Welcome back to Take Five, a new Eat Beat feature that offers up five must-try culinary finds from food and drink experts around town. Next up, things get fishy...
After first garnering legions of fish fans selling catch-of-the-day goods out of a bus and following up with a successful brick-and-mortar fish shack on Southeast Hawthorne, Lyf Gildersleeve's Flying Fish Company is finally attracting national attention.
Sunset Magazine recently picked Gildersleeve (and his cozy shed connected to Kruger’s Farm Market) as the best fishmonger in the Northwest, noting that his fresh-as-can-be seafood picks often come with expert tips on how to prepare the local catch.
In the spirit of the season's dinner parties, we asked Gildersleeve to pick his five favorite fall seafood stand-bys, all available at Flying Fish, along with his tips for selecting the best of the bunch:
1. Oregon bay shrimp: Caught right off the Oregon coast, these sweet, briny shrimp are perfect to top a salad or toss with some pasta. The season is almost over for these fresh (never been frozen), cooked, and ready-to-eat treats.
Insider tip: In season, make sure they haven't been previously frozen. If you buy them out of fresh season, make sure they are still frozen, not defrosted.
2. Red rockfish aka Pacific snapper: These come in line caught off the Oregon coast near Newport.
Insider tip: Ask if the fillets come from line caught (not troll caught) fresh fish that have never been frozen. A nice red band through the fillet (not brown) is a sign of freshness.
3. Ling cod: The local "secret cod". Different from true cod (also known as pacific cod), Ling cod has a much sweeter flavor and more tender texture.
Insider tip: Look for a light brown/amber band down the middle of the fillet, not white on the fillet like true cod.
4. Black cod aka sablefish: Contrary to the name, black cod is not actually a cod, it's the sustainable alternative to Chilean sea bass (patagonian toothfish, which is red listed on the seafood watch program) caught from southern Oregon up to Newport. It's got an amazing buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
Insider tip: Black cod is hard to get because the Japanese are buying it at the docks before it gets to land, so buy it when you see it!
5. Dungeness crab: Caught up and down the west coast, Dungeness is sweet, tender, and salty, and Oregon's Dungeness is the best. Make sure it is fresh, never frozen.
Insider tip: The crab should feel heavy when you pick it up, not light and airy. This means that you will get more meat out of the shells.
Flying Fish Company 2310 SE Hawthorne Blvd; 503-235-0314 Open Sun-Thurs 11 am to 7 pm, Fri-Sat 9 am to 8 pm