Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shrimp or Prawn?

Although there is a biological difference between shrimp and prawns, mostly distinguished by the gill structure, for practical and cooking purposes the terms are used relative to the size. The term prawn is generally used for any shrimp when the count is 15 or less per pound, anything smaller would fall under the shrimp category.

Terms can be confusing sometimes with shrimp, a recipe might call for jumbo, large, or medium and to me these are subjective terms whose meaning can vary depending on location, source and type of shrimp. I would prefer if the count per pound were used more often since it is clearer to the consumer what they are getting.

Common count ranges are, 36-40, 21-25, 10-15, and U-10's (under 10 per pound). All these number ranges refer to the approximate number of shrimp per pound and gives you a good estimate of how many shrimp you will have per serving, I just think this method is more useful and would like to see it used universally.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I could eat nothing but cajun food for a year

AAAYYYEEEE! How Y'all are?

Cajun chicken sausage, spinach and potato soup. Served with sunried tomato naan. by Special*Dark

Gotta have some spice, gotta have seafood, gotta be Cajun. Lot's of variety and it is hearty fare, besides I'm not gong without etouffee for a year.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Farming the Gulf of Mexico

Recently the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted in favor of allowing aquaculture (i.e. fish farming) in the U.S.A. controlled waters of the Gulf. This would be done using large cages or pens, with the possibility of using obsolete oil rigs in the Gulf as operating stations for the farms.

There are a lot of pros and cons to this issue and most of the arguments on both sides have merit, obviously as with most issues there are extreme views on both sides which need to be tossed out by an intelligent observer.

As for myself, I am in favor of this proposal as long as it is sufficiently regulated to protect the ecosystem and not interfere with current commercial and recreational fishing activities.

I also feel that now that we have an administration that is more favorable to the environment, now is the time to enact this proposition into law. The U.S. is far behind on this industry compared to other countries with similar assets. With the use of modern techniques aquaculture is a great source of sustainable, Eco-friendly protein. It is an industry that can create new jobs and opportunities for the U.S. at at time when it is much needed.

Diligence will be needed to ensure we create the best aquaculture program possible for the Gulf of Mexico, but it is a much needed and worthy project.

Here is the FAQ about aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico presented by Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Keeping Seafood Fresh

Seafood is one of the safest food products you can bring home from the market if you follow just one simple rule: keep it cold. Seafood freezes at about 28 degrees Fahrenheit, so you get the longest shelf life by keeping your seafood as close to this temp as possible without actually freezing it.

Obviously this is colder than you would keep you refrigerator, you don't want to freeze your milk, eggs and other foodstuffs, so most refrigerators are set to just below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The bottom of the refrigerator is the coldest spot inside the box, you will usually have a drawer marked "Meat" down there, and this is the best place to store your seafood, as it is usually closer to about 35 degrees.

Kept at this temperature, and assuming your seafood was "fresh" when purchased, you should have two to three days from date of purchase to safely cook and consume your product. Ask your fishmonger to pack your seafood in ice to insure it stays "in temp" while you finish your shopping and for the trip home.

Every degree of temperature rise in the seafood decreases the shelf life of the product, and, if it rises above 40 degrees bacteria can begin to actively grow and start spoilage.

So in conclusion when it comes to seafood, to keep it safe, keep it cold.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Alaskan Halibut

Fresh Alaskan Halibut is now available in the market.

Alaskan Halibut is a savory, mild flavored fish with snow-white meat and a nice firm flesh. Halibut is great on the grill, baked, or pan seared. Fresh Halibut can also be substituted for Sea Scallops, especially the Halibut Cheeks which are the sweetest part of the fish.

Alaskan Halibut is rated a "Best Choice" by Seafood Watch so it is an excellent selection not only for the table but also the ecosystem. Check your local market, Fresh Halibut should appear translucent and slightly glossy, while previously frozen Halibut will be duller in appearance.

Hope you get a chance to enjoy this great product of the Alaskan fishery.

Baking Shrimp

A customer asked me about cooking methods for shrimp and when I mentioned baking she seemed a bit surprised that shrimp could be baked. I am sure a lot of people have never thought of baking shrimp so here is a recipe to try out.

It is simple, easy, and delicious, hope you enjoy it.

Gambero Dell'aglio

1 dozen shrimp, peeled and deveined, use a 21-25 count per pound, or approx. 1/2 pound of any other size.

1 T minced garlic

1 T minced parsley

2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl; make sure the shrimp is coated with the ingredients. Bake at 400 degrees for 3-4 minutes, stir the shrimp and cook another 3 minutes or until the shrimp have turned pink.

Serve on a bed of your favorite rice or pasta. This should make 2 servings.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In defense of my vice: fishing, a bad day there is better than a good day at work

A lifelong addiction..

fishing on the bank by m.derepentigny

My father started my addiction when I was a very young boy. He would take me out to a body of water put a fishing rod in my hand and we would spend the day in a peace and serenity that too few allow themselves to enjoy. My vice is terminal, and I am a carrier of the affliction having passed it on to my descendants and others who have fallen under my influence.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Red Meat Bad - Seafood Good

In a recent health study by the U.S. National Cancer Institute reported by several sources, try Google or Yahoo to easily access reports, it was found that diets high in red meat (which includes pork), and processed meat (sausages, lunch meat, etc.), will shorten your lifespan not only through cancer and heart disease, but also Alzheimer's, ulcers and a variety of other conditions.

This study in conjunction with other recent findings by prominent health agencies suggests consuming no more than 5 ounces of red meat products per week and substituting "white meat" which is seafood and poultry. Of course an increase in fruits and vegetables is also recommended.

Seafood offers a wealth of health benefits with a minimum amount of concerns. It is almost impossible to eat enough seafood to damage your health and one to three servings a week of varied product will be very beneficial to your well being. There are some exceptions of course such as allergies and mercury content (which is only a concern for young children, women of child bearing years, and certain medical conditions).

If you have any questions ask your fishmonger about the sources of his products. I am always glad to offer the web site of suppliers to my customers so they can go to the source for information.