Are you ready for local sweet fat crabs, succulent oysters and tender, flaky rockfish? Autumn is the perfect time for Maryland seafood because the best of the best is in season at the same time! Governor Martin O’Malley is promoting October as “Maryland Seafood Month,” to celebrate Maryland’s delicious and desirable seafood.
“Seafood is one of Maryland’s greatest family traditions and part of our identity. Generations of watermen make their living from the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and people come from far and wide to enjoy the delicious finfish and shellfish they catch,” said Governor O’Malley. “Maryland Seafood Month’ is as much a tribute to Maryland’s seafood ‘family’ as it is a celebration of our greatest natural resource.”
Seafood quality and safety has been, and continues to be, another Maryland tradition. Maryland seafood is monitored by several state agencies, local health departments and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These agencies conduct regular product and plant inspections and water tests ensuring that Maryland seafood is wholesome. In addition, Maryland crab meat undergoes a voluntary quality control and sanitation inspection. Maryland is the only state that has this extra level of inspection for crab meat. Such rigorous standards are another reason that Maryland crab meat is superior to all other crab meat in the world!
Maryland seafood is more than delicious. An excellent source of high quality protein, seafood is easily digested, generally low in fat, sodium and calories and high in important vitamins and minerals. In addition, seafood contains Omega-3 fatty acids, believed to be effective in lowering cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
“Eating Maryland seafood is a delicious part of a healthy diet,” says Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “October signals the harvest of savory, plump oysters, and is also the best time for crabs, which have been fattening up all summer. Our world-famous state fish, striped bass, known locally as rockfish, is a tasty and popular fall dish as well. So, ‘Make A Splash With Maryland Seafood.’ Jump in and enjoy the best the season has to offer.”
When purchasing fish, look for signs of freshness and quality: bright, clear eyes, scales that adhere tightly to the skin, skin that springs back when lightly pressed, bright pink or red gills and a mild sea breeze scent. Crabs and oysters should be purchased live. Crabs should be lively and you should discard any dead crabs before cooking. Oysters purchased in the shell should have tightly-closed shells or should close when touched. Both types of shellfish should be cooked the same day as purchased. Always rinse finfish and shellfish with cold water before cooking. Cooked seafood, as with all cooked food, should not come into contact with or be stored in the same container as raw food. This is to protect from cross-contamination of bacteria that is normally found on raw food products. As with beef, poultry and pork, proper cooking kills bacteria in seafood. Careful clean up of preparation area and utensils is always important with all raw food products.
For your free “Make A Splash With Maryland Seafood” brochure containing seven recipes for October Maryland Seafood Month, log onto www.marylandseafood.org or send a self-addressed and stamped envelope to: Make A Splash With Maryland Seafood, 50 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Try this tempting new recipe in October: Rockfish with Lemon and Caper Dressing.
ROCKFISH WITH LEMON AND CAPER DRESSING
4 fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each, about 1 inch thick
extra virgin olive oil
2 medium lemons (or 1 tablespoons lemon juice)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the dressing: Cut a 1/2-inch slice off both ends of each lemon. Cut each lemon in half lengthwise. Lightly brush or spray the cut sides of the lemons with 1 teaspoon of the oil. In a non-stick skillet, sauté the lemons on high heat until nicely browned, 4 to 6 minutes, turning once. Remove the lemons from the pan and cool. Squeeze the lemons through a sieve into a small bowl. Discard the rinds and seeds. You should have about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add the capers, then whisk in the 3 tablespoons oil to form a dressing. Whisk in the rest of the dressing ingredients.
In a small bowl, mix the seasonings together. Generously brush or spray the rockfish on both sides with remaining oil and seasonings. Place fillets, skin side down on clean, slightly oiled pan. Bake at 450?F until the rockfish just begins to flake when you poke it with the tip of a knife about 10 minutes. Whisk the dressing one last time. Serve the fish with the dressing poured over the top. Serves four.
source: marylandseafood.org news release