In San Francisco we are lucky to have access to some of the nicest seafood in the world.
Even here, buying fish from the grocery store is always slightly perilous, you really have to trust your fishmarket and you really have to know what is sustainable, what is okay to eat when and what is fresh. Even the best fishmarket will sell fish that is on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s watchlist for seafood that are endangered or that should not be eaten due to health reasons a.k.a. too much mercury or grown in a fish farm that uses unhealthy fishmeal and contains unsanitary conditions. Recent articles have depicted the horror stories of farmed shrimp from Asia being cooled in ice made from local bacteria-laden water, or fed meal made from pig feces.
I carry the Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood watchlist in my wallet, and now have their app on my phone which helps me when I go shopping for seafood.
Lately I have circumvented all of these issues by buying directly from fishermen through the Siren SeaSA. A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is more commonly known as a way to buy produce directly from farmers and growers. Anna Larson of Siren SeaSA has developed a network of fisherman that fish sustainable seafood off of the coast of California using responsible methods and delivered fresh, often the same day it is caught.
Every other week I go to pick up my fish share from a nice lady who waits inside of a local market for just one hour with a cooler of ice and beautifully fresh seafood. This week I received black cod, which is currently marinating in a miso, ginger, garlic, and miren marinade. Last time I had a beautiful piece of King salmon from Bodega Bay.
I decided to have the King salmon for lunch and preheated my oven and prepared a piece of parchment paper with which to bake the salmon inside.
Isn’t it a beautiful color?
I topped it with a pat of butter, a sprinkle of dill and a little salt and folded it up inside the parchment.
Traditionally the parchment is cut into the shape of a heart and folded in half and pleated around the edges to make a little half-moon, but I was hungry and in a hurry so I just did a rectangle and it worked out perfectly. The benefit of cooking fish in parchment is that you have virtually no cleanup, a quick wash of your baking sheets and there is no residue to scrub off. The parchment can be folded up and thrown away, a compostable container that holds all of the juices and aromas inside for your olfactory enjoyment and gustatory pleasure.
The packet is slipped into the oven for a quick bake for 15 minutes at 425 F and after a short rest the salmon is perfectly cooked, slightly rare in the middle, with a pleasant puddle of melted butter and dill flowing around the edges.
With a little salad and a small glass of wine it was a delightful weekend lunch. And I did not feel guilty at all about eating salmon, which has become increasingly endangered along the western US coast.
Next up: a recipe for miso black cod!