Notes from the Island Fishmonger: The Dog Days of Summer

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By Scott Dolan

Man is it hot! No surprise, as Florida is like this every summer.

I’m trying to “chill” with air conditioning, cold-water oysters, snapper ceviche, octopus’ salad, and a refreshing cold one at happy hour which sometimes starts at noon on Siesta. A Captain Curt’s daiquiri is the way to go on a day off. Or, do the beach if that’s your thing.

The good news is that the fish are biting. Fishing captains are reporting that fishing is off the hook right now. American red snapper is available, as are black grouper, amberjack, and mahi-mahi.

All of Florida’s most popular local fish are in season, cost effective and abundant. I went out recently and had a field day catching about 10 different species. A lot of it was catch and release, but I did keep my limit of grouper and caught plenty of trout on the way in.

Do not worry about red tide affecting your edible fish. All commercial fish is inspected by the FWC before it moves into markets and commercial fisherman do not fish anywhere near an algae bloom. Fish kills on the beaches are very disappointing to say the least, but all we can do is our part. Keep the beaches and oceans clean. Trust me, there is a lot more ocean than there are infected areas.

The bad news is for crab-legs lovers. They are available, but the price has gone up considerably. Apparently, we are having trouble shipping anything from Canada and Alaska because of COVID-19 restrictions. Even the cost of lobster meat from Boston is through the roof because of demand and supply. You will probably see that taken off of many menus.

At Big water Fish Market, we will continue to sell crab and lobster even at cost if we have to, as I know our patrons count on Thursday lobster rolls and the best crab-leg steam pot on the key.

Speaking of the dog days of summer I thought I would have a little fun with this month’s recipe. Believe it or not, our dogs like to eat fish as well. At least most of them. I’m not a cat person, but I believe cats are fed canned tuna for the same reasons I give my dogs salmon.

This may sound silly to some of you, but I actually cook for my dogs. Always have. Yes, they are spoiled but they are my pups.

Be careful if you listen to me because it won’t be long before your dogs won’t even touch the dry food anymore. I have to mix it in with the meals and I do this just to make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need, plus it adds a little crunch which is good for their teeth.

I’m not saying to take your dog off proteins such as beef and chicken, as there is nothing wrong with red or white meat. Just know there is a healthier option out there, such as fish.

Same for people.

Fish meat offers a ton of great benefits. Not only is it low in transfats and saturated fats, but it contains a myriad of beneficial fats. Fish is rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids. A regular diet of fish can improve your dog’s cardiovascular and skin health and add a noticeable luster to your dog’s coat.

Is this cost effective, you ask? Actually, I think making your pet’s food is less expensive or equal to buying weekly dry dog food.

Option 1 is I grind up salmon tails and pieces, carrots, and celery every Sunday. I would be glad to do this for you upon request, as I know not everyone has a meat grinder.

Option 2 is to use canned goods, as I often do as well. Alternate between salmon, chicken and ground beef.

The recipe is simple, and I only do this twice a week:

1. Cook brown rice.

2. When almost cooked, add protein and veggie mix.

3. Crack a couple scrambled eggs or chopped hard-boiled eggs.

4. Mix, chill serve.

I’ve done my research and this is a very healthy, cost-effective and tasty way to spoil your loved ones.

By the way, do not feed dogs chocolate, or acidic foods like lemons, onions or garlic. It will only make your pup heavier.

Eat fish … live well.

Scott Dolan
Author: Scott Dolan

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