Choosing Sustainable Seafood this Spring and Summer
Seafood is a staple throughout the year here in New England but especially in the spring and summer when coastal clam shacks open their doors. Fresh finfish and shellfish are in abundance during this time of year just when we are craving lighter meals made with the sea’s bounty.
Concern about contributing to overfishing might have you second guessing whether or not you should stop by your local fish market or clam shack. Don’t worry! There are environmentally responsible seafood options. If you choose in-season seafood from responsible fishmongers, you can enjoy delicious finfish and shellfish without contributing to the problem plaguing the world’s seas.
Our seafood experts at City Fish Market have put together a list of the most sustainable varieties of seafood to put on the menu this spring and summer.
The best time of year to cook up this rich, dense fish is in the springtime. Mackerel are most abundant off the east coast in March and early April. These fish, high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, are hearty enough to grill and pair well with acidic sauces made with a soy, citrus or tomato base.
Just as mackerel season ends, bluefish season begins. Bluefish migrate to the coastal waters of New England around the middle of April and stay through the fall. The brownish color of bluefish’s dark meat might get your attention at the seafood counter. It may not look appetizing raw but many fish lovers enjoy its bold, distinct flavor cooked. When it is cooked, the color changes to an appetizing silvery-white. Bluefish can be grilled, smoked, broiled or baked. It is best when it has been bathed in milk beforehand or prepared it with a dash of citrus. Be sure to cook it the same day you buy it!
These sport fish, also known as dolphin fish, are in season throughout the spring and summer along the east coast. Mahi mahi have a mild, almost-sweet taste that pairs nicely with strong and spicy seasoning. You can pick up fresh steaks or fillets of mahi mahi at your local seafood counter. It can be steamed, poached, baked, grilled or fried. Be careful not to overcook this tender fish.
Tuna is a staple in the American’s diet but the fishing practices of canned tuna providers are very different from local fishmongers. If you want to support sustainable tuna fishing, you should only shop for tuna in the summer when it is plentiful off the east coast. Fresh tuna steaks taste incredible grilled or baked with a light brushing of butter and seasoning or with a savory Asian marinade. The steaks are sold already skinned. All you have to do is season it and throw it on the grill or into the oven.
The most common flounder variety on the east coast is the yellowtail founder who spend the hottest months of the year in the Atlantic off the shores of New England. These flaky, flatfish are ideal for a light summer meal. The lean meat can dry out easily which is why it is best cooked in wine or a light sauce that complements its mild, sweet flavor.
Sea bass also spend the hottest months of the year summering in the Atlantic near the east coast. You won’t have to worry that this fish will be too dry when you cook it. Rich in heart-healthy oils, cooked sea bass practically melts in your mouth. It can be broiled, steamed or sautéed.
Red snapper is at home in the Atlantic all year round which is why, on the east coast, you can enjoy freshly caught red snapper at any time. Seafood aficionados love these fish because of their sweet almost nutty flavor, tasty skin and versatility. Like sea bass, their meat is juicy with medium flakes. It goes well with strong seasoning and can be deep fried, pan-fried, steamed, grilled, broiled or baked.
On the coast, every month is crab season but the best time to get fresh, locally sourced crab is during the spring and summer when soft shell crabs are available. Between April and September, Eastern blue crabs shed their hard shells. This is the best time to catch them. They are fatter and have a more intense flavor during this season. You can enjoy them anyway you like: fried whole, steamed, or boiled and in any recipe from a creamy chowder to your favorite crab cakes.
Clams are also plentiful at any time of the year on the coast. That is why clams are a reliable staple in New England recipes from clam chowder to clams casino. As long as you buy locally sourced clams, you don’t have to feel guilty about your next clambake.
Responsibly Farmed Seafood: Arctic Char, Catfish, Mussels, Tilapia, Trout, Salmon, and Farm Raised Shrimp
Buying seafood from responsible, well-managed fish farms is one of the best ways to help prevent overfishing. We know that farm fishing has a bad reputation but the truth is that fish farms in the United States, Canada and a growing number of countries around the world are developing a healthy aquaculture (fish farming industry) that is good for the planet. Here at City Fish Market you will only find farm raised seafood from eco-friendly, responsibly managed fish farms. We care about the future of our planet and believe in the importance of invested in healthy aquaculture. You can find sustainably raised arctic char, catfish, mussels, tilapia, trout, salmon and shrimp at our seafood counter.
If you have any questions about what seafood is available right now or want to learn more about sustainable fishing, talk to one of our experts at City Fish Market. Our team’s dedication to providing the best service and fresh seafood from responsible fishermen. We are delighted when we have the chance to educate others about the sea’s bounty.