Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"America's Night Out for Gulf Seafood" is on December 1st

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Next Wednesday, December 1st, is America's Night Out for Gulf Seafood. What is that, you ask?

It's a national chef-led event to promote Gulf Seafood. More than 200 chefs from around the country will feature Gulf Seafood in their offerings next Wednesday as a way to recognize and promote those who make a living harvesting Gulf Seafood, an industry that is still suffering the aftershocks of the Deepwater Horizon disaster earlier this year.

The seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, by the way, is perfectly safe to eat. That's what this event is all about.

If you're lucky enough to have a restaurant in your area that is participating in "America's Night Out for Gulf Seafood", by all means, go patronize them next Wednesday night. Or you could do like me, (since the nearest one to me is 4 hours away) cook along at home, then blog about it. Or if you don't have a blog, just go to your local seafood supplier or even the grocery store and plan a meal and enjoy it. Check out this entry (way at the bottom, sorry) for the caveat about shopping for shrimp and a recipe for seafood chowder you might want to try. It was delish, BTW.

In case you didn't scroll through the whole entry, let me sum it up for you. Consult the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch when buying seafood or ordering it on a menu. Not all seafood is created equal, for a whole host of reasons, the most concerning of which are mercury contamination and sustainability issues. There is a handy iPhone app that I use religiously when out shopping for seafood.

You might be wondering how to find Gulf Seafood at the grocery store. That is a tricky task in land-locked West Virginia where the most practical food shopping choices for many of us are either Krogers or Super Wal-Mart. Unless you have an inside track to a fisherman (and if that's the case, please share! please share!), Gulf Seafood here is pretty much limited to frozen shrimp. I did call Joe's Fish Market on Quarrier Street, and they don't have any Gulf Seafood right now. (Que sad music... "whap, whap whaaa.") All seafood is required have the country of origin on the label, so at the grocery store, just make sure your packages says "U.S. wild caught". Two thirds of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. comes from the Gulf, and chances are high that what is sold at supermarkets is from there. Or China. Which is why you have to look for the country of origin. Gulf shrimp are classified as "Good Alternative" by the Seafood Watch, because of sustainable harvesting practices.
Now, the fun part... deciding what to make.

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