Hello #Teamfabio !! Happy June to everybody. June is National #Seafood Month, so we are gonna be celebrating this week with three new seafood recipes I have created just for you : ). I have a whole seafood section in my new cookbook Fabio’s Italian Kitchen, so if you have not yet, you should take a look at it and get a copy ; ) Some of the recipes include Roasted Mussels With Lemon-Wine Sauce, Seafood Cioppino, and Braised Octopus. Yum !
You know how people talk about the promised land, “the land of milk and honey?” Well to many Europeans like myself, when we are going to America, it is like we are going to the promised land of meat. America, land of the free, home of the brave, meat of the animals ; ).
But of course we hear exaggerations, and when we get to America it is not always what we hear. America has plenty of meat, but you never hear about America’s fish !!
The longer I’ve been here, the more I’ve come to learn how enormously rich in fish and seafood America’s oceans, lakes, rivers, brooks, and streams are. In fact, it was FISH, not beef, that was at the heart of the United States’ early history.
It’s believed that the Vikings first stumbled upon North America as they searched for cod. The vast fishing grounds they found became the backbone of colonial New England’s economy—so much so that Barnstable County in Massachusetts is still known as Cape Cod because of the teeming schools of fish found in the icy Atlantic waters that surround it. And this bounty wasn’t limited to cod.
In the seventeenth century, it is said that New York Harbor contained half of the world’s oysters, and lobsters were so common on the northern Atlantic coast that they were gathered by hand from the shoreline and considered fit eating for only servants and prisoners.
How the times have changed !! But this is typical with many foods. Bread for instance. At one time the very grainy wheat breads which we keep on the top shelf at the bakery TODAY was the least desirable bread to be eating. When they first invented white bread, it was the best thing ever and it was the classy option for bread eaters. Now whole grain is back in style, and lobsters are fine dining. Maybe 200 years from now instant soup will be a delicacy ; ).
Across the country, you can find as many ways to prepare fish as you can find types of fish. Whether it is the Gulf shrimp of Louisiana and the salmon and halibut of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, or the yellowtail and poke of Hawaii and the grouper and conch of Florida, or the cod of New England and the walleye of the Great Lakes, Americans put this amazing catch to good use.
We see these all come out to shine with regional classics as Maryland crab cakes, New England clam bakes, Florida conch fritters, and midwestern Lenten fish fries.
And as newcomers flocked to the United States, they brought in them their own ways of preparing fish as well. Today in most places you can find sushi, ceviche, and fish tacos alongside fried grouper, grilled salmon, or blackened catfish.
For Italians like me, of course we love fish. We have over 5000 miles of coast, so the wonderworld of fish of America is truly a home away from home. It is also a great place to learn so many different, authentic regional recipes and styles of cooking fish, and as a chef it is important to have diversity in your skillset. You never know when you have to cook something that you are not used to, so get used to cooking everything !!
What is your favorite seafood dish ?? Comment below or tweet me @Fabioviviani !!