Diana interviewed owner Mark Drabich of Metropolitan Seafood, and got some good tips on buying and cooking seafood.
What should consumers look for when buying fish?
First, he says, know where you’re buying it. “If you walk in and there’s a fishy or ammonia smell, walk out the door. We invite customers to smell any of our fish – even bluefish.”
Second, establish a relationship with your fishmonger … Not only is it more enjoyable for everyone, he says, but “we get to know your preferences, your likes and dislikes. So if there’s something that you like that we don’t have because it’s not in season, we can recommend something else.
“Trust your instincts,” he says. Fish and seafood should look fresh, not dried or have any brown spots. There should also be a spring to the touch.
Another rule. Shop where they cut the fish they sell.
“The less time off the bone, the less oxidation occurs,” he says.”
For the … fish that packs a wallop of Omega 3 and vitamins, you can’t beat sardines, he says, which he gets fresh from Portugal and Greece. [see the recipe below]
Seafood and fish to avoid? “Stay away from processed scallops,” he says, “which are treated with chemicals and added water to equal 20 percent of their weight.”
Then there’s farm-raised salmon. The only kind he carries is organically raised in Ireland and Scotland. Because of their good farming practices, he says, no antibiotics or hormones have to be administered.
But then this is in keeping with his whole approach to seafood as is offering fish and seafood in season.
“There are certain times of the year that a fish isn’t available. That’s okay. Try something else.”
Diana managed to nab one of Mark’s recipes, this one for fresh sardines.
MARK’S ROASTED SARDINES
½ cup of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 ripe large tomatoes, finely chopped
½ cup of white wine
¼ cup of flat leaf parsley plus 2 tbsp for garnish
1 bay leaf
1 tsp of sea salt
2 pounds of fresh sardines, cleaned, headed and butterflied
4-5 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- Rinse sardines and pat dry with a paper towel. P
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil. When the onion and garlic soften, add chopped tomatoes, wine, parsley, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a roasting pan large enough to arrange the sardines in one even layer, distribute the sauce evenly over the bottom. Place the sardines folded over in a single layer (“okay if you overlap a little”). Arrange the tomato slices over the top, season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with a little sweet paprika.
- Drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 20 min. Remove from oven and garnish with parsley.
- Bring the roasting pan to the table and serve with crusty bread – “serves 4 for dinner or a very grateful party of 10.”
Diana Cercone is a freelance writer who writes about food in Bucks County and nearby.
Where to buy fresh seafood in Bucks and nearby
Bucks County Seafood
164 North Main Street
Dublin, PA 18917
Buckingham Valley Seafood
1489 Durham Road (2 mi. south of Rts. 202 & 413 intersection)
Captain Bob’s Fresh Seafood
West End Shopping Center
609 Southwest End Boulevard (Route 309)
Heller’s Seafood Market
1380 Easton Road
Warrington, PA 18976
Madara’s Seafood at the
Newtown Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers’ Market
2150 South Eagle Road
Newtown, PA 18940
1405 Main Street (Valley Square Shopping Center)
This post was updated August 2017