When I arrived in New York last spring, I had two priorities: first, to have our apartment organized, and second, to figure out the best places to source high quality ingredients for our meals. The latter seems to be a never ending journey with my passionate pursuit to meet, visit and learn about local farms in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The experience has not always been positive, to my dismay I've found many farms that continue to rely on chemical spray as part of their farming practices, but it has armed me with more information to make decisions and that in itself makes the time and effort entirely worthwhile. While I have found a good handful of organic farms to rely for fresh produce, I still toggle between a couple of sources for meats. I've been successful in finding reliable sources for good quality pork and poultry, and while it is not always local, I've been most impressive with the wide array of fresh seafood at the Lobster Place at the Chelsea Market in New York.
So I thought it would be fun to bring you along with me to visit The Lobster Place, my favorite place to go seafood shopping. In addition to the consistent high quality and freshness, the exciting variety at this market always inspires me to cook with new and more exotic seafood finds.
Fresh, live lobsters from Maine ($9.95/lb).
Check out the gigantic claws on this baby! It almost looks difficult for this guy needs a fork lift to move his claws.
Mayan Shrimp ($18.95/lb) Wild from Educuador, sweet, succulent and meaty.
These critters are so big that it only took nine of them to reach a pound. I simply cleaned, seasoned with Himalayan pink salt and seared on a cast-iron pan for a succulent, smoky finish. I think this may be my second favorite shrimp varietal.
Look at those delicate translucent coral pink shell.
Can you tell whether these shrimp are cooked? These are U-10 White Shrimp from Louisiana ($18.95/lb), the U-10 denotes that it only takes ten pieces to reach a pound, and that's what I call a jumbo shrimp! And for your notes, this pink color is how they arrive fresh from the ocean. I haven't figured out why shrimp from the Gulf has this ready to eat shade, but I can tell you that the pronounced fresh briny sea salt flavors makes this variety my top choice.
Shrimp, wild from Maine, $4.95/lb, small, sweet and tender.
You can see the grayish-blue roe on the bellies of these shrimp. These little guys from Maine look like they're ready to eat, but they're not cooked yet. The color is deceiving, isn't it?
Oysters, ($1.25-$1.50/ea). The Lobster Place also has an impressive variety of oysters on hand, always offering no less than half a dozen different types.
Sea cockles from New Zealand. I simply adore the beautiful blush of green and burnt caramel on their shells.
Live sea urchin from Montecito, CA ($6.95/lb). Love it or hate it, but it's very unlikely you have feelings in between. This spiny deep ocean water creature is commonly featured on the menu of high-end Japanese restaurants, where you will likely find it under the name of 'uni,' typically served in the raw sushi format.
Stone crab claws ($26/lb). For some odd reason, this picture reminds me on penguins. Isn't that odd?
Snapper Wild Gulf of Mexico, $8.50/lb. Mild, flaky, sweet. I pick one up every other week to broil in the oven.
Sardines ($6.95/lb) from Rhode Island, rich and full-flavored. These do take a bit of work cleaning, but if you are a fish lover, they're great seasoned with sea salt and grilled, finished with a sunny squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Turbot, Farmed, Chile, $10.95/lb. I've never tried turbot, but the skin is stunning. The shiny coat looks like an amalgamation of leather and jewels.
Mahi-Mahi ($13.25/lb) Sweet and mild in flavor. This filleted fish is one of many beautiful fresh specimens that I take home to pan grill. In addition to Mahi-Mahi, there's always a good variety of salmon, arctic char, black cod, Chilean sea bass and many more.
Yellowfin Wild South Pacific ($20.95/lb). I have tuna only a few times a year, so it's a real treat whenever do have a good piece of tuna. Look at the deep reddish-pink color of its almost translucent flesh. It's no wonder people compare sushi to the appearance of candy.
Red Trout, farmed from Idaho ($7.50/lb). One of my favorite ways to prepare it is cooked in a browned butter with almond slivers.
Blue crab, wild from Maryland, $3.95/lb. These little guys were piled on top of one another, I felt badly for them.
Whitebait, Wild, New Zealand, $5.50/lb. Typically fried and eaten whole, aka 'fries with eyes.' I've never made these at home, because I'm afraid of deep-frying in my kitchen, but I've enjoyed 'fries with eyes' at many French restaurants.
Scungilli, whole baby conch, $14.95/lb. I've always wanted to try conch but didn't know how to prepare them. When I did find a recipe, I returned only to find out they were a one time item. Oh well, perhaps next time.
Thanks for coming along with me to The Lobster Place! I hope you enjoyed the visit!
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