Our family doesn't eat seafood often mainly because I don't know how to cook fish that well. But calamari, THAT I can do! Thanks to a local business, Real Good Fish, we were able to try sustainable calamari last week. Real Good Fish makes weekly deliveries of seafood from 25 different fisherman who catch from Ft. Bragg to Monterey. The business was started by graduate students on a mission to protect our oceans and local fishermen. Their story can be found here.
I picked up my delivery on a Thursday from the local public library. It felt funny walking into the library with a cooler bag and getting frozen seafood from the periodicals section. But when I chatted with the employee there, she said it was actually a popular program and many people worked or lived close by and picked up their weekly catches at the library. It made me feel good about supporting not just a community business (Real Good Fish) but also a community center like the library. My fish was kept adequately frozen and they offered insulated bags to carry the catch home even though I brought my own.
For more information on how it works, costs, and pick up locations, you can read the Real Good Fish website. I received a one time order free of charge to write this review.
Left: cleaned and gutted squid
Right: Smoked black cod
I started with drying my squid on paper towels. Then I cut half into rings and did a batter. I added cajun spices and other seasonings into a batch of flour and split that into two containers. A third bowl had milk. I battered my rings in this order before frying them: flour, milk, flour, fry.
The fried calamari rings turned out great! The batter was flavorful and crispy. I would cut the rings larger next time so I could taste more squid than batter. If the oil is hot, they cook up super fast. We dipped these in Sir Kensington's Special Sauce with a swirl of Sriracha sauce.
The remaining half of the squid were scored and simply seared on a panini maker in an attempt to get grill marks. I didn't get the grill marks and they were still very tasty. No seasonings, just a spray of Pam on the grill surface. For these, I used Vietnamese nuoc cham (fish sauce) and Japanese ponzu. They tasted best with the nuoc cham.
Here's our whole spread with soba noodles in a soba dipping sauce. Shaved brussel sprout salad in the middle. It was a wonderful dinner and a great way to add variety to our usual rotation of beef and chicken. Deliveries from sustainable fisheries are a great way to support local businesses and ensure we don't overfish from our oceans. You eat what is caught that week and don't create demand for fish from far locations that must be shipped over. For the home cook like me, it helps me practice cooking new recipes that I wouldn't otherwise cook. I hope you check out Real Good Fish and see their offerings.