Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mr. Hawthorne Serves Up Red Snapper And Veggies.

Dinner - courtesy of Mr. Hawthorne. We found red snapper at the Teeter for $9.95/pound. And we haven't seen this particular fish for a while. I wondered why. I did a little research on snapper and found that there are two populations for snapper - Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic - and they are managed as two separate fisheries. Since 1983, the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan has managed the South Atlantic fisheries for red snapper. Earliest regulations included size limits (minimum 20 inches), gear restrictions (vertical hook-and-line, bandit gear, spearfishing, powerheads only), and bag limits (2 snappers/person). As of 2008, the stock assessment of the South Atlantic population of red snapper determined that it was being overfished. Upon notification, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council addressed long-term management measures to end overfishing of red snapper. In 2010, harvest of red snapper was prohibited in federal waters of the South Atlantic from North Carolina to Florida. So now I'm wondering where the red snapper came from. A quick call to the Teeter determined that the snapper was previously frozen and came from the Pacific or Indonesia. I don't like this. I prefer Outer Banks Catch. Outer Banks Catch is a Currituck, Dare, Hyde, and Tyrrell County program designed to promote and educate seafood consumers to request what's in season and what is locally caught. Sustainable fisheries. Through better practices and management, sustainable harvests mean that species are managed for long-term viability. The most pressing issues include overfishing, habitat damage, unregulated and illegal fishing, and bycatch (catching unwanted species). Outer Banks Catch raises consumer awareness, encouraging seafood eaters to purchase from sustainable sources - sources that don't harm the environment and will allow our future enjoyment of seafood. Sustainable seafood means seafood from sources, whether fished or farmed, that can maintain or increase production in the long-term without jeopardizing the structure or function of the affected ecosystems. Seafood Watch and Outer Banks Catch both provide recommendations and information which will enable consumers to make educated and environmentally sound choices. Seafood is highly seasonal and the Outer Banks' unique coastal ecosystems contribute to one of the most diverse, year-round offerings available. Know what's in season, know what's locally caught, and ask for it. Outer Banks Catch - Seafood Availability Chart. Our seafood choices matter. Here's the Seafood Watch website which offers recommendations for "Best Choices," "Good Alternatives," and which seafood to "Avoid." Click here for the Seafood Watch Pocket Guides and choose your seafood responsibly. Here's the Outer Banks Catch website which provides a lot of information to help us make informed choices. 80% of all seafood served nationally is imported and only 2% of the imports is FDA inspected. Now I feel bad about eating this snapper. But at the time I was eating it, I did not have this information, and I enjoyed the snapper immensely. From now on, I'll ask where the fish came from.
Back to my ill-gotten snapper. Red snapper is a mild, firm fish with edible skin, if cooked properly, which, of course, this was. The snapper was seasoned with nothing but freshly ground salt and pepper. Mr. Hawthorne seared the snapper in ELBOO (Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil) and LOLUB (Land 0' Lakes Unsalted Butter). He cooked the skin side first for about 3 minutes over medium-high to high heat. Then flipped it over and backed the heat to medium and cooked for about 4 minutes. (Depends on thickness of the fish.) Mr. Hawthorne then turned the heat back up to high, flipped the skin side back over, and re-crisped it for about 2 more minutes. For the veggies, he sauteed peppers, onions, and carrots in butter and olive oil over medium high heat until just tender (2-3 minutes), added salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce. The vegetables were sweet, crisp-tender, and perfect.
This was a fine meal; however, I do feel guilty now that I've found out the provenance of my snapper.

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