Did you know that in France on April Fools Day, children fool their friends by taping a paper fish on their friends' backs. FISH!
No more fooling around...Easter and Passover are right around the corner.The river is back to blue and most are back to work, marching toward something more like spring and less like the madness of the last few months. Winter has lingered here for sure, and there is hope for April, but don’t be caught a fool - about the weather or what is or is not going to be available for the plate.
Wild Striped Bass was plentiful last week, and that trend will bleed into this week, but buyer beware. Mesh limits in the Chesapeake are being reduced and fishing in the Potomac is done. The signs are there for the season to wind down. We will see the glut shrivel to a drip, and eventually, this species will become pretty much non-existent until they migrate North during the summer months and be landed in New England. Once they are done in the Chesapeake, you can try our terrific Pacifico Striped Bass as a delicious substitution.
Mahi Mahi and Spanish Mackerel have been hot commodities during the winter months, but these species could also be fool’s gold. Mahi prices leveled off last week, which was contributed to a low market demand. Expect some extreme price fluctuations and potential increases over the next few weeks as fish migrate, disappear, and are found again.
The Halibut Season opened up to some sporadic landings, but the fishery is expected to level out by the end of the week. Yakutat and Kodiak were some of the initial areas producing, and this week we will continue to source 2-day and day-boat fish flown direct to Chicago ensuring that everyone serves the freshest fish possible.
We are entering the meaty part of Lent, so if you are looking for Whitefish and Walleye, look no further. Supplies this week look great, though the bulk of the harvest is the #1 size fish. The bigger, jumbo fish are currently proving a little dodgier and are less plentiful. If you are looking to innovate and veer from the local path, try substituting Ocean Perch, Hake, Plaice, Haddock, Jon Dory, or Fluke as mild, flaky, white flesh alternatives. It’s easy to get fooled, because fools rush in, but if you’re willing to migrate your menus with the fish, you certainly won’t be nobody’s Fool.
Spring has sprung, and Easter and Passover are right around the corner. Look no further than Fortune Fish & Gourmet for your holiday hams and lambs. Pinn-Oak Ridge Farm is owned and operated by Steve and Darlene Pinnow, who raise and process lamb on their farm in Delavan, Wisconsin. Quite possibly the tastiest lamb in the region, they have developed a special feeding program to enhance the flavor of the lamb, which is hormone and antibiotic free. To ensure the freshest product possible, all product is pre-order and processed to order. All lambs are under 10 months of age, a live weight of 130-140 pounds, choice finish and have been grain fed for at least 60 days.
For the ham lovers out there, options are plentiful with some standouts. Smoking Goose’s City Ham come from a mix of heritage breed hogs in the Midwest, from small family farms. Always antibiotic and hormone free, the hams are cured with clove, juniper, bay leaves and garlic, then smoked over a mix of wood for hours. Juicy and full of flavor, just heat, slice and serve.
Nueske’s, the 3rd generation family owned company from Wisconsin, smokes their hams over glowing Applewood embers for 24 hours. Their hams are naturally moist and tender, and offered in whole, half, spiral cut and honey glazed for an added sweetness.
Edwards Uncooked, Bone-In Country Ham is a southern staple, for all you country ham lovers out there, and a twist for the Midwest menus. Dry cured, smoked with hickory and then aged up to 6 months, this ham comes ready for you and your kitchen. Soak, cook and serve, the aroma will fill the kitchen and the flavor will fill your bellies.