Dining out has gone from being reserved for special occasions to becoming a way of life for many people. From fast-food joints to top-quality, white-tablecloth restaurants, eating out comes with its own set of expectations and standards. One of those expectations, especially when it comes to seafood, is that the food be fresh and the presentation flawless. As a consumer, each person has a role to play in making that expectation a reality. Here, restaurant industry expert Matthew Delsignore shares when to order seafood to not get disappointed.
Like many foods, each ocean catch has its prime season. Knowing what’s most likely to be fresh on the menu can make all the difference between a memorable event and an ordinary or less-than-spectacular meal.
Salmon is a favorite for a lot of people. Fortunately, depending on your favorite species of the fish, you can enjoy salmon at its peak for a good part of the year. Chinook and wild salmon are both sourced from the Pacific Northwest. They are at their peak from March through September or October. Coho salmon comes into the picture later in the year, around July, and provides a good source for restaurants for the next three or four months. Atlantic salmon, sourced from the Atlantic Northeast, is usually in good supply all year. Salmon is a safe bet for favorable seafood dining.
Another seafood favorite is mahi-mahi. Sourced from the South Pacific, where the waters are warm and the fish are always plentiful, mahi-mahi is a delectable, healthy choice you can feel comfortable making any month of the year.
Those much-loved king crab legs are most plentiful, and most attractively priced, in the fall and early winter months of September through December. The king crab is more endangered than many other creatures from the sea, largely due to past years of overfishing to support its great popularity. This, combined with a short fishing season for the crustacean, makes it a special seafood treat.
Ahi tuna, a favorite among sushi lovers, is in ample supply throughout the year. Ahi tuna, along with any number of other fish species, is a raw delight savored by many as a special dining out experience or as an appetizer. You don’t have to stop eating it raw. It also presents well as a fine tuna steak.
For those going for simple yet elegant, cod is a tender fish with a mild flavor. There are so many delicious recipes for this popular and readily available fish that you may never tire of ordering this selection from the menu.
Don’t worry about skimping on everybody’s favorite appetizer, shrimp cocktail. Shrimp accounts for about one-quarter of all seafood purchased and is a great accompaniment to many main courses. Supplies are usually plentiful year-around.
There are many common seafood items to tempt your palate, and most of them are available in sufficient supply to satisfy even the most ardent seafood lover. Gauging your tastes by seasonal availability will help ensure total satisfaction every time.
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