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Old 08-13-2005, 08:04 AM   #1
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Locally Available Seafood

As I mentioned in another post somewhere, I am working on 2 cookbooks. One of these is a seafood cookbook. Now, I live on the coast of NC and have a lot of local "fresh" seafood available that is NOT readily available in other parts of the country. Now, since the goal of this book is to make preparing seafood easier for ANYONE who uses it (recent survey- 80% of respondents do NOT cook seafood because they are afraid of ruining it) I would like to know what seafood items are commonly available in other parts of the US and Canada. Your help is GREATLY appreciated!

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Old 08-13-2005, 09:18 AM   #2
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Bubba, I live on the prairies in Canada, and to be frank the only FRESH seafood I have had is when I visit the coast. If I go to the asian market I can get some things live (dungeoness crab and lobster). I am sure there are more that are available, like tilapia and some others, but I rarely buy them because the cost is prohibitive.

Do you have a short list of seafood that you could give me to check on? I would take it with me to the market and let you know what is there.
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Old 08-13-2005, 09:20 AM   #3
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Hey, Bubba, from the SC coast, so we're probably pretty similar in what's here. Shrimp, crab, clams, oysters; flounder, grouper, mahi-mahi, red snapper, sea bass, croakers and whiting, drum, are probably the most common here in the 'Holy CIty'.

Have you thought about going to the local fishermen's organizations to get some help (maybe backing :) )?
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Old 08-13-2005, 09:47 AM   #4
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The UK is such a little island that it is said that nowhere is more than 72 miles (or is it 74?) from the sea... We are SO lucky!
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Old 08-13-2005, 02:13 PM   #5
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Bubba, we can get pretty much anything and everything in Los Angeles.
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Old 08-13-2005, 02:16 PM   #6
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We get lots of seafood in Florida - but I don't know just what all is available. We also have lots of lakes and rivers so fish of all sorts is available too.
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Old 08-13-2005, 04:28 PM   #7
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I'm in Maine, so the commonly available fish in my market are lobster, sea scallops, mussells, quahogs and cherry stone clams, shrimp, haddock, cod, sometimes soul and flounder, salmon, swordfish, tuna, tilapia, squid sometimes. I'm sure I've forgotten some, but thats the commonly sold fish and shell fish here in Maine. As with any place, fish has it's "season" where it's least expensive. Good luck on the cookbook. Do you have someone that will publish it?
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Old 08-13-2005, 08:03 PM   #8
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I'm on the other end of the state and can get a wide variety of frozen but fresh (and some of these were previously forzen) we get oysters, clams, mussels, orange roughy, scallops, mahi mahi, tilapia, tuna, sashimi tuna, sea bass, flounder, catfish, salmon, I'm sure there's more but like you said, I don't normally step outside my box.
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Old 08-14-2005, 12:35 AM   #9
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Bubba !!! We've missed you! I have been concerned about you because of the last hurricane season..looked like it came over the top of you.
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Old 08-14-2005, 06:26 AM   #10
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Good Grief! Most who answered live on one of the coasts, so let me chime in here.

I live in the Midwest, in a small town. What people have to realize that even in a good fishmarket in a coastal town, most of the seafood you buy is actually THAWED. They freeze it right on the boats in some cases. If you live more than an hour from a big airport, trust me, it isn't fresh. The best advice I can give is to buy frozen. Why should you buy something that has been frozen and thawed, when you can buy it frozen and thaw it yourself?

My personal favorites are IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) for shrimp and scallops. Be honest but nice to your provider. Here's one exchange. I'd asked for a dozen of their wonderful IQF scallops (a staple for us). My butcher (we live in a very small town, the grocery store butcher mans the seafood counter as well, and WAS a butcher before a chain took over) replied, look over here, we have fresh. I just laughed and said, "oh, come on ... those were frozen once, too." He simply laughed in response, looked a bit abashed, and sold me the IQF scallops.

What I'm getting at here is please don't insult your readers with "buy only fresh" when you know darned good and well that most, even those living on the coasts, are not able to buy fresh. IQF is the way to go for most people. Sure is a heck of a lot better than something that was thawed this morning and has been sitting in its juices for 6-10 hours.

Even when I did live on the coast (did, often) ... well, nothing tasted as fresh as what I got used to in Hawaii, so IQF is the way to go.
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Old 08-14-2005, 06:56 AM   #11
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Claire, while you're correct in saying that IQF is good, and teh way to go for a lot of people, I have to disagree with your statement that even living on the coast, a lot of our seafood has been frozen and thawed. I live in Charleston, SC, and can go to 3 or 4 seafood markets and, during the season, buy shrimp that's fresh off the boat; crabs, flounder, grouper, snapper, mahi-mahi, and sometimes bass, all of which has been caught within a day or so of being put 'on the shelf'. Of course, during the off-season they either aren't available, or have been frozen. But the store owners are very quick to tell you what's been frozen and what hasn't. Of course, everyone who lives here knows that if you buy shrimp in the off-season, it's been frozen; even then, the quality of what they sell is so far superior to even the IQF shrimp, that it's worth the buy.


There's a huge movement here to support our local fishermen and shrimpers; even the restaurants are getting on board, and only serving fresh, local seafood. In a lot of restaurants here you won't see salmon, halibut, tiger shrimp, etc. on the menu at all. I think it's a wonderful idea; these folks have been making their living for centuries, and are being squeezed out by the big 'growers of seafood, who have the ability to IQF on board.

There's a real beauty to going to SHem Creek, and watching the shrimp boats come in, along with their entourage of gulls, pelicans and of course the dolphin escorts, and knowing that a few hours later when you go to the dock stores, you're buying food that was in the ocean a few hours ago.

Here's a pic:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...ng_en%26sa%3DG
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Old 08-14-2005, 08:09 AM   #12
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I only buy fish from what we call 'day boats' in the UK. They go out early - catch what's available and then sell it THAT DAY. No freezing.
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Old 08-14-2005, 09:56 AM   #13
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I live near Boston, a great place for seafood lovers. The fishing boats come and go all day from Boston and surrounding locations (Gloucester, New Bedford and Fall River). We get a good variety of seafood. All the shrimp is frozen, of course, but it's still good.

The only way I have ever found crayfish is cooked. Most of the scallops are water added. Sometimes you can get "dry" scallops.

For fin fish we have swordfish, cod, haddock, flounders, trout, perch, salmon (wild and farmed) tilapia, arctic char, monkfish, the list goes on.
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Old 08-14-2005, 09:15 PM   #14
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Well, Bubba - what people can find, and in what condition, depends on the season and where they live. You can't write a cookbook expecting everyone to find everything affordable and pristine "off the boat" for every part of the country. Andy M can get great fresh Blue Fish - and can only find frozen crawfish tails .... I can only get frozen blue fish but plenty of fresh crawfish, when in season.
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Old 08-14-2005, 09:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
...Andy M can get great fresh Blue Fish - and can only find frozen crawfish tails .... I can only get frozen blue fish but plenty of fresh crawfish, when in season.
Wanna trade?!
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Old 08-14-2005, 09:57 PM   #16
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Bubba - I have some advice - Write the book!!! ...and they will buy it
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Old 08-14-2005, 11:21 PM   #17
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I live in Carolina Beach, NC. I've been looking for a good source for local seafood. If your in this area would you mind sharing your sources?
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Old 08-15-2005, 08:03 AM   #18
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Elf...the book is well begun! I was worrying because in doing some research (I don't mean to sound arrogant but I was cruising through some pretty well respected seafood cookbooks and finding their mistakes) I was finding that a lot of the seafood in the books was simply UNavailable outside of small areas. Whats the point of that?
Claire...couldn't agree with you more but I am going to throw a few more caveats out there. First; shamefully almost ALL of the shrimp and scallops in the US are treated by what is called "dipping" which really should be called "soaking" in a solution of Sodium Tripolyphosphate. Small boat fleets and fishermen (92% of US fishing fleet) don't have room for IQF processes on their small boats and, as one fleet owner told me, "the less ice...the more shrimp...the more money per trip" Hence they have fallen into this (IMHO) abominable habit of "dipping" as it maintains the appearance of freshness long past the actual "freshness" point. If you aren't sure if the seafood you are buying has been treated this way, ask to see the original packaging...according to USDA regs...it must be listed as an ingredient. Don't ask your fishmonger...they either don't know (typical response "I ain't sure...the guy I get it from didn't TELL me if it was") OR they threw the packaging away OR they want to sell it and will lie.
The problemwith this process is two-fold. First, there the issue of "allergy-like" reactions to the chemical itself. Difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, etc. are symptoms that are som common that they are many times mistakenly assumed to be seafood allergies. My own doctor told me that he would be willing to bet that over half of his patients that believe they are allergic to shellfish are, in fact, sensitive to STP.
The second problem is the reaction of STP to heat. Once subjected to temperatures of 210 degrees, or more, STP begins to "migrate" rapidly. It is pulled from whatever product it is used in AND drags all the natural sugars and juices with it in the process. This is why more and more chefs are 'brining' shrimp and scallops.
Now, I am not beating on the use of STP in general. If used in the manner it was intended (0% of US fishermen do) it isn't terrible. It is intended as a "dip". In fact, the directions on a 5 gallon bucket clearly read "no seafood should be exposed to this chemical for more than 3-5 seconds to prevent loss of flavor" Instead it is being left in the solution until whatever container they are using becomes full of whatever they are catching...then, assuming nothing else needs doing on the boat, it is drained and the catch iced. NOT frozen. Fishermen (and their bane, fish farmers) in other countries DO follow the directions and then IQF the product. That is why "Blue Tiger Shrimp" farm raised in Thailand often tastes MUCH better than "Fresh, local shrimp" we buy at the coast.
Rule Of Thumb: If you buy seafood from your local Super-Mega-Mart it will be treated.

Anyway...sorry for the length but I am currently carrying on a one man campaign trying to get our state to adopt standards for the retail sale of Shrimp and scallops which includes a "Fair Label" act that will REQUIRE that STP containing products be labelled such at "point of sale" as well as a "Size Label" for shrimp based on count. Currently, neither is required here.

Fish I can get here (including local)
Tilapia Tuna Speckled Trout
Cod Catfish Rainbow Trout
Flounder Salmon Striped Bass
Triggerfish Orange Roughy Shark
King Mackerel Mahi-Mahi Grouper
Spanish Mackerel Swordfish Squid
Cobia Spots Shrimp
Vermillion Snapper Croaker Scallops
Red Snapper Drum (Red and Black) Mussels
Silver Snapper Weakfish Clams

Crawfish Octopus Oysters
Blue Crabs Stone Crabs King Crab
Snow Crab Lobster Langoustine
Prawns Whiting Mullet
African Pompano Pompano Hoki

It is a rather prodigious list...but there are a lot of local species listed.
Again...I thank you all for your help. By the way...Ironchef I thought you were in Hawaii! Did you move?
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Old 08-15-2005, 08:04 AM   #19
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Crap...the post didn't post the way I typed it! Sorry that it is hard to read but I made columns and the forum din't acceptr them that way
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Old 08-15-2005, 08:32 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaGourmet
...Rule Of Thumb: If you buy seafood from your local Super-Mega-Mart it will be treated...
My local Super Mega-Mart sells IQF tiger shrimp from Thailand. And you're right, it tastes quite good.
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