When you look at the most notable food scenes around the country a reoccurring trend seems to always emerge: access to quality locally sourced ingredients. The number of farmers markets, specialty stores, etc. in the area is proof that Charlotteans are starting to not only care about what food they eat, but also where that food comes from. You can argue as to how this all came about, and throw out buzz words like: “Organic”, or “Free-Range”, or “Hormone-Free”, but at its simplest form, people just want to eat the best thing possible for themselves, their family, their community, and in many ways the environment. These same people, along the way, have discovered that local ingredients just taste better.
For years fish has been towards the bottom of the average consumer’s protein choices for many reasons, one being the frozen fish patties or sticks that many of us grew up on doesn’t exactly elicit culinary stardom. Fortunately, fish is probably one of the most diverse forms of protein our planet has to offer, but unfortunately, the retailers in the Charlotte area have never offered more than the typical selections, and most of us avoid the counter altogether. Just over a year ago the revamped Selwyn Avenue was introduced to Clean Catch Fish Market. Located in the newly developed Tranquil Court Building, across from Nolen Kitchen and Selwyn Pub, is the fishmonger Charlotte has been waiting for.
Clean Catch Fish Market, opened in late summer 2010, specializes in providing the freshest available fish to their customers, along with educating and encouraging the use of sustainable fishing methods. But what may be the most intriguing aspects of the market is that next to your well known varieties, such as Salmon, Tuna, and Shrimp, you will find exotic (at least when compared to HT) varieties such as, Cobia and Walu. In my opinion the best thing about the market is that you can ask exactly where the fish was caught, whether it was wild or farmed, and what method was used, and whoever is behind the counter will answer you exactly and even provide much more information. You can find more information on Facebook or at their website www.cleancatchfish.com
Below are a few of the fish courses created during a recent Old Post Catering event.
Pan seared Alaskan Line-Caught Halibut with Sautéed Fava Beans, in a Shallot and Orange-Juice Reduction, with Crispy Swiss Chard.
Pan seared Atlantic Cod with a Citrus Salad, served over Kaffir Lime-Leaf Israeli Couscous, and garnished with Ground Sumac.
I hope this series introduces you to many of the great purveyors of food in the Charlotte area.