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Five Fish You Should Eat This Summer in Central Mass

Wellfleets and Butterfish served at Heritage.

If you’re serious about seafood, then you’ll understand that who fishes matters. Choosing seafood that has traveled the least distance and comes from local fishermen will yield you the best experience this summer.

Josh Ziskin, Niaz Dorry, and Jen Ziskin
Josh Ziskin, Niaz Dorry, and Jen Ziskin

This week, acclaimed restaurateurs Josh and Jen Ziskin of La Morra hosted a collection of food writers and culinary tastemakers at their new spot, Heritage, to talk about local seafood. Niaz Dorry of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (named ‘Hero For the Planet’ by Time Magazine) reminded guests that like anything else, seafood is seasonal. “You wouldn’t demand strawberries twelve months of the year. We need to consume in harmony with the ocean,” she explained.

So, what fish should you be eating this summer in central Massachusetts? Dorry suggests you give the five fish below a try. (And, Executive Chef Jared Forman throws in his two cents from the kitchen at deadhorse hill.)

1. Sea Robin: sweet, firm, and flaky like fluke

JF – Sea Robin makes a killer bouillabaisse. The French classic calls for Red Gurnard, which is their version of a Sea Robin.

2. Butterfish: silky texture, white flesh, like halibut

JF – We had wood grilled Butterfish at our New Year’s Eve dinner this year!

3. Scup: mild white fish, grill whole, or bread fillets for the kids to make locavore fish sticks

JF – Scup is in the same family as Japanese Madai, one of the most revered fish in Japan. They are an extremely versatile and affordable fish. We use them as whole fried fish or sashimi.

4. Bluefish: assertive, flaky, dark meat

deadhorse hill's NYE dinner of Butterfish.
deadhorse hill’s NYE dinner of Butterfish.

JF – Bluefish and Boston Mackerel are among my favorite fishies. They have power. Lightly pickled raw Mackerel or “Cocktail” Blues are so tasty. Broiled Bluefish fillets are a highlight of summer. These sustainable fish are also fast growing and plentiful.

5. Dogfish: white, firm, bold

JF – Dogfish, for some reason, gets a bad rap here in New England where Cod is king. Cod tends to be pretty gross in my opinion, often full of worms. In The U.K. Dogfish is commonly used for fish and chips and you would not be able to tell the difference. This flaky white fish is also incredibly plentiful around here while other species are failing.

Dorry reminds seafood lovers, “Volume should never trump value” and encourages consumers to always ask how, where, and when their seafood was caught. Deadhorse hill is not the only one encouraging customers to eat more of these fish, Armsby Abbey has been known to serve Scup and The Sole Proprietor regularly features Bluefish on their summer menu.