Meggan Dwyer from Maine
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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 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
"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
"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
"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."