This time of summer the Atlantic Harpoon swordfish are in season. New England fishermen call it “harpoon” season. The fisherman, or “strikers,” head out to the Western Atlantic Ocean in small fishing boats and actually hunt the ocean surface for the swordfish. When one is spotted near the surface the striker harpoons the big fish by hand. A fish caught this way can range from 150 to 600 pounds.
A striker goes after a Swordfish on a calm day.
Each day the daily catch is brought in and sold to local markets, and the Swordfish steaks usually end up on someone’s plate in less than 24 hours, creating an incredible New England seafood experience for enlightened connoisseurs.
The practice of harpooning swordfish predates industrial scale fishing or “long line fishing” where thousands of baited hooks hang on floated lines that can be more than 30 miles long. The long-line hooks do not discriminate between the type and size of fish caught and experts say the practice in the past has depleted swordfish stocks in some places. International laws are now in place now to limit the catch of the long lines, and these fishermen are closely monitored.
Harpoon swordfish hunters, or “strikers,” take their catch at a much slower, more selective rate. The strikers only go after the large fish that are well past breeding age and avoid baby swordfish in the breeding grounds. The fish are then delivered fresh daily to markets and restaurants in New England. The selective practice presents no threat to swordfish stocks.
While swordfish are found worldwide they are only in season in New England during the summer when the water is warmer. According to research, the big fish tend to congregate where ocean waters have sharp temperature breaks (above 58°F) and where strong ocean currents meet. This creates a turbulent environment where there is abundant food. Along with the strikers, sport fishermen also ply these waters with rod and tackle seeking the big Swordfish.
Whether broiled, baked, grilled or on a kabob, fresh from the ocean swordfish is a favorite of first-time seafood initiates as well as seafood connoisseurs. Swordfish has a meaty texture and mild flavor. Swordfish also offers a low-fat, low-calorie healthy choice for all seafood lovers. Fresh swordfish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals that are good for the heart.
Atlantic Harpoon Swordfish, fresh off the dock, is among the most popular Boston and Cape Cod seafood treats. This time of summer, many downtown restaurants feature day-boat swordfish steaks. In fact, the delicious fish is almost as popular as a specialty steak in Boston steakhouses.
Fresh Harpoon Swordfish Marinated and Grilled
The most popular fresh summer swordfish recipe is also the simplest. Marinated and grilled.
Here is a great recipe for a one-pound, 1 ½ -inch thick fresh swordfish steak.
Mix in a bowl:
a teaspoon of fresh chopped basil,
½ cup of olive oil,
a small clove of chopped fresh garlic,
fresh ground pepper to taste.
If desired, a dash of fresh lime or lemon juice may be added.
Coat the steak and let marinate for one to two hours. Cook on a medium-high grill for four minutes on each side, or until firm to the touch. Only flip the steak once. Do not overcook as the swordfish will get dry very quickly. Remove from the grill and let stand for one minute before partitioning. Leave the skin on when grilling to help keep the fish moist but remove to partition and serve.
Today fresh Atlantic swordfish can be shipped overnight by a Cape Codonline seafood retailer anywhere in the United States. This means anyone – from Florida to Kansas – can enjoy delicious swordfish that only 24 hours earlier were swimming in the clean, crisp ocean waters off Cape Cod.
The Maine lobster clambake with freshly harvested steamer clams is one of those wonderful summertime dinners that locals enjoy up and down the New England coast. But for many people, a basket of freshly cooked steamers can be a fabulous dock-side lunch or dinner all by themselves.
The steamer is a soft shell clam known by many names. Steamers can be called the Ipswich clam, the long neck clam, the belly clam, the fried clam and other not so flattering terms. The shell is soft enough to break with your fingers. Steamers are readily identified because the long neck, or snout, stick out of the shell. They are harvested from saltwater sandbars and saltwater mud flats. The clams live in the sand just below the surface and are famous for “squirting” water when people walk by, making them easy to find.
The best soft shell clams are still harvested by hand and are usually available year round, except when the flats freeze. They are sold daily to markets and stored in mesh bags in large, airy coolers. Although easy to prepare, it is important to follow some basic steps.
Ipswich Steamer Clams Recipe Popular in Boston and Cape Cod
At least one hour before cooking, place the clams in a clean sink (no soap or other residue) and just cover the clams with cold water. Add two drops of white vinegar to the water to help the clams expel any sand they have in their shells. Stir the clams gently and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain the sink flushing any sand residue. This time without vinegar, cover the clams with cold water again, gently stir, and let soak for five minutes. Drain. Discard any clams with broken shells.
Four pounds of freshly dug steamer clams
2 large stalks of fresh celery
2 medium yellow onions
1 stick salted butter
1 fresh lemon
Steamer Clam Preparation:
Clean steamer clams with white vinegar as described
Cut celery stalks into two inch pieces
Cut onions into two inch quarters
Cut lemon into ¼ size wedges
Melt butter and place in ramekins
Add water to large steaming kettle or lobster pot 1/4th of the way up
Bring to roiling boil
Place steamers, onions and celery into pot at the same time and cover
Gently stir clams twice
Cook for 12 minutes until the clam shells open (do not overcook)
Drain broth from the kettle into ramekins.
Squeeze lemon wedges into melted butter
Remove clams from kettle and discard any unopened shells
Note: Dip to wash clam in broth and then use the fingers to remove the membrane covering the neck. Most people will eat the entire clam, while some leave the neck. Dip clam in the melted butter and enjoy. As an aside, don’t forget that day boat scallops are now in season and can be ordered for home delivery.
Are you ready to enjoy your Maine Lobster? Here’s a few tips on how to eat a whole Maine Lobster and have you looking like a seafood aficionado in no time.
First gather up a nutcracker (or pliers), a small fork and nut pick. After molting, a lobster will have a soft shell and be pliable. If you have a hard shell lobster, a pair of lobster scissors will make short work of cracking the claws and getting the meat out.
Before serving it is best to let a boiled or steamed lobster drain for a minute. It’s a good idea to pierce the tail at the chest of the body with a chef’s knife to allow water to drain faster. Serve the lobster hot.
A bib is recommended when cracking as you can never tell when some water is likely to spray out right onto your shirt. Make sure you have plenty of towels, too. Melt the butter and slice up some lemon. Put the bib on and you are ready.
Hold the body of the lobster with one hand and twist the claw off with the other. The claw will break off where it connects to the body.
Crack each claw along its length with the nut cracker or cut with the lobster shell open with the lobster scissors. Remove the meat from the claws by pushing the meat out from the end of the claw with the small fork or pick.
Grab the lobster body again and twist the tail from the body. Pull the flippers from the tail. Crack the tail along its length and push the meat out from one end with the fork. Remove the tail meat in one piece and discard the vein that runs along the length. Next pick the meat from the flippers.
Twist the small legs from the body and remove the meat from the legs with the pick. You can also choose to squeeze the meat from the legs with your teeth.
Next separate the shell from the body by pulling the shell apart on the underside. The shell will disconnect from the body exposing the tenderest meat of the lobster. Remove and discard the green substance called the tomalley. Remove the meat from the body and leg joints with a pick.
The rest of the lobster should be discarded.
Note: If found, the roe (red female eggs) are often considered a delicacy and used to make lobster butter or is used in the stuffing for baked stuffed lobster.
Every New Year holiday there is heard the same debate about what size lobster to order for the New Year’s Eve dinner celebration. Do bigger lobster have more meat? Are bigger lobster tough when cooked? Are jumbo lobster priced better?
There are differing opinions on the quality of taste between a smaller lobster and a jumbo lobster, but these opinions are based on legend and not fact. Cooked properly, a six-pound lobster will be just as delicious as a 1-1/2 pound lobster. However, care must be taken not to overcook a large lobster. Overcooked lobster meat will toughen quickly. Steaming is the most forgiving way to cook a jumbo lobster. So follow cooking instructions and tips carefully and your jumbo lobster will be just as succulent as a smaller lobster.
Fresh is Best
Among the most important factors affecting taste is freshness. Ocean fresh is best. For example, supermarket lobster that sit in tanks for weeks at a time will begin to lose weight as the claw meat shrinks. When cooked, the supermarket lobster won’t taste as succulent as an ocean fresh lobster.
The next important factor is to make sure the lobster is flavorful is to order what is called the “hard shell lobster.” Lobsters “molt,” which means they shed their shell as they grow. After molting, the lobster’s new shell is soft. During this growth period, lobsters are in a weakened condition and do not travel well. Soft-shell lobster also have less meat for their size and some people are of the opinion soft shells are not necessarily as flavorful as the hard shells. The connoisseur won’t take a chance and will usually avoid soft-shell lobster.
So the keys to succulent jumbo lobster is careful cooking, freshness and selecting hard shells, but are jumbo lobster also a good value?
Larger lobster have a higher volume-to-surface ratio, yielding a little more meat per pound. Not a big difference, but there is a difference. On a practical level, jumbo lobster have larger legs, swimmerets, body and shoulders. The meat in these parts of the lobster is considered a delicacy. The truth is, on a large lobster the meat in those places is much easier to get at then on a smaller lobster. The legs especially will have a higher volume of meat. The larger claws on jumbos will also offer up to 20% more of the very desirable sweet claw meat.
Wild Caught Lobster
The Maine lobster lives in the ocean and is still harvested much as they were in the 19th century. Lobster fishermen go out in season to collect lobster from their traps and the lobster is delivered to market daily. Since the harvest varies from month to month, lobster prices go up and down with supply and demand. Waterfront Maine lobster pounds such as the ones operated by the Lobster Trap Company allow the storage of ocean fresh lobster, helping to stabilize prices in the off season.
Jumbos begin at 2 ½ to three pounds with the weight measured wet, or right out of the tank. Some years the price-per-pound for jumbos is higher than quarters, halves and selects. Some years the price per pound is less. It just depends on the supply and the demand.
Lobsters-Online.Com ships only hand selected, fresh lobster. The hard-shell lobster are lively, healthy, and ocean fresh. By operating water-front lobster pounds in Maine, Lobsters-Online.Com is able to offer customers ocean-fresh jumbo lobster year round.
So go ahead an order some jumbo lobster for your New Year’s Eve dinner celebration. And have a Happy New Year!
While the New England Lobster feast is a year round tradition older than America itself, New England seafood was a part of the first Thanksgiving. According to historical lore, the pilgrims first learned about the lobster from Native Americans.
In a letter home to England in 1621, the Pilgrim Edward Winslow wrote of how they fished, hunted and brought in the harvest to set out a feast for the entire pilgrim company and guests, including the Indian King Massasoit and 90 Indians. Winslow wrote that the feast lasted for five days. The Winslow letter was published in England in 1622 causing great excitement and helping to start the tradion of a Thanksgiving feast.
So while turkey has center stage today, the pilgrims first feast gave the lobster clambake a starring role with the turkey. For many New Englanders, the lobster is an alternative part of Thanksgiving.
The story is told about how seven Nationally known Boston Chefs eschewed the turkey one year and took the pilgrim lobster tradition to their Thanksgiving Holiday table. An article in Food and Wine Magazine published more than a decade ago tells the story of how the chef’s and their families got together at Lydia Shire’s (Biba, Towne Stove) farmhouse home in Weston, Massachusetts and created a “potluck extravaganza” to revolutionize Thanksgiving dinner.
Chef Todd English (Olives, Figs) brought the lobster and served it in its shell with a warm, creamy nutmeg vinaigrette and a chestnut puree. Every chef contributed, including Jody Adams (Rialto), Gordon Hamersley (Hammersley Bistro), Susan Regis (Biba), Chris Schlesinger (East Coast Grill), and Jasper White (Jaspers, Summer Shack). The menu included the lobster, cod, oysters, pumpkin soup, turkey and more.
While this menu would be overwhelming for most home kitchens, the tradition of holiday feasts with all the wonderful seafood from the cold, clean New England waters can be part of any family celebration this year. Thanksgiving Dinner can be extra special by serving fresh lobster and shellfish. The best part is you no longer have to go to Plimouth Plantation, Cape Cod or Maine to enjoy Maine lobster. Thanks to an online retail lobster delivery service, live Maine lobster can be shipped overnight to any home in the United States.
Yes, fresh lobster from New England is a well known delicacy, but did you know lobster is really good for you? Rich in protein, Vitamin B-12, Phosphorus and Zinc, lobster is also low in fat and calories and has zero carbohydrates. Lobster is also an excellent source of lean protein. All told, lobster is real American comfort food and an incredibly healthy food.
Lobster also contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which according to the American Heart Association, are associated with good heart health.
The experts at the National Institute of Health list lobster as having fewer calories and saturated fats than both chicken and turkey. Here is a breakdown of a 3.5 ounce serving of each.
CHOLESTEROL CALORIES FATS
Maine Lobster 72 mg 98 0.1 g
Skinless Chicken 85 mg 173 1.3 g
Skinless Turkey 86 mg 140 0.4 g
New England restaurants from Maine to Rhode Island prepare lobsters in any number of elaborate ways. Baked stuffed, lobster salads, lobster ravioli, lobster chowder and more are among the specialties. However, most New England folks rely on the tried and true ways: Steamed (or boiled), grilled or broiled.
For lobster lovers, a fresh, steamed lobster has the best taste. Hard shell or new shell, lobster requires careful cook timing for best flavor. Cooking either too long or too short can turn the meat mushy or tough and greatly affect flavor. Perfectly cooked, the claw and tail meat is tender, sweet and delicious. If all this make you hungry, remember you don’t have to go to Maine. Today you can have live, fresh lobster delivered right to your front door anywhere in the country.
Here are the nutrients and the percentage of daily requirements found in a 3.5 ounce lobster tail.
So what does one need to know when enjoying their next Maine? Lobster is is a beneficial source of plaque reducing Omega-3 fatty acids (which are healthy for the heart), extremely low in fat, very high in protein, The same portion of skinless chicken has 130% more fat while the same portion of lean beef has 500% more fat.
And for those who prefer organic food, lobster is at the top of the list. They are harvested in the wild where they feed on a smorgasbord of fresh seafood. The Lobster diet consists of live fish, live crabs, live clams and live mussels. In all, lobster have a very healthy diet which which is why they are a beneficial food for humans.
Spaghetti Vongole made with fresh Little Neck clams from Cape Cod is a flavorful Italian style seafood pasta dish that is great for any occasion. Light and bursting with the clam sauce flavor, this pasta dish is a favorite in Boston. For best results, the sauce must be made with live clams.
Native to New England, littleneck clams are more tender than the larger quahog clams. Though the littleneck clam is often served raw on the half shell along with raw oysters and cooked shrimp, littleneck clams are the required ingredient for making authentic pasta dishes such as Spaghetti Vongole.
The recipe is not difficult but care must be taken to prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished.
Servings: 4 -5 servings
The first step is to clean the clams. Fill a deep pot with cold water and carefully place the little neck clams into the pot. Let the clams sit for about 15 minutes to remove any grit. Scrub the shells under running water and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and bring the pot to a boil again. Stirring occasionally, cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until “al dente,” tender and firm. Drain the pasta well and return to pot.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a deep pan with a lid. Add the clams, cover and cook for five minutes occasionally shaking the pan. This will allow the clam juice to simmer. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes; sauté for 2 minutes until the garlic begins to brown. Add the wine, lemon juice and half the parsley. Cover and cook, again shaking the pan periodically allowing the sauce to reduce until all the clams are opened. Discard any clams that have not opened.
Turn the flame up to medium-high heat. Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan; add the butter and season with salt and pepper. Toss the pasta with the clams to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle on the rest of the chopped parsley and the toasted bread crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.
Ipswich Massachusetts is the where the fried clam was invented back in 1916. According to local lore, Lawrence Woodman was deep frying potato chips when he decided to save the hot oil and fry some of his large harvest of Ipswich Steamer clams. The rest is history and the Ipswich Fried Clam Roll is now world famous.
The Ipswich Fried Clam dinner is now served in clam shacks up and down the New England coast. Woodman’s clam shack (not really a shack anymore) now stands in Essex, Massachusetts where each day people – locals and tourists — line up to sample the delicious plate.
The mystery behind the fried clam is part of what makes them so sought after. People marvel at the flavor and wonder what tricks are used to create such a wonderful, regional specialty. But the secret truth behind the creation is that the crispy, crunchy briny flavor so loved comes from the selection of the clam. The Ipswich clam, also known as the steamer clam, is harvested from the muddy tidal flats indigenous to Massachusetts and Maine. The secret is that no other clam will do. Where the Ipswich clam lives is what makes it so special.
That’s because in these muddy flats the clam is fed by the ocean tides and the rivers. This helps them grow up clean and healthy. It is this special combination of mud, river flow and clean crisp sea water that creates the Ipswich clam. No other area in the world produces such a clam.
The Ipswich fishermen use rakes and pitchforks to gather the clams by hand; the same method used 200 years ago. They are then immediately sold to processors who hand shuck the clams and package them to be shipped fresh to clam shacks and restaurants like Woodman’s up and down the coast.
The good news is that today you don’t have to travel to Ipswich to enjoy an Ipswich fried clam roll. Thanks to online seafood services such as Lobsters-Online, you can have the very same Ipswich clam shipped fresh, overnight right to your door to make delicious Ipswich clam rolls. What a great idea for your next dinner party. Go ahead and try our Fried Clam Roll recipe with homemade tartar sauce.
Golden Brown Ipswich Fried Clam Dinner Roll:
1 pound freshly shucked Ipswich clams (must be fresh)
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup finely ground cornmeal (or masa harina)
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pastry or cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 pound lard (or 2 cups canola oil)
1/2 cup canola oil
4 New England style hot dog buns
Tartar sauce (see recipe below for New England style homemade tartar sauce)
1. Drain clams in a colander. Place clams in large bowl with milk. Let clams sit in the milk at least 30 minutes (The longer the soak, the better).
2. In another large bowl, combine cornmeal and flours with salt and white pepper. Mix well with fingers.
3. In an electric fryer, large wok or deep frying pan, heat lard and oil to a frying temperature of 365 degrees.
4. Take a handful of clams, let excess liquid drip off, and toss clams well in flour mixture, turning often to coat thoroughly.
5. Melt butter and brush on side of hot dog rolls and lightly toast both sides of each roll in a pan or on a grill.
6. Tear lettuce leaves into small pieces.
7. If using a wok or pan, add one or two clams at a time to hot oil adjusting clams so they are evenly distributed. Do not pile clams on one another. Adjust temperature to keep oil hot. Fry for about 1 ½ minutes, or until they are crisp and golden brown (large clams may take a few seconds longer). Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on a paper bag or clean paper towels. If necessary, repeat with the rest of the clams. Add clams to rolls, sprinkle in lettuce and serve immediately with tartar sauce on the side.
8. If using an electric fryer set temperature to 365 degrees. Wait until fryer heats up, drop clams in basket and deep fry for 1 ½ – 2 minutes, until clams are crisp and golden brown. Drain clams on paper bag or paper towels. Add clams to toasted rolls and serve immediately with tartar sauce on the side.
We first encountered seafood Paella on the Mediterranean coast where the Valencians prepared the authentic rice dish with clams and mussels still in the shells and served the meal sizzling hot from a paella pan. The dish had been cooked over a hot wood-fire grill which gave the Bomba rice a delicious, smokey crunch.
Once back home, we “Americanized” the recipe by adding ocean fresh Maine lobster to the traditional clams and mussels creating a spectacular Lobster Seafood Paella.
Valencian Seafood Paella is a wonderful dish known all through the Mediterranean as a traditional peasant meal cooked over a wood fire grill and served from the pan. The presentation is spectacular and the recipe delicious and easily scaled for any size dinner party. The wonderful presentation of the lobster, shellfish, rice and vegetables create a dish suitable for any occasion. While the wood fired grill is the traditional cooking method, any outdoor grill or indoor stove top can be used.
Ingredients for dinner for four (scale for more people):
In a large kettle, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil. Blanch the lobsters two at a time over high heat. Cook until bright red — about 6 minutes. Transfer lobsters to a plate and set aside.
In the same kettle, add shrimp and cook until pink — about two minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool in a bowl.
When cool, peel the shrimp and add the shells to the boiling water. Place the peeled shrimp aside and cover.
Twist the tails and claws from lobsters. Use a large chef’s knife to cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise. Crack the claws with the knife. Remove sac from bodies. Set the lobster aside and cover.
Reduce heat to low and simmer shrimp-shell mixture to make two quarts of fish stock for paella, about 30 minutes (Add water if necessary) Strain liquid and set aside.
When fish stock is ready, warm olive oil in 13-inch paella pan (15-inch if available) over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic to pan and sauté five minutes until onion is translucent.
Add tomatoes, peppers, lemon juice, and white wine and simmer about one minute. Stir in pepper and salt. Stir in parsley.
Stir in 1 quart fish stock and add rice. Stir in saffron. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Add a second quart of fish stock. Stir in clams, mussels, shrimp and lobster (tails, claws and bodies). Stir in peas.
Stirring occasionally, cook until all the clams and mussels are open, about five to seven minutes. Discard unopened clams and mussels.
Bring paella pan to the table and place on a heat-safe pad and serve immediately.
If you like this Lobster Seafood Paella recipe you may also wish to try our Boston Style Lobster Fra Diavolo recipe, the king of all spicy lobster dishes.
Traditional gourmet lobster fare based on popular recipes gathered from towns all along coastal Maine are proving very popular with Lobsters-Online customers this Christmas season. Many of the prepared dishes are filled with naturally sweet Maine lobster meat, the most preferred lobster meat in the world. From the contemporary Lobster Ravioli to the traditional lobster bisque, every ingredient in the dish is picked for its quality and ability to complement the succulent taste of Maine lobster.
All this means that cuisine that once could only be enjoyed in coastal New England is now available for dinner tables everywhere in the country.
And for gift giving, nothing says “Made in America” more than the locally prepared gourmet dishes made with same pride of tradition found in generations of Maine lobster fishermen. By purchasing these dishes, people are supporting an entire community’s maritime heritage.
Some of the most popular this December holiday season include these fine seafood meals: