Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pesto update and local seafood

I've found a lemon pesto recipe that hopefully will fit right in with the dish. Depending on how strong the lemon flavor turns out, I may have to remove the lemon part from the sauce for the chicken. I eventually may even remove the broth part, which is the main reason it's so watery. I simply wonder about the flavor difference, or if the chicken broth actually has a purpose in heating up the sauce. We'll find out sometime, but not tonight.

(I'm excited to receive my supply of fresh basil tonight!)

Last week, while picking up some fresh Parmesan cheese at Martins (I may never go back to the powdery stuff again...), I stopped by the fish counter to see if they had clams, mussels, or oysters. I usually shop at Meijer, however, each time I've been there recently it's been too late in the night to see what they have in their fresh fish selection. I talked for twenty minutes with the fish woman behind the counter, and I truly appreciate her honesty about their products.

I believe that most people who walk by the fish counter at any supermarket think that everything through the glass has never been frozen or has been shipped in today or yesterday. Some of that's true, some of it isn't.

Shrimp, cooked or uncooked, are usually brought in frozen, then thawed and displayed. You really can't be entirely sure about how long it's been sitting there (it was something I didn't bother asking, since I knew this fact before talking to the woman). That's why it's always important to buy individually flash frozen shrimp. They only take ten minutes to thaw, so buying them already thawed is a waste. The only difference, at least at Martins, was the fact they had a few different species of shrimp, compared to the standard shrimp available in different sizes at Meijer.

The shellfish (besides for shrimp) are brought in fresh and (mostly) alive on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Open shellfish shouldn't be cooked, as that means they're dead. After cooking, shellfish that remain closed should not be eaten. I tried asking why they wouldn't open, but the fish lady had no great reason. I'll have to Google it.

About half of the fish selection are brought in frozen, then thawed. For fish such as perch, yellowfin tuna, or other fish that are not fished particularly close to Indiana, it's disappointing to know that you aren't getting the full flavor it should be. Such is life in South Bend. The most interesting thing I noticed was that the fish that were brought in fresh were labeled as "Fresh", while the fish that were brought in frozen didn't have any label on them at all.

A related note: The term "Fresh" means never frozen, usually transported on ice. The trouble with this is we don't always know how long it's been on ice. Check for a fishy smell. If it smells fishy, don't buy it. (Ironic, I know.) That's why frozen fish are often better to buy, but like I said, it looses it's true flavor. Choose wisely, or experiment. Don't bother experimenting with frozen salmon, though; it's awful in every way possible.

Besides for the larger variety of shrimp, I also noticed that Martin's has sashimi grade yellowfin tuna and blacktip shark fillets (both brought in frozen).

That's right, this guy.
(Photo from Wikipedia)

Isn't there some law about killing sharks for food? Something to do with sharkfin soup? Japanese people? Ocean conservatives? Holy crap, people.

Anyways, I asked about cooking it, even though I don't plan to support the market. Apparently, it's best to grill it like a steak. It has it's own distinct flavor (like salmon does), rather than tasting like whatever you cook it with (like tilapia). Interesting, and unsettling.

Since I love sushi and sashimi, I asked about the yellowfin a little bit more. They receive the fish as a large fillet, then they cut them, individually wrap them and put them on ice. Thankfully, this frozen stuff isn't the same source Martin's sushi counter gets their fish from. The sushi people receive their fish fresh, never frozen. (Whew!)

I'm still not over the fact they have shark for sale. I'm going to need to do research on this.

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