Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seafood NOT Turkey at the first Thanksgiving


Turkey is the star of the modern Thanksgiving feast,  but the true star should be the food that enabled the Pilgrims to survive, New England caught seafood!

In the only official written account of the first Thanksgiving, Turkey is not even mentioned. The feast consisted of cod, eels, and sea bass. Shellfish including clams, lobster, and mussels as well as duck, venison and vegetables like corn, beans and squash.

The following account is from “Mourt’s Relation,” mostly written by a Plymouth MA resident, Edward Winslow: “Squanto went at noon to fish for eels. At night he came home with as many as he could well lift in one hand, which our people were glad of. They were fat and sweet. He trod them out with his feet, and so caught them with his hands without any other instrument.”

While your planning your menu this year, think about paying homage to the first Thanksgiving with some New England seafood on your table.To get you going,  below is my  interpretation of what a Thanksgiving dish in 1621 could have been.

 Enjoy!

Cod & Clams in Parsley Sauce

4 servings:

4 6 -8 ounce Hook & Line Caught Cod fillets
16 littleneck or mahogany clams, soaked in salted water for 30 minutes and
drained
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups hot water
3 tablespoons flour
2 large Yukon gold or similar potatoes, very thinly sliced

-Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add salt and cook potatoes until softened.
Drain and set aside. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add olive
oil sufficient to generously skim the pan. Place clams into pan, cover and cook
until clams open. Remove immediately and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add garlic and 2 tablespoons parsley to pan, sprinkle salt and pepper on both
sides of fish and add to pan. Sprinkle flour around fish and add water slowly,
whisking flour to prevent lumps. Turn heat to low and cook, spooning liquid
over fish to cook top of fillet. Continue for 10 – 12 minutes until fish is just
done. Slice into fish – it should barely be opaque. Remove fish to heated
plates, and add clams and potatoes to pan to reheat. If sauce is thick, add hot
water until just thin.
Arrange clams and potatoes around fish, divide sauce among plates and
sprinkle remaining parsley over fillets.
Serve this with a dry white wine such as a Sancerre or a full bodied Sauvignon Blanc, either domestic or from New Zealand. This recipe takes some extra time and effort, but results in a memorable meal for you and your guests.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Garcia Family,
Rich, Nicole, Bry, Savanna, Summer & Adrianne ( the dog)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yellow Tail Flounder: The Controversy

Its 4:35pm on a Monday afternoon and my email alert goes off on my phone. Wild Rhody fisherman sending the weeks projected landings. Small selection this week.  Fluke, Yellowtail Flounder , Skate.  The excitement of seeing the first of the season Yellowtail landings is always welcomed. Delicate, firm, white fleshed and sweet the yellowtail flounder is a New England Winter delicacy. Fish are no more than 2lbs, have a beautiful yellow tail and............ I'm torn
The Yellowtail flounder stock in many parts of the Northeast is over fished, on many red lists and no secret the fishery was in need of a little TLC.
Lucky for me in 2010 NOAA announced new measures intended to end overfishing and continue the rebuilding of Northeast groundfish such as cod and flounder.
For the first time ever, there was a cap on the amount of all groundfish of any species that are permitted to be caught. In addition, there were measures to mitigate if the catch limits are exceeded. These measures have provided some of the strongest safeguards to date for recovering groundfish stocks.
In addition to the new caps,  fishing vessels were now able fish with others as a group, or “sector.” Sectors, which are voluntary and formed each year are given a portion of the total available groundfish catch.
Fishermen who participate in fishing sectors have more control over where and how they want to fish in order to target healthy fish stocks and avoid the stocks in the worst condition and the fisherman must agree to stop fishing once the sector catches its allotment of fish.

I am fortunate to have developed relationships with fisherman who believe that by fishing in sectors they are fishing responsibly and part of the solutionn to help rebuild Yellowtail stock and continue to fish and provide for their families at the same time.
This is the information that's not  out in the open, making decisions to buy this species seems like the worst crime on earth on the surface. I do allot of research, ask allot of questions and get advice from those in the field both on the scientific side and fishing side. I feel confident that those I choose to support, fish responsibly. For me knowing that under the "sector" fishing method the fisherman are targeting healthy stocks by design and allowing poor stocks time to recover I'm comfortable buying some of these beauties. My guests and I will enjoy a New England delicacy for a few days. 100% traceable, fished responsibly and by far some of the  highest quality fish in the city of Boston.