Saturday, March 01, 2008

Una Semana

We're leaving Mexico in a week. What a drag.

The Northerners may be here for the weather -- and it IS nice -- but I feel like I am here for the seafood. I've never been able to get over how limited the selection is in California. Our ranch is right near the coast, with a lovely bay and fishing boats to take game fishers out to sea, but even at the tiny fish market on the embarcadero, you rarely see anything beyond the usual (and, I suspect, most of it coming from somewhere far away.) What's wrong? Is the water too polluted for local fish? In Santa Monica, we have the seafood section at Whole Foods which has some nice things, as well as a gourmet seafood shop where there's a pretty good variety, but it's Very Expensive. Otherwise, it's the salmon-halibut-snapper with their fresh water buddies, tilapia (too creepy!) and catfish, in the supermarkets and they don't even smell right. In Japan, any rinky-dink supermarket (many as small as the smallest mini-mart in the US) has a big selection of fresh seafood.

Here in our little village, we don't get a whole lot of shellfish, but there is always a nice variety of fresh fish. I mean, exceptionally fresh. Anything that's good to eat raw CAN be eaten raw. Or marinated, pickled, stuffed, baked, fried, dried, grilled, broiled... For weeks, before we left the U.S., I was dreaming about the seafood here and I was not disappointed, though a few experiments didn't turn out quite as I expected. (Like, when I found some fresh fish roe at one of the fishmongers one Sunday. In Japan, cod fish roe is really common. There's the usual salty kind as well as the spicy karashi mentaiko from southern Japan, where my grandmother lived. The fish roe I found was about 10 times the size of cod fish roe, but I bought a chunk and cooked it in soy and sake. It wasn't very good. I wonder how the Mexicans eat it?)

Mackerel fresh enough to sashimi, red snapper that's so sweet and fluffy it'll make you moan, giant creamy oysters, fresh octopus, exceptional shrimp, big juicy flounders, meaty mahi-mahi, sarangola, pargo, all kinds of tuna..... ahhhhhhhh. Plus, Goro, the local Japanese dude, used to have a fish export biz so not only does he know all the fishermen, but has secret sources for delicacies rarely found in the shops. I am soooo going to miss it all.
Fishermen's cooperative near our house


Blogger teenage glutster said...

mmmm...mexican seafood, freshness and diversity, WITHOUT breaking the budget.

I recommend looking for pescado "sarandeado" (cooked by being buried in smoldering coal or wood)

anyways, thanks for commenting and nice stuff yourself.

1:43 PM  
Blogger bad-dog said...

Thanks for the recommendation! I'll have to explore new territory once I get back to LA, too!

8:10 AM  

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