Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fresh Bluefish at $2.29 per pound

It's astounding how few varieties of fish most supermarkets carry. I often wonder whether it's really the consumer demands that generated our "over-fishing" problems, or whether it is the lack of demand-generation effort on the part of the retailers to encourage consumers to eat types of fish that are plentiful from our oceans.

On a good day, if you go to a general supermarket in the Boston area (e.g., Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Wholefoods, Shaws, Foodmaster, Roche Brothers), you may find one kind of fish for $5.99 a pound (even cat fish costs this much these days), but most will priced around $8.99 a pound. The varieties are usually limited to salmon, tuna, swordfish, cod, haddock, catfish, tilapia, trout, and your usual New England shellfish. Recently, I've been seeing more swai and pollack as well. But generally these are it. And they're expensive. For convenience sake, sometimes, I'd end up buying fish there, but I usually wait until I have to shop at Kam Man, the large Chinese Supermarket near my home in Quincy. I'm lucky that I live in a very racially diverse enough town where there is such a supermarket.

There are many, many more varieties of fish there at Kam Man that you don't see at other supermarkets. These are usually the plentiful fish and are the bargain items. The salmon is generally not much below prices at other supermarkets.

Most of this fish are very fresh–some (such as tilapia) are even live in tanks. You have to choose a fish, pick it up with a pair of tongs (as pictured above) and put it into a basket and then ask the clerk to clean and cut it for you. For bigger fish such as salmon and grouper and carp, you can get it by the pound, but for smaller fish, you have to pick a whole fish, which they weigh entirely and then cut and clean. Yesterday, I ended buying a 3.25 pound bluefish for $7.42 (@ $2.29 a lb). I had the clerk filet it, keeping the bones in the bag. Each filet will be served as entrĂ©es for two (a total of 4 servings), and the bones, head, and tail I plan to keep for fish stock.

My message here is: open your mind to ethnic supermarkets. You're likely to find good quality produce. More on how I prepared the bluefish later.


  1. How do you cook blue fish?

    I didn't know that blue fish existed, except in the word of Dr. Seuss (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish).

  2. Apparently, bluefish is one word (and I just corrected my spelling above). Here's a wikipedia entry on the fish It tastes a little like mackerel but slightly less fishy, but you can definitely tell that it's an ocean fish and not fresh water fish. There's actually a red fish that's native to Louisiana too, and I had it when I visited New Orleans, where there is actually a restaurant named after it.