Over a decade ago, Browne Trading introduced our Seafood “Species Spotlights” to provide our restaurant chef clientele with descriptive product information for more informed decision-making.
As many of the seafood items we sourced – from European Brittany Blue Lobsters to Maine glass eels – were rare in the American market then, many benefited from a greater understanding of what exactly it was they were buying – and cooking. After hearing positive reviews, we published our spotlight to the public for all to have transparent and accurate seafood information.
What are the Species Spotlights?
Part biological, part culinary, and maybe some whimsy in between, the Species Spotlights showcase essential information about seafood available through Browne Trading Co.
Organized for both a quick read of the bulleted basics for the chef on the go, they also feature a more detailed description to inform and interest. Some of the elements we strive to disclose include:
- Wild or Farm raised – A critical buying decision these days for many chefs and consumers alike, we believe it is imperative to disclose this to the buyer.
- Market name and species – Seems intuitive, but there are a lot of fish out there, with a high variety of market and regional names – as well as fishermen nicknames.
Whether you are buying fish directly from Browne Trading Co. or elsewhere, be sure to ask for and look at the Latin species name to discern exactly what is offered to you.
“Dover Sole” from California differs from Dover Sole from Europe (California’s fish is actually a flounder, and typically considered inferior to true Dover Sole), the Anglerfish and Goosefish is known to us as the Monkfish, and Loup de Mer is the same as Branzino, Bar, Robalo Mar, and Lubina, (they are all the European Sea Bass).
Where Does Seafood Come From, and How is it Caught?
Specific to the products we offer, we tell you the origin, catch methods, and harvest seasonality.
This guides seasonal menu planning. For instance, Maine’s celebrated Diver scallops are only available December-March, unless they frozen.
Seafood Culinary Applications
Each Species Spotlight shares a flavor and texture profile so you know what to expect once prepared.
We also include a projected yield, which is the percentage of the fillet to whole fish, or meat to shell ratio for shellfish. This helps plan portioning.
Also included are substitute seafood items for when the product is out of season or unavailable.
Our Seafood Sources
When writing these spotlights, we gather from our purchasing team, distributor readings and publications, and whenever possible, we rely upon the writings of gastronomist, Alan Davidson.
Davidson was possibly the greatest modern author on seafood cooking, whose knowledge on both the science of the fish along with how to handle and prepare them remains largely unrivaled today.
His knowledge specific to European wild fish (and their multitudes of regional preparations) has been invaluable to our understanding, as very little information about the lesser utilized species are available in the U.S.
If you are passionate about seafood and cooking, his North Atlantic Seafood (1980) is a must for your library.
Seafood Spotlights in the Future
Whether they help you decide what to buy for your restaurant, what to serve for dinner or are simply educational, we hope these Species Spotlights inspire you.
Turns out, all fish have a story.