One of the greatest benefits of shopping at a local farmers market is the opportunity to develop relationships with the vendors, farmers, producers, and foragers of the food you eat.
Such has been my experience getting to know, and trust, fishmonger Scott Treaster of K&S Seafood.
Seafood is a vast, and sometimes overwhelming, member of my personal food chain, and probably this teacher's pet. There is no more favored meal for me than a delicious dish made with a fresh, full-flavored and wholesome serving of fish. I depend upon Scott to let me know what the freshest, best selection of the week is with which to create a recipe. He never disappoints and knows more about seafood than I could ever hope.
With the proper selection, the success of a meal depends on just a few skills, and prime seasonings. It's almost foolproof.
Unless, of course, the quality of your selection suffers by its purchase from a substandard, non-trusted source. The provenance perhaps unknown, as well as its possibly questionable journey from origin to your basket. That package of "Louisiana Crawfish"? Well turn it over and you'll find it's traveled from China. The U.S. imports fish and seafood from 136 countries and the top suppliers in 2014 were China with a 14.1% share, followed by Canada (13.7%), Indonesia (9.3%), Chile (8.4%) and Vietnam (7.9%).
This Black Drum? Well Scott brought this from the Gulf Coast, caught only days before I ate it. I mean I can even guess the highway it traversed on it's way to the Texas Farmers' Market at Lakeline. Because I know and trust Scott, my confidence in my selection is solid, and I feel secure in choosing a healthy and affordable meal that's quick and easy to prepare several times this week.
Do yourself, and your diet, a big favor, and get to know the folks that provide the food that gives you sustenance. Those relationships will assure that the fuel your body uses is as clean and wholesome as promised. Food is life.
Would you like to learn more about Sustainable Seafood? Check out Fishwatch U.S. Seafood Facts.
Another great reason to pick up fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood from Scott at K&S Seafood? With incredibly fresh selections like this weekend's Black Drum, simple preparations with only a few fresh ingredients actually showcases this fish better than any complicated, expensive meal could. Just ask the market shoppers of all ages who stopped by for a sample. It was a big hit with kids and adults, alike, and ushered in Spring flavors beautifully. I recommend serving it alongside your favorite spring greens, simply prepared, like the sauteed broccoli raab in season that I'll share later this week.
LEMON GINGER BLACK DRUM
with Leeks & Green Garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (see optional substitute, below)
1 bunch green garlic, whites & tender greens sliced thinly
1 bunch young leeks, whites sliced and washed well
1 large lemon, halved & seeded
1 thumb fresh ginger, peeled & grated
2 boneless Black Drum fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring olive oil to a shimmering heat in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add green garlic and leeks to pan. Stirring frequently, cook until limp. Squeeze one half lemon juice into pan. Add grated ginger to leeks and garlic and sauté, stirring, for one minute. With a spatula, gently slide leeks and garlic to the margin of the pan and lay fish fillet, skin side down, on cleared center surface of pan. Raise heat to medium high, browning skin until slightly crisped. Squeeze remaining lemon half over fish flesh. Carefully turn fish, flesh side down, and cook about 3 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Fold leeks and garlic over the top of fish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional slices of lemon and microgreens, if desired.
Optional substitute: Rendered Salt Pork is a tasty substitute for olive oil. Chop a slab of salt pork to yield about 1/4 cup. Over medium heat, brown salt pork until golden and crispy. Remove from pan, and adding oil if/as necessary to yield 1 tablespoon fat, continue with recipe, above.
Serving suggestion: Serve atop a bed of sautéed broccoli raab, seasoned with garlic, lemon & ginger. (Watch for the recipe this week on Notes from Maggie's Farm.)
If you're fortunate to live in our fair city, please stop by the markets! I'll be demonstrating how to utilize the Season's Best meat, seafood, vegetables and other products next on April 7, 2018 at the TFM Lakeline, and April 8, 2018 at TFM Mueller. Stop by the chef demo tent and let's get FRESH.
Disclosure required by law: I am employed by contract as market chef by the Texas Farmers' Markets. Most vendors provide products for sampling free of charge for chef demos. The selections, opinions, and endorsements for my own recipes are my own.