Wednesday, March 13, 2013
International Boston Seafood Show: Food of Interest
One of my anticipated pleasures of attending the International Boston Seafood Show is the opportunity to gorge myself on a smorgasbord of seafood, to partake of new products and old, of shellfish to sushi, fried shrimp to smoked salmon. Exhibitors desire to entice potential purchasers to their booth so many offer samples of their foods. In addition, these exhibitors hope to ignite some positive press for their products. Most of them have been very open to me, sharing information, and I enjoy highlighting those foods which most enticed my palate.
I taste many different items at the show, enjoying the majority of them, but I only choose to mention a small number, those which especially appealed to me. I want to share with my readers the best of the best, some of the most compelling products at the show. With over 1800 exhibitors, I know I did not sample seafood from each and every booth, so I may have missed some exceptional foods. If you attended the Seafood Show, and have your own favorite samples, feel free to tell me about them in the comments.
Spence & Co., Ltd., which primarily is a purveyor of smoked salmon though they currently sell over 80 products. The company was founded by a Alan Spence, a master smoker from Scotland. They produce smoked salmon in a traditional Scottish method, which gives it a more restrained smoky taste. Some of their more unique items, which I did not taste, include smoked salmon from New Zealand, which uses Manuka wood, and salmon from recipes by famed chef Charlie Trotter, such as the Darjeeling Tea & Ginger Cured Salmon.
Triad Fisheries, in Alaska, has created one such option, and I was impressed with the result. Their Alaska Sablefish Unagi Style recently won two Symphony of Seafood awards, including #1 2013 Foodservice & People's Choice Seattle. This product is wild Alaskan sablefish, with an unagi marinade, which is precooked and ready to heat and serve. First, I found this fish to be absolutely delicious. It seemed to share some of the texture of the unagi, which is important, and a bit of the taste. It may not be a perfect replication of unagi, but because it is so tasty, and has a similar texture, I think this would be a very good replacement.
Aqua Cuisine Seafood Lit'l Sammies Smoked Salmon Cocktail Franks, which also won a Symphony of Seafood award for #1 2013 Smoked. These are made from 100% wild Alaskan Salmon and are all natural, with no artificial ingredients. They are low in fat, high in protein, and free of nitrite and nitrates. They had a nice texture, just a bit looser than a regular hot dog, and you definitely tasted the salmon and mild smokiness. They would make a great alternative for a cocktail party or tail gate party.
Black Diamond Caviar, produced by Warbucks International Seafood, is produced in Louisiana and they make three different types. In general, the caviar costs about $50 for a 3.75 ounce jar. I believe that the caviar I tasted was from the bowfin, known locally as the choupique. It is a freshwater fish, more ancient than sturgeons, from Louisiana and their roe is naturally black. I liked the taste of this caviar, which had a mild brininess, no fishy aftertaste and has a silky smooth texture. A good, sustainable choice.
Canadian Cove produces Prince Edward Island Mussels, which are rope grown and sustainable. The mussels are good for your health too as they are low calorie, a good source of lean protein, and have plenty of Omega-3s, iron and Vitamin B12. The mussels were large and plump, cooked in a Sweet Thai broth, and really satisfied me. Fortunately, they also had slices of bread for dunking into the flavorful broth.
British Columbia Pavilion offered samples of a number of different types of sustainable seafood. In British Colombia, they produce over 100 species of seafood, exporting about 80% and the U.S. receives about 57% of those exports. Salmon accounts for about 40% of all B.C. production. British Colombia is big on food safety, traceability and sustainability.
Nathan Fong, a food stylist, journalist, and TV personality, who was born in Vancouver. Next to Nathan, you may recognize Jacqueline Church, the Leather District Gourmet, who assisted Nathan at the show. Nathan spent lots of time preparing various dishes, showcasing the delicious seafood of British Columbia. I stopped by their booth several times to see what the next recipe might be. A luscious sablefish, caviar & scrambled eggs, uni, fried rockfish, and more. Overall, this ended up as the tastiest booth at the entire show, with an excellent variety of delicious seafood, prepared very well.
Northern Divine Caviar. This is the first certified organic caviar in North America, from thirteen year old White Sturgeons. The company began producing caviar in 2011 but became a commercial entity in 2012. The sturgeon was raised in tanks on land and they produce only a few hundred kilos each year. They have been certified by Canadian Organic Aquaculture as well as Global Trust. Currently, they are sold mostly in Canada, though you can find it in the U.S. and they are seeking more distributors. It is pricey, at about $88 for 30 grams, but then caviar has never been an inexpensive luxury. The taste is exquisite, smooth, briny and buttery without any fishy aftertaste. One of the better caviars I have tasted in the last few years. And paired with even scrambled eggs, they make a great dish. Splurge and check out this caviar.
“The sea hath fish for every man.”