Notes from the Island Fishmonger: June

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Seafood & Spirits

Americans love fish and are eating more of it every day. Whether we are eating it in the restaurants or buying it to take home and cook, we all can agree that seafood and spirits are a match made in heaven and there are some spirits that go better with seafood than others.

I turned to three local seafood foodies for their seafood and spirits recommendations.

1. Tony, Amy and Golf from Star Thai & Sushi on Siesta Key.

It is my favorite place on the island for Sushi and I always take their recommendation to enjoy a nice sake with my sushi.

My sushi of choice is a special one on the menu that is a lightly fried roll with tuna, salmon, white fish, and cream cheese. It is topped with fried shrimp and 3 Flavors Sauce (ask Golf which one that is).

The recommended sake is Jizake Tenzan and is made from highly refined Saikai No. 134 rice. It goes through a high level of scrutiny for brewing suitability. It is best enjoyed chilled or on the rocks and has won awards at wine-and-spirit conventions.

2. Sarah Lansky.

She’s a foodie, a blogger, salesperson of wine and caviar, but most importantly she helped rescue the restaurant business in Sarasota during the pandemic.

As you know, we all were dependent on take-out for a while and Sarah was one of the main driving forces encouraging it.

She created the Curbside Suncoast Food & Drink To-Go page on Facebook — it was her baby.  Some of us in the business wouldn’t have made it without her and that’s real talk!

Big Water Fish Market is now in the caviar business because of her and Black River Caviar, which is the product. This is a Russian sturgeon raised in pristine waters from the Caspian Sea Oscietra sturgeon. These black caviar pearls open with an intricate crisp spray of clean salt air with nutty flavors, finishing with excellent balance and length.

It pairs well with a chilled vodka, or Sarah also strongly suggests a good sipping tequila.

 3. Tracy Freeman, the owner and editor of Edible Magazine.

 Her favorite is the colossal, stone, or snow crab. She buys it from her favorite seafood market on Siesta Key.

The crab pairs well with Lola chardonnay (winemaker is local, Seth Cripe) and she picks it up next door to the market at Siesta Spirits.

The citrus aromas with a hint of oak pair perfectly with the sweetness of the crab. Her kids love it when she pulls out the big silver steam pot, as crab is a family favorite.

As for what you can expect at your local fish markets this summer, American red snapper season run from June 4 to July 28 this year. This is a very versatile fish and can be cooked in several different ways. It is moist and delicate with a mild, slightly sweet taste that pairs with many additional flavors.

Of course, the standard grouper, mahi-mahi, tripletail, and hogfish will also be plentiful this summer.

Also, Crystal River just opened up for scalloping for those who are adventurous and would like to do a day trip and dig for their own.

— Scott Dolan

Scott Dolan
Author: Scott Dolan

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