Tuesday, March 13, 2012
International Boston Seafood Show: Food of Interest
One of the joys of attending the 2012 International Boston Seafood Show (IBSS) is the chance to sample a smorgasbord of seafood, to partake of new products and old, of shellfish to sushi. Exhibitors are trying to entice buyers to purchase their products, and offering samples is one way to highlight their culinary delights. They also hope to spark some positive press for their food products and enjoy highlighting those foods which most enticed my palate, those which gave me the most gustatory pleasure. Though I gorged myself on many different items, not all are noteworthy and I can only offer a sampling of those which best appealed to me. So enjoy these mouth watering foods, and please don't salivate on your keyboard.
Florida, and it was excellent. It was a mild flavored and tender meat, with a slight crunchiness to the outer coating. I devoured a few pieces and could have easily stood there and eaten the entire pan. There are a number of alligator farmers and dealers in Florida, and you can purchase a variety of cuts, from tail to jowls. The meat is sustainable, lean, low in fat, low in cholesterol and versatile. Just be careful not to overcook it and it is recommended you do not fry it.
Kylee's Alaskan Salmon Bacon. Pictured above is Fred West, whose granddaughter Kylee had celiac and was allergic to growth hormones and steroids in beef and pork. West wanted Kylee to enjoy bacon, so he devised an alternative, salmon bacon. In conjunction with Tustumena Smokehouse, they produce thin strips of salmon and process it like bacon though it is free of hormones, steroids, gluten and other chemicals. "Most people that are buying it are people that also have allergies that can't have nitrates in their system and need to be gluten-free," West said. "It's really been humbling for us, it's just been really humbling to reach out and touch so many people."
American Pride Seafoods really hit the spot. Available as frozen sticks or nuggets, I loved the crunchy coating which delivered a prominent sweet potato flavor. The fish inside was flaky and moist, though it was the coating which was the true star of this item.
Santa Barbara Smokehouse, which has been around since 1947, has a brick kiln and hang their Scottish salmon by the collar for a slow smoke. It is very much an artisan process, akin to the wait Scots used to smoke salmon. This is intended to be a high-end product and the salmon itself is silky with a delicate smoky flavor, just a delight in your mouth. They produce a few different flavors of this smoked salmon and it is highly recommended.
MacKnight produces a wide range of salmon products, including Salmon Bacon, which they developed about two years ago and claim to be the first to have created it. Using Scottish and Norweigian salmon, they make thin slices that closely resemble real bacon. They seemed more thinly sliced than Kylee's though their aroma was very similar. The MacKnight though had more of a bacon taste and crispness to it, without losing that distinctive salmon flavor. I was quite taken with this bacon and easily could picture this on my breakfast table.
Shaw's Southern Belle is a family run business which produces a number of pre-made frozen seafood items, including a number of different crab cakes, salmon burgers and more. I had one of their Maryland Style Crab Cakes which seemed to be full with plenty of crab and much less filler. It was moist, with a crisp exterior coating, and I would serve those to company.
Myron's Fine Looking Sauces have been available, and there are at least 15 different finishing sauces available, and all are made from natural ingredients and are gluten free. I was impressed with the depth of flavor I found in the sauces. My favorite was the Aged Shoyu, an umami bomb that would be an excellent accompaniment to Japanese cuisine. heaven, Others I really loved included Thai Red Chile, Szechuan, and Teriyaki. Though available at Whole Foods and specialty shops, they mostly sell these sauces to food services.
Pickled Willys pickled seafoods were impressive. They currently have four different types including Wild Ling Cod, Wild Sockeye Salmon, Alaskan King Crab Tail, and Halibut (though the halibut was not available for sampling). They are a new company, being around for only a year, but spent about 1.5 years prior to that in development. Bill (Willy) Alwert, after being out fishing for months, would come home and immediately start pickling some of his catch. It was very popular with his family and friends who insisted he make it year round. Willy's niece, Barbara Hughes, then convinced him to go commercial and create a processing plant and the business really took off.
The pickled seafood is made with organic vinegar, cane sugar, and a blend of pickling spices. They use only sustainable, wild Alaskan seafood and the product has a shelf life of about five months. I was very pleased with the end product, the fish still having a firm flesh and the light pickling enhancing the seafood. The salmon was my favorite of the three, though I liked all of them. It could be used to create your own ceviche, or a variety of other intriguing appetizers.
Maristella's Fine Foods, and this year they have added some healthier options, a line of seafood salads. They have five new, all natural salads, including Spinach Orzo Salad with Wild Roasted Salmon, Creamy Garlic & Dill, Tomato Orzo Salad with Tuna & a Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Summer Cous Cous Salad with Wild Shrimp and White Balsamic Vinaigrette, Yukon Gold Potato Salad with Wild Mussels & Mustard Vinaigrette, and Red & Gold Quinoa Salad with Scallops, Poblanos and Champagne Vinaigrette. My favorite, pictured above, was the Summer Cous Cous Salad, which was light, flavorful and had a nice texture from the cous cous. The Red & Gold Quinoa Salad was also quite tasty.
Maine Fresh join the list of delectable ones. The recipes were created by Chef Sam Hayward, of famed Fore Street in Portland, Maine, so they have a certain cachet for that alone. They use sustainable, wild caught seafood and comes in four varieties, including scallop, lobster, shrimp, and crab.The pies are topped with a whole-wheat pastry crust which I found to be light and flaky, and the fillings were quite tasty, with a nice blend of herbs, spices, and vegetables. The lobster pot pie was probably my favorite but all of them were worthy of attention. They can be found at Whole Foods and Hannafords.
To end this post, here is a series of photos of some of the other foods I found at the seafood show which were good but not my top choices.