Sea Scallop Ceviche Recipe from The Fishmonger’s Apprentice

Just loved this recipe!

Sea Scallop Ceviche with Citrus and Mint

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer. From “The Fishmonger’s Apprentice” by Aliza Green (Quarry Books, 2011).

1 pound large natural sea scallops, trimmed

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup orange (or tangerine) juice

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper flakes

6 red radishes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint

2 ruby grapefruits, sectioned

Slice each scallop crosswise into three or four thin rounds. Combine 1/4 cup each lime juice and orange juice and half the salt, and mix lightly with the scallops. Cover and marinate for 15 minutes, refrigerated. Drain scallops.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining lime juice, orange juice, chipotle flakes, the remaining salt, radishes, and basil. Toss with the drained scallops.
Divide the scallops into six portions and pile into the center of the salad plates, preferably chilled. Arrange the grapefruit segments in a fan shape alongside the scallops, drizzle with the remaining marinade and serve immediately.
Note: By “natural” scallops, Green means ones that have not been treated with phosphates.

Read more about phospates used to treat scallops and other seafood >>here (gotta write that one out!)

Source:

Seafood author a catch for Working Waterfront Festival | SouthCoastToday.com.

Working Waterfront Festival closes with shucking contest, blessing of the fleet | SouthCoastToday.com

Hope to post a few more videos of this amazing scallop shucking contest.

Here’s one I took:

Working Waterfront Festival closes with shucking contest, blessing of the fleet | SouthCoastToday.com.

Someday, someone needs to do an in-depth video documentary of this contest and the good people of New Bedford, MA.

Escolar: The World’s Most Dangerous Fish // Medellitin

You probably want to know about this.

Especially if you really love swordfish, as I do.

Had something in a restaurant last night that might have been escolar.

And yes, I have actually eaten escolar – and the symptoms today were very similar to what I experienced before.

Know your fish. Know your fish monger !

Escolar: The World’s Most Dangerous Fish // Medellitin.

Spat growout: There’s more to the ‘ME scalloper loses gonads’ story

Reprinted with permission from COMMERCIAL FISHERIES NEWS • JUNE 2013

SOUTHWEST HARBOR, ME – For Maine sea scallop diver Andy Mays, Nov. 26, 2012 was a typical day. Pull the scallop gonads out of cold storage, drop them off with a scientist at a local gas station, and then go diving for more scallops. Pretty normal – until he put the scallop guts into the wrong car.

Fortunately, Mays was lucky. Before things started to thaw and get really interesting, and thanks to the magic of Facebook, the scallop guts were found.

Within 48 hours, two buckets labeled “formaldehyde” were discovered in the back seat of a University of Maine professor’s car that happened to look exactly like the four-door blue Chevy of the correct scientist.

The Maine news media picked up on the crisis and the “Southwest Harbor Man Seeking Scallop Guts” story was reprinted in papers as far away as Boston, Kansas City, and Seattle.

Even Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” sent out a crew to spend what must have been an interesting few hours on Mays’ lobster boat and interview a number of the people involved in the story. The resulting hilarious spoof of the incident is worth watching online at <www. colbertnation.com/articles/scallops>.

But back to the real question: “Why was Mays collecting scallop guts in the first place?”

Image_001

Maine scallop diver Andy Mays shows some of the wild-caught scallop spat he has collected. Mays delivers the spat to researchers for growout.

Dana Morse photos

It’s illegal to land or possess scallop guts in any state, including Maine, because they can contain paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) toxins. Since this stuff can make you deathly ill, it is closely monitored by regulatory agencies around the world and is a critical reason why US seafood lovers do not dine on scallop gonads, which are favored in Europe and elsewhere by gourmets and gourmands alike as roe-on scallops.

PSP’s kick comes from saxitoxin, which is 10,000 times more deadly than cyanide. Fortunately, not all scallop guts contain deadly levels of saxitoxin and not all saxitoxins are lethal. So, there are special rules, permits, and “letters of authorization” that allow for the careful handling of scallop guts, particularly in the name of scientific research.

Mays harvests large, super-fresh sea scallops and sells them as “Maine Diver Scallops.” These are incredibly delicious, mostly because they get to the restaurants beautifully fresh and unadulterated in any way and chefs and diners are happy to pay a premium for them.

Divers also get a premium because some believe their harvest method, which doesn’t disturb the seafloor, is more sustainable. This is debated by draggers, who point out that divers select the larger scallops that collect in rock piles draggers can’t access.

Dotted along Maine’s craggy coast, these rock piles hosted large broodstock scallops and served as spawning sanctuaries long before divers entered the scene. Then came the urchin boom of the 1990s, when hundreds of optimistic entrepreneurs donned dive suits to seek their fortunes in what became known as Maine’s urchin gold rush.

This dramatically increased the number of commercial diver fishermen in the state and many of them targeted scallops as well, particularly after the urchin boom – predictably – went bust.

While the debate over dive vs. drag rages on, dive-caught scallops continue to receive the premium, and if you haven’t had a Maine diver scallop, see if you can find one somewhere. They’re featured only on the toniest menus, and while some say frozen is as good as fresh, the fresh season is only from December until approximately March when the quota is harvested.

Spat collection

Of course, Mays can’t get enough of them, so he’s working on a couple of ideas on how to boost scallop production.

Years ago, Mays and other Maine scallopers landed well over $10 million worth of scallops in a good year. More recently, catches have fallen to a tenth of that. Other fisheries – lobster being the big dog in the pack – are doing well, but, overall, stocks of most wild fish have declined.

Mays sees what’s going on down on the bottom every day. In addition to being lucky and tough enough to dive in 40°F water for scallops as weather allows during the December through March Maine scallop season, he’s a budding aquaculturist and one persistent guy.

(And, as an aside, he’s got heart, too. Mays named his 35′ lobster boat “Lost Airmen” in honor of an uncle and others lost when their World War II B-17 plane went down in the North Sea.)

Through his volunteer work on the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Scallop Advisory Council, Mays, along with a few dozen other fishermen, are in the process of figuring out a way to help grow and put back more scallops than they take.

Working within special permits, they set out “spat bags.” When scallops spawn, the baby scallops (spat) go through a microscopic developmental stage where they swim around looking for a place to attach.

If you put your bags in the right place at the right time, you can catch millions of these tiny scallops. There, they avoid predators and grow shells so they can be collected, handled, and planted later on.

Working with University of Maine (UME) Darling Marine Center graduate student Skylar Bayer, Mays was collecting scallop gonads to try to identify the exact moment when the scallops spawn so he could place his spat bags down at the optimal time to collect the greatest number of babies.

Bayer pointed out that identifying the right moment is just one piece of the puzzle of figuring out how to boost scallop reproduction in Maine’s unique waters.

Image_004
Skylar Bayer with spat collectors that were put out last fall to collect scallop spat.

Rich Whale Photo

She added that her work is sponsored by the industry-funded scallop research set-aside program, which is administered by the National Marine Fisheries Service, and conducted in collaboration with Bob Maxwell, a commercial harvester from New Jersey, and UME scientists Rick Wahle and Pete Jumars. You can read more about the project on her blog at <http://strictlyfishwrap.com/2012/11/30/ why-my-nads-are-so-important>.

Dana Morse, a Maine Sea Grant marine extension associate also based at the Darling Marine Center, called Mays “one of a great bunch of guys we work with doing good collaborative research. He’s in the process of adapting what others have learned, applying it in his own way, and sharing the results with others.”

Mays delivers his fully loaded spat bags to the researchers for growout.

“Then we replant the baby scallops where we think they’ll do best, all the while monitoring things like survival rate,” Morse said.

But, in truth, Mays said, “We don’t really know how things end up when they hit the bottom.”

It’s not only people who find scallops to be delicious. Starfish and crabs and who knows what else, including the burgeoning population of lobsters, like to dine on baby scallops.

“There’s still much fine-scale work to be done to both figure out how to increase survival rate in the wild and to ultimately convince fishermen this will really work,” Morse said.

Japan’s experience

Morse, Mays, and other shellfish fishermen interested in aquaculture have studied Japan’s Aomori Prefecture to learn about scallop aquaculture.

While Maine’s wild scallop harvest and associated revenue have fallen significantly in recent years, Japan has increasingly profited by intense scallop aquaculture over the past few decades.

The Sea of Japan’s rich currents and nutrients long ago inspired scientists and fishermen to learn to boost the productivity of their native scallops by collecting spat, growing it out in hatcheries, and then putting it back in specialty nets to let the young scallops grow large enough for harvest.

China and recent upstart Chile now beat Japan, using spat collection and growout-styleaquaculture to boost scallop production to levels unheard of in nature, so much so that imported supplies of farmed scallops are known to seafood lovers around the world.

Japan’s 2011 tragic tsunami may indirectly benefit Maine scallopers this year. Shortfalls in supply have driven world prices higher, so Maine scallopers may get up to a dollar a pound more for their product than they have in recent years.

Mays reported that, by April, his scallop spat collectors will contain 2,000–3,000 larval scallops. In a good year, he puts out 100 bags. Morse added that this is a great addition to Sea Grant’s scallop hatchery and collaborative research efforts.

All told, fishermen up and down the coast of Maine following these methods could end up putting millions of scallops every year back into the ocean to grow, spawn, and to eventually be collected by fishermen.

At the local wholesale price of $10 per pound, with an average count of 10–20 per pound, each scallop generates between 50 cents to $1 in revenue to a scalloper. Not bad. Diver scallops generate a nice premium on top of that, $1.60 or more, according to Togue Brawn of Maine Day Boat Scallops Inc.

From a purely mathematical standpoint, a couple dozen hours invested by each fisherman could yield a $100,000 in return on investment.
But to actually get there, Morse said, “We still have a long way to go.”

Morse is working to find a way to consider spat collection “fishing” rather than “aquaculture” to make permitting simpler and faster.

Given some additional luck and teamwork from folks like Mays and Morse, and a good deal of time, maybe instead of seeing Chinese or Chilean imported frozen scallops at the fish counter, consumers soon will be seeing more and better scallops from Maine.

Geoffrey Day

Geoffrey Day is a writer, blogger, ecological activist, and, for over five years was the recipient of a series of federal grants to study the biotoxicity of scallop roe and viscera.

During that time, he successfully ran a market test on Cape Cod proving that roe-on scallops, when harvested legally, are a sought-after and delicious way to consume scallops.

He can be reached through his blog at <www.Day-Boat-Scallops.com>, where a version of this article was first published. In the coming months, CFN will run part two of this story, which will focus on the potential for building a market for roe-on Maine scallops.

 

• 35

About those lost gonads…

Maine Scalloper Loses Gonads, Finds Gonads, Makes Friends

Southwest Harbor, ME

For Andy Mays, Maine sea scallop diver, it was a day like any other day. Pull the scallop gonads out of cold storage, drop them off with a scientist at a local gas station, and then go diving for more scallops. Pretty normal. Until he put the scallop guts into the wrong car. Said some local wag: “…this is an instant Maine classic in the making.”

Yes, lots of colorful language ensued. Some refer to what happened as a WTF moment. Fortunately, Mays is lucky. Lucky plus he knows how to put the word out – and he’s got a great attitude. Michelle Mays put the word out on the Bar Harbor Barter and Swap and their Facebook Walls chronicled what followed. Somehow the Maine news media picked the story up. Seems like the original “Southwest Harbor Man Seeking Scallop Guts” story has legs, apparently API picked it up and it has been reprinted in papers as far away as Boston, Kansas City and Seattle.

While the news is good, the scallop guts’ 15 minutes of fame looks like it isn’t quite over yet. For those who missed the live discussion on Facebook, Andy Mays put a unique spin on things, saying “this kind of s*** happens to me all the time. We’ll have a laugh and then it will solve itself, and I usually make a friend in the process.” Before things started to thaw and get really interesting, and thanks to the magic of social media, Mays’s scallop guts were found. Within 48 hours, two buckets labeled “formaldehyde” were discovered in the back seat of a University of Maine professor’s car that happened to look exactly like the four door blue Chevy with official State of Maine plates of the correct scientist. Mays is making allot of new friends too – he’s been interviewed on Maine Public Radio and then Steven Colbert sent out a TV crew who spent what must have been an interesting few hours as guests on the Lost Airmen, May’s lobsterboat.

You may ask, What was he doing with scallop guts anyway? Few know this, but sea scallop guts are illegal to land or possess in any state including Maine on top of being just plain yucky. Scallop guts are tightly regulated as they are known to contain high levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) toxins, and this stuff is a) sometimes so lethal it can make you deathly ill, b) closely monitored by regulatory agencies around the world, and c) a critical reason why US seafood lovers do not dine on scallop gonads, favored in Europe and elsewhere by gourmets and gourmands alike as roe-on scallops.

The first part is why it is illegal. PSP’s kick of toxicity comes from saxitoxin, one of the most deadly toxins out there, so deadly in fact that it is 10,000 times more deadly than cyanide. Fortunately, not all scallop guts contain deadly levels of saxitoxin and not all saxitoxins are lethal. There are special rules, permits and Letters of Authorization that allow for the careful handling of scallop guts, particularly in the name of scientific research. It is so well regulated that illness from saxitoxin from legally obtained shellfish is vanishingly rare. The second part doesn’t quite explain WHY Mays was collecting scallop guts, but we’ll get there in a minute. The third part is interesting and may lead to new ways to utilize and profit from sea scallops.

So why was Mays collecting scallop guts?

In addition to being a scallop diver, Mays, due to his studies at the University of Maine, is also a bit of an aquaculturist. As a diver, he harvests super fresh sea scallops that he sells as “Maine Diver Scallops.” These are incredibly delicious, in part because they aren’t harmed or adulterated in any way, and mostly because they get to the restaurants beautifully fresh and 100% natural. Maine divers have figured out that they can select only the largest scallops, and chefs and diners are happy to pay a premium for these super large, super fresh scallops. Divers are also given a premium because some believe their harvest method, which doesn’t damage the seafloor, is more sustainable. This is debated by draggers, who note divers select the larger scallops that collect in rockpiles draggers can’t access. Dotted along Maine’s craggy coast, these rockpiles served as spawning sanctuaries for century before divers entered the scene. Then in the 1990’s, when Maine’s urchin fishery boomed, hundreds of optimistic entrepreneurs donned dive suits to seek their fortunes in what became known as Maine’s urchin gold rush. This dramatically increased the number of commercial diver fishermen and many of them targeted scallops as well, particularly after the urchin boom (predictably) went bust. While the debate over dive versus drag rages on, dive-caught scallops continue to receive a premium, and if you haven’t had a Maine diver scallop, you need to go out and try one.

Years ago, Mays and other Maine scallopers landed well over 10 million dollars worth of scallops in a good year. In recent years, catches are one tenth of that. Other fisheries, lobster being the big dog in the pack, are doing well, but overall, stocks of most wild fish have collapsed, consumers are buying and eating more fish, the number of seafood consumers or fishermen isn’t falling, so fish catches can’t rise unless something else happens.
Mays sees what’s going on down on the bottom every day, and in addition to being lucky and tough enough to dive in forty degree water for scallops as weather allows during the December through March Maine scallop, he’s one persistent guy. And he’s got heart. He’s named his 35 foot lobster boat “Lost Airmen” to honor an uncle and others lost at sea when his WWII B-17 plane went down in the North Sea. Through his volunteer work on Maine’s Scallop Advisory Council, Mays, along with a few dozen other fishermen, are in the process of figuring out a way to help grow and put back more scallops than they take.

Maybe they can help reverse the tide. Despite the naysayers and lack of sufficient research dollars, working within their special permits, they set out what are known as “spat bags.” When scallops spawn, the baby scallops (spat) have a microscopic developmental stage where they swim around looking for a place to attach. If you happen to have placed your gear in the right place at the right time, you can catch millions of these tiny scallops as they take shelter in these special bags that let them avoid predators and grow shells so that they can be collected, handled and planted later on. So Mays, working with U Maine’s Darling Marine Center scientist Skylar Bayer, was collecting scallop gonads over time to try to identify the exact moment when they spawn so that he could place his scallop spat bags down at the optimal time to collect the greatest number of baby scallops. Bayer points out there’s a lot more information they are after and identifying the right moment is just one piece of the puzzle of figuring out the keys to boosting scallop reproduction in Maine’s unique waters.

Dana Morse, shellfish specialist at Maine SeaGrant, says, “Andy is one of a great bunch of guys we work with doing good collaborative research. He’s in the process of adapting what others have learned, applying it in his own way and sharing the results with others. He’ll bring his fully loaded spat bags to us, and in theory we grow out the spat and then we replant the baby scallops where we think they’ll do best, all the while monitoring things like survival rate.” In truth, May says “we don’t really know how things end up when they hit the bottom.” Scallops are delicious, and starfish and crabs and who knows what else (including a burgeoning population of lobsters) like to dine on baby scallops. Morse say “there still much fine scale work to be done to both figure out how to increase survival rate in the wild and to ultimately convince fishermen this will really work.”

Morse and Mays and other shellfishermen interested in aquaculture study Japan’s Aomori Prefecture to learn about scallop aquaculture. Maine’s wild scallop harvest has fallen significantly in recent years, driven in part by overfishing due to ineffective or absent management, random cycling in nature or some combination of all three factors, and despite rising prices, Maine’s scallop revenue has plummeted. Yet Japan has increasingly profited by intense scallop aquaculture over the past few decades. There, the Sea of Japan’s rich currents and nutrients inspired scientists and fishermen long ago to learn to boost the productivity of their native scallops by collecting spat, growing it out in hatcheries and then putting it back in specialty nets to let the young scallops grow large enough for harvest. China and recent upstart Chile now beats Japan where spat collection and growout style aquaculture boosts scallop production to levels unheard of in nature, so much so that imported supplies of farmed scallops are known to seafood lovers around the world. This year, Japan’s tragic misfortune due to the recent tsunami may indirectly be to Maine scalloper’s benefit. Shortfalls in supply have driven world scallop prices higher so Maine scallopers may get up to a dollar a pound more for their product than they have in recent years.

Today, Mays reports that by April, his scallop spat collectors will contain 2,000 – 3,000 larval scallops. In a good year, he puts out 100 bags. Morse reports that this is a great addition to his scallop hatchery and collaborative research efforts. All told, fishermen up and down the coast of Maine following these methods could end up generating millions of scallops every year that go back into the ocean to grow, spawn and to eventually be collected by fishermen. At the local wholesale price of ten dollars per pound, with the average scallops counting out to 10 – 20 per pound, each scallop generates between 50 cents to $ 1.00 in revenue to a scalloper. Not bad. Diver scallops generate a nice premium on top of that.

From a purely mathematical standpoint, a couple dozen hours invested by each fisherman could yield a hundred thousand dollars in return on investment. But to actually get there, Morse says “we still have a long way to go.” Mays reports that his work while originally under the radar is now much easier to do thanks to his new special permit. Morse is working on a way to consider spat collection “fishing” rather than aquaculture so permitting is simpler and faster so guys like Mays can be legal. Unfortunately, the big picture is that true scallop aquaculture is a long way off in the future. True aquaculture is big business, requiring significant permitting to allow for specialty property rights, special uses of wet and dry real estate, lots of science and development and the kind of concentrated financial resources that are well out of reach of the average scalloper. Given some additional luck and teamwork from folks like Mays and Morse, and not a little time, maybe instead of seeing Chinese or Chilean imported frozen scallops on the fish counter, we’ll be seeing a better quality product imported from Maine.

But some people aren’t just interested in the so called “white meat” scallop fishery. Around the world, scallopers can more than double their catch weight when they harvest and sell scallops with roe rather than throwing it overboard like they do today. This orange or white-hued crescent attached to the white muscle meat that can weigh about the same, is a delicious and lucrative addition. When they harvest properly, scallopers can double their income per hour without having to take more scallops. That benefits everyone, including the scallops. Consumers have a tasty and nutritious alternative cuisine to try, and chefs love having a new seafood product to feature on their menu. How do they do it? Shucking roe-on is the easy part. All it takes is additional flick of the knife. The harder part is their scientists and food safety specialists (over there they are called Vets) routinely test the scallops and scallop beds for a variety of toxins, and open and close the specialty fishery as needed so they can assure that toxic shellfish never enters the marketplace and consumers won’t be harmed by the toxins.

In Maine, this is not all that different from the softshell clam industry, or mussels or hardshell clams or any other type of clam. PSP scientists in Maine, among the best in the country, are well trained in both detecting and forecasting if, or when, there will be a toxin closure. Working with shellfish safety experts, regulators working for Maine’s Department of Natural Resources monitor toxicity levels daily and open and close specific areas based on toxicity levels. Fishermen simply adapt by switching to different fisheries to avoid closed areas, fishing in only open areas and helping the scientists collect samples to help with the detection. The only difference between this type of closure and the ones that would allow for the safe harvesting of sea scallop roe is that the Maine shellfish resource (excluding sea scallops) is a multi-million dollar inshore fishery.

Folks familiar with some of the more unusual fisheries in Maine know this is very similar to how mahogany quahog fishermen working out of Washington County were able to create a multi-million dollar fishery. Aided by a landing tax, PSP scientists now routinely sample beds offshore and fishermen work collaboratively on charters to monitor areas, bring in samples and to fish only in the areas deemed safe. Further south, sea clam fisheries may be expanding soon into areas once closed due to concerns for PSP toxicity as increasingly accurate testing methods become more common and at-sea-testing can allow for targeting of clams free of PSP toxicity.

Sea scallops are for the most part found outside of areas normally tested for toxicity, and shellfish safety officers in Maine don’t yet directly monitor sea scallop toxicity. On top of that, the sea scallop fishery, generating a fraction of the revenue generated by other fisheries in Maine is limited to a few short months in the winter, after the spawn, so the roes are not market-ready when the scallop grounds are open.

Togue Brawn, Maine’s “Scallop Lady,” says she’s working on trying to change this. Maine’s scallop fishery has traditionally taken place in the winter, after scallops have spawned and their roe is largely depleted. Although inconvenient for those who would focus on roe, it’s practical for the harvesters, who generally hold lobster licenses and fish for lobster in spring, summer and fall. Even if a scallop fishermen doesn’t fish for lobster, there’d be little chance of getting a drag through Maine’s coastal waters while the lobster fishery is in full swing: with between 2 and 3 million traps in the water, you couldn’t tow for more than a minute without interference. While mobile gear fisheries have declined in recent decades, the lobster fishery has exploded, with current lobster landings more than four times the historic average. But while most in Maine focus on the lobster fishery, Togue, formerly a resource management coordinator with Maine’s Department of Natural Resources, focuses on scallops. She believes Maine’s scallop fishery could be restored to bring millions of dollars to Maine’s coastal communities. She left her job there to focus on promoting Maine scallops at her company, Maine Dayboat Scallops, Inc. and I expect we’ll be hearing more from her soon.

For years, fishermen and resource managers have been interested in the bigger payoff from selling scallops with roe, and specialty licenses have been issued to a few aquaculturists interested in selling both the familiar “white meat” scallops and scallops with roe. To date, none have sufficiently cracked the code and succeeded in bringing roe-on scallops to market in sufficient quantities. Plus, few fishermen have the patience or interest in building the political will to drive this forward, nevermind the resources to take the risk developing a new fishery.

More importantly, scientists and scallopers up and down the coast have been trying to figure out that big puzzle that Bayer speaks about: what can we do to boost scallop production, especially in low cost, high payoff ways? Some pieces are starting to fit together. Maine’s recently begun the long process of rotational management, where certain areas containing lots of small scallops are occasionally closed for a few seasons to allow them to grow large, while others are left open to allow harvest. Yes, fishermen have to take a couple of years hit in profit to make this work, but rotational management is paying off bigtime for scallopers working far west and south of those Downeast. Prices and catches reported at New Bedford, the nation’s capital of sea scallop production, are at all time highs in recent years. Initial reports rolling in from the freshly opened Maine scallop season seem to indicate that this is starting to work. Maine divers and draggers alike are reporting nice catches of large scallops in the first few days of the season and the price is staying nice and high. Stay tuned. We’ll know in a few more years.

Perhaps with some help, Mays’s luck may start paying off in bigger ways.

Geoffrey Day is a writer, blogger, ecological activist and for over 5 years was the recipient of a series of federal grants studying the bio-toxicity of scallop roe and viscera. During that time, he successfully ran a market test on Cape Cod proving that roe-on scallops, when harvested legally, are a both sought after and delicious way to consume scallops. He can be reached through his blog at Day-Boat-Scallops.com.

Copyright 2013 Geoffrey Day