When October rolls around, fresh pork and Halloween can sometimes eclipse what is one of Florida’s most prized cash crops – fresh Florida seafood.
Even pork fans have to admit that Florida seafood – stone crabs, rock shrimp, lobster, clams, conch, etc. – is an embarrassment of riches.
Almost any day in Mayport or at any of the other northeast Florida fisheries, you can take your money to the docks and buy some of the freshest seafood in the world.
And one of the best things about GreaterJax™ is that you can even catch your own supremely fresh seafood if you’ve a mind to.
Hello – It’s National Seafood Month.
Fresh from Florida
Florida fishermen reeled in over $14 billion of it, the second highest total in the United States.
Hooray for Florida, hooray for October, hooray for seafood!
Thank you for Florida lobster.
Thank you for clams, for conchs.
For oysters and scallops, blue crabs, stone crabs, octopus, squid and shrimp – rock, white, tiger and otherwise.
- Percent of spiny lobster harvested in Florida – 100%
- Percent of stone crab harvested in Florida – 97%
In addition, Florida fishermen catch more than 84% of the nation's supply of grouper, pompano, mullet, stone crab, pink shrimp, spiny lobsters, and Spanish mackerel.
Tiny little crustacean protein pellets
It’s no secret that seafood – shrimp and other shellfish in particular – is good for you.
However, most of us don’t realize how good.
First, a three-ounce portion of gill fish – name one – has only about 150 calories.
Second, seafood, even the fattier fishes like salmon and herring, is very low in total fat.
Most gill fish run about 5%, most shellfish under 5%, while the most fatty fishes like salmon and herring are only about 15% fat.
And it’s good fat, too, mostly unsaturated and just chock full of Omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce heart disease by making the blood less likely to clot and block blood vessels.
Loading up on Omega-3s may also decrease total body cholesterol.
Most seafood contains well under 100 milligrams per three-ounce serving, less than one third of the daily cholesterol recommended in low-cholesterol diets.
The same three-ounce portion of seafood contains about a third of the daily protein your body needs.
So celebrate National Seafood Month responsibly with a dish that makes the most of the fresh seafood that we Greater Jacksonvillagers™ have in abundance.
Cioppino (chō-PĒ-nō), a light seafood stew often served over pasta, probably originated in Genoa, Italy.
It’s introduction to American cuisine came in the late 1800’s in San Francisco, when Italian immigrants in the fishing fleets began sharing and selling the dinners they made from their catches of the day.
While it’s common for cooks to used a tomato-based sauce, you don’t have to.
Cioppino is light and fresh – an easy one-pot meal that’s in under an hour.
As always used as much catch-of-the-day as you can afford.
Ingredients – Seafood
- Clams, cleaned & in the shell
- Mussels, cleaned & in the shell
- Crab claws / legs, fresh if possible
- Shrimp, fresh and shelled
- Scallops, fresh and shelled
- Octopus or squid, cleaned and sliced
- Crawfish tails, cooked
- Fresh conch, sliced
Ingredients – Sauce
- White wine
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pressed garlic
- Fresh lemon
- Parmesan cheese
- Chicken stock
- Sea salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Grated parmesan, fresh basil, capers for garnish
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsps. of olive oil and sauté garlic until fragrant but not brown.
- Add white wine then season with salt and pepper.
- Add chicken stock to a depth of about ¼ inch to start. Add lemon juice, then reduce.
- Add more seasoning, wine and stock as needed until you achieve your desired flavor.
- Flavor of the stock should be bright and savory.
- First, add the clams and mussels, which take about ten minutes to steam open.
- Reduce the heat just a little and cover your skillet. Check in at about five minutes and then again at about seven minutes.
- When the shells are opened, add the crab claws/legs and the shrimp and stir. Remove unopened shellfish and discard.
- In 2-3 minutes the shrimp will turn pink.
- Turn the heat down again, and add the octopus, crawfish and conch.
- Stir them in well, 1-2 minutes and serve immediately over warmed crostini.
- Garnish with parmesan, fresh basil and capers.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: email@example.com