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Blowfish on Long Island

coll May 17, 2014 08:28 AM

Stopped by Mastic Seafood yesterday, and to my surprise they had a big tub of blowfish. Fried 'em up and pigged out last night, yum!

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  1. EM23 RE: coll May 17, 2014 09:40 AM

    And lived to tell the tale;-)
    What do they taste like?

    6 Replies
    1. re: EM23
      coll RE: EM23 May 17, 2014 12:21 PM

      These aren't the Japanese/Fugu ones, don't think I'd touch them! These are the old fashioned North Atlantic ones that people used to throw back when I was a kid, or used for bait. And then they got scarce, and became a gourmet item ;-)

      I also got some fresh flounder that should have been the star of the meal, but these babies were SO much better. They were originally known as Chicken of the Sea, to give you a vague idea.

      1. re: coll
        Gastronomos RE: coll May 17, 2014 05:23 PM

        <<"...known as Chicken of the Sea..">>

        yep. chicken of the sea. used to catch them by the bucket full while snapper fishing or bottom fishing or any kind of fishing. Now.... I'll be traveling to 'Mastic Seafood'. I hope they continue to get a fresh supply.

        1. re: Gastronomos
          coll RE: Gastronomos May 17, 2014 07:38 PM

          The person waiting on my claimed they have them all the time now, although I hadn't noticed. Apparently there is a resurge in their abundance!

          They also had some gorgeous fish heads with big fat cheeks, but I already had four different things so I couldn't go for anything more.

          1. re: Gastronomos
            mcf RE: Gastronomos May 18, 2014 06:28 AM

            I used to catch baby ones with my hands in shallow pools on the GS bay as the tide went out.

            1. re: mcf
              coll RE: mcf May 18, 2014 06:30 AM

              I know, scary how much seafood used to reside there. My friend, who lives at Gilgo, can still rake in good amounts of clams, but he will never share his secrets at this point.

        2. re: EM23
          mcf RE: EM23 May 18, 2014 06:27 AM

          Really firm, white, and sweet. No bones, beyond a single easily removed center one.

        3. Veggo RE: coll May 17, 2014 12:45 PM

          Blowfish are a warm water fish, I wonder where they came from. Not the Long Island Sound.

          16 Replies
          1. re: Veggo
            coll RE: Veggo May 17, 2014 12:47 PM

            They come from the bays, near the piers. They used to number in the millions when I was a kid.

            Here's some info, as there seems to be some confusion http://www.oysterbaytackle.com/index....

            1. re: coll
              Veggo RE: coll May 17, 2014 12:56 PM

              Very interesting, thanks! I have only seen them diving in the tropics. I wouldn't hurt one, they are like little lost puppies.

              1. re: Veggo
                coll RE: Veggo May 17, 2014 01:02 PM

                I had a fisherman neighbor who was obsessed with them back in the 1960s (he was a chef so that gave his opinion a little weight) and then I met my husband who lived on the bay; and blah blah blah, childhood blowfish memories. So when I spot them now, it's like I found a treasure. There is one local restaurant that always has them on the appetizer menu and I go there for that more than for their famous lobster rolls!

                1. re: Veggo
                  zackly RE: Veggo May 17, 2014 02:26 PM

                  We used to catch them in Long Island Sound in CT when I was a kid. We threw them back!

                  1. re: zackly
                    Veggo RE: zackly May 17, 2014 02:32 PM

                    I almost freaked out as a kid when I caught my first sea robin in Long Island Sound!

                    1. re: Veggo
                      coll RE: Veggo May 17, 2014 03:57 PM

                      Well now we have the Montauk Monster, it's always something!

                2. re: coll
                  zackly RE: coll May 18, 2014 05:59 AM

                  "Northern puffers practically disappeared in the 1980’s"

                  I wonder why they dissapeared? In Long island Sound Winter Flounder have all but dissapeared. they and Snapper Blues (juvenile Bluefish)were the top quary when we were kids. The flounder dissapearence is largely due to the trawlwers that pillage the bottom. Some species are relocalating to cooler waters while some warmer water species are being landed here. I'm hoping for continued global warming so the seas will rise, cover up Long Island and SW CT will be Atlantic ocean front. Hopefully, I'll be surfing in my eighties.

                  1. re: zackly
                    coll RE: zackly May 18, 2014 06:18 AM

                    Now it's the lobsters, and popular theory says it's all the insecticides the towns pump into the waterside beaches to kill the mosquitoes. Turns out lobsters really are "bugs". But people are aware and although it might be too late to bring back the lobsters, maybe some species will rebound.

                    1. re: coll
                      zackly RE: coll May 18, 2014 07:27 AM

                      I never believed the "insecticide theory" and always thought it was either a virus/paisite (unlikely) but more probably warmer water pushing them northward.Maine's lobster population is booming! The diluution of the insecticide would be about 1part per many gazillions.The lobstermen embraced this (insecticide)theory because the could sue the towns doing the spraying. You can't sue Mother Nature.

                      1. re: zackly
                        mcf RE: zackly May 18, 2014 07:32 AM

                        You don't think runoff from lawns and golf courses proven to kill aquatic creatures along with very low oxygen levels has anything to do with the death of the LI sound?

                        1. re: mcf
                          zackly RE: mcf May 18, 2014 10:22 AM

                          I don't think these factors affected the LI Sound's lobsters. The Sound has never been cleaner since they stopped dumping untreated sewage into it plus the enviromental groups have been effexctive watchdogs. Look how the StripedBass have recovered & Fluke too. I think the lobsters just moved north as we are on the souther range of their habitat at least where there were abundent populations

                          1. re: zackly
                            mcf RE: zackly May 18, 2014 05:49 PM


                            1. re: mcf
                              zackly RE: mcf May 18, 2014 06:49 PM

                              I'm not saying human activities don't put stress on the Sound but it is a very resiliant and robust body of water. I remember in the seventies when I had a boat on the Sound bunker, dead from hypoxia, so thick you could walk on them in the harbors. That usually occurs durrent long hot spells What I said is I believe the warming water had more to due with lobsters going north than pollution.

                              1. re: mcf
                                coll RE: mcf May 19, 2014 03:37 AM

                                That's the best article yet, thanks.

                          2. re: zackly
                            coll RE: zackly May 18, 2014 08:08 AM

                            There used to be so many lobsters east of here that fishermen would give them away. Manys a time I drove home with four or five of those suckers running around the back of my Subaru, and anyone I saw on the way got to pick one out for themselves. There was more than you needed, really.

                            I can't understand the sudden die off, that's more than just the water gradually warming.

                            1. re: zackly
                              EricMM RE: zackly May 18, 2014 10:06 AM

                              It's multifactorial. Lobster decine began in the1990's, primarily from direct malathion spraying at the height of the West Nile panic. Spread from the western sound to the eastern one. Then in the early 2000' there was an outbreak of viral disease In the eastern sound. So now we have an already lowered population being hit by the warmest temperatures the sound has ever had.

                    2. erica RE: coll May 18, 2014 05:36 AM

                      Nice photo! Are they sold cleaned like in the photo? Do you bread them and deep fry? If not, how to prepare? (I've tasted them once, at the late and lamented Antares in Greenport, but never prepared them at home) Thanks!!

                      Blowfish were the first item to be sold out at Riverhead's PE & DD fish stand at yesterday's Union Square Greenmarket.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: erica
                        coll RE: erica May 18, 2014 06:21 AM

                        Yep, what you see with the tails on is how they sell them. I just fileted them all up, which is a joke because it's just one center bone, and then saved the bones and scraps for chowder in the near future. Then breaded and fried the meat. One lb, at $9.99, was enough for two nights appetizers ;-) Would have lasted longer but they tasted SO good!

                        We have some great year round Farmer's Markets out here, finally, in Riverhead village and now a new one in Jamesport too. The last just opened this weekend.

                        1. re: erica
                          91Quake RE: erica May 30, 2014 11:50 AM

                          I got them last week at Cor-J's in Hampton Bays for the same price. We just put olive oil, salt and pepper and threw them on the grill. Turned them once then added a squirt of lemon after for a delicious and relatively cheap dinner along with some clams.

                          1. re: 91Quake
                            coll RE: 91Quake May 30, 2014 01:48 PM

                            So happy they're getting easy to find: I'm in the mood for Oysters Rockefeller on the side myself next time. The spinach out here is looking good!

                        2. mcf RE: coll May 18, 2014 06:26 AM

                          My all time favorite as a child. My dad used to catch them a lot.

                          1. i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: coll May 31, 2014 01:06 PM

                            I saw these at my local farmers' market in Westchester-- I had never seen them before-- I wimped out and got flounder, but now I wish I had tried them! Maybe next week.

                            23 Replies
                            1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream
                              coll RE: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream May 31, 2014 01:41 PM

                              They are just like flounder, in that they are best breaded and fried. Let us know!

                              1. re: coll
                                Motosport RE: coll Jun 4, 2014 06:16 AM

                                "Taste just like chicken"

                                1. re: Motosport
                                  coll RE: Motosport Jun 4, 2014 06:18 AM

                                  You said it, they actually do for a change: Chicken of the sea!

                                  1. re: coll
                                    Motosport RE: coll Jun 4, 2014 06:28 AM

                                    Lobster on sale at Best only $6.99 a pound.

                                    1. re: Motosport
                                      coll RE: Motosport Jun 4, 2014 06:34 AM

                                      Thanks for the heads up! Starting Friday, or now? MapleTREE BBQ for lunch, so not today unfortunately!

                                      1. re: coll
                                        Motosport RE: coll Jun 4, 2014 08:51 AM


                                        1. re: Motosport
                                          coll RE: Motosport Jun 4, 2014 09:00 AM

                                          Aiyeee, thanks for the warning!

                                      2. re: Motosport
                                        mcf RE: Motosport Jun 4, 2014 09:18 AM

                                        But small. :-(

                                        1. re: mcf
                                          coll RE: mcf Jun 4, 2014 09:19 AM

                                          ;-( ;-(

                                          1. re: coll
                                            mcf RE: coll Jun 4, 2014 10:57 AM

                                            1-1.25... I much prefer to share a 2-4 pounder than eat 2 1 lb lobsters. Still, they're really cheap, and they are from Maine waters... at $6.99 I'm tempted to do something with the tails, the only parts with much meat at that size. Salad? Chowder? What say you?

                                            1. re: mcf
                                              coll RE: mcf Jun 4, 2014 03:12 PM

                                              Cook 'em and make lobster rolls. Too warm for lobster pot pie!

                                              1. re: coll
                                                mcf RE: coll Jun 4, 2014 03:59 PM

                                                I'd make it crustless and call it stew. ;-)

                                                But you're right.

                                                1. re: mcf
                                                  coll RE: mcf Jun 4, 2014 04:01 PM

                                                  Lobster bisque, but I'd only make that with the leftovers of the leftovers. Or maybe Lobster Fra Diablo if you're in the mood for pasta.

                                                  I can never get enough lobster rolls under my belt.

                                                  1. re: coll
                                                    mcf RE: coll Jun 4, 2014 04:29 PM

                                                    I eat lobster salad over greens, and make a mean bisque and Ina's seafood gratin with it, too. But yeah, leftovers, and I freeze shells for my stock making.

                                                    Lobster roll sure tasted good on a toasted buttered potato roll, from memory!

                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                      coll RE: mcf Jun 4, 2014 06:34 PM

                                                      At least you have your memories ;-( But I eat it on a plate as often as a bun, myself. I make a new recipe that has some saffron, you don't want to jazz it up TOO much; but still.

                                              2. re: mcf
                                                EricMM RE: mcf Jun 5, 2014 07:22 AM

                                                lobster pasta

                                                1. re: EricMM
                                                  Motosport RE: EricMM Jun 5, 2014 07:26 AM

                                                  Lobster, avocado, brie omelette!!

                                                  1. re: EricMM
                                                    mcf RE: EricMM Jun 5, 2014 07:44 AM

                                                    I made that some months ago, with a pasta substitute, can't recall which one I used. Egglpant, zucchini or soy noodles.

                                              3. re: mcf
                                                Motosport RE: mcf Jun 4, 2014 01:12 PM

                                                I bought two 1 1/2 pounders yesterday. Sweet and tender. I ate one last night and the other will become a very nice lobster roll tonight. Life us good!!

                                                1. re: Motosport
                                                  erica RE: Motosport Jun 9, 2014 01:30 PM

                                                  Ideas for lobster, and leftovers: lobster risotto and lobster for breakfast:


                                                  I saw a load of cleaned blowfish this morning at Southold Fish Market. Bought some nice-loking bluefish there for dinner tonight.

                                                  1. re: erica
                                                    coll RE: erica Jun 9, 2014 01:50 PM

                                                    So happy that blowfish are everywhere! The Summer Of Blowfish has just begun.

                                                    1. re: erica
                                                      Motosport RE: erica Jun 10, 2014 03:52 AM

                                                      Southold Fish Market rocks. I love their new dining area. Bought a nice whole Blackfish Saturday. Grilled it Greek style. Yummy!!
                                                      I also like Braun's but they never seem to have whole fish.

                                                      1. re: Motosport
                                                        erica RE: Motosport Jun 10, 2014 05:29 AM

                                                        Agree! The new Southold Fish Market is terrific. OPen daily but restaurant closed on Tuesdays.

                                                        Alice's in Greenport is almost done with their renovation; told me they will reopen later this week.

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