Traditionally, the idealistic Thanksgiving meal has at its centerpiece a perfectly glazed giant turkey. Realistically though, it is much more likely that the original feast consisted of more seafood than buxom bird, and somehow, we have gotten away from serving ANY seafood at this classic family gathering. Maybe it’s because turkeys are easier to color as children, one needing only five fingers to expertly complete the task. Whatever the reason is, I would say given what we know about the health benefits of seafood and the growing interest in exploring the world around us, there is a quiet revolution of bringing more fish and less bird to the table. In the spirit of giving thanks and sharing great food… The Mid and South Atlantic areas are providing a cornucopia of beautiful fish now.
Fluke, also known as Summer Flounder, is being landed with pound nets and gill nets. These fish arrive still in rigor mortis and have clean white bellies. They can be used for sashimi or other applications.
Spanish Mackerel are starting to feed and fatten up, indicating it is time eat more mackerel. These fish are high in healthy oils and fats and offer a distinctive, bold flavor.
Wild Striped Bass season is underway, and fish are being harvested by hook and line, pound nets and gill nets. These fish have dark stripes, crystal clear eyes, and breathtaking red gills. We are seeing 5/8 and 8+ sized fish, which offer some of the best eating, fatty, flaky fillets.
Other species of note that are being caught now include Trigger Fish, Speckled Trout, Sugar toads, and Red Drum. Triggerfish are deliciously sweet, but hard to find. They are usually kept as the Captain’s dinner. Speckled trout are a white fleshed species in the Corvina family. Their skin cooks up like fatty bacon and they tend to have an almond-like essence in flavor. Sugar toads are nonpoisonous East Coast Blowfish that are exceptionally delicious. They look like tiny monkfish tails and taste like savory poultry. Red Drum, also known as Redfish a little farther south, is a Southern Staple and has dense white flaked meat with a briny flavor.
Stone Crabs may be a little tricky to get until there is a cold snap. Right now, temperatures are still a little too comfortable in Florida, meaning the crabs really aren’t moving. If the crabs don’t move, the traps remain empty. Good weather equals bad crabbing, so lets all hope for that cold front to come in.
Boxcarr Handmade Cheese is in quiet Cedar Grove, North Carolina, where the towering pines give a quaint backdrop to some serious cheese making. Boxcarr is a family-run business operating on an 80-acre farm that includes vegetables, pigs, chickens, and, of course, goats. Their cheeses range in size and flavor, at the moment they make 9 varieties, and a particularly tasty one is the Weanling Button. The Weanling is a silky goat cheese that is dotted with chives and it has a geotrichum rind. The idea for this cheese was inspired by the young goats who feed on the wild onions in the spring, and its flavor is reminiscent of sweet onion. It is a cheese that inspires savory memories and spring delights.