Saturday, May 28, 2016

Seafood Highlight: The Spot Prawn

We are receiving our first shipment of live Spot Prawns today and are very excited.  We don't often offer these delicious sea treats due to their prohibitive cost and extremely volatile shelf-life.  This holiday weekend though, we decided to take the risk and bring some into BlackSalt to share the exquisite sweetness and silky texture of these rare prawns.  They come to us live, which is important because they taste best when prepared from this state.  The window of their availability will be very short because we can't keep them alive for long, so if you are interested in tasting one the West Coast's most desirable delicacies, I encourage you to get to BlackSalt right away.  Here is a link to the fishermen that harvest our prawns and more information on that process and what the species is about.  California Spot Prawn

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Get To The Hopper

Summer shrimping is a thing, if you didn't know, because some of the best tasting, sweetest, freshest shrimp can be had during the summer.  You've got white, brown, red, and pink shrimp seasons all opening at one time or another and there just isn't a better time of the year to get your fill of one of the nation's favorite seafood treat.  This week I would like to highlight the Florida Pink Shrimp, also known as Hoppers, Spots, or Key West Pinks.

Pink hopper shrimp are some of the best tasting and sweetest shrimp available, especially when fresh.  Most of the supply comes from Florida, where both the Atlantic and Gulf sides combine to produce about 80% of the nation's supply.  They do not have a distinct color, but are actually similar to chameleons in that they conform to match the color patterns of their surroundings.  This is the reason that they are known in Key West for their extremely pink shells; their color matches the corals found there.

Though their color can differ from location to location, a pink hopper can easily be identified by the spot it has located in the center of its body.  All hoppers have this spot, no matter if they're caught off the Dry Tortugas or hauled in at St. Joe's Bay.  Hoppers always cook to a beautiful pink color and have a distinctively sweet, saccharine flavor.  Their meats are firm and give a crisp snap when bitten into.  They are famous for making the best tasting peel n' eat shrimp.

The only drawback to this beautiful and delicious species is that it is often very difficult to get them delivered fresh, even during the season.  Most of these goodies get gobbled up in-state, so there is only a small amount of fresh product that makes it out of Florida.  We have managed to get a few pounds this week, so I suggest you "hop" on down to the market to get a taste of this delectable fare.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fish For Mom

Moms are the best.  And I understand many will scoff at "Hallmark" holidays as corporate ploys to get us to spend our hard earned money on sappy cards but, when it comes to special occasions, no group of people deserve a day of appreciation and acknowledgement more than mothers.  I would argue that most moms deserve a whole month of gratitude, let alone a single day.  So, in the spirit of giving back to those who have sacrificed so much, I encourage you all to get out there show mom just how special she is, and if you are going to do it with great seafood, this blog is to help guide you to that special meal.

This week is a great week for eating lobster.  Prices are trending downwards as three new areas open up in Northeast Canada.  These lobsters are known for being succulent and hard-shelled, so they are packed full of tasty meat.

Domestic crabmeat is starting to roll in and that is great news because nothing makes mom happier than a delicious crab cake.  Fresh domestic, especially local Maryland, crabmeat makes the best cakes and this week the market should be stocked with U.S. blue crab offerings.  Speaking of crab, soft shell crab season is underway and this weekend looks like we will have crabs available through Mother's Day.  Get your pre-orders in for the softies because they go quickly.

Looking for scallops?  Go no further than your own backyard.  Ocean city scallops are being harvested right now and arriving to us just 24 hours out of the water.  Sometimes they come in still pulsing, and you can't get any fresher than that.  The sizing is on the smaller side, but the flavor packs a sweetness bigger scallops can not match.  They will be plentiful all week.

What's more, early shipments of wild king salmon are beginning to trickle in and BlackSalt will have a limited amount available for mom this weekend.  These beautiful troll-caught fish are coming from Sitka, Alaska and will be very limited, I advise you to pre-order if salmon is what your mom is pining for.

Also coming from the west coast, we will have decadent sablefish, also known as black cod, fresh day boat halibut, and live California urchin and uni.  These specials will light up your table and mom's face with delight.

Make this weekend memorable for the ones you love by sourcing the highest quality seafood.  Moms are special people and deserve only the best.  So, no matter whether you are cooking at home for them or treating them out to a fine meal, make sure that you procure the finest ingredients the ocean has to offer.