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Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Know Where Your Fish Comes From, A Pearl for Dinner and Dreaming Big Dreams

The Price of Fish

Do you know where your seafood comes from?  A recent AP article  "Are Slaves Catching the Fish You Buy?" presents some disturbing evidence that if you shop at some of the big box grocery stores you could be eating seafood that was caught by people who are forced to live their lives on trawlers and in cages.  Overly dramatic?  If your stomach is feeling extra strong today, take a look at the article which describes living conditions for hundreds of Burmese slaves who are living out their lives out as captives aboard huge trawlers in the Indian Ocean.  When the boats are docked in Indonesia, captives who are seen as flight risks are kept in cages in places like Benjina, Indonesia.  They are forced to work shifts of 20-22 hours, they have little food and unclean water and are beaten into submission for little or no pay at all.  Many people die from the treatment and the ones who survive are desperate for the world to know how the food they are eating was caught.

Tracking seafood from Indonesia to its final destination (your dinner plate) is a difficult process.  Huge factory ships bring their catch to processing plants where they are combined with other catches and then processed.  Deciding whether one particular fish was caught by a ship using slave labor is virtually impossible once the fish leaves the trawler that caught it.  Pointing fingers at US corporations that buy fish from that part of the world isn't exactly fair since there is no way of knowing EXACTLY where it came from.  However, the onus is on these large companies to carry out investigations until they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the food they are putting on US dinner tables is NOT associated with human trafficking and slavery. 

I know it seems that fresh seafood is expensive, or rather seafood done right is expensive and it goes without saying that there are cheaper alternatives out there to the fish I sell.  If you are willing to chance buying inferior quality, fish from unknown sanitary conditions and most importantly, seafood caught by slave labor, then take a look at my competition.  If you want the very freshest fish available,  if you want fish from only sustainable populations or from the very best farming operations in the world, if you value a human life more than the life of a fish in the ocean,  you better stick with me.

Here's a list of what's in my case today and where it came from:
Tuna - Louisiana
Black Drum - Louisiana
King Salmon - Alaska
Red Snapper - Louisiana
Striped Bass- Virginia
Triggerfish - Florida
Dover Sole - Washington
Cod - Alaska
Rainbow Trout - North Carolina
Barramundi - Massachusetts
Halibut - Alaska
Sea Bass -  Argentina
Swordfish - New Zealand
Mahi - Ecuador
Cobia  - Panama
Verlasso Atlantic Salmon - Chile
Steelhead - Norway
Corvina  - Suriname
Scottish Salmon  - Great Britain

Are You Missing Your Mussels?
In case you have been wondering about the limited supply of our black mussels, here's a picture of a mussel farmer driving to work last week in Prince Edward Island:

Enough said.

Our Newest Oyster
I copied this  Montauk Pearl Oysters article from the  New York Times because it has a tasty-sounding recipe in it and features one of our new oysters.  Montauk Pearls are beautifully clean and briny oysters that are not easy to find - unless, of course, you shop at Kathleen's Catch.  Even though they are newcomers, they are well-known in the northeast at restaurants but until recently unavailable in the retail market.  Why don't you give them a try?

Montauk Pearl Oysters for Your Kitchen and More


The oysters at Bo’s Kitchen & Bar Room in the Flatiron district. Credit Tina Fineberg for The New York Times

To Savor: Hamptons Pearls (The Edible Kind)
Until quite recently, you could get Montauk Pearl Oysters from Long Island only in restaurants. But now these saline beauties are available from several retail sources like Mermaid’s Garden in Brooklyn and the Good Eggs delivery service. At Bo’s Kitchen & Bar Room in the Flatiron district, the chef Alex Pirani serves them raw on the half-shell and cooked. Here’s his recipe for broiled oysters: Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan, add a quarter-cup of shallots, sauté until soft, then stir in a quarter-cup of flour. Slowly whisk in three-quarters of a cup scalded milk and cook until thickened. Add salt and pepper, refrigerate until cool, then spoon onto 10 oysters on the half-shell. Dust with grated Grana Padano and run them under the broiler to gild the top: Bo’s Kitchen & Bar Room, 6 West 24th Street, 212-234-2373,;, 646-863-5578; and Mermaid’s Garden, 644 Vanderbilt Avenue (Park Place), Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, 718-638-1910,

Other Oysters Available This Week at Kathleen's Catch
St Ann's Bay
Blue Point
Sweet Jesus
Grand Pearls

This Week's Special

Swordfish  $8.99 per 6 ounces.

Catch to Go 
Honey Jalapeno Salmon over Black Bean and Corn Salad
Asian BBQ Cod with Asparagus
Roasted Halibut with Green Beans and Asian Cilantro Sauce
Oven Fried Catfish with Green Beans

Halibut's Back! 
March 15th marked the opening of the US halibut season and we have some fabulous fish to show for it!   And you better hurry in... the season only lasts until November 15th.

And Finally
The cherry trees blooming outside my window make me look forward to backyard parties and long walks with my dog.  Swimming with my grandkids is just around the corner! I' m going to try this week to take time to appreciate the amazing life we live here in Johns Creek, GA.   When people in other parts of the world are trapped in bamboo cages in between long fishing trips on factory trawlers, I need to remind myself that all is not well throughout the world.  It's on us to dream of a better life for everyone worldwide.  And to be grateful.



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