Thursday, March 31, 2016

Farmed v. wild red snapper; takeout from Seafood Gourmet in Maywood

This bone-in steak from a large, wild-caught red snapper we bought at H Mart in Englewood was prepared with caramel, sweet peppers, onion and garlic.

Editor's note: We love fresh fish -- prepared at home, in restaurants or as takeout. Here is a report on some of our recent meals.


Little did I know the two whole wild-caught red snappers I bought at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro last October would be the last.

The next time I looked for them, I found two red fish labeled "Snapper," farmed in Costa Rica, and they weren't even scaled.

And there was nothing on the label about whether they were raised with antibiotics or treated with preservatives.

The texture and taste of the farmed fish paled in comparison to a firm, flaky, wild red snapper. What a mistake, I thought.

My only comfort was in knowing even farmed fish is good for the heart and the brain, and far better for me than meat or poultry.

Snapped it up

This past Sunday, my wife bought a wild-caught red snapper weighing more than 2 pounds from H Mart in Englewood ($7.99 a pound).

She cut the fish into three parts (head, steak and tail portion); and prepared them with Grace-brand Browning (caramel), sweet peppers, onion and garlic.

I took the steak, and ate it with a salad and a glass of wine. Delicious.

So, my advice when buying whole fish or fillets: Go wild.

A takeout container from Seafood Gourmet in Maywood held one of last week's specials: Grilled Wild Thai Salmon.

I plated the wild-caught king salmon, Thai chili bok choy and jasmine rice, and gently reheated them.

Seafood Gourmet

I've enjoyed every meal I've eaten in the small restaurant behind the fish market at Seafood Gourmet in downtown Maywood.

But the fresh seafood prepared by an adventurous chef is so popular it is often difficult to get a dinner reservation there.

That's when we decided to follow a friend's advice and order takeout from a menu and weekly specials listed online.

Lunch portions

Seafood Gourmet allows to you to order lunch portions from the takeout menu that cost less than dinner, and we found them satisfying, even if you don't finish with a salad.

And the specials listed online often cost less than the same dish served in the dining room.

Late Saturday afternoon, we ordered three lunch portions:

A special of Grilled Thai Wild Salmon ($15); Shrimp Parmigiana over Linguine ($13.99), a house specialty; and Sole Francese with sauteed spinach, both fish and greens made with garlic and oil, not butter ($12.99).

We also ordered a quart of the Soup du Jour, a tomato-based Maryland Crab Chowder ($10).

Rare problem

About 10 minutes after I called, I remembered I forgot to tell the woman who took the order I like my wild salmon prepared medium rare.

But when I called back, she said the cook usually prepares salmon medium, and I said that would be OK.

We enjoyed our takeout, which was ready for pickup in 25 minutes.

As I was paying with a credit card, the cook's helper, wearing plastic gloves, grabbed a couple of fresh fillets from the display case in the market, and returned to the kitchen.

When I got home, I found the king salmon had been cooked through. Though juicy, the fish would have been better if prepared medium rare.

We also found the crab chowder too salty to eat. We exchanged the uneaten portion on Tuesday for a quart of lobster bisque at no charge.


Seafood Gourmet, 103 W. Pleasant Ave., Maywood; 201-843-8558.

Web site: Fresh fish for here or to go

On Wednesday afternoon, a complete takeout dinner from Jerry's Gourmet & More, 410 S. Dean St. in Englewood, included a skin-on fillet of orata with sweet peppers, linguine in clam sauce with zucchini, and vegetable dumplings, above. A kale salad also was included, below.

Another Meal To Go from Jerry's included a large fillet of sea trout, above. Complete takeout dinners are $7.99 or $5.99 after 4 p.m., if there are any left. After 4 on Wednesday afternoon, I found three at the lower price.

A pesto-accented egg-white omelet stuffed with smoked wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, which is available at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro, but not at the Costco Business Center in Hackensack. I had it for breakfast with leftover Asian greens and boiled Kabocha squash.

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