Spanish Mackerel, or “Spanish” for short, is an oily fish that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids that are great for heart health. Fresh mackerel is one of the tastiest, most versatile, and most plentiful fish available from the fall to spring. As an oily fish it is best to eat as soon as you can after catch. This is a treat for shareholders because the only way to get it more fresh than through our CSF is to drive to the coast! Don’t freeze these fillets or any other oily fish. Freezing creates added moisture that will ruin the texture. The flesh will be dark. If cooked right it is very juicy.
Spanish Mackerel is relatively strong and to some noses come across as “fishy”. The best way to cook strong fish is with strong flavor! Think soy based marinades, vinegar marinade, or bbq rubs and spices. There are a number of good Asian recipes out there for this fish. The French like their mackerel with gooseberries, and the Italians like mackerel with red currants. Check out this article from the NY Times on Mackerel you might find interesting. Serving cold mackerel with a mint marinade is another different way to serve this fish–there is a recipe on our Pinterest page.
A traditional way to cook Spanish has been on the grill. Make sure the fillets are completely dry and oiled well. Another good preparation is to pan sear your mackerel. The skin is very tasty and gets you an extra dose of those healthy oils. Here is a link to pan searing we have shared in the past: pan searing technique.
You can always bake it, and with all of our cooking methods remember to plan on 10 minutes for every 1 inch of thickness. If using the oven this would be at 425 degrees. Some other preparations recommend steaming in a dutch oven.
Vow to never overcook your fish! Remember that it will cook a little even after it is out of the oven so transfer to another dish, serve quickly, or slightly reduce cooking time. Check out our Spanish Mackerel recipes on Pinterest.
This week our Community Supported Fishery shares will include a pound of claw crab meat. This is the meat from the claw, that is red in color and in some circles considered a lower grade of crab meat. But…not all crab meat is created equal. Most people love jumbo lump and the bigger the lumps the better! Not so fast. Big isn’t necessarily better. There was a time when backfin and claw meat were preferred at the picnic table. Let’s take a look at types of crab meat.
For a while now, some large lump crab meat you find in restaurants and on the shelf is not local. It comes from Venezuela and Indonesia. Larger crab and seafood companies have grown their business by locating an entirely different species of crab in Asian waters, the Blue Swimming Crab, that gives a large clean lump but lacks the flavor of local coastal crab. Read labels carefully. What might be named “Maryland” or “Chesapeake” crab in name will say from SE Asia or South America in the fine print.
Local Crab Meat
We are proud to feature local crab meat from Mattamuskeet Crab Company in Swan Quarter, NC. A goal of our CSF is to provide a range of flavors from the coast. We look forward to hearing your experiences with claw meat that is most definitely the real deal.
What makes North Carolina and Chesapeake blue crab different? It must survive the winter. This requires the crabs to store fat deposits that flavor the meat. The crab is marbled with this yellow fat giving the distinct flavor of brackish water. In blind taste tests about 50% of people choose the local crab even though it is not “jumbo lump”.
Now, when we get to local crabs lump crab meat is still the highest grade. You will pay the most for it and be able to use it in a range of dishes, primarily crab cakes. With that said, lump meat can be upwards of $30 a pound. Claw crab meat gives good crab flavor but it doesn’t hold up as well and can be grainy. Claw meat is great in dips, omelettes, and soups…anywhere the crab is mixed in. All that aside, if you are dying for a crab cake you can still use claw meat to put a smile on your face.
Check out our Pinterest site: Crab Recipes. In particular, there is a recipe for crab pancakes with a Hoisin sauce that can be a great way to prepare claw crab meat.
Shareholders with Core Sound Seafood love some North Carolina shrimp! Shares tomorrow will include a pound of local shrimp. We are excited for the fall shrimp season because the spring season wasn’t so great. Why? Cold winters lead to smaller shrimp population in the spring. So if this winter is as long and tough as the last you can’t count on plentiful shrimp next spring. So eat up this great fall shrimp.
Types of Shrimp
Not all shrimp are the same. Here in North Carolina we see three types of shrimp: Brown, White (Green Tails), and Pink (Spotted).
According to the NC Division of Marine Fisheries, Brown shrimp can account for almost 70% of the shrimp caught in our waters. Brown shrimp, however, are a summer shrimp. Brown shrimp are active in open waters at night. They can reach a length of 9 inches. Brown shrimp have strong flavor which lends well to stuffing, baking, and stews. Gumbo or Jambalaya anyone?
White Shrimp (Green Tails)
This is the shrimp in season now. Round here we call white shrimp Green Tails. “Tails” are a little smaller than brown shrimp, maxing out at 8 inches. About 28% of the NC shrimp harvest is from white shrimp. White shrimp prefer muddy brackish waters that give them a dose of good marshy flavor. They are known for their texture. They stand up to strong spice, soaking in the taste of what goes with it. Think boils and bbq.
Pink shrimp only account for at most 5% of our shrimp in North Carolina. Also called “spotted shrimp” they can get as big as 11 inches. They are active at night and hang out in the mud during the day. These are great for shrimp salads and shrimp cocktail.
Interested in learning more about the types of shrimp? Click on each of the shrimp names above for facts from the NOAA.
Looking for shrimp recipes? Check out our Pinterest Page: Shrimp Recipes.
Core Sound Seafood clams.
As we start the fall CSF season, its a good time to share some resources on what will be in season during these Autumn and Winter months on the North Carolina Coast. NC seafood caught locally during these seasons can include:
- Black Sea Bass
- Blue Crab
- King Mackerel
- Spanish Mackerel
- Sea Trout (Spotted and Grey)
- Striped Bass
- Yellowfin Tuna
Carteret Catch has a great PDF that lists these species and their catching methods. Download here. We will do our best to get a number of these species in our CSF share and in store this fall, but can’t guarantee what will be available. We will provide you recipes and cooking techniques for some of the lesser known species. In the comments below, tell us what you like, what you have never had, or what you are interested in trying!
King Mackerel Steaks from last season.
Our fall season for delivery of NC Seafood to the Triangle starts this Thursday, Sept. 18th. Sign up at any time for a prorated share (we only charge you for the weeks you missed). Also, anyone can order from our online store each Friday for next Thursday pick-up. We start delivery to Winston Salem and Boone on Sept. 26th.
Check out this infographic on Mercury Pollution and fish. As the poster says, the solution is not to avoid fish, but choose the right fish and the right amount of fish to eat.
There’s a number of good articles out there on the Community Supported Fishery movement. They come on the heels of a great book tour by author Paul Greenberg on his new book American Catch.
The Fight for Our Local Seafood
He has been on a few NPR shows and his book is getting significant press. American Catch looks into the state of imported seafood in the U.S. and makes a case for connecting with local seafood again. Community Supported Fisheries, like Core Sound Seafood, are discussed as one way this local connection is possible.
Thanks to Paul and his new book, the CSF movement has gained some great press! Check out these articles and interviews.
Articles and Interviews with Paul Greenberg and American Catch:
Paul Greenberg on NPR’s Fresh Air
Why don’t we eat our own fish (NPR’s Here and Now)
Articles on CSFs:
Why you should sign up for a CSF (Huffington Post)
What is a Community Supported Fishery?
Black sea bass can be confused with striped bass or Tautog, which is also called blackfish. A member of the Grouper family, this true Black Sea Bass coming your way has a mild, fresh, somewhat delicate flavor and a tender but firm texture. Uncooked flesh should be sparkling white and translucent. The meat is snow white when cooked. Black sea bass is high in Magnesium, great for those with high blood pressure or blood sugar issues.
Black Sea Bass are hermaphrodites. They are born female and then change to male at age 2-5 years. In 2014, they are a highly sustainable fish particularly when caught with a pot trap like the fish in shares this week. Black Sea Bass prefers structured habitats like wrecks and reefs. This preference means that it will enter pots and traps without bait. There are two stocks on the Atlantic Coast, the northern stock is north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and the stock south of Cape Hatteras is the southern stock. So we are in a unique location that is near this dividing line.
Here are Black Sea Bass from Core Sound Seafood on Wednesday before filleting for delivery to the Triangle on Thursday, and Boone and Winston Salem on Friday.
How to Cook Black Sea Bass
Here is a link to over 15 Black Sea Bass Recipes. You will see that most of the pictures show the fish presented with the skin on as it is not only okay to eat but is rather tasty. Here is a great tutorial on how to pan sear that is a great technique for this fish. You may see recipes for Chilean Sea Bass. Black Sea Bass is different and shouldn’t be cooked the same way. Cooking Black Sea Bass is more related to how you would prepare Striped Bass, or Rockfish.
How to Store Black Sea Bass
To store sea bass, remove packaging, rinse fish under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Fish deteriorates when it sits in its own juices, so place it on a cake rack in a shallow pan filled with crushed ice. Cover with cling wrap or foil and set in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Sea bass will store well this way for up to two days.
A lean fish like this will freeze okay for about 4 months. Rinse the fillets in salted ice water. Fill a zip lock bag with tap water and totally submerge the fillets in the water. Seal the bags and put them in your freezer. The water helps protect the fish from freezer burn and keeps air away from the fillets. Remember, air is the enemy!
This week we have a great catch of King Mackerel and Bluefish. Both these fish have high fat content that makes them great for smoking. If you want Mackerel Recipes or Bluefish Recipes that feature other cooking methods like grilling, baking, or searing, head over to our Pinterest page. There you will find some other great ideas to spark your kitchen engine. In this post, however, we are going to talk about ways to smoke fish.
We are going to talk about three smoking methods for a person who doesn’t have true blue smoker. If you have a smoker, we highly encourage you to fire it up for your Mackerel or Bluefish. Anyway you smoke them, remember that brining for at least a half hour is essential for texture and helping the smoke infuse with the meat. Also, many say to let them completely dry out, ideally for 2 hours at room temperature.
- Grill smoked with wood chips.
- Tea smoked on the grill.
- Tea smoked indoors with a wok.
Grill smoked with wood chips
Using wood smoke is a common way we smoke here in the United States. The idea is to cook the fish low and slow over indirect heat. Soak your chips overnight in water and always make sure your heat is not directly under the fish. Watch a video tutorial and learn more about grill smoking fish. This method is very detailed yet presents all steps of the process.
Tea smoked on the grill
Tea smoking is a Chinese smoking method that can be done inside or out. With tea smoking, a packet of tea and spices creates the smoke instead of wood. You can include tea, orange peel, rosemary, brown sugar, star anise. The options are endless. Tea smoking can be a fun way to flavor your fish. Watch a video about tea smoking fish on the grill. Here is a tea smoke mix that I used last year. Citrus peel, black tea, and brown sugar were a must. I added herbs on hand with garlic, salt, and pepper.
Tea smoked indoors with a wok
Tea smoking can be done in a wok, or in an oven. This is best for imparting a smoked flavor without necessarily getting a fully smoked fish like you would see on a plate with crackers and spread. The only downside is that it can generate a lot of smoke if you are not careful. So if you can’t go outside go on and give this a try. Watch a video on tea smoking indoors.
Core Sound Seafood CSF is making two deliveries to Winston-Salem in May!
Core Sound Seafood is a community supported fishery (CSF) that delivers fresh, local seafood to customers through CSF shares and custom orders. Similar to a CSA program in which you can buy produce directly from a farmer, a CSF creates a way for you to buy seafood directly from a fisherman. Local residents who sign-up will receive incredibly fresh seafood delivered directly to town.
How Does It Work?
- Order NC Seafood online. Choose a share for both days or order items a la carte from our store.
- We prepare fresh seafood caught that week and send out our truck from Harker’s Island, NC.
- You pick it up on May 16 and May 30 at Washington Perk and Provisions, 228 W. Acadia Avenue.
Two Spring Delivery Dates
Pick up time is 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Washington Perk and Provisions. Core Sound Volunteers will be waiting there with a cooler.
Friday, May 16
Friday, May 30
What kind of seafood will you get?
In this spring, shareholders have received: Flounder, Tuna, Sea Bass, Sea Mullet, Wahoo, and Fresh Clams to name a few species. Softshell crabs will soon be available along with other seasonal shellfish. With the CSF model, you don’t know what you will get until the day before. You can, however, be guaranteed it is fresh, local, and low cost.
Sign-Up to get NC Seafood in Winston Salem Today!
Check out our site for more details on how the program works and what you can expect as a shareholder in a CSF.
There are some fishing restrictions that will prevent Red Drum and Speckled Trout from showing up in shares this spring.
Red Drum: The commercial industry has an annual TAC (“Total Allowable Catch”) of 250,000 pounds. In 2013, the commercial landings exceeded the TAC. Thus, the NC DMF (North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries) will not “open” the red drum commercial harvest until the fall. Therefore, we will not be able to offer red drum during our spring season.
Please see this link to the Red Drum proclamation from DMF.
Speckled trout: There can be no commercial landings of speckled trout until June 15, 2014. NC DMF Director Louis Daniel closed the speckled trout fishery in February due to cold stun events. It is the intent of the Fisheries Director to open the spotted sea trout season for commercial and recreational fishing by proclamation on June 15, 2014 after surviving fish have had the opportunity to spawn. Thus, we will not see speckled trout during our spring season.
Please see this link to the Speckled Trout proclamation.