Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September Is For Shellfish

The summer warmth still lingers during the day, but cool breezes silently creep into our nights making for comfortable strolls and sound sleeping.  September is not only the harbinger of fall, but it also serves notice to seafood lovers that some seasons are ending, and others are just beginning.

On the way out are crabs (both soft shell and hard shell), wild salmon, Pacific halibut, wild sablefish, Alaskan rockfish, domestic mahi, and various species of snapper and grouper.  It's sad to see so many fishing seasons end, but there are some that are opening that we can look forward to enjoying.  These include black bass, striped bass, fluke, cod, swordfish, tautog, dory, and tuna.

More importantly, September is also the beginning of shellfish season.  All summer long we battle with Mother Nature trying to source shellfish of many varieties that are either not spawning or harvested responsibly with great effort and much defeat.  The summer months generate many problems for finding quality scallops, mussels, clams, and oysters, and supply usually decreases during hotter months, causing pricing to inflate for product that isn't necessarily at its peak.

 September is not only our first "R" month but, more importantly, it's the time of the year when cooler temperatures compel bi-valves everywhere to begin fattening up for the winter.  Mussel meats will slowly regain their meaty glory.  Clams and scallops will begin to firm up, once again boasting their brininess and delicate sweetness with crisp bite.  And yes, oysters, oh the oysters, they too will make restitution for the dormancy of their luscious flavor and reward our patience with complex flavors and supple textures.

September is just the beginning for shellfish lovers everywhere.  It's an augury of flavor that foretells the excitement of shells packed with delectable meats and perfect liquor.  So, all you salmon heads out there, don't idle too long reminiscing over the departed sweltering months  Cooler winds and delicious seafood await!                  

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