A Fish Narrative — from Rhode Island Boat to BrooklynTable

The Boat: ""Captain James Haitz caught your fish on the F/V James and Matthew, an otter trawler docked out of the Port of Galilee, Rhode Island. Captain Haitz has collaborated with scientists at Cornell’s Cooperative Extension Marine Program to modifiy his trawling gear to reduce his bycatch," Mermaid's Garden's email to members explains. "In his area, the yellowtail stock was recently declared rebuilt."

Step One, The Boat: “Captain James Haitz caught your fish on the F/V James & Matthew, an otter trawler docked out of the Port of Galilee, Rhode Island,” Mermaid’s Garden advised Brooklyn members. “Captain Haitz has collaborated with scientists at Cornell’s Cooperative Extension Marine Program to modify his trawling gear to reduce his bycatch.” (Photo via Mermaid’s Garden)

POOLING OUR FISH, we call it, when Mediterraneanista heads over to Brooklyn, picks up her fish from the Mermaid’s Garden drop at the Palo Santo restaurant on Union Street, and brings it along to Brooklyn Artisan HQ in the North Slope. This week the Mermaid’s Garden Community Supported Fishery offering was yellowtail flounder.

From Bianca Piccillo, marine biologist and CSF co-founder, we’d learned about yellowtail: “Like many of our local species, the story of Limanda ferruginea was until recently a grim one. Yellowtail are managed in three geographic sectors: Cape Cod/Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and Southern New England/Mid- Atlantic. Starting in the 1930’s fishing pressure on yellowtail picked up (as winter flounder stocks declined).

Step Two: The Recipe: The print-out from the FB page is beautifully formatted, easy to follow.

Step Two: The Recipe: The print-out from the FB page is carefully formatted, easy to follow.

“By the 1990’s all three yellowtail stocks had collapsed,” Mermaid’s Garden’s report said. “Rebuilding plans for the three stocks of yellowtail were implemented in 2004 and 2006. The Southern New England/ Mid-Atlantic stock was recently declared rebuilt!”

So our fish are strictly legit. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

And these particular flounder have personality: “Like summer flounder, yellowtail are fast growing and mature early,” we learned. “Unlike summer flounder, yellowtail are right-eyed flounders: As they mature their left eye migrates to the right side of its body. After this migration yellowtail settle near the sea floor.”

Step Three: Salt and pepper, then into the dip and bread-and-flour mix, and right into the saute pan.

Step Three: Season it, then into the dip and bread-and-flour mix, and right into the saute pan.

Okay, next question: How to cook it? Bianca had warned us, “Yellowtail is relatively delicate, so cook it carefully lest you end up with mush.” Uh-oh. Then the good news: “Mark has added two new recipes for flounder to our repertoire – a braised recipe and a crispy pan-fried preparation.” Mark Usewicz is Mermaid’s Garden’s co-founder, and a Paris-trained chef. His recipes are in the Notes section of Mermaid’s Garden’s Facebook page.

The Final Step: Onto the table for all to enjoy!

The Final Step: Ready to serve!

Time to meet the fish. Since they are cleaned, fileted, ready to cook, we don’t have that worrisome look-you-in-the-eye moment. Our family chef quickly blesses the fish with salt and pepper. The egg-and-milk dip is ready, flour and fine bread crumbs mixed.

Small-batch production: Sautéed two by two with a little oil and butter and then transferred to a warmed tray until all are done. Arranged on the platter, garnished with parsley and lemon wedges, and –ta da! –ready to serve! A treat worth sharing.

(Photographs from Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

 

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