Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easy Smoked Fish Recipe

smoked sockeye salmon
Smoked fish is a delicious way to prepare a fishermen's catch. Smoking fish is actually fairly simple to do and greatly enhances the flavor of many fish. When selecting fish to be smoked, its usually best to choose fish that have a high oil content.

The best types of fish for smoking include fish from several well known families. Salmon, trout and char are the most well known fish for smoking. These fish contain high amounts of omega-3 fish oil, which is widely acclaimed for its nutritional value.

Several members of the cod family are also popular for smoking, especially Atlantic cod and Atlantic haddock. Other choices include bluefish, tuna, mackerel, and herring.

Basic smoked fish recipes usually start with cleaning the fish. Whole, scaled skin-on fillets are the easiest to work with. Other options include cutting the headed and gutted fish into cross-sectional steaks. Either option should produce portions that are no more than one inch in thickness.

After cleaning, fish should be rinsed well and immersed in a refrigerated brine solution for 30-60 minutes. A simple fish brine can be made from 1 quart of water, approximately 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 1/3 cup of kosher salt or pickling salt.

After brining, the fish should be spread out to drain on a rack and returned to the refrigerator. After most of the brine has dripped off the fish, it should begin to form a glaze. Some cooks prefer to lay the fillets in a shallow, covered baking dish and allow them to continue drying overnight in the refrigerator.

When the fish is dried and glazed, it can be smoked. A wide range of smokers are available for smoking fish. Elaborate models offer precise control of temperature and smoke, while basic units require a bit more supervision.

Fish are often smoked at cool temperatures, ranging from 150 - 250 degrees. Smoking time depends on the smoker design, temperature, thickness of meat, type of wood, desired amount of smoke flavor, and other factors.

For skin-on fillets under one inch thick, 30-45 minutes is usually enough to cook and flavor the fish. If the fish is to be served right away as an entree with a sauce, short smoking times may be suitable. Longer smoking times will produce a dryer, firmer product, which is useful for presentations such as smoked fish dips or fish chowder recipes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Abundance

Around the Chesapeake Bay, fishermen and seafood processors are gearing up for the 2011 season. Despite a serious winter kill, scientists believe that there will be good numbers of crabs for harvest this year.

The 2011 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey found that the Chesapeake Bay’s overall blue crab abundance has declined due to cold winter weather that killed as many as 31 percent of Maryland’s adult crabs.

According to the survey, 254 million adult crabs survived the bitter cold winter, with populations remaining above target for the third year in a row.

This is the first time since the early 1990s that the Bay has seen three consecutive years with the adult population was above the target (200 million crabs) and the harvest was below the target of 46 percent.

The primary assessment of the Bay’s blue crab population is conducted annually by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Faroese Mackerel Looses MSC Certification

As expected, the Faroese Mackerel fishery has lost its MSC Certification. The move comes following a bitter battle among North Atlantic nations over mackeral quotas.

Independent certifier, Det Norske veritas (DNV) recently confirmed the Independent Adjudicator’s decision to uphold an objection to the certification of the Faroese Pelagic Organisation North East Atlantic mackerel fishery to the MSC standard.

The action is one of a string of events which began when Iceland and the Faroe Islands increased their fishing quotas for Atlantic Mackerel. Norway and Scotland have been critical of increased fishing efforts by the 2 island nations, claiming historical rights to the fish.

Icelandic and Faroese political leaders dispute the opposing views, noting that, as a result of global warming,  mackerel have shifted their ranges northward into their territorial waters. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Denmark Eastern Baltic Cod Certification

The DFPO Denmark Eastern Baltic cod fishery was recently certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) environmental standard.

The fishery operates year-round using demersal trawls and long lines to catch cod in the Baltic Sea east of Bornholm.

Baltic cod is an iconic food fish in both Sweden and Denmark and has been a commercially important species in the Baltic region since the 15th century. Consumers across Europe will now be able to buy Baltic cod bearing the distinctive blue MSC ecolabel.

source: MSC

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pacific Whiting Fishermen Form Co-op

On the U.S. West Coast, the American offshore mothership pacific whiting fleet recently formed a cooperative to pool their federally allocated shares of whiting.   

Whiting, worth about $27 million to U.S. fishermen last year, is processed both at sea and at traditional land-based plants, where it is converted into fillets and surimi, the basis for imitation crab and similar products popular in Asia.

In the mothership fishery, fishermen deliver their fish at sea directly to mothership processors. The whiting fishery also supports a shore-based fleet that delivers its harvest to shore-based plants, and an at-sea catcher-processor fleet that both harvests and processes whiting at sea.

According to NOAA, the pacific whiting catcher-processor fleet has operated under a voluntary co-op since 1997.

Pacific whiting (or hake, Merluccius productus) comprises the largest fishery off the West Coast of North America.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Simple Clam Dip Recipe

Clams are readily available to most consumers. Types of clams vary by region, but most coastal areas have local clam fisheries. Fresh clams are an excellent ingredient in dips or spreads. For cooks that don't have access to fresh clams, there are canned products.

The simplest clam dips are made from sour cream, powdered ranch dressing mix and diced, cooked clam meat.

More complex dips might contain only sour cream, clams, fresh herbs, vegetables and spices.

Regardless of the recipe, nearly all clam dips will benefit from a few simple preparation steps.

For surf clams, quahogs or similar species, it is best to remove the stomach and other inedible parts of the body. Next, the clam meat is diced into pieces.

Once diced, clams should be simmered for 2-3 minutes. Do NOT overcook! After cooking, the meat is rinsed and allowed to chill.

When possible, clam dips should be assembled and chilled for several hours before serving. Home made clam dips get better after chilling overnight and usually are at peak flavor for 2-3 days.

Of course clam dips are delicious and rarely last more than a few minutes when served to hungry guests.