interested in the lobster!

After boiling the lobsters, I picked them clean and then sautéed the meat very quickly in butter, just to coat it. Delicious!

Kate Aubin from Rhode Island

Baked Pollock with garden pesto, steamed garden green beans, and farmer's market corn

Baked Pollock with garden pesto, steamed garden green beans, and farmer's market corn

This week I had to choose between smoked mackerel and pollock fillet. I'm never really been a huge fan of "smoked" flavoring, so I ultimately chose the pollock. I also think (but am not sure if this is true) that mackerel is an oily, "fishy" tasting fish, which does not appeal to me (I should give it a try if it comes up again and see if I am correct in that assumption). Since there's been a lot to harvest lately in the garden, I thought it would be nice to have an "all locally grown/caught meal". I steamed green beans from my garden, smothered the pollock in pesto (made from basil in my garden) and baked it, put cherry tomatoes from the garden on top of the fish, and boiled corn on the cob from gC Farms. The pollock was delicious! The fillet was much thicker than I had anticipated, but it was incredibly easy to work with and I would definitely buy it again after this experiment. It's a great bang for your buck fish.

Lisa Jarosik from Connecticut

Yummy Grilled Swordfish!

Yummy Grilled Swordfish!

This was a great piece of swordfish, very thick and cooked so very well. A little bit of seafood seasoning and rosemary grilled in aluminium foil. It was amazing!

Rachel Fecteau from Massachusetts

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"I was disappointed I couldn't find my selection at the market I visited. I stopped at the supermarket to pick up a rotisserie chicken and thought I would check the seafood dept. I was surprised they had WILD Gulf of Maine mussels. Most of the fish markets I visit only carry farmed mussels. They were inexpensive, sweet and on the smaller side."

Rebecca Stevens from Massachusetts

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This was my first time cooking a "meatier" fish. Aside from the fact that my house smelled of fish afterward, I really enjoyed the swordfish. I pan seared it and finished with a lemon-basil butter. Next time I would opt for cooking it on the grill...outside!

Christopher Coccaro from Connecticut

Salsa Cod

Salsa Cod

My family was in Martha's Vineyard for the week and seeing the difference in what local species are available in locations closer to fishing ports vs. what is available in New England was eye opening. Much of the fish where we live (in Southeast CT) is bought from the New York fish market and can be coming from anywhere in the world. However on the island the stores we went to (Edgartown Seafood, Oak Bluffs Fish Market, Menemsha Fish Market) all had prominently labeled locally caught species like cod, tuna, lobster, swordfish, bluefish, and striped bass. In CT many of these fish cannot be found locally caught in fish markets, if at all. It was refreshing to see how many more options were available in the shops supporting their local fishers. However to expand this to where we live will probably take some many improvements to the fish distribution and supply chain. I baked the cod in a mild salsa and then after placed some cilantro and avocado. it was very delicious.

Brian Haggerty from Rhode Island

Calamari

Calamari

I bought some squid from the local catch tent at the farmers market down the steet. It was already cleaned and I had a choice of just the hoods or the hoods and the tentacles. I choose just the hoods for no reason. I did a simple buttermilk and breadcrumbs mix and fried them up. I also made a sort of sauce from mayonnaise a dill marinade banana pepper basil and some red hot peppers.

Week 15

David Ford from Rhode Island

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“Early in the week I provided my fish list for the week to The Local Catch. They replied that there was the possibility of scup or monkfish to come in later in the week. They did find monkfish and I purchased it at the Aquidneck Grower's Market in Middletown on Saturday. However, their newsletter for weekend farmer's markets, which comes out Thursday, did not list monkfish as an available fish at the markets. So, I'm unclear as to whether my choice should be treated as a special order or not. Regardless, I prepared the monkfish by roasting it on a bed of fresh rosemary and thyme with lemons and olives. The meatiness of the monkfish stands up well to the ingredients more commonly used to roast meat. I served an olive tapenade on the side. The result was outstanding.”

Zach Miller Hope from Maine

“Halibut is one of those fish that you assume you've eaten before but after purchasing and cooking, I am not sure that I have. I'm assuming it is because it is pricey and looks as though it would be a white flakey fish similar to Cod and Haddock...but its meat is a lot different. I was quite surprised at how meaty it was and am still surprised that I have not eaten it before.”

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut

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“This week I was looking for black sea bass, John dory, quahogs, and silver hake (whiting). The first store I contacted had everything but the one fish that I wanted to try, the John Dory….It was partly a toss up between silver hake and quahogs. I ended up with the silver hake. It is a very affordable fish. I got whole fish and cut fillets and prepared them simply. Sautéed them and ate on top of homemade bread with some vegetables. It was a very good meal.”

Jennifer L McCaffrey from Rhode Island

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“I was pressed for time so I only made it to one market. Swordfish is my husband's favorite so I chose that. I tend to grill the same way all the time which is the way I first learned. You brush mayo on the fish (supposedly it retains moisture) and then just salt, pepper and lemon. I googled Swordfish and immediately found the lemon butter basil sauce. It was simple and I had basil growing in my garden. The fish came out wonderful.”

Deborah Mager from Connecticut

“I called in a request to my favorite seafood store for one of my species this week (in order of preference, i.e. Tautog (aka Blackfish), John Dory, Dab (aka American Plaice), and halibut) and I was not disappointed. I was so glad to have the opportunity to speak to Robert Uberti when I arrived to purchase my Tautog. Robert informed me that he was making his purchasing choices for his customers based upon his concern of high PCB levels in the Long Island Sound waters. He also told me that he did find John Dory (aka St. Peter's fish) but that he chose not to get that for me since it didn't look as fresh as the Tautog. Apparently John Dory is a "bear" to fillet if it is even a day old due to the skin becoming tough. The Tautog was so easy to prepare. I baked it with an herbed butter which included lemon juice, fresh chives, dill, a dash of cayenne pepper, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. The fish tasted so fresh - Mmm Mmm good! Perfect as a company dish served with Pineapple Mojitos!”

Jacob Matz from Massachusetts

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“I have eaten canned herring many times. It's always great in a spread with lots of other snacks. We are the herring on crackers alongside of pickled string beans, pickled cabbage, cheeses, and pesto.”

Sherri Darocha from Massachusetts

“I decided to give making clear chowder a whirl. It was my first time. In addition to the fish, I added other bits of seafood, cut into tiny pieces - littleneck clams and shrimp. The combination was delicious! I'm looking forward to experimenting with more types of seafood stews and soups in the future, they make a great meal that can be hearty or light, depending on the ingredients. The clear chowder was very underwhelming from a photo perspective. A beige liquid with little bits of darker beige and white, so I ended up skipping the photo. The flavor did not translate visually!”

Anne Ewert from New Hampshire

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“This week I had smooth dogfish, sea scallops, wild mussels, and Mahi Mahi on my fish list. I couldn't find smooth dogfish at all, and I couldn't find local mahi mahi, but I did find both scallops and mussels. I chose to cook the scallops because they are so delicious, but they are pretty pricey so I don't usually buy them. Mussels are good, but I thought this was a good excuse to buy scallops :). I seared the scallops in a mixture of olive oil and butter with garlic, only a few minutes on each side. The trick with scallops is not to cook them too much. It kills the flavor and makes them all tough. I put the scallops on top of a salad with butter lettuce, spinach, and a fresh mango salsa that I made myself. Scallops are so delicious with mango. It came out pretty well, but I was not overwhelmed with the quality of the scallops I bought from Shaws. I recommend going to a real fish market for scallops, since they taste so much better when they are really really fresh.”

Christina Rodriquez from Rhode Island

“The sea robin was purchased whole (otherwise gutted and beheaded), at about 1/2 lbs each. We bought 2 and fed 4 people, though 1 whole fish per person would've been more filling. We roasted the fish with olive oil salt, pepper, and paprika. Our guests loved it and said it was quite tasty.”

Kate Aubin from Rhode Island

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“This week the only option at the farmer's market was the Acadian Redfish, which I've never had before. I did a quick recipe search online and saw a blackened cajun redfish recipe which sounded amazing, so I was pretty excited to get cooking. Once I got home I looked at the recipe more closely and it sounded a bit difficult. At this point I was really hungry so definitely didn't want to mess around with a tricky recipe. I found another recipe that was much easier (wrapping the redfish in parchment paper with cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper and then baking for 10 minutes) so I went with that (also nice to be able to utilize produce from the garden). Had a few bones to pull out of the fish and mangled the fillets a bit (I need to learn how to pull the bones out), but the preparation was super easy otherwise and it was delicious! I will definitely be eating redfish again.”

Heather Fox from Rhode Island

“Love shopping at the local catch at the Hope Street farmers market. The variety is incredible, you can always get information from the fisherman regarding any fish he has available that day or any other fish for that matter. The selection of smoked fish this week was amazing and I purchased a beautiful piece of smoked bluefish There were two types of smoked bluefish available this week smoked and pepper smoked I chose the regular smoked”

Kim Gainey from Massacusetts

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“My husband and I are on a staycation in N. Truro camping and spending our days at RacePoint, life is good and it's been great to find local connections at this end of the Cape . We are looking forward to the new fish list and Truro farmers market for some camp fire meals✌️Local cod an easy choice!”

Terry Hahn from Rhode Island

“Was steeling myself to cook a live conch-a little squeamish about it. Of the 4 things on my list this wk, I didn't think I'd find 2 of them, was pretty sure I would find haddock, but knew a local place had conch, cooked and live, a few wks ago and was going to step up to the experience of cooking a live one if they had it. But the 2nd place I looked for seafood surprised me by having headed and gutted sea robin. Didn't know if I would find it again and had never cooked it, so I bought that. well....thank goodness for the internet. None of my cookbooks had recipes, or the Local Catch (who I bought it from) site. Online I found out that it's a "bait-stealer"-often caught when fishing for something else and not used much for food. Although in france it's called something else and used in bouillabaisse and a US restaurant is making a ceviche course from it. It often is used for stock. Read instructions for skinning it and filleting-instructions not that specific but I did a decent enough job of it. Skin is thick and it can be a bony fish. Pan sauteed to a firm consistency-mild, tasty. Saved the 2nd fillet for making soup and the bones for stock. Would enjoy eating it again but only if I could find it already filleted!”

Maria Vasta from Massachusetts

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“We have steamers and lobster every year for my mom's birthday, so cooking these was a breeze! Steamed and dipped in butter, they're perfect!”

Week 14

Jean Dao from Massachusetts

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“Golden tilefish is so colorful! My partner purchased two pounds (!!!) of it from a Farmer's Market and we cooked one pound a night for two nights in a row in a cast iron pan on the stove. On the first night, we tried to make the skin extra crispy by taking a blowtorch to it after cooking, but it didn't hold, so we opted to just sear it longer the next night. Perfect. The tilefish reminded us a lot of monkfish in its texture both raw and cooked -- tender but makes you chew a little, a very clean and almost nonexistent flavor on its own (but would be fabulous in a curry or saucy concoction!), and made our teeth squeak against each other a little when chewing. Weird! Would buy and eat tilefish again in a heartbeat.”

Kirstien Davidson from New Hampshire

Beer and Clams

Beer and Clams

“My husband was visiting one of his friends in RI this weekend so I asked him to pick-up the clams this week. Being a native Rhodie, I was hopeful he could handle the fish project this week and he pulled through! I also left preparation of the clams up to him and he decided to steam them in beer. He used Sam Adam's lager, which made the house smell like a brewery but also made the quahogs very tasty! We enjoyed them out on the porch with a bottle of beer while our little one napped. It was a perfect summer lunch!”

Pamela Corcoran from Maine

“I was happy to see halibut on my fish list this week. I thought I could find it at my co-op (Belfast ME) and it would likely be sourced from another co-op, Port Clyde Fresh Catch. This is a great way to Eat with the Ecosystem: support my neighbors, keep my dollars in the local economy, and enjoy the freshest of fish from the Gulf of Maine. A triple win!”

Brian Haggerty from Rhode Island

Midweek “eat like a fish” meal

Midweek “eat like a fish” meal

“We had two good size cod fillets, we hit em with lil flour and then drizzled lemon butter on both sides and finished them off with wheat ritz crackers on top. Served with steamed broccoli and brown rice”

Rachel Hutchinson from Massachusetts

Mussels in Beer

Mussels in Beer

“Chatham Mussels are being caught wild in our waters every day. I was happy to find local Chatham mussels as I could have just as easily walked into the water and picked them up myself. What I was surprised about was the when I walked into the fish market there were no mussels on display. I had to ask if they had any mussels, "oh yes they are out back". And thinking about it, I have been to Chatham Fish and Lobster almost every week and I don't think I have ever seen mussels on display. They were easy, and they were delicious. I'm not sure why they wouldn't be out on the counter. I would prefer to eat them over a steamer.”

Michelle Nelson from Connecticut

 Fried Haddock with onion rings and fresh tartar sauce

 Fried Haddock with onion rings and fresh tartar sauce

“This was the second time I had haddock on my list. My father-in- law can catch me a striped bass so I bought the haddock. I prepared it by coating and then frying. We topped it with homemade tartar sauce and onion rings. Alongside there was orzo salad, marinated green beans and caprese stacks. Of course there was a cocktail, raspberry and lemon sorbet floating in prosecco!”

Deborah Mager from Connecticut

Fish & Family

Fish & Family

“I thought I was going to strike out this week from finding my species, but low and behold the last store I went to had mussels and mackerel. I had overnight family guests visiting this weekend and I had already had a dinner menu in mind which did not include mussels. I had searched for mussels two other times before and could only find ones that came from P.E.I. so I couldn't count on them. I was very surprised to find the mackerel, both fresh whole and packaged smoked filets. I chose the smoked filets because I could make an easy appetizer with them. I would serve the smoked fish with Tuscan crackers and herbed goat cheese. It sounded good in theory since I have had mackerel before and knew it had a stronger fish flavor and thought the herbed goat cheese would offset the flavor along with some wine. I will definitely look up some recipes before I purchase mackerel and try it again, and I would try the fresh whole rather than the smoked filet.”

Mary Tanzer from New Hampshire

 tuna steaks pan searing

 tuna steaks pan searing

“I love tuna - seared, sushi, tuna salad, tuna casserole - any and every way! It was a treat to have it on the list and get to make a simple pan seared steak (in sesame oil). I served it with brown butter sautéed green and yellow beans from a local farm. So easy! So good! I was planning on making some stuffed clams because I knew I'd find steamers. But at $5.99/lb for the clams....no way. The price for the actual edible clam was probably more than lobster meat! So we enjoyed our tuna instead.”

Carolyn St Jean Gogan from Rhode Island

Steamed lobster with melted butter

Steamed lobster with melted butter

“I tried to find Mahi Mahi but was told by two venders that the price is too expensive right now and they won't buy it. They both said they didn't understand why it was so costly. In the 14 weeks we have been doing this project I have never seen Sea Urchin. So, I bought lobster. I have loved lobster since I was knee high to a grasshopper. It is my favorite food and if I have the good fortune of picking my last meal, it will be lobster! I like to prepare it very simply. Just steam it and have a small bowl of melted butter to dip it in. You can't get any better than that!”

Pamela Corcoran from Maine

“I was happy to see halibut on my fish list this week. I thought I could find it at my co-op (Belfast ME) and it would likely be sourced from another co-op, Port Clyde Fresh Catch. This is a great way to Eat with the Ecosystem: support my neighbors, keep my dollars in the local economy, and enjoy the freshest of fish from the Gulf of Maine. A triple win!”

Peter Gauthier from New Hampshire

Baked flounder with garlic and herbs

Baked flounder with garlic and herbs

“I hope what I purchased was "winter" flounder. I saw flounder was available, I like it alot, and forgot that my list specified winter flounder. Anyway, my guy at Beef and Seafood told me the fish was from the waters off Gloucester. And, he told me unlike some wholesalers of flounder, his seller did not dip the fillets in tri-sodium phosphate to help preserve freshness. I didn't expect fish from the docks to get treated with chemicals!”

Daryl Popper from Massachusetts

Chatham Hake with basil, onions and basmati rice

Chatham Hake with basil, onions and basmati rice

""There is nothing more authenticate in New England than eating native fish." The engaging fish monger at Boston Public Market's Red's Best said this to me while diving deep into the importance and value of seeking out local, wild fish. He was spot on. Every experience during this project with the team at Red's Best, whether at Boston Public Market or finding them out at a local farmer's market, has been so meaningful. I really value their genuine passion for what they do and how willing they are to share their experience (and tasty recipes too!) at the counter. I was able to purchase a lovely piece of hake for this week's assignment. It was fresh off fisherman Bob Eldridge's boat named Unicorn out of Chatham and the price was right. At $11.00 per pound, I have found my new favorite, local fish! I prepared the hake at home on a gas stovetop, first pan searing in olive oil with onions for approximately five minutes on medium heat. I then added small heirloom tomatoes to the pan and transferred all to a pre-heated over to broil for an additional five minutes. I topped the fish with fresh basil and served with Indian style basmati rice.”

Paul Anderson from Maine

Patty Pan Seafood Pie

Patty Pan Seafood Pie

“Only Herring and Sea Scallops were available from my list, and the herring was smoked. That didn't interest me, so even though I had already done Sea Scallops earlier for this project, I decided to go with them again. Only this time, I selected sea scallops as one of several local seafood species for a Seafood Pie. I made up this recipe a few years ago for a visiting colleague from Hawaii and he still swears it was the best seafood dish he's ever eaten. The seafood in the pie filling is scallops (cut in pieces), shrimp (cut in pieces...from the Port Clyde group), and minced clams (from a can). I sauté minced shallots, celery and the raw seafood just enough to barely cook it in butter/olive oil, salt, pepper, tarragon, sherry. Add to this beaten egg, panko bread crumbs, a little bit of sour cream, and clam juice. I made two versions of the pies: one with regular pie crust in mini pie plates, and another using a large patty pan squash from my garden (hollowed out and filled). In both cases, I added a little grated fresh Parmesan on top before baking for about an hour at 425. I would usually add some whole cream or half-and-half to the mix, but was trying to keep the dairy down. The patty pan (pictured) came out really nice and the stuffing stayed moist. The pastry pies were a bit dry, so next time I'd go ahead with a little cream in the filling.”

Kat Champigny from Maine

Caramelized Vietnamese-Style bluefish

Caramelized Vietnamese-Style bluefish

Aaron Whitman from Maine

“I bought this fish whole at harbor fish market where they cleaned and filleted the fish for me. Took it home and cooked it that night with some oil and lemon pepper seasoning. It was very easy to work with and was a flakey white fish that tasted absolutely delicious!”  - Acadian Redfish

Week 13

Sherri Darocha from Rhode Island

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Indonesian Fish Curry

Indonesian Fish Curry

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“For lucky Week 13 I spent a little time looking back on at all of the fish recipes that I've prepared so far, the new-to-me species that I've been lucky enough to find and all of the great little seafood shops I've been introduced to as my search region has expanded. And an account of all the fun people I've met standing in line at seafood shops could fill a blog of its own. At the inception of Eating with the Ecosystem, I had no doubt that I would find, prepare and marvel at my brilliance with new, exotic, local species of seafood each week! It would be a great excuse to seek out specific ingredients and expand my culinary horizons. I never dreamed that most weeks it would be so challenging to find even one fish on my list. After thirteen weeks, I've got lots of pent up fish envy that will only be soothed by finding species that have eluded me like cunner and red hake (and dozens of others). I have no doubt that I will continue the quest even after the study has concluded. On the other hand, I've greatly expanded my fish recipe repertoire for species that are more commonly found in my neck of New England. This week I was thrilled that haddock was on my list because I knew that if I struck out on the others, at least I would be able to find it! But how to prepare it? In the past few months, I've baked, stuffed, grilled, steamed, shredded, chowdered, you name it. I wanted to do something new, something geographically adventurous. As a fan of super spicy food, I looked to Southeast Asia and decided on an Indonesian fish curry. With many, many ingredients, the chopping and dicing and measuring and planning and cooking took more than two hours. It was so worth it! The curry turned out spicy and smooth and creamy (did I mention spicy?) and was the perfect poaching broth for the haddock filets, which were cut into 3 oz. pieces and laid into the curry broth for the last few minutes of cooking. We enjoyed the poached filets atop the dal-like curry finished off with a little basmati rice, crispy stir-fried okra and cilantro. Hopefully, the preparation and timing of the spice paste cooking process will seem a little less daunting next time. In the meantime, there are delicious leftovers for lunch tomorrow!”

Deborah Mager from Connecticut

All dressed up for the grill.

All dressed up for the grill.

“This week I was searching for Black Sea Bass, Winter Flounder, Conch, or Scup (aka Porgy). I was feeling adventurous so I wanted to find either Conch or Porgies. I have seen Porgies at a supermarket every week that I have shopped there and was excited that they were whole with head and guts still intact. Something different. Porgies have the reputation of being called a trash fish and being bony. A woman standing next to me when I asked for the fish gave me a look that made me feel like I was buying "trash fish", and I have to admit I felt a tinge of embarrassment for purchasing it. The last time I had Porgies was when I was a child and my parents had caught them while fishing. I remember liking the taste of the fish and that they had a lot of bones. I have to tell you, this is a "trash fish" that you should be eating right now! Porgy meat is white, meaty, mild and very similar to flounder meat and tastes great. My "knight in shining armor" husband cleaned and scaled the Porgies for us. His comment was "Feels like fishing without the fun of it. Never again." I definitely will eat Porgies again but we are more apt to go fishing ourselves for them than buying them, unless I can purchase them at the store already cleaned and scaled. Grilled Porgy 1 whole porgy, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, scaled and gutted 2 Lemons, washed, halved and cut into half moons Lemon juice from half a lemon 8 to 10 sprigs of oregano, about 3 to 4 inches long 1/3 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper With a sharp knife, score the porgy on either side, down to the bone, from the head to the tail. Mix together olive oil, oregano and lemon juice. Stuff the cuts with the sprigs of oregano and a few pieces of lemon. Stuff the stomach cavity with mor eoregano and lemon slices. Put the fish in a shallow bowl and pour the marinade over it. Turn the fish over and make sure it is completely covered by the marinade. Marinade for 45 minutes under refrigeration. Grill, cooking about 10 minutes a side. Use a knife to check whether the flesh is cooked through down to the bone.”

Michelle Nelson from Connecticut

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“I marinated it in Italian dressing and grilled it. I made yellow zucchini salsa to top it. Really colorful summer dinner.”

Pamela Corcoran from Maine

“Summer time and the living is easy. Sear cod with corn, tomato, lambs quarters and red onion salad. Sea and garden bounty. Lemonade, too. Perfection.”

Kate Aubin from Rhode Island

Black Sea Bass baked with garlic and white wine vinegar

Black Sea Bass baked with garlic and white wine vinegar

Barbara Rotger from Massachusetts

Seared “scallop pieces” with lemon butter wine sauce, served with pasta and steamed broccoli

Seared “scallop pieces” with lemon butter wine sauce, served with pasta and steamed broccoli

“I was very happy to purchase again from a vendor at our local farmers market. These scallops were sold as "scallop pieces" and the vendor explained that they were the ones that had been broken while shucking. This made the price, $13/pound, more reasonable. I did not mind having scallop pieces as they were fine for the recipe I used. We pan seared them and served them over pasta with lemon/butter/wine sauce.”
Saturday night bluefish

Saturday night bluefish

Rebecca Stevens from Massachusetts

“I really like this species and never would have tried it on my own. I like that participating in this study has made me more aware how much better fresh, local fish tastes, so much so that taking a chance on an unfamiliar species is worth it. Also, it's summer, and anything I can make in under a half hour with easy clean up is a bonus!”

 

 

 

 

Jayne Martin from Massachusetts

Friday Fish Taco with Acadian Redfish (Ocean Perch)

Friday Fish Taco with Acadian Redfish (Ocean Perch)

“The Acadian Redfish(Ocean Perch) is great priced, really reliable tasting, and versatile fish. This time we had it in a fish taco form. Easy to prepare as I chose to broil instead of fry. Perfect fun Friday night dinner. You just can't beat the price.”

Anne Ewert from New Hampshire

NH Local Pollock Hooray!

NH Local Pollock Hooray!

“This week I had a mixed bag of items on my fish list. I was pretty sure I wouldn't find smooth dogfish or scup anywhere, but I was hopeful to find the rock crab and/or the pollock. Pollock and rock crab have been on my list before, but I was unsuccessful in finding them, so I was generally on a look out for these items in case they come up again. I had seen pollock at the grocery stores before, but they never had the info on where it was caught or landed, so it didn't count for the project, and I had not seen any rock crabs at any of the stores so far this summer. Lucky for me I found both items at Sanders Fish Market in Portsmouth. These guys are turning into my go-to fish shop because they have such good quality fish, they know where it comes from, and the local stuff is all at good prices. Lucky for me I found beautiful fillets of pollock that were fresh and local from NH, and I also found containers of pre-picked rock crab out of Maine. It was nice to actually find a fish on my list for once, and finding two was a super awesome bonus! I bought the pollock and the crab, but am featuring the pollock as my fish this week for my diary. The pollock was super easy to prepare since it was already nicely filleted. I simply dipped it in an egg wash, sprinkled it liberally with Old Bay seasoning, then covered it with panko bread crumbs and fried it up in a pan with some oil. It held up to the heat of frying really well. It was easy to cook in the pan, it didn't fall apart or get mushy on me. Once on the plate it was nice and flaky, and had a nice soft-moderate texture to it. It wasn't mushy, but it also wasn't chewy. I would absolutely make this again, especially if I have the time for taco fixin's. I bet this would make great fish tacos. It was nice with my side of roasted fingerling potatoes too.”

Charleen Thorburn from New Hampshire

“This is my second time with Hake and I have Hake on my next week's list -- so I will eat hake 3 times in a row. That's OK, because it's easy to cook and tasty. :) I just put "nuts over fish" coating on the cut up fillets and TA-DAAA. easy-peasy.”
Garlic Butter Poached Pollock

Garlic Butter Poached Pollock

Paul Anderson from Maine

“My garden is putting out a lot right now, so kept the fish part of my meal simple. I have just harvested my garlic, so I minced several cloves (they "pop" when you cut them because they're so fresh!). Saute the garlic with some Old Bay Seasoning in butter then lay in the fish, cooking on both sides for about 4 minutes each. Served with grilled zuchinni, snow peas and corn on the cob with a fresh green salad. Lots of micro-nutrients!”
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Chris Dodge from Connecticut

 “Cooking the mussels was fun and delicious. The biggest thing about cooking the mussels is, unlike other shellfish (oysters, clams, etc) to not be off-put if some of them are open. The will cook up fine, not tasted bad, and not make you sick. I prepared a broth by sauteeing chorizo in pan with garlic, deglaze with white wine and hard cider, add butter and olive oil, lemon juice, and finish with some chopped scallions. Delicious!”

David Ford from Rhode Island

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“Tony's Seafood in Seekonk, MA initially told me they did not have surf calms. One of the more experienced staff said they did have some in the back in frozen blocks. The product looked like any other chopped clams. I made one of my all time favorites - linguine with white clam sauce. I used Explore Cuisine's Edamame and Mung Bean Fettuccini.”

Week 12

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the bounty of local seafood produced in our New England waters. Take a note from our citizen scientists and enjoy local seafood at home and with friends!

Julek Chawarski from Maine

Friday night crew enjoying steamers out on the porch

Friday night crew enjoying steamers out on the porch

“I got the crew over for a Friday afternoon seafood feast! Round one started with steamers dipped in lemon-cilantro butter. Round two was grilled halibut and monkfish with grilled zucchini, broccolini, and corn.  I paired it with whiskey cocktails, white wine, and a killer sunset. I offset my luxurious spending by eating kippers for lunch for a couple days, which were also caught in Gulf of Maine.”

Craig Gogan from Rhode Island

Enjoying the summer weather with a meal outside

Enjoying the summer weather with a meal outside

“We knew swordfish would be easy to find, we just weren't sure how easy it would be to find local sword. Thankfully we found local sword at our first stop. We just salt and peppered it and threw it on the grill. Very easy to cook and always super tasty.”

Brian Haggerty from Rhode Island

Clams and linguine with sausage

Clams and linguine with sausage

“A New England staple, linguine and clams is full of flavor and can feed a lot of people. Being sure to save some clam juice from the cooking process to finish the dish is imperative.”

Elizabeth LaDuca from Massachusetts

“Scallops are one of my favorite seafood items, so I was excited to have it this week! I pan seared them in a very hot pan with a little butter and olive oil, and served it over the first zucchini harvested from our garden. They were delicious!”

Mary Tanzer from New Hampshire

Happy girl eating lobster salad

Happy girl eating lobster salad

“I've been waiting for lobster to be on the list! I was hoping there would be local squid at the supermarket since I've never made fried calamari. No such luck but I can't complain. I was lazy and had the fish monger steam the lobsters for me. So easy to just have to extract the meat when I got home. I highly recommend this - I will be buying lobster more frequently since usually I've had to bring them home, heat up the kitchen with the lobster pot, steam and humidity. This was like cheating but I'll do it again. I couldn't decide - lobster salad? lobster pie? lobster mac and cheese? Something else? At the last minute, I went simple with lobster salad- -- served it with slices of avocado on toast points. So decadent and so yummy!”

Deborah Mager from Connecticut

Razor clams

Razor clams

“This week’s fish list included Butterfish, grey sole, razor clam, and weakfish. I thought I would be a little adventurous and look for Butterfish, but first I wanted to do a little research. I was a little concerned when I read information about Butterfish versus Escolar. I figured if I did find Butterfish I would ask a bunch of questions of my fishmonger and make sure it is exactly that, Butterfish. I was somewhat relieved when I did not find Butterfish at two places I stopped. Well, one possible problem averted but I was presented with another. I found Razor Clams at my second stop. Although grey sole was also available I thought I would give Razor Clams another try. My husband and I had eaten Razor Clams once in a restaurant last year and vowed we would never eat them again. I surfed the Web for recipes. I found out that there are two types of Razor Clams (Pacific and East-coast). I needed a recipe for my East-coast clams. Thank goodness I ran across how to prepare the species before cooking them. Razor Clams are very sandy (as my husband and I found out when we tried them at the restaurant as we crunched on sand) and need to be soaked in salted water for a couple of hours. Prep time! Razor Clams are beautiful to look at (before soaking) and are an amazing species. I was prepared from my research that these guys are really alive and I shouldn’t be surprised if I see them spitting, but I was not prepared for when I put them in salted water and watched them emerge from their shells! I am no “shrinking violet” when it comes to cooking seafood or killing insects but when the species exceed certain parameters of size, for some reason, my conscience kicks in and I have reservations of “doing the deed”. Thankfully, the Clams stopped getting bigger after some minutes. I prepared them by using a basic recipe for fried clams with tartar sauce and a wedge of lemon. They were tasty but not my favorite. I think I’ll pass on razor clams next time.”

Maggie Heinichen from Massachusetts

“When I was at Cautamet fish, they said they did carry black sea bass but it is for wholesale, not the public. They also carried wild mussels from Canada. The fluke was excellent. I liked that the fillets were small so I could get the perfect amount for just me. I cooked it with lemon and herbs and paired with cauliflower and mushrooms. It felt like a very healthy meal and I'm proud of that. It was also something I was able to put together in less than 10 minutes which was awesome. If I was craving fish, this would be a species I would go for again.”

Michelle Nelson from Connecticut

Broiled monkfish plated with zucchini lasagna, confetti salad and garlic bread

Broiled monkfish plated with zucchini lasagna, confetti salad and garlic bread

“Monkfish has a texture similar to lobster tail. I broiled it with butter and lemon. We had 10 for dinner and everyone enjoyed it. It was a first experience for a few people and they were pleasantly surprised.”

Rachel Hutchinson from Massachusetts

Just Chilling

Just Chilling

“When I got my list I saw that lobster was on it and I didn't really look any further. It was actually the only fish I found this week from my list. I wanted to try the whole live lobster and taking care of all of it myself, the last time I bought lobster I had the store kill it and steam it for me. Since it is the summer I wanted to try and grill lobster, I had to search if this was possible and read about killing the lobster prior to grilling it. The lobster still moving on the grill after I believe I killed it was a little disconcerting. The lobster was good, but its hard to eat since you have to pick through the whole animal, I would rather just sit down and eat my dinner then pull each piece of meat out one by one.”

Pamela Corcoran from Maine

“I made this into an omelette filling with green garlic and yellow cherry tomatoes from the garden. Happily surprised how much a small amount of crab add so much to the flavor profile. I was able to serve four folks for less than the cost of bacon. Delicious, affordable and easy. I am so grateful that our local co-op is committed to supporting our local fishery and another co-op (Port Clyde Fresh Catch)”

Kim Gainey from Massachusetts

Sea Scallop

Sea Scallop

“So quick and easy to make and what an amazing flavor very rich you don't need many!”

David Ford from Rhode Island

Grilled cod with red wine and miso butter

Grilled cod with red wine and miso butter

“Since I had not grilled cod in some time, I decided I should give it another try. I won't try this again anytime soon. I found it impossible to prevent the cod from breaking apart on the grill. I made a glaze of red wine, red miso, butter, soy and shallots. I coated the filet with the glaze before grilling and spooned additional glaze on the filet before serving. I served the cod atop a bed of wilted spinach that I flashed sauteed in olive oil. The miso-butter-red wine-soy sauce married perfectly with the sweetness of the cod. I plan on using miso more often in fish recipes.”

Rachel Fecteau from Maine

Grilled Swordfish

Grilled Swordfish

“Swordfish, weakfish, conch, yellowtail flounder. I was hoping to find conch since I have seen whelks for sale in Maine before. I had eaten a lot of conch when I lived in the Caribbean. I was excited to try some recipes with New England whelks. No conch in the market. The fishmonger hadn't seen weakfish or yellow tail flounder in the store so swordfish it was. I marinated the swordfish in a citrus marinade for about 30 minutes and cooked it on a hot grill. Totally delicious. I forgot how much I love swordfish.”

Taylor Feuti from Maine

“Fish is a big part of my diet and my life. As an avid fisherman ( use to be commercial fisherman) I enjoy all things that come with consuming fish. One thing I am surprised by is the actual lack of knowledge of some of the shop workers I buy the fish from. None of them knew what tautog was (which I find is common north of cape cod) or Conch, which is one of my favorites and another one I have trouble finding.”

Sarah Bjorklund from Massachusetts

Baked Pollock with Seafood stuffing

Baked Pollock with Seafood stuffing

“We found a fish on our list! Hanafords had Pollock from the coast of Maine! "

Meggan Dwyer from Maine

Sausage stuffed squid (and a rogue scallop)

Sausage stuffed squid (and a rogue scallop)

“The only thing available on my fish list this week was squid so we got down to business stuffing a pound of squid with sausage and panfrying it and then finishing it in the oven. The result was like eating sausage but with a thicker casing. I think next time we stick with plain old fried calamari as I don't think squid tastes like much and might as well be fried.”

Week 11

Elizabeth LaDuca from Massachusetts

“I was pleasantly surprised to find frozen, wild caught squid at Donelan's from Rhode Island. Their fish selection was quite limited, and even their cod was from Iceland, so it was nice to find something on the list! I'd never prepared squid before, and only eaten it out at restaurants (my family won't eat it) so I thought it would be a fun item to try. The squid was gutted and the tops and tentacles were cut apart, so I sliced up the top parts into rings, patted them dry and then floured them. I fried them quickly in a shallow pan with a little vegetable oil. We ate them on our standard "sushi bowl" which consists of a bed of brown sushi rice, a quick sauté of sliced green beans and baby bok choy from our CSA and then the squid on top with a little chili sauce. It was delicious! I would definitely try it again!”

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut

Pan Searing Sea Scallops

Pan Searing Sea Scallops

“This week I was looking for herring, sea scallops, Jonah crab, and wild-caught mussels. The herring at the store was from Canada, so that was out. Wild caught mussels were hard to find. The stores had farmed mussels. There was picked Jonah crab meat from Maine or sea scallops from New Bedford, MA. I had been to Maryland the previous weekend and had crab cakes there, so I opted to go for the sea scallops. They are mighty expensive, but so very easy to handle (as long as you are ready for the short cooking time), tasty, and filling. Scientists from NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center have been surveying the Atlantic sea scallops population off the northeastern U.S. coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts every year since 1979. They tow a dredge to randomly sample and document the marine life in these zones. They recently started using a new undersea camera called the Habitat Mapping Camera System, shortened to HabCam, in scallop surveys to supplant dredge data. Images from the HabCam supply absolute densities of scallops and other species, are less labor intensive in terms of crew, and provide much more information about the bottom habitat, all in near-real time.”

Peter Gauthier from New Hampshire

Haddock Meuniere with caprese salad on the deck

Haddock Meuniere with caprese salad on the deck

“First, I really wish I could find some of the less popular fish. My best outlet, Beef and Seafood, just doesn't have the space and/ or customer demand to carry sea urchin, cunner or sea robin, except thru special order. I was very surprised haddock was not more readily available in all three stores I shopped. As commented in the survey, the haddock I purchased just didn't look that appealing. I only bought it because I had to. The fishmonger at Beef and Seafood said they didn't have haddock bc their fish seller said the catch was small and not so good....the fishmonger said he listens to his seller! Anyway. ...on to next week!”

Barbara Rotger from Massachusetts

“I have been frustrated by the inability of our local grocery stores to tell me anything beyond country of origin for the fish that they sell. Much of it may be from New England, but they are unable, or unwilling to share this information. I was very happy to buy fish from The Fish Lady (that is her business name) who comes to several local farmers markets, and who gets her fish from Red's Best. The fish is packaged in half pound or pound packages, and is labeled with the name of the fisherman, name of the boat, harbor where it was landed, and fishing method. My halibut was landed in Plymouth, MA and was caught by a trawler.”

Lisa Richards from New Hampshire

Preparing swordfish in our small cottage kitchen on monhegan island Maine.

Preparing swordfish in our small cottage kitchen on monhegan island Maine.

“We are on vacation on a very small island off Maine and I was excited to find two varieties of my fish list!”

David Ford from Rhode Island

Sand Crab with Garlic Shallot Dipping sauce

Sand Crab with Garlic Shallot Dipping sauce

“I loved the taste of the sand crab. Maybe the best crab I've ever had. But it is way too much work for the small amount of meat you get. I bet one could starve to death if all you had to eat was sand crab, since you would pass away before you got your essential nutrients!”

Rachel Hutchinson from Massachusetts

Dogfish display that the Brewster Farmers Market highlighting Pier to Plate

Dogfish display that the Brewster Farmers Market highlighting Pier to Plate

“This is not so much a story about the Sea Scallops that I did find and buy, but of the Monkfish and Dogfish that I didn't find. I fully expected that this week I would have to make a decision as to what fish to purchase for the first time in a long time. Cape Cod Fisherman's Alliance has put a huge push on this summer in a program called "Pier to Plate". Pier to plate is encouraging people to eat local underutilized species of fish, specifically Dogfish and Skate. Chatham Fish and Lobster was one of the original sponsors of Pier to Plate and in early June did a big kick off and dogfish tasting at the fish market. When I asked about Monkfish and Dogfish at the market I was told they didn't have either of them; they usually have Monkfish but were out, and they don't carry dogfish at the fish counter since "it comes off the boat frozen and they use it next door for fried fish". On Sunday at the Brewster farmers market the Fishermen's Alliance had a booth set up highlighting Skate and Dogfish as the underutilized species. Unfortunately they have noticed that a lot of the fish markets that originally signed on to highlight dogfish and skate are starting to not carry it anymore. A lot of the restaurants are not serving them either. The markets found that they were too hard to skin and the fish had a bad smell so people were not buying it. It was interesting to talk to the alliance about their project to highlight underutilized fish, but that they didn't seem to be having that much success with it.”

Julia Mennone from Rhode Island

Swordfish in Marinade

Swordfish in Marinade

“I love swordfish but hadn't made it in such a long time! The guy at the fish counter (who might be my new best friend) said it was landed in Boston harbor. I guess I never knew where it was from, and sometimes it's probably not from the east coast. But, I like eating local and will continue to ask these types of questions. I marinated it in some lime juice with diced up garlic scapes (local favorite, tis the season) and grilled it up. My husband was surprised at the texture, I don't think he's had a ton of swordfish and he really loved it so we can add it in as another fish dinner staple :)”

Kate Aubin from Rhode Island

Coating the haddock in flour so the batter will stick to the fish

Coating the haddock in flour so the batter will stick to the fish

“I was pleased to discover that the Local Catch had everything on my list in stock this week. This left me with a decision to make. I've had scallops in the past and really didn't like the flavor or texture. Because it was so long ago though, I think I'd be willing to give them a try if they show up on my list again. It's possible that my tastes have changed or that they weren't prepared well the time I had them. I've also had tuna in the past and have found the flavor to be a bit too strong for my liking, but again, I may be willing to try it if it appears on my list again. Like I said earlier in this survey, I didn't choose the summer flounder because I've had flounder twice before in this project (though I've discovered that I really enjoy it). So haddock it was. I love fish and chips but rarely order it at restaurants anymore because it tends to be too greasy and it upsets my stomach. I've never fried fish before though, and it has been a while since I've had fish and chips, so I thought I would give it a try. Ultimately it was quite easy to prepare, though I think I made my batter a little too thick. The end result was tasty, but a little too greasy, so I found myself pulling the batter off of half of the fish. But for my first time frying fish I'd say overall it was a success.”

Caitlin Peterson from New Hampshire

“I love seafood, but preparing shellfish at home is something new to me! For example, until now I actually had no idea that clams were still alive when you bought them. I did a lot of googling and decided to go with a super simple, classic recipe. I boiled the steamers in beer and served them with butter for dipping and a side of crusty bread and bruschetta, and peach/blueberry cobbler for dessert - almost every ingredient was from either a local farm or a New England fishery, which felt great!”

Jayne Martin from Connecticut

Secret Life of A Lobster Lover!

Secret Life of A Lobster Lover!

“I was prepared to purchase my lobsters at our local fish truck because I knew they usually had them. To my surprise, they did not have any. They told me they are not stocking lobsters now because the price has gone up too much. Their reasoning was that McDonalds is purchasing so many lobsters for their new lobster roll, that the prices have become too high for them. Hmmmmmm. Not sure about that fact, but that's what they said. So, off to Big Y to purchase my 2 1 1/4 lb lobsters. Steamed for 13 minutes, served with fresh greens from the garden and of course topped off the meal with great tasting/refreshing Mankin's English Ale from the Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington, MA. Life is Lobster Good!”

Zachary Miller-Hope from Maine

“I chose halibut after a couple weeks of not being able to find fish. I understand this whole process is supposed to inform YOU, but it is really quite remarkable that the only way for me to get locally caught seafood that is something other than a white flaky fish or shellfish (possibly Tuna), is to be able to get to ONE local fish market in the middle of the day. I live within a 5 minute drive of the coast and work on the Saco River, it is disappointing that I have so few options available to me when I live and work within minutes of the Gulf of Maine.”

Sarah Bjorklund from Massachusetts

Summertime cod chowder

Summertime cod chowder

“We found another fish on our list! We decided to turn the cod into chowder. Using as many local ingredients as we could this is our recipe. INGREDIENTS:
 1/2lb Jowl Bacon (from our Pasture Raised Hogs), 1 Leek thinly sliced (locally grown,  1 Small Onion finely Chopped, 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in small cubes , 2 cups Heavy Cream,  1 cup whole milk , 2 1/2 cups reserved liquid from boiling the potatoes, 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh Dill (from my herb garden),  3/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt,  1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,  3/4 pound cod, skin removed, chopped 2 .5 cups cups local sweet corn, 2 tsp bay seasoning. Directions PREPARATION In a large saucepan, cook Jowl bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into small pieces (bacon bits). In the same pan, sauté onion for 2 minutes. Stir in potatoes with water, milk, salt, pepper and bay seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 minutes. Stir in fish, corn and 2/3 bacon; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in Cream and 3/4 leeks; simmer 2 minutes. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!”

Lisa Jarosik from Connecticut

Grilled Goosefish (Monkfish)

Grilled Goosefish (Monkfish)

“Stew Leonard's also had Monkfish this week but could not tell me where it came from. I was so disappointed! But Whole Foods did have it and let me know it was sourced from Maine. When I went to cut into the fish to marinate it, I was taken by surprise. This fish is different from every fish I have tried so far. It wasn't flakey like a white fish or "steaky" like tuna or swordfish. It cut like a chicken breast. I have never seen that texture before! Needless to say, it was delicious and I would definitely have it again!”

Jacob Matz from Massachusetts

Soft shell clam with summer squash, string beans, and kohlrabi

Soft shell clam with summer squash, string beans, and kohlrabi

“This was my first time with steamers. I steamed them with squash, butter, fill, onion, and garlic scapes. They were tasty but a bit chewy. Not my favorite mollusk, but still quite good.”

Christopher Coccaro from Connecticut

Black Sea Bass Tacos

Black Sea Bass Tacos

“Easy and simple meal of fish tacos from black sea bass. The fillets are not very large and can be pulled apart easily. The one thing to look out for are the bones.”

Week 10

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut

“For my fish research this week I had Peekytoe crab, mackerel, weakfish, and Jonah crab. I was not able to find Peekytoe crab, and the stores that I contacted said they hadn’t been able to get Jonah crab from Maine. Weakfish seems to be a hit or miss fish. It is not a fish that is targeted but if caught can be sold. I was able to find whole mackerel from Long Island. I find Atlantic mackerel such a pretty fish. The very bright iridescent blue to green backs with the black zaggy stripes on a very streamlined body is so striking. Mackerel is an oily fish making them a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Researching information about mackerel population size came up with no real determination. According to fishwatch.gov, the two most recent stock assessments for Atlantic mackerel have failed to provide adequate information to make overfishing and overfished status determinations.”

Christina Rodriguez from Rhode Island

Pasta Nautika

Pasta Nautika

“We've been waiting for weeks to get lobster on our Fish List and when it finally happened we were so excited. We bought 2 live lobsters from the Newport Lobster Shack. Prices seem to have gone up since we purchased from there last year, but it's fine since this was FOR SCIENCE! My husband made Pasta Nautika using this recipe from the Providence Journal: http://www.providencejournal.com/entertainmentlife/20170711/small-bites-pasta-nautika-elegant-way-to-combine-lobster-pasta. It was pretty involved, he's prepared live lobster several times before so he's definitely experienced, but this still took him almost 4 HOURS to make from scratch and he used seemingly every pot and dish we own (clean-up was my job and it was intense). It was well worth it and the dish makes quite a lovely presentation, though I would recommend it to experienced chefs and lobster enthusiasts only. A good tip for anyone preparing live lobster: put the lobster in the freezer for 20 minutes or so, until they go dormant/fall asleep, and then dispatch with a sharp knife behind the eyes just before steaming. This is the compassionate method to minimize their suffering. Don't worry about them "freezing all the way through" in the freezer and then "exploding" when you put them in the steamer -- this isn't like the end of Alien 3!”

Pamela Corcoran from Maine

Belfast Coop Fish Case with Port Clyde Fresh Catch

Belfast Coop Fish Case with Port Clyde Fresh Catch

“Love supporting our local fishing folk and purchasing from our local coop. Eating with the Ecosystem means recognizing the way our food dollars can support our neighbors and our businesses that are part of the ecosystem, too.”
Jonah Crab Boiled

Jonah Crab Boiled

Aubrey Church from Massachussetts

“This week is #JonahCrab! The American Lobster and Jonah Crab fisheries are two of the most valuable fisheries in New England, producing over $575 million in revenue annually! The Jonah Crab fishery in particular has developed in response to a perceived increase in abundance, opening markets, and a need for fishermen to diversify. Across the east coast, the Jonah crab fishery is worth over $12 million with landings rising rapidly since the early 2000’s. Jonah Crabs are landed year round by both inshore and offshore lobster boats. Jonah crab meat is flaky and sweet. How do you like to eat Jonah Crabs? Recently I have had Jonah Crab Cakes, Jonah Crab and Artichoke Dip, and Jonah Crab Claws from @FishermensView and it was incredible! Highly recommend! Tonight I enjoy boiled Jonah Crab’s whole! #EatLikeAFish #EatingWithTheEcosystem #JonahCrab #Eatcrabs #eatseafood #newenglandseafood #knowyourseafood #knowyourfishermen”

Kate Aubin from Rhode Island

Baked and Broiled Yellowtail Flounder with Lemon, Butter, Garlic and Dill

Baked and Broiled Yellowtail Flounder with Lemon, Butter, Garlic and Dill

“Like I've said before, I really prefer to buy from The Local Catch because I know I'm supporting local fisher(wo)men and I'm also supporting the farmer's market. Because of my work schedule, they are often the first place I visit on Saturdays at the Pawtuxet Village Farmer's Market (where I also work a table for the market). If they have something on my list, I often buy it there (even if I've had the fish before) because I don't want risk trying another seafood market afterwards and then striking out (which has happened). So that's how I ended up with Yellowtail Flounder (for the second time). I was hoping to get the cod, but Dave (the vendor) ran out of that quickly, I know he never has steamers with him and I don't like squid very much (except as calamari and that seemed like a lot of work to feed one person), so Yellowtail Flounder it was. I was actually quite happy to see it again, because when I had it a few weeks ago, I really enjoyed it and it was incredibly easy to prepare. Last time I pan seared it, so this time I tried baking and broiling the fish with lemon juice, garlic, dill, and butter. It was once again delicious and easy to prepare. This is a fish I would recommend to anyone who is nervous about cooking fish at home (because it's so easy) or is reluctant to try new things (because the flavor is so mild). I forgot to take a picture of me handling the fish, but I will remember next time.”

Devon Mulligan from Maine

Devon enjoying her dinner of local skate! (in foil packet)

Devon enjoying her dinner of local skate! (in foil packet)

Sarah Bjorklund from Massachusetts

“It doesn't get much easier than cooking Haddock. We made it the way we usually do. We covered the fish with cracker crumbs, butter, dill, garlic,onion, salt and pepper. This is one of my sons favorite fish dishes. Very kid friendly and not so fishy! We were all very excited to actually have fish on the list!”

Kirstein Davidson from New Hampshire

Summer cider with Halibut!

Summer cider with Halibut!

“I finally made time this week to get to my local fish market and was able to find halibut. I asked about my other species and my fish monger told me wild caught mussels are cheaper than farm-raised but they usually only have the farm-raised. They do have razor clams and have sold them a couple times, but sea bass is illegal to sell in New Hampshire, so I will not be able to find that. I purchased a half-pound filet and cooked it a couple days later. Tonight, I used a whole wheat bread crumbs and egg bath. Heating up the olive oil in my cast iron pan caused my sensitive fire alarms to go off, so my plan b was to bake the fish. It turned out pretty well, but it was a little dry. I would definitely get this again, because it was easy to cook with. My toddler was less than enthusiastic about the fish, but only because she's teething little tonight.”
Jayne Martin_Scallops.JPG

Jayne Martin from Connecticut

“This scallop was just so tasty. We would definitely look for and purchase this one again.”

 

 

 

 

 

Appetizers on the deck

Appetizers on the deck

Rindy Sicard from Rhode Island

“I had tuna in a restaurant only once. I wanted to try something different with this, so since I was having some friends over who happen to like sushi, I thought I would give it a try. Tuna Tartare and seared tuna with a mustard aioli. Enjoyed by all!”

 

 

 

 

Craig Gogan from Rhode Island

About to go in the pot

About to go in the pot

“Jonah Crab was fairly easy to find, we have seen it on previous weeks, it just has not been on our list. It is cheap, $2.50/lbs, and not difficult to cook. Our only comment would be that it is messy to eat and getting all the meat out can be a task. Other than that the taste is great and it is fun to eat out of the shell.”

Maria Vasta from Massachusetts

“The only cooking tips I needed for halibut was how long to bake it for, and at what temperature. I topped the raw fish with salt and pepper, fresh fennel fronds, butter, and lemon slices, and baked that all together. This has been my favorite thing I've made through this project so far!”

Paul Anderson from Maine

A slight variation on the lobster roll

A slight variation on the lobster roll

“I love a traditional lobster roll, but I have come up with an alternative to Mayonnaise that is more healthy and with good flavor. I use a similar recipe for my home-made tartar sauce: 2 tablespoons plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon sour cream, dash of red wine vinegar, pepper and salt. I also used a warmed hoagie roll instead of the traditional hot dog bun. A sprinkle of tarragon leaves gives it a slight herbal flavor.”

Marta Brill from Massachusetts

“This must be prime fishing season -- because there were lots of fish from previous weeks at Whole Foods! From this week's list, there were just scallops...which I would have chosen anyway! I pan seared them (2 minutes per side) and they were scrumptious. I served them with pasta and summer veggies.”

Kim Gainey from Massachusetts

Grilled Striped Bass

Grilled Striped Bass

“I've been waiting to justify spending $ 30.00 pound for fish I used to be able to catch from the beach whenever I wanted. I was so excited to see striper on my list! It was perfect! A fat loin perfect for grilling!”
Photo by Brian: Monkfish for everyone

Photo by Brian: Monkfish for everyone

Brian Haggerty from Rhode Island
“A relatively unknown species to myself turned into a delightful surprise. Pan seared monkfish and finished on the oven with garlic, onions, and tomatoes reduction sauce.”

Stefanie Hall from Connecticut

“I was glad to see monkfish on the list for two reasons. I had never had this type of fish before and my local fish market carries it. Since the weather did not cooperate, I had to bake instead of grill the fish. I made a sauce that included fresh basil and mint, crushed garlic, fresh lemon juice and olive oil. After spreading the fish with the sauce, I baked it for 25 minutes. More sauce was added at the time of serving. I would purchase monkfish again to try cooking it on the grill.”

Carolyn St Jean Gogan from Rhode Island

Summer flounder in Reynolds Wrap

Summer flounder in Reynolds Wrap

“Buying Summer Flounder was not a new experience for me so this was an easy week. I thought I would cook it using a tried and true method. It was prepared using 2 sheets of Reynolds Wrap. First you clean and pat dry your fish, next lightly drizzle olive oil over the fillets and season both sides. Now, cut up zucchini ,peppers,scallions, small red potatoes, add cherry tomatoes, and lightly oil and season these too. Now thinly slice a lemon ,use about 3 slices, place this first on the bottom sheet of Reynolds Wrap and next put your fillet on top. Now add an assortment of your sliced vegetables and top the whole thing with a pat of butter. Now place the top sheet of Reynolds Wrap over your vegetables and start sealing it up so no steam escapes. Place packet on a cookie sheet in a hot oven 425 degrees and cook for about 20 mins. This never fails and is always good and healthy and is an easy clean up.”

Week 9

Meggan Dwyer from Maine

Lobster Salad with oranges, fennel and chervil

Lobster Salad with oranges, fennel and chervil

"I only visited one market this week (my favorite - Jess's market in Rockland, ME) because I am starting to get the feel of the diversity at other stores in our area and I know if Jess's doesn't have it, they probably won't either. Jess's market never carries mahogany quahogs. My guess is because of their low value. In Maine mahoganies are dragged offshore of Jonesport and Machias areas and are mainly exported for chowder. They are also particularly susceptible to biotoxin closures which have been widespread this year. Jess's also never carried butterfish or conch. Waved whelk, though they are widely available as bycatch in lobster traps downeast are also susceptible to biotoxin closures and are low value catch. They are mostly found pickled in local downeast markets and are definitely an acquired taste. So I picked the Maine no-brainer - lobster. Prior to moving to Maine, I never ate soft-shell and now that I am a spoiled Mainer, I will only eat shedders which are sweeter and easier to pick. We made a lobster salad with fresh greens from a local farm dressed only with oranges, lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum."

Rindy Sicard from Rhode Island

 Grey Sole – Witch Flounder

 Grey Sole – Witch Flounder

"I was impressed with the fish manager at Whole Foods. When I asked him where it was from as I was in a Citizens Science Program called Eating with the Ecosystem, he went to get his delivery notes and told me my fish was from Gloucester, MA. Can't wait for next week to try something new!"

Anne Ewert from New Hampshire

"This was the first week in a few that I had actually found a fish on my fish list that was local to New England, and it was steamer clams. I have only ever eaten them once before at a restaurant, and I have definitely never cooked them myself. I remembered from the restaurant that they were served completely plain with just some butter for dipping, which I didn't really like, so I decided to mix it up a little bit. I steamed my clams the way they are normally done, but also made a white wine/garlic/butter/lemon/parsley sauce to toss them in when they were done. After they were finished steaming, I peeled the siphons off, then tossed them in the white wine sauce, and put them over a little bit of linguine. It came out pretty well! The siphons were a bit unpleasant to peel, but overall I liked cooking them. I also liked the fact that a lot of the weight of these clams is not tied up in big, heavy shells so that when I paid $10.99/lb for them, I actually got a decent amount of clams for a couple of pounds, instead of $3 of clam and $17 of shell. I highly recommend these little guys, but you do have to be careful handling them because the shells are much thinner than other clams, so they break easily. I had to ask the person at the fish counter to switch out a number of the ones she grabbed for me, since several of the ones on display had been broken."

Jacob Matz from Massachusetts

Mussels cooked in a garlic scape and dill white sauce with perogies and asparagus

Mussels cooked in a garlic scape and dill white sauce with perogies and asparagus

"I cooked mussels in white wine with butter, garlic scapes, scallions, and dill. The smell was very intense during preparation. Cooking mussels is so easy and so versatile in terms of what they can be steamed in. Next time around I will experiment us if other ingredients in the sauce. It was delicious with some roasted asparagus and perogies."

David Ford from Rhode Island

Mahi Mahi with Lemon, Parsley, Garlic scapes and garlic oil

Mahi Mahi with Lemon, Parsley, Garlic scapes and garlic oil

"For week 9 I found mahi mahi at Tony's Seafood in Seekonk, MA. In my opinion Tony's consistently has the widest selection of fresh local seafood in the region. Inspired by a recipe in Food & Wine magazine, I used a very simple preparation. I applied olive oil, salt and pepper to the mahi mahi and then roasted it in the oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. For presentation I added fresh lemon juice and parsley and topped with steamed garlic scapes. I served homemade garlic oil with the mahi mahi on the side. My wife Nancy claimed it was the best yet!"

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut

Pan seared swordfish

Pan seared swordfish

"I am always excited to find out what my fish are for the week. This week I had bonito, surf clams, swordfish, and summer flounder (fluke). When asking about my choices this week I was told it is a little too early for bonito and had no luck with summer flounder. When asking about surf clams, one response I got was no and it seemed he was not familiar with them, and another place asked me how I was going to prepare them. I only really had seen anything about them being fried and that is what he said. If I was looking for the clam strips, which are usually surf clams, they had them. That same market also had swordfish from Block Island, RI, while another market had swordfish from Canada. So I knew what store I was going to go to, but not which species to get. The only real thought I had about preparing the clam strips were to fry them. And at that moment I did not feel excited by the thought. My hesitation with the swordfish other than that it is fairly expensive, is the concern of it being a top predator, which can translate to a higher level of contaminants such as mercury. On the other hand, swordfish is nutrient dense loaded with protein and omega-3 fats, and I had never had it or prepared it before. So I made my decision to try swordfish. I seasoned my steak with salt, pepper, and lemon and pan seared each side and finished cooking it in the oven for just about 10 minutes. It doesn’t take long to cook. It was delicious and filling. It was cooked just right so it was moist and while it is a firm fish, it does have large flakes that separated nicely. I would certainly recommend eating swordfish. I would eat it again but not regularly because of the higher mercury levels and because of the higher cost."

Catherine Schmitt from Maine

Miso-glazed halibut with sautéed purple cabbage

Miso-glazed halibut with sautéed purple cabbage

"This was the end of the Maine halibut season, so my "last chance" to get some of the local product, although halibut from federal waters in the Gulf of Maine is available at other times. I used a miso-glaze technique normally applied to "black cod." I've also found that cooked halibut is just as good the next day - it holds up well as leftovers and can stand being reheated without drying out or getting too tough."

Kate Aubin from Rhode Island

Bonito with Vegetable Stir Fry over Rice

Bonito with Vegetable Stir Fry over Rice

"Bonito has been on my list at least two other times before this week and I have been avoiding it in favor of other fish. I feed my cat bonito flakes (sold as a cat treat) so I have to say that when I saw bonito on my list, it didn't seem appealing. This week it was the only fish The Local Catch had available from my list, so I bought it because I prefer to buy from them if it's an option (it feels like I'm more directly supporting local fishermen when I buy from The Local Catch...I don't know if that's true or not, but it's how I feel). Dave, who sells for The Local Catch at the Pawtuxet Village Farmer's Market, gave me some tips about how to cook the bonito when I told him I was wary of the fish. He also told me he removed the bloodline before packaging the fish which was great because I don't think I would have known how to do that on my own. The fish was also cut up into pieces, for stir frying according to Dave. I made a citrusy Asian marinade for the fish and let it soak for a few hours. Then I pan seared the bonito and added it to some stir fried vegetables and rice. Dave had told me that bonito tastes a little like tuna, so I wasn't anticipating liking the fish because I'm not a tuna fan (except when it's from a can). But I ended up really enjoying the bonito. I think I cooked it a minute longer than I should have (I still get a bit nervous about undercooking seafood) so it was a tiny bit dry, but I didn't mind. I was able to get a nice sear on one side of the fish and that provided some nice texture. All in all, I think I would eat bonito again!"

Peter Gauthier from New Hampshire

"I was so excited at my fish list this week! I knew every species! I had my sights set on Halibut from the get go because I could not readily recall preparing it. Unfortunately, Beef and Seafood in Concord was the only market that offered it and the fish was caught in the waters of Newfoundland. It looked soooo good though, it was basically a whole side that they cut to order. I decided to buy some anyway and ate it the day after the cod was prepared. It was expensive at 22.99/lb. I wanted to grill my chunky 1.25 pound piece and the fishmonger said any method of preparation would be good but he preferred grilling. I experimented with a Himilayan salt block that was recently given to me. It is a one inch thick block of pink salt that is heated on the grill and after 15 minutes or so, you place the fish (unseasoned) on top of it. The fish had a nice crust to it from the salt block and was cooked perfectly which added to its excellent flavor. All stores had steamers from the Gulf of Maine except for beef and Seafood. Swordfish was from all over the place with Hannaford only able to tell me it was from the North Atlantic. Swordfish was from Ecuador at Shaws. I ultimately chose Cod, one of my favorites, from Shaws to give their fish a try since this was the first time I was able to locate a fish from their store. It was good and I'm going to return to check out more options. I'm off next week because I'll be in Montana for the duration starting this Saturday! Fish On!"

Carolyn St Jean Gogan from Rhode Island

Conch Fritters

Conch Fritters

"I was excited to buy a live conch and prepare it. I chose to steam my conch to make it easy to remove from the shell. Now once you do that, then you must remove the non-edible parts and trim all the tough black skin from the white meat. Since I was making conch fritters, I chopped it into small pieces. I added those pieces to my prepared batter and dropped spoonful’s into hot oil until golden brown. Everything smelled wonderful and my husband and I were eager to bite into our fritters. Sorry to say the fritter part was tasty but the conch pieces were tough and had very little taste. Needless to say, after all that work we were disappointed. But I will try conch again and this time tenderize the conch meat first before using in a recipe."

Deborah Mager from Connecticut

Grilled Ahi Tuna with Trio Sauces

Grilled Ahi Tuna with Trio Sauces

"My first thought when I received my Fish List this week was this is going to be a challenge. The only familiar fish on my list was Tuna. I then automatically went to www.eatingwiththeecosystem.org/eat-like-a-fish website to research my other fish species. I found that Scup is aka Porgy. I was hoping to find that in my search but it was not to be. I would have also liked to try either Spot or Smooth Dogfish but neither of those species was available. When I called my usual "go to" fish monger he said he had yellowfin tuna. When I arrived to purchase my fish I found that it was ahi tuna not yellowfin. I purchased the ahi thinking it was fair game. On a side note, before I purchased my species, I also did research for information on the internet about the safety of eating raw Tuna and found information about the mercury levels in different types of Tuna. I found that yellowfin tuna is a bit lower in mercury but big eye and ahi tuna are highest in mercury. Okay...so I definitely will limit my consumption of tuna. I made the Ahi grilled with Honey Soy Sauce and then served it with extra dipping sauces of the Honey Soy Sauce, original S&B Wasabi Sauce and the leftover last week's sauce I made of Trader Joe's Hot & Sweet Chili Jam mixed with Tsang Ginger Sriracha Sauce. I have to say the quality of the Tuna was just as good as what I've have eaten out at restaurants but I enjoyed it more because the sauces were better and preparing the Tuna only took minutes."

Jennifer L. McCaffrey from Rhode Island

 Southwest Harbor Halibut

 Southwest Harbor Halibut

"I'm so lucky I happened to be vacationing in Maine at the end of hailbut season. It didn't matter what else was on my list, I love Hailbut and we don't see much of it fresh in RI. There was a fantastic food market in Southwest Harbor, Sawyer's, that had a limited amount of fresh fish but it all looked wonderful. It's a joy to shop here and put a homemade vacation meal together. I cooked it very simple with butter, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon. I was so delicious. I spent and arm and a leg, and spent more than a dinner out but it was worth it. I probably ate a pound of it myself."

Charleen Thorburn from New Hampshire

"Finally, the week has come. Lobster was on my list. I invited one of my friends and coworkers over, but of course I had to explain to her why we need to eat a lobster by Tuesday at nine, ha ha. Seaport fish does a great job steaming lobsters, I just can't bear to listen to them flop in the pot. We had them classic style, steamed and dipped in just a little bit of butter. It had been a long time since I've had some lobster, and they are a hell of a lot easier to find than a spiny dogfish."

Week 7 and 8

This post is for Week 7 and 8 and our participants are still going strong! We are also definitely starting to see patterns. While the species assignments are randomly generated, I can look at the species and predict which ones I think people will find (or not find) with pretty good accuracy. Well known species such as Haddock, Cod, Lobster, Halibut, Scallops, and Squid are often very easy to find while some of our lesser known species such as Scup, Monkfish, Dogfish, Jonah Crab, and Periwinkles while abundant in our ecosystems and caught in our local fisheries, are not so easy to find. Our participants continue to search each week and most are very excited when they find a new species they are not familiar with. Many of them list the reason they choose one fish over another is because they want to try a new species and most are finding that they really enjoy each new fish as well as the more familiar favorites!

David Ford from Rhode Island

Cod Drenched in Lime-Chili Nam Prik

Cod Drenched in Lime-Chili Nam Prik

"For week 7 I purchased Cod from the Local Catch. I steamed the Cod in the oven in a lime-chile-cilantro sauce. At serving I topped the fish with pea shoots. The result was a very tender and flakey fish. I was very happy with the result and will do more oven steaming in the future."

Paul Anderson from Maine

blackened halibut southwest-flavored tacos

blackened halibut southwest-flavored tacos

"I've never had fish tacos, and the first time I heard about them, I thought that was a strange way to eat fish. So I thought I'd give it a try this week. My choices from the list that were available were Haddock and Halibut. The Halibut looked so nice and fresh, that I could not resist. I found a recipe with a southwest flavoring and went with soft corn tortillas. I used a cajun dry rub on the halibut stakes and pan seared them with a little coconut oil, about 4 minutes each sides. Warm tortillas were filled with thin slices of green cabbage and red onion, then chunks of cooked fish, a homemade southwest sauce, avocado slices, then garnished with diced red pepper, cilantro and served with a lime wedge. It was incredibly flavorful and light. Uno mas cerveza por favor! Southwest sauce: mayonnaise, lime juice, honey, vinegar, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, oregano."

Debbie Proffitt from Rhode Island

"Another week of research and learning for me... Jonah crabs was on my list but I learned that they are different from Rock Crabs but often found in the same locations. They are primarily caught as by-catch in the lobster fishing, are unregulated, available live, year round but I did not find any. Croaker is a by catch of shrimp trawlers found from Cape Cod to Texas, very productive in the Chesapeake Bay, I didn't find any. Swordfish, which I purchased and prepared, but have regularly - I was hoping for a new fish. It is available July - Dec, not experiencing overfishing, is about 5% above the established target and may contain higher levels of mercury (don't like that idea). John Dory - this is a fish I was hoping to find and try but wasn't able to. It is not pursued commercially, caught in small quantities as bycatch on squid boats, one of the best table fish available, available year round. The filets are naturally boneless, have a firm texture, buttery flavor and best prepared simply. I'm going to continue my hunt for this fish so I can try it - may have to resort to asking my friend who fishes commercially for squid... but he's out fishing!! A learning week with no chance to try a new fish! I will keep hunting!"

Jayne Martin from Connecticut

"I have never cooked squid before and as a matter of fact - never even really handled it before. BUT now that I have, I will definitely cook it again!"

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut

Ginger scallion lobster with head and carapace shell

Ginger scallion lobster with head and carapace shell

"This week included trying to find butterfish but was told it would be another couple of weeks before the fish market would have some in stock. Another species for this week was haddock, which I found at a store a couple of weeks ago, but the stores contacted this week either did not have it in stock, or it was from Iceland. When asking about Mahogany clams, one fishmonger said that they are small and do not contain much meat. The only species found this week was Maine lobster. Lobster is very versatile and made ginger scallion lobster (http://thewoksoflife.com/2014/12/ginger-scallion-lobster-cantonese/) with the tail and legs. With the claw meat, made a lobster roll. And made lobster broth for a later meal with all the shells."

Judy Tarr from Massachusetts

"I told my son, who lives in Arizona, about this project when it began. I told him "When you visit this summer, you can help me search...and eat!" He arrived yesterday, and was very happy to learn that lobster was on the list for his homecoming meal...complete with the stuffies I had frozen from a previous week's list as an appetizer. No searching necessary, as the local chain grocer had them on sale, directly from the waters of Maine."

Clay Groves from New Hampshire

"Eating squid was superfun and the kids really got a kick out of it. It was easier to cook than you might think and super yummy. A pound of squid goes a long way so it's inexpensive."
 

 

Red Hake - wild and wonderful! 

Red Hake - wild and wonderful! 

Rindy Sicard from Rhode Island

"I think I really like the Hake as the appearance and texture after cooking reminded me of my favorite cod. It looked familiar to me! The flavor was a little milder than cod. Mussels were on my list again this week, which I had already chosen twice before and really didn't like the texture of them. I decided on Hake this week and glad I did. I prepared it in a very simple way, sautéd in a little olive oil, butter and lemon."

Kat Champigny from Maine

"I had some Jonah crab fresh on salad with Chipotle lime goat cheese and a cilantro lime yogurt dressing- Fabulous!! Also made crab Rangoons for Chinese night... Delicious, but most of the filling fell out in the fryer due to my poor pinching technique. Should have learned from the crabs!!"

Kate Aubin from Rhode Island

"I ate steamers all the time growing up. In fact, I think they were the first seafood I ever tried. I have fond memories of my father buying 4-5 pounds of steamers and the two of us sitting at the kitchen table eating them together. My father and I don't have much in common and don't hang out much, but this was always an opportunity for the two of us to spend time together. I've been waiting for steamers to appear on my list and was super excited when I saw that this was the week! I drove by Anchor Seafood in Warwick on Thursday and saw that Maine steamers were on sale for $2.99/lb. This was great news and I looked forward to buying 4 or 5 pounds to share with my father. Alas, when I went to purchase them on Saturday, they had changed the price to $4.99/lb, so I only purchased two pounds and didn't have enough to share. I assume the price increase is due to the holiday weekend. Regardless they were very tasty and easy to prepare (I'd never cooked them at home before)."

Carolyn St Jean Gogan from Rhode Island

Cunner seared in a brown butter sauce

Cunner seared in a brown butter sauce

"Cunner is a difficult fish to find. And most seafood markets don't know what it is. So I was happy to see it at Champlin's in Point Judith. Unless you have an area outside where you can scale a fish, I would not recommend getting whole Cunner. Also, please invest in a good fillet knife. There are sites on the web that show you how to clean whole fish that are easy to follow. But it is time consuming. The fillets were small so I simply dredged them in seasoned flour and pan seared them in a brown butter sauce. They were very tasty . I would buy Cunner again because it is very inexpensive, good to eat, and I need practice in cleaning fish." Also congrats to Carolyn for being the first person to find cunner!

Julian Chawarski from Maine

"Lobster is always available anywhere within stones throw of the coast during the summer, so I chose to buy a lobster from a home-based business, on my way home from a spectacular day at the beach. At Clam Hunter, they sold cherrystones, steamers, oysters, and lobsters. I bought lobster and my partner bought steamers. After a sun-filled day, we went home and steamed them in a double steamer and dipped the clams and picked lobster meat in a butter with lemon juice, crushed garlic and cilantro. It doesn't really get any better than that..."

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut

Fresh loligo squid

Fresh loligo squid

"For week eight, I was looking for halibut, squid, Acadian redfish, and herring. The stores I contacted this week had halibut, but from Canada. Neither store had Acadian redfish, also known as ocean perch, nor did it seem like they knew what fish that was. While the only herring offered was pickled. But both stores had local squid from Connecticut, which I was excited about because last week was cephalopod week on a weekly radio show, Science Friday. I had just listened (and watched: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdpR6h-r9YQ) to how baby squid move through the water by jet propulsion. It’s cool to see their movement in water. The type of squid available was Loligo squid as known as long fin squid. Cleaning squid is a pretty easy and quick process, and the cooking process is fast. I decided to stuff the squid for my meal. The recipe I used was from the website epicurious (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/stuffed-squid-109008). It was very delicious, easy, and an all around great meal."

Sion Vaughan-Thomas from Massachusetts

"I would tell people that I love how bluefish is a local species. It is one of my favorites to eat! I learned that getting the rest of the fish on my list was very difficult"

Aubrey Church from Massachusetts

Striped%20Bass%20Week%208.jpg
"For week 8 of #EatLikeAFish I had to search for Spiny Dogfish, Striped Bass, Butterfish and Acadian Redfish. I was hoping to find Spiny Dogfish on the cape, but I think I would have better luck going closer to Chatham. Striped Bass commercial fishing season opened today, so I was lucky enough to find it at local seafood markets! As On The Water Magazine likes to say, “you have 98 days between Memorial Day and Labor day to pack in your vacations, barbeques, and of course, your summer of striped bass fishing.” June is the “perfect month” because water temperatures are in the 55 to 65 degrees range, and bait is abundant. In July, its considered the “Monster Month” with big schools of stripers taking residence around Block Island and open water. With a rich flavor and large firm flakes, striped bass is a popular saltwater fish that is important both for commercial and recreational fishing. Tonight for dinner I made grilled striped bass, with a pineapple tequila salsa! Delicious! ??Stay tuned for next week’s #fishtale. #eatingwiththeecosystem #piertoplate #seatotable #eatlocal #newenglandseafood #eatseafood #eatfish #fishma #commercialfishing #knowyourfish #capecod #stripedbass #summer #stripers #localseafood #myfishingcapecod #docktodish #boattotable #fresh #local"

Julia Mennone from Rhode Island

"My friend, Ryoko had shared her perfect method for cooking scallops with me. When I got them home I sprinkled with a bit of salt and let sit on a plate. Then I patted them dry and added to a pan with 50/50 olive oil and butter (this way they don't burn). I cooked on each side for 3.5 minutes and they had a perfect sear! Topped a caesar salad with homemade salad dressing and served with a stuffed scallop, which I also got a Daves. Have really enjoyed this whole experience! Summer is so busy but we're having a least one (sometimes more) fresh, home cooked meal at home each week. xo"

Sarah Nahabedian from Connecticut

""Poor Woman's Lobster"** This week, both my partner and I (he is also doing this study), had one similar fish on our fish list- Monkfish, aka Goosefish. I have had Monkfish in the past and very much enjoyed it, so I was excited to look for it. Luckily, the fish market down the road had one, and a fresh one! The guy behind the counter brought out the fish before he filleted it- I knew they were ugly, but wow! We dressed this fish in a lemon, garlic, and butter sauce and baked it. It took a long time to bake because it was so thick. Once finished, the meat on the fish resembles that of a lobster tail. With the herbs and butter, the dish was quite tasty. I would definitely buy this fish again. The price was perfect and a pound was enough for two people. ** Lobster actually used to be considered poor person's food up until around the 20th Century."

Deborah Mager from Connecticut

Calamari w/Lemon-Basil Sauce and Sweet Chili Ginger Sriracha Sauce

Calamari w/Lemon-Basil Sauce and Sweet Chili Ginger Sriracha Sauce

"Once again I was very disappointed that a large store like Shoprite (although each store is individually owned) didn't have any species locally landed. Whole Foods came through again! The squid looked great! Now to get it home and prepare it. My hope was that the squid would taste as good or close to as good as what I have eaten in different restaurants. I never imagined that it could be better! Prepared squid basically has no flavor but comes alive when served with a sauce of some sort. I now beg to differ after cooking it at home. The squid I made at home tasted fresher and had a nice mild flavor that could have been served with just a squeeze of lemon, although I had made two different sauces to serve with it. I will think twice before ordering squid out in a restaurant again after making it at home. Squid is easy to prepare and tastes better made at home!"

Cathy Pedtke from Massachusetts

"Who wants to cook when it's 90 degrees outside? I've been making any fish I can into ceviche. Before this study, I would've been a little concerned about making ceviche safely at home, but I've learned a lot about the fish I've eaten through internet research and recipe searches, and I'm more confident knowing the fish I'm buying now is local and very fresh."

Kim Gainey from Massachusetts

Yellowtail flounder with a rock crab stuffing

Yellowtail flounder with a rock crab stuffing

"I was looking forward to making skate but only found it frozen. Iv never had it when it has been frozen so I went for the yellowtail flounder on my list. The filets were very small so I made a rock crab stuffing and rolled the flounder. Rock crab was also on my list so it was a twofer. I baked it, super easy, super delicious! I will keep it on my list of must eat fish... Yum! I am stilling hoping for some fresh skate though??✌️"

Michelle Nelson from Connecticut

"I found whole Black Sea bass at Seawell. I tweaked a bon appetit recipe and stuffed the fish with fresh mint, tarragon, basil, garlic, shallot, lemon, saffron and orange flower water. Delicious! Eating a whole fish does come with the challenge of the many bones but it was all part of the experience. Dined al fresco on a perfect evening, great way to celebrate the holiday!"
fresh MA caught tuna

fresh MA caught tuna

Jayne Martin from Connecticut

"My griiling of the tuna went very well, 1.5 minutes on each side led to the raw center. Perfect! It looked great but really lack any flavor. With my eyes closed, I would never know that I was eating any seafood. The price shocked me! $29.00/lb is really over my budget for one tuna steak. But - live and learn. I am enjoying the hunt each week!!"
 

Week 6: You never know what you might find

During week 6, our citizen scientists made 123 individual market visits and cooked up some mouthwatering meals! They also learned some new information about why markets carry some species over other. Many participants have told me that the markets they have visited will tell them "oh we don't carry ______ species because there is no consumer demand for it",  "we only sell that to restaurants", or "we have never heard of that species".  However, due to the continuous requests for local species some markets are beginning to see that there is demand for local seafood and are starting to carry more of it! Join our citizen scientists by asking for local seafood and go outside your comfort zone and try something new! You might be surprised, as many of participants have found, that some of these less familiar species are not only local but also extremely tasty! One participant even found a treasure while eating her dinner! 

Rebecca Stevens from Massachussets

A clam pearl! 

A clam pearl! 

"What a great experience this week! I stopped at a different Stop & Shop first, which had very little selection. Next stop Whole Foods, where I was able to purchase some littlenecks. I've made mussels at home before but only had steamers at a restaurant. Cooked them in some beer, served with melted butter. They were delicious. Got to my last one and found a pearl! I learned that clams don't make pearls as frequently as oysters, and clam pearls have a porcelain finish, as opposed to the lustrous finish of oyster pearls."

Kirstien Davidson from New Hampshire

Pesto Haddock!

Pesto Haddock!

"I lucked out this week getting the last filet of locally caught haddock at the fish market! Talking with the fish monger, he said normally they sell the locally caught fish to local restaurants because people buying it in the market want bigger pieces. I grew up eating haddock, normally either baked stuffed or in a chowder, but decided to try something different for this one. I stopped at Tendercrop Farm in Dover on the way home and picked up some lemon basil aioli. To prepare the fish, I put pesto over the top and wrapped it in tin foil. Then I grilled it for about 15-20 minutes. Once it was done, I put the aioli sauce on top. I served it with some grilled veggies and pasta with more of the pesto sauce. My daughter actually ate quite a bit of it for once!"

Lisa Jarosik from Connecticut

Fresh Black Sea Bass

Fresh Black Sea Bass

"I looked all over for Black sea bass. When I called the store I purchased it from, the owner of the store had actually caught the fish himself in Groton and brought it back to the store. It was very fresh and looked delicious even uncooked."

Meggan Dwyer from Maine

"The two markets I visit are run by fishermen families so they are pretty well versed in what is the usual catch in these parts. Neither had heard of sea robin even by is other name Guenard. They both said they rarely if ever had sculpin or periwinkles. But they always have haddock! That seems true of most of the markets around here - plenty of haddock! I hope I don't spend the whole summer with haddock as my default fish as it is not really my favorite."

David Ford from Rhode Island

Roasted sea bass with grilled peach salsa

Roasted sea bass with grilled peach salsa

"For week 6 I found just off the boat Striped Bass at my first stop - Andrade's in Bristol, RI. I coated the filet with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper, then roasted at 300 for 30 minutes. I served it with a grilled peach salsa. My dinner guests were very happy!"

Mary Tanzer from New Hampshire

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"I love fried clams. I have never made them at home before, however, since frying causes such a mess, greasy mist all over the kitchen, not to mention calories! I purchased a hot air fryer - specifically because of the clams on my list, actually (and because I love my kitchen gadgets). I did not really enjoy having to shuck the clams having never done it before - much easier when you steam them and the clams open up for you! The air fryer worked very well - no grease but a nice crisp exterior. The clams were tender and sweet. It was so easy and so tasty. A great success for my first attempt."

Debbie Mathieu from Rhode Island

more Poached Cod with a Spanish Twist!

more Poached Cod with a Spanish Twist!

"Even though I had been to that Stop and Shop in the past and was told they don't carry local fish, I was told today that they occasionally carry local fish - it costs more - and they do not advertise it! We discussed how they have little space in the weekly flyer for fish and therefore they could not post limited items like local items. Big stumbling block. The store I did purchase at was manned by two women with some difficulties with English - Portugese speaking. They told me the cod was local from New England...but the price was so low for a fresh fish. Taste was great! Also when poached with rice and some veggies, went a long way and could easily feed family with salad, rolls, etc. Still perfecting my recipe ... will add some canned diced tomatoes next time."

Terry Hahn from Rhode Island

"Never had cooked live crabs before-they were almost a pound a piece. I asked a friend from the south about cooking them, and the retailer. Got info on picking or cleaning, step by step on a chowhound internet site, then got a recipe from a chef friend for crab cakes. (have some crab bake/casserole recipes that I like but wanted to try crab cakes-hate the bready, squishy ones often found in restaurants) The joy of cleaning them escapes me-but a southern friend says you need people, beer, music, a sunny afternoon, to really enjoy that part. The retailer also had local crab meat-would buy that next time! Learned a few things I didn't know about cooking live crabs.Glad I had this opportunity-would probably never have gotten around to trying this on my own."

Rachel Hutchinson from Massachusetts

Dab on top of local greens

Dab on top of local greens

"This was the second time I enjoyed Dab from my fish list. Most of my other first was out of season, and even illegal to sell at this time of year in Massachusetts. I had an opportunity to grab some whole scup off a fishing boat when they came in, but I missed the boat so to speak. Stripped Bass is not yet in season in Massachusetts for commercial harvest, and although recreational harvest is open and possibly RI is open, it is illegal for fish markets in Massachusetts to have stripped bass for sale. Dab is such a fine delicate white fish I didn't want to do to much to it so as not to destroy it. I decided to make a hyper local/ seasonal meal of greens and fish. I sautéed up some baby bok coy some asparagus and Swiss chard with garlic scapes. I added the fish and put the leafy greens on top of the fish to essentially poach it. It was super easy to prepare, and delicious and was local and in season."

Christina Rodriguez from Rhode Island

Spicy squid with greens & kimchi over rice.

Spicy squid with greens & kimchi over rice.

"We marinated our squid in pickled chili sauce first, then pan-seared it with onion, greens (kale), bacon, & kimchi, and served it over rice. This was the first time we made this recipe and it was hot and spicy, which we enjoyed immensely."

Baked Cod with a horseradish, carrot and breadcrumb crust along side purple potato with fresh chives, and buttered corn.

Baked Cod with a horseradish, carrot and breadcrumb crust along side purple potato with fresh chives, and buttered corn.

Michelle Nelson from Connecticut

"Prepared the cod for Father's Day dinner for my husband and father-in-law. They enjoyed the preparation. I bought 2.6 lbs because I was serving 5 people. We all had plenty and there was enough for 2 small portions as left overs. I covered the fish with a combo of sour cream, horseradish, Italian breadcrumbs and shredded carrot. It baked 17 mins at 400."

 

Caitlin Peterson from New Hampshire

"I was surprised to find local fish in Shaw's! I've struck out in large chain grocery stores many times throughout this project, so I've been making more of an effort to seek out fish markets. This week was really busy and I didn't have time to drive out of my way to a fish market, so I figured I'd at least grab a "zero" data point by hitting up another large chain grocery store. To my surprise, the fish selection at Shaw's was not bad! I'll definitely stop there again to check on their fish selection when I don't have time to make it to a market that's farther away. Haddock was a nice species to find on a busy week - easy to cook, fits into lots of familiar recipes, and not a big barrier to sharing with others because the taste is familiar to so many!"

Debbie Proffitt from Rhode Island

Steamaahs! Simple and Sweet!

Steamaahs! Simple and Sweet!

"Simple and Sweet Steamaahs!! I was excited to see soft shell clams on my list this week because I hadn't had them in a very long time. We tend to buy little necks or eat the soft shells clams as fried clams. I was surprised I couldn't find wild mussels but maybe it was timing and because there are some mussel farms in the area, not sure. I did not find herring or spot. I bought a big bunch of soft shell clams and we steamed them up - they were sweet and delicious! And it was very simple and easy."

Aubrey Church from Massachusetts

"For week 6 of #eatlikeafish my four species to search for were: Halibut, Sea Urchin, Peekytoe Crab and herring. I was only able to find #halibut. Atlantic halibut are the largest flatfish in the world. They are a right sided flounder, with a very large mouth filled with sharp, curved teeth. The Massachusetts State Record is 321 pounds caught in 1965 in Massachusetts Bay. Atlantic halibut has a mild, white meat. It is flaky, and firm, but tender when cooked. For dinner I made Bahamian Halibut! The fish was marinated in #darkrum #limejuice and put on the grill. I served it with a mango/pineapple avocado salsa. Delicious! Follow along for next week's #fishtale. #eatingwiththeecosystem #eatfish #eatlocal #knowyourfish #supportlocalfishermen"

Michelle Pechie from Rhode Island

"I had the fish monger at Anchor Seafood find me whole fish from my list, and he came up with 2 small to medium haddock. They were beauties with bright, clear eyes and only a wiff of the sea!! I was going to fry them whole in the Thai style, but relented to my husband who is a bit more conservative than I. Tempura required I filet them my self. I saved the carcasses for stock so my lack of skill did not result in waste!! Haddock is a lovely, sweet fleshed fish that brings me back to my youth, when it was the fish and chip fish of choice. I'm hoping to acquire a more unfamiliar fish next week."

Daryl Popper from Massachussetts

Herb crusted Haddock with sriracha aioli and baked onion rings

Herb crusted Haddock with sriracha aioli and baked onion rings

Carolyn St.Jean Gogan from Rhode Island

Chorizo and Rice Stuffed Squid

Chorizo and Rice Stuffed Squid

"I found squid at all three places but one could not tell me if it was locally caught and none of them had fresh tubes. They only had fresh squid rings. I really wanted fresh but I ended up buying frozen tubes since that was all I could get. The frozen worked out fine. I stuffed them with a mixture of chorizo and seasoned rice topped with a nice roasted red pepper sauce. I bought medium sized tubes but next time I will buy the larger ones so that they would be easier to stuff. And since I purchased two and a half pounds, the next day I sliced the tubes and made calamari. So my family ate well for two days."

Pamela Corcoran from Maine

"I appreciated eating the quahogs chilled in a salad. This approach was new for me, but made perfect sense given how hot it was (90+). I imagined the clams as I might have used a firm flesh fish in a composed salad. I n chopped them up and added to a tomato, cucumber feta cheese and parsley mix. Garnished with red onion, parsley and lemon it was delicious. Easy, inexpensive and delicious. Of course the "bonus" clam broth went to the freezer for colder days and chowder soup."

 

Week 5: Learning Experiences All Around

Every week I am blown away by how great our citizen scientists are! They have continuously shown enthusiasm for the project and learning about their seafood, ecosystems, and fisheries. Additionally they have been educating markets about the project and their frequent asking for local species has inspired some markets to start trying to carry new local species! 

Mary Tanzer from New Hampshire

couldn't wait to take a bite before taking the photo!

couldn't wait to take a bite before taking the photo!

"I have never cooked halibut, in fact have never eaten it before. I bought a nice thick steak. I read about it and had thought about grilling it but didn't want to chance it sticking to the grill so I baked it. Just a little bit of panko mixed with chopped chives and parsley on the fish and then a nice pat of butter atop that to melt it. Everything is better with butter! How wonderful this fish is - - - nice and meaty like swordfish but mild tasting and so pretty to look at. Next time.....the grill!!"

Paul Anderson from Maine

Kelp-crusted Acadian Red Fish

Kelp-crusted Acadian Red Fish

"Armed with very little experience filleting fish, and no proper knife for the job, I did what most of us do. I took to the internet. There a Youtube video showed how to fillet an Ocean Perch, which is notoriously bony, and eliminate most of the bones. In addition to the rib cage and the fin bones, there are two other rows of small bones in the belly. I managed to get two small boneless fillets out of the fish and baked them, skin side down. I created a dry mix of Apple-smoked kelp flakes and panko, salt and pepper, and dusted the tops of the fillets after a drizzle of olive oil. I baked them at 350 for about 15 minutes and then hit it with the broiler for a few minutes. Served with julienne carrots, roasted cauliflower and a garden salad. A very nice meal."

Debbie Proffitt from Rhode Island

"Another learning week for me... I never would have thought growing up near the ocean and eating seafood my whole life that there was so little I knew and so many varieties and options for eating seafood, many I've never tried. My fish this week were swordfish, blue crab, conch or spot. I was pretty confident I would find fresh. local swordfish at most places I would purchase seafood, and I did. But in my research I found that at one time the stocks were low and that it might be one of the fish with the highest lead count. I purchased the swordfish and grilled it because none of my other fish were available. Blue crab - I never knew it could be caught in this area, typically found between the Gulf of Mexico and Cape Cod. But I did learn that although it is traditionally caught off of Maryland and Virginia, it is now being found farther and farther north due to warming waters. It is the most valuable shellfish in the mid Atlantic region. No one was selling it. Conch - another seafood item I never knew was in this area and at one point in time was a very lucrative catch for fisherman, popular in the Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket area caught with pots. No one was selling it. Spot - aptly name for the spot on it. I was told at one market that they had never heard of it. A small short lived fish found from Coastal Mass to Texas. It rarely reaches over a pound. No one was selling it. So again this week I learned A LOT and it's really been enjoyable to research the different species, it's too bad I can't find them to try them!"

Debbie Mathieu from Rhode Island

My best ever Poached Cod Italiano!

My best ever Poached Cod Italiano!

"North American salt and fish corp in Pawtucket is a nice find ... I will certainly return there and be very happy to buy there ... very clean ... organized...polite older workers...looks like they take pride...and they seem to have good variety at end of week so they say. Felt it important to buy at S&S to support local options ... states from USA not sure which state-cod could be Boston...but all else was out of country - china,etc. After reviewing book: FISH Recipes from the Sea I decided to make up a dish using some general info from book and my well stocked kitchen. Italian Poached Cod! Very mellow - garlic, Italian spices/herbs, lemon, cilantro, red pepper flakes poached in a little broth. Great over penne pasta...brought some into work the next day to show off! Big take away for me ... I need clean appearing and good smelling environment in order to feel comfortable eating fish! I would think many newby "fish" eaters would feel the same...if the goal is to convince folks to buy and eat more fish, must be local and presented well!"

Andrea McCarthy From Connecticut

Grey sole fillets on cous cous and peas

Grey sole fillets on cous cous and peas

"This week I was tasked with finding swordfish, wild mussels, sea urchin, and grey sole. I was out of town for almost the whole week, so I was conducting my whole endeavor on Sunday. Two of the stores I contacted had swordfish, but one location could only verify that the fish was caught on the East coast, but not specifically in the Northeast. The other location said it was landed in North Carolina so both of those were a no go. When I asked about wild mussels both stores said they only had farmed raised. And one fish market informed me why I would be better off getting farmed raised because mussels live on the sea floor and get full of sand and aren’t great to harvest. The fishmonger told me how farm-raised mussels are much better. They are cultured on a rope so they are suspended in the water column and do not pick up all the sand. One market had frozen sea urchin row, but it was suggested that it needed a day to thaw properly and as stated before I was searching for, buying, and preparing this week’s fish all on the same day. I didn’t have the time to wait, so unfortunately I skipped this. The fish market did have grey sole, so I happily bought some fresh fillets. The fillets were sautéed in butter. They were delicate and soft. Even though I liked this fish, the price isn’t justifiable to me."

Jennifer L McCaffrey From Rhode Island

"I love squid and I was craving it when I saw my fish list so I was going to choose that from my list no matter what. I didn't have time to check Champlin's and I knew they had cleaned frozen squid from RI and packaged at Town Dock at Belmont Market. I cut the tubes into rings and pan fried them with some Asian Teriyaki Sauce, red onion, broccoli, and red pepper and topped it with black and white sesame seeds. It was Delicious. In fact I need to remind myself that it's an excellent freezer staple for fast meals and something I can get year round. I was pressed for time last night so I needed something simple but I want to get more and stuff and grill the tubes!!!!"

Ellen Grant from Maine

"When I asked the fishmonger if he had steamers, he said did I want mud steamers or sand steamers. I didn't know there were two different types. I have always eaten mud steamers and it turns out, that is all they had. I love steamers but that comes from having dug them myself, summers growing up. These didn't taste quite so sweet... BTW, when I asked for winter founder they said they didn't have it, but when I asked for blackback founder they said they did have it. The naming game is interesting!"

Jayne Martin from Connecticut

 Burnt/Charred Bluefish

 Burnt/Charred Bluefish

"I am now clearly seeing a pattern of sales associates not really knowing exactly where their seafood is coming from .Most just read the label and tell me "wild caught product of USA" and assume that is all the info needed to make a purchase. Even the so-called high end grocer failed to have much info available. My grilling experience with the Bluefish left me disappointed. I felt I could handle it but alas I failed horribly. Not to worry - I will live to grill another fish!"
Parmesan Encrusted Striped Bass

Parmesan Encrusted Striped Bass

Carolyn St. Jean Gogan from Rhode Island

"Striped bass an easy fish to cook . It does not have a strong taste so you can really spice it up the way you want. I used a Parmesan Encrusted Striped Bass recipe and it was delicious. I would buy it again but next time I would like to buy a whole fish and go through all the work of scaling, gutting, etc."

 

Chris Dodge from Connecticut

"Soft shell clams were stocked in the market when I went, but the whiting was not something that was there. I was really hoping to get my hands on one of the three species I was assigned during week 5 that I had never tried before, so I decided against the clams unless I couldn't get anything else. The buyer for the store has whiting regularly available to them in Boston when they go up to purchase for the week, but they typically don't stock any because there is no demand for it. However, they were happy to use me as a reason to buy some and make some available to see if it sells (same as the butterfish the week prior). The fillets are small, and still have fin attached which I would definitely remove before preparation next time, as I ended up eating some. Otherwise the fish was tasty."
Grilled halibut w/sesame cucumber salad and corn on the cob

Grilled halibut w/sesame cucumber salad and corn on the cob

Deborah Mager from Connecticut

"Tautog was number one on my list to find and purchase for this week along with mussels as my second choice. How could I strike out with Tautog? It is so prevalent in the waters where I live (along with mussels). But when I called Uberti's in Stratford the only species that was New England landed was the halibut. Of course I purchased it there because I know after 5 weeks of this project that Robert Uberti has the freshest and best fish, although I wanted to give this project my best effort so I went to two other stores to see what I could find. I was very impressed with Whole Foods in Milford. All the species they sell have markers noting where the species came from, and then there were a couple of different types of whole fish that looked very good but were not on my list. Once again, the mussels I found were from P.E.I. both from Whole Foods and Shoprite. I marinated the halibut in a Ziploc bag with olive oil, honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, crushed garlic and black pepper. Although the marinade flavors were bold they did not overpower the fish and complimented the fish very well. If you don't eat fish you don't know what you're missing!"

Craig Gogan From Rhode Island

Black Sea Bass on the Grill

Black Sea Bass on the Grill

"We went to our go-to fish market in Narragansett and they had 5 whole black sea bass stock. It was only $4.99/lb and we ended up purchasing 2 lbs. We washed the scales off / cut slits down the sides and stuffed it with sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and black pepper. We cooked it whole on the grill and picked out the small bones as we went. It was fairly easy but could see how some people would maybe want to filet the fish instead of cooking it whole. Will most certainly buy again."

Kirstien Davidson from New Hampshire

Final product fresh off the grill!

Final product fresh off the grill!

"For week 5, my list was Acadian Redfish (aka Ocean Perch), Soft Shell Clams (aka Steamers), Weakfish (aka Squeteague) & Tuna (any locally landed species).  We actually got redfish during week 2 of our NH Community Seafood share and my husband cooked it perfectly, so I was hoping to find that.   I decided to try my luck again at Seaport Fish in Rye, NH, and they ended up having redfish, steamers & tuna!  I went for the redfish, which was only $7.99/lb.  Only getting a half pound plus a nice head of broccoli my total was less than $5.00 this week!  Much better than the $10+/lb. for lobster.   The first time we had redfish, my husband wrapped up the fillets in tin foil with some butter, so that was my plan this time as well, but I wanted to take it a step further to cook more in the same amount of time.  I stopped at a local farm on the way home to pick-up some red potatoes and a beautiful cucumber.   I started by cutting up the potatoes and putting them on the bottom of the packet, then mixed up some butter and put the fish fillets over the potatoes.   Finally I wrapped it up into a nice little pocket and stuck it on the grill.  I cooked the packet on the grill for about 20ish minutes (checked it out after 10, but the fish was still a little slimy).  Unfortunately, the potatoes should have cooked longer, so most of our potatoes were uncooked and I forgot to season the fish before I cooked it, so our meals were not as good as when hubby cooked them...  I did have leftover fish the next day, so we had fish tacos for dinner!  (One was chicken, but the fish was definitely the better one)"

Julia Mennone from Rhode Island

"Was delighted to see wild maine mussels on sale at daves! I get their weekly ads emailed and the $2.50 for 2lbs of mussels was part of a 2 day special so it was a no brainer. I probably would have gotten them even if they weren't on my list for the week! We've never made them before but it was pretty easy. They were already de-bearded and cleaned. We let them soak in salt water to get more of the sand out and steamed them with shallots, garlic and white wine. This is my favorite preparation. Grilled up some bread and went to town! 2lbs was perfect for 2 people. Didn't add any butter or cream to the mix, so the broth was really clear but we used 3 shallots and a ton of garlic so there was great flavor. Hate when restaurants over salt fish and this was much better than any mussels I've had dining out.. way cheaper too! We will certainly be adding this to our dinner routine. :)"

Rachel Fecteau from Maine

"I was at my local supermarket when I received my fish list so I headed to the seafood counter. My list was red hake, striped bass, squid, tilefish. The only fish I found was frozen squid but it was from Spain. The next day after work, I headed to my old stand by, Harbor Fish Market. They had not heard of Red hake, the Striped Bass was farmed from California, the squid was previously frozen but the fishmonger could not find where it was from, he doubted it was from New England and they sometimes have tile fish but not today. I thought it was going to be my first strike out! I was planning on visiting a new market in my area the next day. When I was leaving work that day, the fishmonger from Harbor Fish came out of the store to tell me they just received fresh squid from Rhode Island! Yeah! I bought the squid and took it home. The last time I had dealt with fresh, whole squid was 30 years ago in an attic apartment in Boston. The results of me trying to clean and prepare the fish almost cost me my security deposit. The counters and cabinets got covered in squid ink. I was nervous to prepare the squid this time, but the magic of Google gave me step by step instructions. Easy peasy. I threw some of the squid in a spaghetti sauce. It added a sweet, delicate seafood flavor. Nice change from a meat based sauce. The remaining squid a dusted with flour, garlic powder, and curry powder. I pan fried the squid. It was so good! I used the leftovers on a roll for lunch the next day. Easy and delicious. I really want to explore some other markets in the area. It is difficult because I walk past Harbor Fish Market every day and they have been so accommodating in educating me with the assignments whether they have the fish or not. I am really lucky to have such a great market in my area."

Michelle Nelson From Connecticut

Grilled swordfish with pineapple salsa and asian slaw.

Grilled swordfish with pineapple salsa and asian slaw.

"I like the thickness of the swordfish it could stand up to grilling directly on the grates. It didnt fall apart when trying to remove from the grill. I served it withe freshly made salsa that included grilled pineapple. The crunch of the fresh veg was a good contrast to the flakey fish and the hint of sweetness paired nicely."

Maggie Heinichen from Massachussetts

"I'd had smoked bluefish before and loved it. But I only saw fillets at the market. I made Vietnamese Caramel Bluefish (https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017451-fast-vietnamese-caramel-bluefish) which was excellent. The recipe was excellent! I really enjoy strong asian flavors, so this recipe hit the spot. It was really easy to tell when the fish was cooked. I'm still pretty much and ametuer when it comes to cooking seafood. The fillet was thin enough and the color change was obvious enough to make it really clear when the fish had cooked through. I will definitely try to cook this fish again. However, I have a fair amount of friends who catch bluefish recreationally. They like giving away fillets, so it's more likely that I will get bluefish from friends rather than buy it from the store while it is in season."

Clay Groves from New Hampshire

"This was totally fun, we rubbed herbs all over the fillets and cooked them with a little lemon. Super easy and summary."

Christina Rodriguez from Rhode Island

Grilled scallops with basil and terragon.

Grilled scallops with basil and terragon.

"We LOVE scallops and bought from Bomster Scallops this week. They were listed at $20/lbs. frozen vs $21/lbs. fresh from The Local Catch. We noticed no difference in taste or texture between frozen and fresh, provided that frozen was properly thawed and then patted dry before cooking. We grilled them with olive oil, salt, pepper, basil and tarragon."

Meggan Dwyer from Maine

Steamed haddock with kale, bagna cauda and fried garlic.

Steamed haddock with kale, bagna cauda and fried garlic.

"This market almost always has haddock as they use it for their fish and chips. The other items were not available. We almost never see wrinkles in this area as they tend to be a to a downeast taste. I am not a huge fan of haddock usually but this was fresh and tasted great with a bagna cauda sauce and kale."

Michelle Pechie from Rhode Island

"I ventured farther from home and am very pleased I did. The fishmongers at both Daily Catch, in Smithfield, and Anchor Seafood, in Warwick, were not only aware of many locally caught species, but told me I could call with my fish list. They would then ask their suppliers if they had any in their daily catch, and have it sent with the order. Both gentlemen were highly knowledgeable and extremely accommodating. I feel like I may have hit the jackpot!! I bought some frozen picked Jonah crab from Maine at Daily Catch which I added to my stuffie mix. The quahogs were from Anchor at a great price and not a bit of sand!! I apparently missed out on the fresh crabs by 15 minutes, so sad. Whole Foods said they stock local catch, but didn't have my species. A pretty good week overall."

 

 

Week 4

During Week Four our citizen scientists made over 130 different market visits! While not everyone was able to find their fish about 68 percent of participants found at least one of their assigned species and cooked up some delicious meals! Many participants used this week as a good opportunity to try new species such as periwinkles, butterfish, and Jonah crabs for the first time! 

Lisa Jarosik from Connecticut

"When I went to the market, there were two kinds of swordfish. One was from Vietnam, which I could not choose, and the other from New England waters. The Vietnamese swordfish was smaller and cost less. I was told it came already cut and frozen. The more expensive swordfish is brought in as one large loin and then cut into pieces which looked so much more appetizing. It was definitely worth the extra money. I would buy it again and enjoy it on a nice summer evening outside."
Grilled Rosemary Swordfish - Spectacular!

Grilled Rosemary Swordfish - Spectacular!

Craig Gogan from Rhode Island

Pollock and ocean quahog chowder

Pollock and ocean quahog chowder

"We have seen local pollock week after week, glad it was on our list for week 4. We decided to make a chowder with ocean quahogs and the pollock with a side of fried clams (we used steamers). Everything was very easy to cook and made a nice hearty meal with plenty of extra. The price was low $7.99/lb and it could easily be used in a variety of recipes calling for white fish. We will definitely buy pollock again."

 

Rachel Hutchinson from Massachusetts

"This was the first week that I had a repeat fish on my fish list, I had previously located Dab, and had been unable to locate Dogfish last week as it was not yet in season. Again I made an assumption this week when I went to the market, I knew that Dogfish was not yet being landed, and thought that maybe I would be able to once again locate Dab. I had not seen Pollock yet in the market, and although I know surf clams are being landed locally I had not seen them in the market yet.
I had a incredible busy week this week and wasn't able to swing into my usually fish markets during the week so I started my search on Sunday afternoon. My first stop was Cape Fish and Lobster in Hyannis, a fully stocked fish market featuring many locally caught products. Unfortunately, they had nothing I was looking for, while explaining my search and that finding nothing was a success as well I got talking to the fishmongers. "No dogfish was not coming in yet, but would be soon, they did have gallon buckets of surf clam in the back for restaurants to make chowder, and they do have Dab that comes through the store, but usually goes right out to restaurants." He ran back to see if there was any Dab left, most had been shipped out, and what was left he didn't think was good enough to sell me. On to store number 2.
My second stop was Ring Brothers in Dennis, they have a counter run by Chatham Fish and Lobster with-in the store. No dogfish- No Surf Clam- No Dab, but YES Pollock labeled Locally Caught. Asking about it the fish monger thought it was landed in Chatham. Again we got to talking "whats the project? oh how cool? what are you supposed to do?". I have been shocked to always find fishmongers who have been interested and want to talk about the product, that makes me happy. As we got talking he mentioned that he doesn't understand why people still come in looking to by Cod for things like tacos when there is delicious locally caught Pollock available. Tacos---- well that is what got stuck in my mind. At this point it was Sunday evening and I wanted to make something quick and easy for dinner, tacos sounded like a great idea. I easily cut the Pollock into nice taco sized pieces, dreaded them in a cornmeal and fried them in a little bit of oil. Fried up added to a taco with a little homemade Salsa Verde and lettuce was a perfect easy dinner. The fish was meaty, flaky and delicious. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase this fish again and am excited to try cooking in a different way if provided the opportunity."

Mary Tanzer from New Hampshire

"I have never had Jonah crab before. I had to buy a two pound bag and decided to try a few different things. I had some claws steamed with chive butter on the side, made some very yummy crab cakes with the bits of meat I picked off the remaining claws. And I cooked up the shells and cartilage to make a crab stock to use in the future. I was proud to make the most of my crab claws!"

 

 

 

 

Christine Devito from Maine

Steamed Mussels With Lemon, Garlic and White Wine

Steamed Mussels With Lemon, Garlic and White Wine

Carolynn St. Jean Gogan from Rhode Island

"My husband and I have had monkfish before so we knew that it really doesn't have a strong taste. So we cooked it using butter, lemon juice , white wine, capers, minced garlic and cherry tomatoes with a sprinkling of fresh parsley. Anything in that mixture will taste great and it did make a fine dinner. We did find on the internet that you should remove the fine layer of skin on the fillet and that took some effort. Just invest in a good fillet knife."

Aubrey Church from Massachusetts

"Haddock, Spot and Blue Crab. I was unable to find spot and blue crab anywhere near by, and had already picked Haddock for week 2. As a result, I chose #Cod for week 4. Atlantic Cod is one of the most important commercial fish species in North America’s eastern coast. In recent years, cod has become a poster child for commercial overfishing. Scientists, government officials, fishermen, fishery managers, and consumers all have an important task of focusing on strategies for the long-term sustainability of this species. In U.S. waters, cod is most commonly found on Georges Bank and in the western Gulf of Maine. While Cod is still found on many New England menus and at local seafood markets, cod is only a small part of the story. There is a plethora of seafood available in New England, and consumers should be willing and daring to branch out from the norm. I encourage you to substitute Cod for other species such as haddock, flounder, pollock, halibut, sole or any other thick white fish. Fun fact: Historically, cod was so abundant off New England that early explorers like Bartholomew Gosnold, an English explorer in 1602, named Cape Cod for the fish. Tonight’s dinner was roasted cod with basil and tomatoes on garlic toasts, with a side of zucchini. Follow along for next week’s #fishtale #sacredcod #incodwetrust #eatingwiththeecosystem #eatfish #knowyourfish #supportlocalfishermen #eatlocal"

Deborah Majer from Connecticut

"Periwinkles are very easy to prepare and have so much more flavor than canned snails for escargot. I had never tried periwinkles before so I made them escargot style in mushroom caps. Although they were very good preparing them this way did not do them justice. Next time I will stir fry them in a spicy sauce and serve them in the shell as an appetizer. They are great to just sit and pick them out like we do with blue crabs."

Daryl Popper from Massachusetts

"I traveled to Nantucket at the tail end of a lively holiday weekend with high hopes of discovering my assigned species. I visited 167 Raw fish market on the island after sampling their tasty shucked oysters at the Cisco Brewery popup. I learned that it was actually the first day in weeks with no haddock. Next round Nantucket! Back to the big city, I strolled to the Dewey Square Farmer's Market in downtown Boston to visit the dynamic team at Red's Best. Haddock was readily available and packaged seamlessly to maintain freshness. I love fish tacos and prepared these delicate filets with a coconut, herb crust served with seasonal greens from Kimball Farm and served on organic heirloom corn tortillas from Hadley, Massachusetts."

David Ford from Rhode Island

The Local Catch in Point Judith, RI is my go to seafood retail outlet. I usually buy fish from them every week, whether it is on my list for the week or not. This week the sea scallops I bought were advertised as "Block Island Sound" scallops. I have had them many times before and they are the highest quality scallops I have found. I steamed the scallops and followed a recipe that was in the Wall Street Journal on June 1st: "Scallops With Avocado Puree". Heavenly!

Christina Rodriguez from Rhode Island

"We have been feeding fish to our friends weekly since this started and it's getting ridiculous. They just love that we're doing this and sharing new recipes with them, but I swear to God they should be kicking in for this!"

Chris Dodge from Connecticut

"Whole butterfish were quite the interesting experience, and I really enjoyed my first attempt at cooking and eating whole fish and doing it with a brand new species for me. I expected these to a be a lot fishier and honestly gross, but I was pleasantly surprised. Check out my blog: http://talesofamarinescientist.blogspot.com/2017/06/eat-like-fish-week-4-one-fish-two-fish.html"

Rindy Sicard from Rhode Island

"I've eaten haddock in restaurants, but never made it at home. I liked the meatiness and mild flavor of this fish very much, and will buy again. Although I used an easy cooking method, I didn't want to complicate the flavor with a sauce."

 

 

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut

"This week my fish list included whiting, haddock, spiny dogfish, and white hake. I was only able to find haddock from New Bedford, MA. Haddock inhabit deep, cool waters and are demersal fish meaning the fish live and feed on or near the bottom of a body of water. Haddock is a white fish that is used as an alternative to Atlantic cod when the cod stocks have declined. The fillets were sautéed and garnished with fresh dill. The flakes were large, firm but soft. It tasted superb."

Debbie Proffitt from Rhode Island

"I was very happy to have a rainy Monday holiday and my fish list this week! It gave me time to research the four species, to shop for them and prepare my selection. Tasks that are a little harder during a crazy work week. Week 4 for me included Tautog (aka Blackfish), Sea Scallop (not Bay Scallop), Haddock and Summer Flounder. I could not find Tautog but I did find the other three species and in the end chose Haddock because I had a recipe I wanted to try. But my research taught me that Tautog is an excellent tasting bottom feeding fish, May through June are the best months to find this fish. Massachusetts and RI seem to be the only region in New England where it is not overfished. It is easy to catch and slow growing so it is highly susceptible to overfishing and is slow to rebuild. Sea Scallop's are one of my favorites and I eat them all the time so I didn't choose them. I learned that they are one of the most valuable fisheries in the US. Although recent high landings and an unknown biomass in the Northern Gulf of Maine are causing some concerns about management. Haddock may have some sustainability issues and definitely seemed to in the UK, which was impacting fish and chips availability. Summer Flounder is the most sought after commercial and recreational fish, not overfished but experiencing some overfishing and has declined. Being a Citizen Scientist on this project is really giving me a chance to learn about many different fish species known and unknown and their sustainability, which is very important to me."

Week 3

On their third week of eating like a fish our participants are becoming more confident asking questions at markets, using whole fish, and cooking up some delicious meals! 

Jean Dao from Massachussetts

Sea scallops landed in Provincetown by Jorge Dias, seared in a pan with butter, garlic, and a sprig of lemon thyme from our indoor "garden"

Sea scallops landed in Provincetown by Jorge Dias, seared in a pan with butter, garlic, and a sprig of lemon thyme from our indoor "garden"

"When my partner and I received our fish list for the week, we were ECSTATIC! Spiny Dogfish, soft shelled clams, sea scallops, and... lobster. For a long time, we had -- well, I had -- ranted about wanting to throw a lobster party, and what better time than Memorial Day weekend? Right away, however, my partner Peter reminded me that there was no way in heck he would be purchasing all that lobster at retail value; Red's Best was offering their whole, live lobsters at $17/lb and he could get it for $11/lb through their wholesale market, which he has access to through the restaurant where he works. Since that wouldn't be playing by the rules of the study, we decided to also purchase something else off our list at retail price. The lobsters came into the restaurant on Friday morning, waving their little feelers and generally looking quite adorably cross, as lobsters do. Some of them my partner prepped to be sold as a special in the restaurant -- dry fried with ginger, scallion, and Szechuan peppercorns -- and some we steamed whole. Peter managed to convince me that it would be easier to break down all the cooked lobster at the restaurant where all the tables are stainless steel and there was ample space for the mess we would make. Thinking back now about how much shell shrapnel and liquid sprayed everywhere -- this was definitely the right call. Clearly, I had never broken down ONE lobster before, let alone a dozen plus. At home, we browned a pound of butter, toasted up some potato rolls, and had ourselves a pre-party feast. The lobster was so sweet, juicy, and just a touch briney. And because of all the time I spent extruding meat out of all the legs with a rolling pin, it tasted so much better than any lobster roll I've ever had. This much I'll say -- I will never complain about the price of a lobster roll ever again! The next morning, we made our way down to the Boston Public Market for a "legitimate" purchase for Week 3. I had my heart set on Spiny Dogfish because we'd never had it before, but Red's Best didn't have it, and we unfortunately didn't have the time to go hunting around -- party was at 1 and it was already 10:30! They did have some huge, beautiful sea scallops and steamers, so we grabbed ourselves some of each. The steamers we tossed in a pot with some beer, Szechuan peppercorn, ginger, garlic, onion, and dill. They opened beautifully, tasted so sweet, and... were totally and completely full of sand. We forgot to purge them! Lessons learned for next time, to be sure. The scallops, since they had been cleaned already, we simply browned in a pan with butter, garlic, lemon thyme, and a spritz of lemon juice just before serving. So incredibly sweet and easy to eat -- I wish we had bought more, but at $28 a pound it was too much to be spending on top of all the lobster. Maybe next week..." This sounds like a party we want to be invited to!

David Ford from Rhode Island

whole black sea bass steamed over soy ginger scallion

whole black sea bass steamed over soy ginger scallion

"This week my choices were makerel, scup, grey sole and black sea bass. I struck out on all four at my two go to seafood markets - Andrade's in Bristol, RI and Tony's in Seekonk, MA. Both stores claimed they never carried makerel or scup since there was little market demand. Both said it was too early for local black sea bass. Tony's did have sole, which they originally told me was yellowtail sole (not labeled as such). They said they never carried grey sole. Later I did some google research and confirmed that Tony's was selling yellowfin sole, which is a Pacific Northwest fish. As I discovered, sole and flounder are closely related and can often be confused with each other. Another thing I learned is NEVER go to a popular fish market late Friday afternoon. All the good Catholics standing in a long line have little patience with me asking lots of questions about where the fish was landed and what type of fish it was. I did find whole black sea bass at Whole Foods on North Main in Providence. They scaled and gutted it for me. The quality was top shelf, but we all know we pay top price at Whole Foods. I steamed the fish in the oven on an oven rack set over a baking dish. The fish was too big for my steaming basket. I used a base of soy, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, fish oil, ginger, garlic, jalapeno, scallion. Heavenly. I need to eat like this more often!"

Christine Devito from Maine shared with us her battle with an Acadian Redfish:

Grilled, Savory Acadian Red Fish; scary looking, but the taste is nothing to be afraid of!

Grilled, Savory Acadian Red Fish; scary looking, but the taste is nothing to be afraid of!

"This week's fish selection, preparation and cooking proved to be a bit of a personal test to me; I found out what I was made of so to speak. The fish I chose to buy was Acadian Red Fish (aka Ocean Perch), whole, cleaned and gutted (all of which the folks at Harbor Fish market offered to do for me, and it was helpful and much appreciated by/ for myself as a consumer to not have to ask for these services amidst a very loud and crowded market).
At the start of the week I was originally excited about my fish list this week because it also included Swordfish, something I happen to be very familiar with and enjoy on account of its meaty, juicy, smooth and flakey-ness. I had gone to two other grocery stores before the fish market because of this familiarity and it was something I regularly see when grocery shopping. However, to my dismay, while they carried Swordfish, they did not have Swordfish that was landed in New England (they also did not carry the other fish from my fish list at all). I learned from the man behind the counter at Whole Foods that Swordfish only comes through local waters in the autumn. He further admitted that this is why much of their fish is not local because, in his words "it's impossible" otherwise to meet the wants and needs of shoppers. I made it a point to follow up and ask if people asked for more local species regularly, do you think a store like Whole Foods would carry them over other fish? He looked up and bobbed his head back a fourth, weighing the question and ultimately gave me an uncertain maybe. I took this bit of information with me (seems to be a big part of what this whole experiment is about) in my basket and moved on.
I ended up going to Harbor Fish Market who have yet to let me down as far as finding at least one of my fish species. I looked over all the fish and found Sword Fish but when asked where it was landed, they said the Carolina's, so no good. Then I found the Acadian Redfish. Not the prettiest fish in the sea with it's big, beady eyes looking up at me, and redish skin. From the look of it, one might think it was caught in some red sea and parts of that sea stuck to it even after trying to rinse it off. I struggled to pick some up based on these impressions. I thought to myself how I wouldn't buy this if it wasn't for the science project. I even automatically tilted backwards as I put the fish in my bag. Even now as I think about it my face frowns, much like the big lipped, frowny face of this fish. As I mentioned before, the folks at Harbor cleaned and gutted the fish, offered to chop the head, but I thought for presentation purposes I'd have them leave it. After working with this fish however, next time I would forget about the presentation and not only allow, but insist they chop off its head.
I looked up via the internet a few different recipes for grilling ( we were having a cook out with some friends) and decided to marinate the fish before wrapping it in tin foil and grilling it. It was a very easy fish to cook! I usually like to keep it simple with fish, because I know the flavor of it and enjoy that, this was new, and admittedly scary, so I decided flavoring it up with olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and creole spice wouldn't be such a bad idea.
I mentioned earlier finding out what I was made of...well, while working with this fish my imagination got the better of me. I said out loud how I wouldn't be buying this fish again because of how the look of it gave me an icky feeling. When I placed it in the bag to marinate for a few hours, the tiny spikes (very tiny, barely discernible while raw) on the face and sharp, hardness near the gils pricked my hands through the bag. I jumped and dropped the bag as if the fish had somehow been alive this whole time and was just waiting to get me! I then doubled over laughing at myself and how ridiculous I was being. It's embarrassing really, but yes I was afraid of a dead fish.
I pricked myself a few more times but as I mentioned before the cooking of this fish was very easy and anyone who has cooked and grilled meat of any kind would be more than capable of cooking this fish. The fish tasted great ( a bit bony, but smooth, juicy, moderately meaty and soft)! All the mental battles I fought to make it were worth it. I shared it with friends and everyone liked it! I told them my silly story of preparation and they asked if I would buy it again now that I had eaten it and liked it. I hesitated and wasn't quite sure, but ultimately I think I would buy it again because of the taste, my new knowledge of it and found confidence, and I learned while seeking a recipe for it that it is abundant and highly sustainable here in Maine, which always motivates both my current consumer habits and the evolution of those habits. A friend of mine who joined us for the cookout brought and grilled Blue Fish; unwittingly our Memorial Day weekend cuisine included Red and Blue Fish, how fitting."

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut

Fresh whole porgy to fillets to delicious meal with salad greens and radishes from local farmer's market.

Fresh whole porgy to fillets to delicious meal with salad greens and radishes from local farmer's market.

"My task this week was to find summer flounder, periwinkles, skate, or scup. The species I found was scup. It is also known as porgy. The name porgy comes from a Native American word for fertilizer. This was a common use for the fish because it was abundant and provided the soil with nutrients. Porgies are a smaller fish with a lot of bones, so they are usually sold whole. I filleted my fish and then pan-fried the fillets in a cast iron skillet. The meat was tender and flakey with a mild flavor. I paired my fish with salad greens and radishes from my local farmers market. My meal was easy to prepare, delicious, and scup is a very reasonably priced fish."

Kirstien Davidson from New Hampshire

"This week I decided to try some more spots since my first two weeks had been successful at Sanders. Luckily, my wonderful husband is still home for this week and could do some research for me! My fish list for the week was Razor Clams, Tautog (Blackfish), Herring, and Summer Flounder (Fluke). Previously, I have had fairly good luck with the fish at my supermarket of preference: Hannaford in Northwood, NH, mainly getting nice filets of haddock for my mother's chowder recipe. For this week, I had my husband start at Hannaford, but he struck out there. The next stop was Market Basket in Lee, NH. Again he had no luck. So now it was my turn! Again, I decided to try a new market, so after a Google search, I found Seaport Fish in Rye, which is just down the road from Portsmouth. I was hopeful I could find at least the Flounder, but talking with the fish monger there, he explained when they get flounder in, it's usually a mixture different varieties of flounder. The only way they could guarantee that I would have Summer Flounder would be to have the boat set it aside specifically for me. I left again, disappointed, but I do have a new source to check out each week! I decided before throwing in the towel for the week, I'd check Sanders once more. I lucked out again this week! They had Tautog freshly caught from Rhode Island, so even though it wasn't local to New Hampshire, it is in New England waters and still ok for the project. This was my first experience with this fish. I hadn't even heard of it before this week! So for cooking, I went to the best resource for finding fish markets or recipes: Google! There weren't many options, but I found THIS ONE and it ended up pretty well. The only thing I think would be different would be cooking the fish later, as it was cold by the time I finished with the sauce, but all in all, it was pretty good! We combined it this week with a butternut squash risotto and asparagus. The risotto was a big success and we've figured out the plane noises do work to get toddlers to realize they actually wanted to eat, but not quite enough to finish all of it."

Rindy Sicard from Rhode Island

"Traveling thru Bristol, Rhode Island this morning, I thought I would visit a local fish market since I was in the area. Andrade's Catch had some fish available but none locally caught. The peekytoe crabs/sand crabs were local and on my list ,so that was my choice. The taste if summer. It will be a crab boil tonight."

Aaron Whitman from Maine

Black sea bass with a little scup that was hitching a ride in the bass mouth  

Black sea bass with a little scup that was hitching a ride in the bass mouth

 

"I walked into harbor fish today hoping that black sea bass was there because I've heard that it is a really good fish to eat and I've only had it once. That one time didn't turn out that well, it was boiled with no seasoning (I wasn't the one preparing it) and I wanted to give it a fair shot. They only had whole fish that still needed to be cleaned out. I was fine with cleaning it and purchased one. I went to pick up my kids from daycare and decided to showcase the whole fish to all the kids! They were all very interested especially when they saw a whole small scup in the sea bass mouth! I baked it seasoning the fish and body cavity with thyme, salt and lemon pepper with a bit of olive oil and white wine. 425 degrees for 30 mins (15 in aluminum foil and 15 without cover) and it was cooked perfect. The skin peeled off easy and the meat came off the bones with ease."

Christina Rodriguez from Rhode Island

Grilled sea scallops with brown sugar and bourbon glaze.

Grilled sea scallops with brown sugar and bourbon glaze.

"I grilled the scallops in a brown sugar and bourbon glaze. The sugar helps caramelize the edges and the bourbon adds a nuanced smokiness and hint of oak. They would've been great wrapped in bacon, or seared in a cast iron skillet."

Samantha Baasch from Massachusetts

"This recipe is a spin on a marinade that I enjoyed tremendously as a child growing up in Southeast New England. Made in-house of a local market the recipe nor the ingredients were ever disclosed. It was called a “Zippy Shrimp Marinade”. Since this market has since closed I have done my best to mimic the marinade as I remember it to keep it alive. This week I decided to purchase Swordfish after visiting 2 markets and only finding this species. The fish was caught locally off of George’s Bank and a perfect match for this marinade. This recipes make plenty of marinade for 2-3 swordfish steaks. Typically I would marinate the steaks for 2-3 hours but since it was a weeknight 1 hour had to do! Still turning out just as delicious as I remember.
Sam's Mega Zippy Swordfish Marinade

Sam's Mega Zippy Swordfish Marinade

½ cup Soy Sauce
½ cup White Wine
1 ½ Tbsp. Chili Oil
3 good dashes Worcestershire sauce
½ of a lemon Juiced
1 small onion minced
5 gloves garlic- minced
Handful of Fresh herbs – chopped
Black Pepper to taste
Enjoy!"
 
 

Deborah Majer from Connecticut

Black Sea Bass with Shrimp in a Lemon Scampi Sauce

Black Sea Bass with Shrimp in a Lemon Scampi Sauce

"I have eaten Sea Bass out in restaurants before but have never cooked it at home before or even thought about purchasing it to cook at home. I definitely will be having Black Sea Bass more often since I will be cooking it at home. I was surprised to find that this species is very common in my area. Robert Uberti is very knowledgeable and helpful. He even gave us a discount on the purchase of the fish! It has only been 3 weeks and it is a pleasure to talk with Robert and learn about different species from him. A really nice guy!"

Carolyn St. Jean Gogan from Rhode Island

Clear RI Clam Chowder and Quahog Stuffies

Clear RI Clam Chowder and Quahog Stuffies

"I love using quahogs to make real RI clear clam chowder. You can buy the canned clam broth but you really must steam your own quahogs to get that real rich clam broth. It takes more effort but always worth the time. And when making chowder don't add your chopped clams / quahogs until the chowder is just about done because over cooking makes them tough. I also used my quahogs to makes Stuffies. I make the filling for the stuffies a day before because all those wonderful ingredients need time to marry. So good!"
 

 

 

 

Week 2 of Eating Like a Fish

We just wrapped up our second week and everyday I am blown away by the dedication from our participants. They are not only completing their assignments but showing so much enthusiasm and really stepping outside of their comfort zone by trying new species, cooking with whole fish, and asking tough questions in the marketplace. While it certainly hasn't been easy to find many or their assigned species we have heard positive feedback from some participants that because of the interest they have shown in purchasing local species some markets are promising to start carrying more local fish! 

Here are a few highlights from this week:

Charleen Thorburn from New Hampshire

"Initially, I had a little trouble but the folks at Sanders are just great. They were supposed to get some Hake in, but that didn't end up happening but the lovely gentleman remembered when I called for the hake that "you were also looking for tautog, weren't you?" and they had some coming in that day (Friday) that would be cut on Saturday. I came in on Saturday afternoon, just before going to my friend's cookout, and was presented with 2 beautiful 1-lb fillets. A little more than I was hoping to spend, but they were gorgeous and would be a hit at the cookout. I made a little foil packet, with butter, salt, pepper and lemon and threw the tented packet on the grill for a little less than 10 minutes and put the fish over a bed of similarly cooked fiddleheads. WHAT A HIT! People wanted to know WHAT I'd done (next to nothing) to this fish, why it's so good and omg fiddleheads (that I actually bought AT Sanders). Easy to cook, good flavor and texture and a few people actually had heard of Tautog (I previously had not)."
Flounder Picatta

Flounder Picatta

Samantha Baasch from Massachusetts

"This week by fish list had me searching for Herring, Dab, Winter Flounder and Butterfish. Seeing how I have never seen most of these fish in the two markets closest to my house I decided to hit Tony's Seafood in Seekonk for their large selection. I ended up purchasing the Winter Flounder- 1 lb. at 10.99 with Flounder Picatta in mind! The fillets were small but firm. I dipped them in beaten egg whites and panko then dropped them In a hot pan for a light fry. Making the picatta sauce on the side, consisting of butter, white wine and chicken broth. After reducing to half and adding the delicious briny capers it was time to plate! I laid the Flounder over a bed of arugula topped with the sauce, sliced lemon and parsley. Everything was wonderful the fish stayed together so nicely and with its delicate flavor paired so well with lemon and wine picatta sauce. Overall this was a lovely fish to work with. Not difficult to find, reasonably priced and most importantly delicious!"
Scup ( beginning to end)

Scup ( beginning to end)

Carolyn St. Jean Gogan from Rhode Island

"It had been some time since I last gutted and scaled a fish. You must take it outside to scale otherwise it will be messy inside your kitchen. Also, make sure that you have a sharp knife to slice through the fish to gut it. I chose to use a Caribbean pan fried fish recipe for the Scup. The recipe was easy to follow and the fish came out perfect. It was very delicate in texture and very sweet. You must be careful of the many small bones. So we ate it with our hands . Not really a company meal, unless you're camping or having a cookout. It was very inexpensive and served with a nice salad makes a fine meal. I would buy it again."

 

Chris Coccaro from Connecticut

"My girlfriend and I are both partaking in this program so I get to hear about 8 fish each week rather than the usual 4. One thing that has certainly come out so far is that our local markets (as I cannot speak for all of them) are very particular of which fish they sell on how well they can move them and how easy they are to handle. For instance, my girlfriend has had a John Dory twice already and in speaking with the fish markets they all said the same thing, "the fish is tough to work with. It has large spines, very thin, and only gives a very small fillet. 90% of the fish is thrown away." Hearing things like that makes it easy to see why markets wouldn't want to sell something like that, it isn't very practical from their standpoint. A few of the other species we have had, (razor clams, ocean perch, tautog, to name a few) the shop owner indicated he could get at the fish market if we wanted them, however we would need to buy a large order of it to make it worth it. He would have to buy the fish in 50-lb lots, or razor clams by the half bushel, and based on his knowledge of the local tastes he would sell a few pounds and have to discard the rest. From his description it appears that there isn't the local demand for many of these species. Finally the last thing that has jumped out at me is that there is difference between the common name and the market name of these fish. For instance, they only know Tautog as "black fish" and many have never heard of a cunner, sculpin, ocean perch, or smooth dogfish. Looking forward to coming week I'll have to do my research on the more common market names for my species."
Mediteranian-style baked cod with roasted squash and wild rice

Mediteranian-style baked cod with roasted squash and wild rice

Paul Anderson from Maine

"I've used this recipe on other white fish. The hardest part is making sure you have parchment paper. Lay the fillet on a large piece of parchment. Sprinkle work black olives, halved cherry tomatoes, capers and shallots. Salt and pepper and olive oil. Close parchment and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I served it with roasted butternut squash cubes and wild rice."
 

Jennifer McCaffrey from Rhode Island

"This week I tried butterfish. It tasted good but so many small bones made the fish difficult to eat. My husband was laughing and me picking through the meat saying that's what you get when you eat bait!"
 
 
 
 

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut

Bluefish with blackening seasoning (left), Blackened bluefish (right)

Bluefish with blackening seasoning (left), Blackened bluefish (right)

"For this week my seafood choices were white hake, Jonah crab, razor clams, or bluefish. The only type that a store carried was bluefish from Rhode Island. Bluefish are voracious predators. They employ a feeding behavior call the “bluefish blitz” where large schools of big fish attack bait fish near the surface, churning the water like a washing machine. One resource described bluefish as an “animated chopping machine”. They are aggressive feeders making them easy to catch. They also put up a good fight for anglers. But they seem less desirable as a meal. Just as for all extremely active predators, their meat will spoil quickly due to their powerful digestive enzymes that are activated by the bait they ate. They need to be cooked soon after being caught. They also have darker meat and a blood line along the dorsal fin that gives them a strong flavor. But they are very nutritious to eat full of Omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of selenium, magnesium, and other minerals. All my research had me very wary of how bluefish would taste. So we chose to blacken the fillets in cast iron using a homemade blackening seasoning with paprika. The fish was very good with no strong overwhelming fish taste or super oily texture. I think it is a testament to the local fish market. I would eat bluefish again."
Grilled Dab; So Soft You Can Eat It With A Spoon!

Grilled Dab; So Soft You Can Eat It With A Spoon!

Christine Devito from Maine

"This week finding my fish was a little more difficult but was happily surprised with my success in the end. Allow me to explain... of the species I was tasked with buying, John Dory was one of them, and also the fish I bought, cooked and enjoyed last week. I went to Harbor Fish Market and found that they had it again immediately. The price remained the same as the previous week ($8.99/lb) , but before buying it I wanted to see if I could find a different fish from my list. Unfortunately they did not have any of the other ones, so I decided I'd check another two markets and if I didn't find them, then I'd come back to get the John Dory. The week went on and I checked two other fish markets, and one explained how they carried John Dory usually, they just didn't have any when I was there, and the other insisted all they had left was hake and cod. Neither of these markets had any of the other fish I was looking for. I returned to Harbor Fish Market to pick up some John Dory and I got to talking to one of the women behind the counter about the other fish I was looking for (I didn't see them out/displayed anywhere). I am so glad I talked to her because as it turns on they had two of the other species I was looking for, Dab (American Plaice,), which she informed me is also called lemon sole, and was labeled as such behind the glass under the counter, and Tautog (black fish). The Tautog was available as a whole fish, but she said they could clean it and cut it up any way I liked. I was deciding on which of the new species to try when they sold out of the Tautog, so my decision was more or less made for me; this week would be Dab. It was such a surprise to me when I returned to that first market and found three out of my four fish were there. I learned it is always worth talking to the folks behind the counter about fish you want and you are either not familiar with, or fish you want and don't see displayed because apparently they may also just have another name, and/or are kept in a different, less visible area. Additionally, they may just have sold out, or are coming in later that week. Although I had never cooked this type of fish before it looked like your standard fillets of fish, which made it less intimidating and easy to cook with confidence. I decided to stick the pieces of Dab on a greased baking pan, with some butter, juice of a lemon and parsley, and throw the pan on the grill (medium heat for about 15 minutes). It smelled so good! They came out great and I enjoyed it. The taste of the fish itself is extremely mild, so next time I think I would add more herbs and spices before cooking it. I couldn't believe how soft and smooth it was and how it almost seemed to melt in your mouth. While I enjoyed the Dab, I think it would work best in a chowder, or in a pasta dish. The incredible softness after it was cooked left behind gooey pieces on my plate, which would have been soaked up nicely in something like a chowder, or any pasta dish ( perhaps certain vegetables too), where it would stick to/coat the pasta as a sort of additional sauce, plus still have the bigger pieces of fish to enjoy too. Pasta with Dab Balls! Well, that doesn't sound exactly as appealing as pasta with meatballs, but you get the idea. Overall, I am happy I found it, try it and know it better!"

Michelle Pechie from Rhode Island

"I went to a couple of regular supermarket to get a feel for their selection of local fish. As with last week, they had little to none that could be verified as locally caught. I then went to an Asian seafood market because I had heard they tend to have a selection of local fish. The fishmonger told me they do get locally caught species, but you take what you can get when you can get it. I found the mackerel here. He also asked if I was using it as bait! When I told him it was my dinner, he graciously offered to clean it for me!!"

Kim Gainey from Massachusetts

"I am a fan of mussels and prefer wild local to the small farm raised ones such as PEI's . The Catham wild mussels I got at Cape a fish and Lobster were the plumpest ones i've ever seen! I don't know if it's the time of year or what they are feeding on but WOW! If you are a fan I urge you to go pick some up. They are sweet, briny with just a touch of mineral tang. I prepared them in the was Black Fish restaurant does. With toasted fennel, sausage, onion in a ️️milk broth ( like a chowder) . Yum !"

Kate Aubin from Rhode Island

"Growing up, I didn't eat much lobster. Because it is often expensive, lobster was seen as a treat in my family, only eaten in restaurants during summer months. I was excited/apprehensive to see lobster on my list this week. I really wanted to try to cook it on my own but as someone who is predominately vegetarian (with the exception of seafood, which I don't typically cook at home (other than for this project)), I was nervous about having to deal with a live animal. Everything ended up going off without a hitch, but it took me longer than it probably should have because I was so nervous. At first I was just going to mix the lobster meat with some pasta and a white wine sauce, but then my husband suggested a lobster roll. I had my first lobster roll 3 years ago on a trip to Maine and I absolutely loved it. Since then I've been chasing my first lobster roll "high". I found a recipe for lobster rolls online at Bon Appetite's website and was quite happy with the results."

Aubrey Church from Massachusetts

"For week 2 of #eatlikeafish my four species to search for were: squid, mahi-mahi, white hake and #haddock. Squid and mahi-mahi were out because I picked squid last week, and mahi-mahi is not local to New England waters during this time of year. I was unable to find white hake, so haddock it is! Haddock, is a type of groundfish species that is found primarily from Maine to New Jersey. Haddock are a member of the Cod family, but can be distinguished by a black “thumbprint” found on the side of their body and they have a black lateral line. Two of the haddock stocks found in US waters are from Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine. Commercial fishing for haddock occurs year round in the US, with bottom otter trawl fishing producing the majority of haddock landings. Longline, and gillnet fisheries land the remainder of the haddock catch landings. Fishermen follow a number of measures to reduce impacts on habitat and bycatch. In some areas, fishermen use a “Ruhle trawl” to reduce catch of overfished groundfish, while allowing them to target more abundant stocks such as haddock. Ruhle trawls have a large 8 foot mesh in the forward end of the net, which allows cod and other fish to escape. Adult haddock are benthic feeders, with a diverse diet that includes bivalve mollusks, amphipods, crabs, shrimps, sea stars, sea urchins, sand dollars, and occasional fish eggs. Juvenile haddock are often eaten by elasmobranchs (spiny dogfish, skates) and many groundfish species (cod, Pollock, cusk, white hake, red hake, silver hake, halibut and sea raven). Haddock has a slightly sweet taste, and a firm but tender texture. Haddock is a great source of low-fat protein, magnesium and selenium. I made baked haddock fillets with horseradish-chive potato mash with a side of green beans. Yum! Recipe was found from “Fresh Fish: A fearless guide to grilling, shucking, searing, poaching, and roasting seafood” by Jennifer Trainer Thompson. I substituted some Cape Cod Potato Chips for breadcrumbs, because after all I’m on #capecod and that’s #capeliving ?? Follow along for next week’s #fishtale #eatfish #eatlocal #bestwhenfresh #eatingwiththeecosystem #knowyourfisherman #piertoplate #localseafood"
IMG_1684.JPG

Jeff Rodensky from Connecticut

"I struck out at 4 local spots...so I traveled to Bridgeport hoping to up my odds on the shoreline. Again, nothing. So I called around (I had free time up until this week). I used to live in Middletown and remembered CityFish always seemed to have a wide selection. Turns out they had it...so I drove 50 minutes to get it. After striking out last week I was determined to find at least one of my fish this week =) I normally hate fish tacos...but I always order them because I feel like I should like them. I love tacos...I love fish. So I discovered the secret this week...MAKE IT MYSELF =)...oh, and leave out the cilantro!!! Being on a low carb diet these days, I got creative making the tortilla. I used what I like to call "fread" (faux bread). Others call it cloud bread. Essentially eggs, cream of tarter, cream cheese and in this case, garlic salt. Then I made a delicious avocado/jalapeno crema which I mixed with a dry coleslaw mix. ...and A LOT of lime. Tip...eat it all that night, no matter how much lime juice you use the next morning it will look ummmm....well, let's just go with unappetizing. Marinated the Haddock in olive oil (a mistake when broiling..so I shifted to baking when I realized the mistake) lime zest, red pepper flakes and cumin. I'm making this again!"

David Ford from Rhode Island

David shared his recipe for Yellowtail flounder curry with salad turnips and spring onions

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs yellowtail flounder
  • 1 bunch salad turnips
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 1 onion
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsps sesame oil
  • 1/2 container low sodium vegetable (or chicken) broth
  • 1 tbsp Madras curry powder
  • 1/4 cup (or more) coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup (or more) coconut oil
  • 2 tbsps Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Chop onion and saute in olive oil and sesame oil at medium heat until onion begins to brown.
  2. Mince garlic and slice jalapenos, then add to above and saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add vegetable broth and curry powder. Bring to a low simmer. Add enough coconut flour to thicken slightly.
  4. Thinly slice green onion bulbs and add to curry mix and saute for a few minutes.
  5. Separate turnip bulbs from greens and quarter. Chop turnip greens. Add both to curry mix and saute a few minutes.
  6.  Slice spring onion greens into 1 inch pieces and add to curry mixture.
  7.  Add salt and pepper. Reduce heat to very low simmer.
  8. Brush flounder pieces with olive oil and dust with coconut flower and paprika.
  9. Heat cast iron skillet over very high heat until smoking. Add coconut oil to just coat. A heat resistant brush can do the trick to spread the oil.
  10. Sear flounder filets a minute each side or until slightly charred. Use two spatulas to flip to avoid breaking filets. May need to add more coconut oil between frying each piece.
  11.  Bring curry mizture to a bubbling simmer, add flounder and mix to coat.
  12.  Serve!

Daryl Popper from Massachusetts

"I had a memorable time searching for my assigned fish this week. I went on an adventure to Cape Ann with my mom in celebration of Mother's Day and we had a blast cruising through Gloucester in search of whiting, weakfish, striped bass or swordfish. We met locals along the way that pointed us in the direction of Turner's Seafood just outside the town center. We met with the team at Turner's and discovered that their swordfish was fresh from off the coast of Cape Cod. The team was excited to learn about our project and to see what future fish assignments came my way. They encouraged me to return so they could share more local information about the boat and the fishermen that work hard to provide native fish to their markets."

Deborah Majer from Connecticut

"Here it is Week 2 and once again I was not surprised that I would not find Pollock or Mackerel. I am surprised that the mussels I found at the fish market came from P.E.I. and not from around where I live. Last week's fish and this week's clams that I bought from the fish market both came from Stonington, CT waters. I have been purchasing my clams previously from Costco Wholesale and since they are warm water clams I could never eat them raw but always made them into clams casino. I was able to enjoy the clams this week raw because they came from the fish market. Yummy! My husband and I enjoyed a dozen clams raw with lemon and cocktail sauce, and the other dozen we made into clams casino. The clams had so much more flavor than the ones at Costco. I will be purchasing my clams from the fish market from now on."

Aaron Witman from Maine

"Haddock is so easy to prepare and tell when it is fully cooked. It is the perfect beginners fish but can also be used by professional chefs. It is a typical fish and chips in NE and appeals to most people since it doesn't have an over powering fishy taste. I prepared mine by putting some lemon juice, black pepper and butter with the fish wrapped in tin foil and put on the grill. It came out super flakey. I paired the fish with jasmine rice and asparagus cooked with bacon and garlic. The dinner was well liked by the whole family, even my two young kids (4 and 1)!"

Brian Haggerty from Rhode Island

"It was my first time buying fish from a farmers market. It gave me a chance to discuss local fishes with local distributors and he was quite knowledgeable on the topic. I look forward to building a relationship with him and his cohorts as well as to further my fish intellect."
 
 
 

For more information about the project and to follow along on some of our participants personal blogs check out our Eat Like a Fish page and #eatlikeafish. check back next week to see what our participants have been up to!

Eat Like a Fish Citizen Science Project Week 1!

The Eat Like a Fish Citizen Science Research Project officially started last week! We sent over 90 citizen scientists, from all over New England, to search for local species in the New England marketplace. Each participant was randomly assigned four local species to search for and if they found one or more of their species they were asked to pick one and take it home to cook with.

We have amazing participants who together made almost 200 market visits this week! About 60 percent of our participants found at least one of their assigned species. While some participants were disappointed that they didn't find their species, their efforts are super important and will provide us with information to help get more local species available in the marketplace in the future! 

Here are a few highlights from the week:

 

Scallop Tacos!

Scallop Tacos!

Samantha Baasch from Massachusetts:

"This week I choose sea scallops from my fish list. They were very easy to find and were caught locally in New Bedford, MA. After a quick rinse I slid them into a hot oiled pan with just some salt and pepper. With my husband and daughter eagerly awaiting dinner I assembled the Scallop tacos. Soft tortilla followed by a smear of an avocado sauce I made with some mashed avocado, lemon juice, dash of vinegar and salt and pepper. Add the scallops with some thin sliced cabbage and red onion. Yum!"

 

 


Squid over black bean pasta with jalapenos, parsley and garlic

Squid over black bean pasta with jalapenos, parsley and garlic

David Ford from Rhode Island shared his recipe for local squid over black bean pasta with jalapenos, parsley and garlic:

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lbs squid, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 8 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 red jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (low sodium)
  • 2 tbsps sesame oil
  • 1 box Explore Cuisine black bean spaghetti
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cracked peppercorns

Preparation:

  1. Saute garlic in olive olive.
  2. Add jalapenos, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and saute 2 minutes.
  3. Add squid and saute until rings just begin to curl. NOT ANY LONGER. Sample rings for doneness. Turn off heat.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to box directions.
  5. Add pasta, parsley, salt, pepper to pan and toss to coat well
  6. Serve!

Christine Devito from Maine:

Shiny on the Outside and Tasty on the Inside: John Dory

Shiny on the Outside and Tasty on the Inside: John Dory

"This past week I bought, cooked and ate John Dory, a fish that I had never heard of or tried before, and it was delicious! I was surprised to see it so prominently displayed at the fish market, as I thought it would be more difficult to find after not being able to find it at my local Whole Foods (they usually have what I am looking for and provide me with the relief as a consumer that all the fish they carry and sell are sustainably sourced). I rinsed the large pieces of the fish and cut them into portions sufficient to satisfy each person I was serving. The meat of the fish was Then but easy to slice through, however the skin was pretty tough and took a little extra elbow grease to get through. After cutting, I dipped each of the pieces of fish in egg and bread crumbs and fried em' up. A few friends of mine, who are also eating with the ecosystem, and I decided to all get together for a fish feast, where we all cooked our own fish, in our own way and shared a wonderful meal together. It was a lot of fun! The man at the fish counter at Whole Foods said that John Dory was similar to flounder and after eating it, I do agree with his description. I actually liked it more than flounder in account of its firm, and smooth texture and juicy, meaty taste. Not overly fishy and not at all bland. I think it has a more universal appeal in terms of the experience of flavor for the average fish eater. Overall, a positive buying, cooking and dining experience."

Andrea McCarthy from Connecticut:

Fresh whole weakfish (left), steamed weakfish with lemon and garlic (right)

Fresh whole weakfish (left), steamed weakfish with lemon and garlic (right)

"This week my four species to look for were weakfish, sea urchin, haddock, and sculpin. The only one that any of the stores I contacted had was weakfish. It was also a species I had never eaten. The weakfish gets its name from its tender jaw that is easily torn by fishing hooks. But this fish is known as other names. A more marketable name used is sea trout, and the Narragansett Indians call this fish squeteague. Weakfish is a member of the drum family, and like other drum, it makes a grunting noise by vibrating its swim bladder, but this only applies to males. It seems since the 1800’s that weakfish populations seem to come and go every 20-30 years. Recent accounts of anglers seem to indicate that the numbers might be increasing. I bought the weakfish whole and with the head, but had it cleaned and gutted. The recipe I used came from The Shelter Island 36 cookbook (http://www.theshelterisland36.com/). The book has a collection of New England recipes and is illustrated beautifully. I steamed the whole fish in aluminum foil with aromatics such as lemon and garlic inside and on top of the fish. It was very good. The meat was moist and had a light delicate texture. It was paired with cous cous and green beans. My partner has saved the head for a later meal, and he fried the bones to eat."

Cleaning Whelk

Cleaning Whelk

Craig Gogan from Rhode Island:

"We ended up finding conch at our 4th seafood market, Champlins in Narragansett. They were available both in and out of the shell. We choose to go ahead with the shell to get the whole experience. We bought 4 total, which was a little under 2 lbs and cost a total of $8.50. The meal we found right away online was for a Caribbean style rice dish so we went ahead with that since we had most of the other ingredients already. The 1.75 lbs was actually way too much and our meals were huge since we were not expecting so much meat in there. Price was right. It wasn't very hard to cook, and I feel you could do a lot with it. Taste is really good but it was definitely chewy so I could see how people may be put off by it. Next time we may need to try a better technique than steaming."
 
 

Jayne Martin from Connecticut:
"I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of Ocean Perch (Acadian Redfish) - That's the first thing I learned (2 names for the same fish). Asking the fish counter about where their fish comes from was an adventure in itself. The man at Big Y was actually a fish buyer in New York working part time evenings at the store. Who would have guessed, if I had not started explaining to him about this citizen scientist project, I would never have know that such a knowledgeable person would be helping me first hand. Looking forward to next week!"

 

For more information about the project and to follow along on some of our participants personal blogs check out our Eat Like a Fish page and #eatlikeafish. check back next week to see what our participants have been up to!

Ghosts of fisheries past

Alewives. Eels. Smelts. Frostfish. These fish don't show up in the flesh much anymore. But for longtime Rhode Island fishermen, their ghosts still haunt the coast. 

During a recent project to understand how changing environments affect fisheries, I kept hearing about these bygone fisheries. Like the frostfish. They used to show up every fall, a few old timers told me. Schools of them arrived on the south coast and the edges of the bay, always just after the first frost. It was a whole-ecosystem event; monkfish used to swim right up into the Sakonnet harbor chasing the frostfish. Fishermen chased them too, illuminated by lantern light, gathering them as they jumped out of the water and landed on the sand.

A frostfish, it turns out, is a whiting or silver hake (Merluccius bilinearis). But it is only called a frostfish when it comes in close to shore after the frost. Since whiting do not come in close to shore anymore, frostfish no longer exist. There are plenty of whiting; they just stay farther offshore -- so they are whiting, not frostfish. The monkfish don't come in to shore either. And the fishermen no longer bundle up on nippy November nights to snag a few baskets of the annual visitors. 

Why things change in the marine ecosystem is a question that is full of mystery. Some changes are linked to development and pollution in the nearshore habitat. Temperature no doubt plays a role. Predator-prey cycles and concentrated fishing pressure on localized population units can sometimes be involved. For anadromous fish, dams are a significant factor. But one thing is clear: ecosystems are the locus of human traditions, and when ecosystems change, the people who once participated in those traditions can be haunted by their memory forever.

Records of these ghosts can also be found in the archives of local newspapers:

Frostfish

(from "A Frostfish Harvest on the South Shore," Providence Journal, December 28, 1913)

"Along the shore of the old South County, where the billows of the Atlantic break and moan upon the broad sandy beach, there are few pastimes more popular or more profitable than that of gathering the palatable frostfish. On almost every calm night from early October until well into December the shore is visited by scores of persons who gather the frostfish, oftentimes by the cartload...

"According to adepts in sea lore the frostfish, a slender, scaleless denizen of the deep, said to be a first cousin to the cod, makes periodical visits to the vicinity of Narragansett bay. It appears regularly each fall to some extent, but once in every three or four years it is said to be more abundant than at other times. Some of those who make a practice of catching the fish assert that they are more abundant in presidential years. No logical reason is given as to just why these finny denizens of the deep should appear in such large numbers in this corner of the globe at the time the freeholders are intent upon selecting a Chief Executive...

"According to the old fishermen of Pirate's Paradise in the lee of Point Judith's rugged headlands the frostfish leaves his submarine retreat to haunt the inlets along the New England coast as soon as the air becomes tinged with the first suggestion of cold weather. It runs into the coves and bays, where it hovers around piers and docks, making nightly forages for food among the small bait fish along the shore. 

"Years ago, before the pollution of the Providence River became a problem, spearing the fish was a favorite diversion of residents of this city.... Even as late as a decade ago a considerable number of those who worked in factories and shops in the city made nightly pilgrimages to the east and west shores of the bay, and under favorable conditions they seldom failed in capturing half a dozen or more in a single evening.

"But it is only on the broad, sandy beaches, such as that along the coast of the South County, that the fish manifests its extraordinary habit of coming ashore and literally jumping into the hands of fishermen... [I]ts peculiar habit is taken advantage of by the farmers and fishermen. Every night when the weather is clear and cold and there is a low surf the south shore is patrolled by scores of persons carrying lanterns. They walk close to the edge of the dying breakers and seize the fish as they come floundering out of the surf. The fish are gathered in baskets, loaded into express wagons, and the catch for two or three persons very frequently amounts to several hundred pounds of fish in a single night."


River herring

(from "When the Herrings Run," Providence Journal May 13, 1917)

"With the coming of the first warm weather in May, Taunton becomes the mecca for numerous tourists from divers sections of southern New England who journey to the Massachusetts city for the purpose of watching the herring run. Scores of miles are traversed by members of this curious throng who gather along the sides of the sluiceway to watch the finny denizens of the deep sea scrambling and rumbling through the swift flowing waters on their way to the spawning ponds upstream...

"But with the residents of towns along the shores of the Taunton River the migration of the herrings from the salt sea to the inland fresh water ponds is of more than mere spectacular interest. To a very limited number the run of herring means a season of fishing de luxe, with a substantial addition to the annual income, and to a considerably greater number it means a supply of delectable fish at very moderate prices.

"Although it is pretty generally agreed among the old fishermen of Yankeedom that 'herring fishing is petering out,' the privilege is still zealously guarded and is looked upon as a financial asset by the towns bordering upon the shores of the Taunton river and these bailiwicks find little difficulty in selling the right to take the herrings each year for considerably more than the fishermen say it is worth.

"The right to take the herrings from the Taunton river is vested in the towns along its banks, but for the purpose of conserving the greatest good for the greatest number of townsfolk the practice of selling the privilege at public auction was adopted long ago. Under the law, Raynham, Somerset, Berkley, Assonet, and Fall River each has the right to sell two privileges of fish while the city of Taunton has three privileges to dispose of.

"These privileges are sold to the highest bidder on or before Nov. 15. Years ago when the herrings, or alewives, were more plentiful than they have been of late years the privilege of taking them from the stream was eagerly sought. The Taunton river herring had a wide reputation of being the most delectable species of its kind and hence was readily sold in Fall River, Boston and Providence: big hauls of fish were the rule, several thousand being taken at one sweep of the net, and the competition in the bidding for the privileges was keen."


Eels

(from "Spearing Eels," Providence Journal, March 3, 1946)

"If you feel the need for fresh air and exercise, get yourself an 18-foot eel spear, an axe and burlap bag and sally forth upon the ice clotting the coves of Narragansett Bay. Chop a hole about two feet in diameter and insert your spear, the end with the fan of hooks pointed down. Poke energetically into the mud on the bottom and you may find an eel dreaming in his bed about the fun he will have next Summer catching mummies. If you are spry and pull back your spear you may catch the eel. A brisk north wind with the temperature flirting with the zero mark will add to your spryness.

"In Greenwich Cove, where the gaffers visit the fishing shacks in Scallop Town and recall the days when a man could walk safely out on the ice as far as the Sally Rock bell buoy and 'git his fill of eeling' any day January or February, a handful of eel spearmen are at work this Winter. They are finding the best 'eeling' through the ice along the Potowomut shore across the cove from the Town of East Greenwich.

"Among them are John E. Dawley, who strokes his graying mustache and says he's 'getting pretty close to 70,' and the four Maddalena brothers. The Maddalenas - Arthur, Rinaldo, Armino, and Vito - are shell fishermen in the Summer, eel spearmen in Winter. Dawley, who came to East Greenwich in 1904, will take an eel when he can regardless of the time of year.

"The 'eeling' this year is pretty thin, say the Maddalenas, recalling the day several years ago when Rinaldo pulled 98 of the snake-like fish out of one hole in the upper end of the cove, but there are plenty for home consumption. And home consumption is just what an eel is best suited for, the Greenwich Cove spearmen insist. Skinned and chopped in sections, pan-fried, cooked in the oven or in deep fat, an eel furnishes a delicious repast."


Smelts

(from "Pawcatuck Smelts," Providence Journal, April 13, 1947)

"Synonymous with the coming of Spring in the Pawcatuck River is smelt fishing and almost as synonymous with smelt fishing in Westerly is the name of Walter W. Brayman. As soon as the back of Winter is broken and the snow disappears from the South County Hills, the smelts leave the depths of the Atlantic and swim into the brackish tidal rivers such as the Pawcatuck to spawn...

"Smelts travel up the river only at certain times of the day and to catch them a fisherman must cast his nets out just as the tide is changing. He can try 'slack water,' and he has a second chance at the first of 'flood water.' ...

"Favorite fishing ground for the Braymans are the docks at the rear of the lumber and coal yards off Main Street. With two men ashore to handle one end of the 300-foot net and two others in a skiff, the seine is hauled down-river for about 300 feet and when brought ashore the fishermen deftly pick up the silvery smelts from hundreds of 'tom cod' or 'frost fish,' as they are called locally, that also get caught in the net.

"Disposing of the catch is no problem. The fish markets will take all Brayman and his helpers can bring in. Prices now are as high as they have ever been, he says. At retail, smelts were bringing in about 60 cents a pound at the start of the season. It has been nearly 10 years, however, since catches were of sufficient size to ship out to the New York market."

Cooking With the Pros: Preparing Monkfish with Chef Max Peterson

As always, our goal is to introduce folks to the variety of seafood available in our local waters. More often than not, abundant--and underutilized--species are not well known or eaten. As a whole, a very small portion of the food web is eaten, which results in an imbalance in the ecostystem. That's where our School of Fish comes in.

Take scup, skate and monkfish, for example. We've shown roomfuls of guests how to prepare each of these species, with delicious results. The goal with our School of Fish is to show folks just how delicious these underutilized species are in class, with the hope that they'll take what they've learned and incorporate it into their homes.

Monkfish: Our Fish of Choice for the Third School of Fish

We had the pleasure of having Chef Max Peterson of Hemenway's in Providence teach our third class. His underutilized fish of choice was monkfish. Monkfish is also referred to as Poor Man's Lobster because it is similar in texture to lobster. It is however much leaner. 

Monkfish can be intimidating to work with given the size of the fish and its appearance. 

Monkfish is the catch of the day for School of Fish

Monkfish is the catch of the day for School of Fish

Although only the tail of the monkfish is edible, it is available either whole or fileted. In the marine environment, monkfish perch themselves on the sea floor, where they hunt for prey. They are a type of angler fish, and have the ability to lure their prey in with three modified spines called filaments. 

Monkfish filaments

Monkfish filaments

Chef Peterson took guests through the process of prepping the monkfish, including removing the large head, the skin, the thin membrane covering the tail filets, and the spine. Prepared simply by sauteing filet segments in oil, after seasoning the filet with only salt, Chef Peterson gently basted the monkfish every few minutes with the oil in the pan, and added white wine, butter, and fresh herbs (chervil, parsley, and chives) at the last minute.

Simply put, the guests had the chance to eat expertly prepared monkfish, and savored every bite.