13 Fish at Your Fishmonger to Eat Right Now

We may still be waiting for our first asparagus and peas, but there is spring seafood aplenty coming out of our local waters. Here is some visual inspiration for what to look for at your favorite seafood shop.

The Seafood Shop, Wainscott, NY

Access to fresh fish, right-out-of-the-water, fresh fish, is one of the bonuses of living on the East End. At many of our local seafood shops, from Cor-J in Westhampton Beach to Southold Fish Market in Southold, your first question should always be, “What came in today?” The long list of answers you get back may surprise you, and will also vary with the seasons. At Edible, we like to keep our readers up to date on what’s in season right now. So, we sent our photo editor, Lindsay Morris, to the Seafood Shop in Wainscott, which was profiled in last year’s spring issue, to get some shots of the best things to put on your plate in springtime on the North and South forks.

 1. Whiting

Whiting

This little-known, local fish is flavorful and economical. It’s also a mainstay catch for winter trawling boats out of Montauk. Fans like to fry it or bake it.

2. Porgy

Porgy

Porgy are delicious roasted whole. And if you don’t want to deal with bones, consider filleting them and eating raw. Spicy porgy sushi rolls occasionally show up at local Japanese restaurants.

3. Fluke

Fluke

Also known as summer flounder, this fish is delicate and light, makes great crudo.

4. Flounder

Flounder

Sometimes called winter flounder, to distinguish it from fluke, this is what East Enders use to make a fish sandwich and, more recently, fish tacos. If you can snag some surplus bones, consider this fried flounder bones recipes from local seafood aficionado Hiroyuki Hamada.

5. Cod

Cod- head is maintained for fish stock, Hake is beheaded.

This historically important fish is making a comeback in our waters. It’s also what New Englanders used to make a fish sandwich or fish and chips.

6. Hake

seafood shop_06_lindsay morris

Fishermen cut the head of hake in the boat and toss it overboard. It’s not good for cooking.

7. Monkfish

monkfish

Monkfish is called poorman’s lobster since its thick, plump fillets, when cut into chunks, resemble lobster in both taste, appearance and texture. Some like to wrap it in bacon before cooking.

8. Skate

skate wing

Skate, once considered a “trash fish,” has been making appearances on restaurant menus in recent years, often sautéed in butter. Consider dredging the wings in  flour and flash fry in hot oil in a frying pan.

9. Grey sole

grey sole

Also known as witch flounder, or right eye flounder, this species shows up on local boats even though its reputation is from the Old World. Perfect for poaching or steaming, just like flounder or fluke.

10. Shad roe

shad roe

Roe, for some an acquired taste, is only available in spring.

11. Steamers

steamer clams

Also known as soft-shell clams, this regional mollusk shows up in traditional clambakes. Start melting the butter now.

12. Little Neck Clams

little neck clams

This is the smallest size of hardshell clams, or quahogs, that you find in seafood shops. Chowder clams are the largest; cherry stones are medium-size. Little neck clams are really good steamed with chorizo.

13. Oysters

oysters

These choice mollusks are the livelihood of our Mollusk Culture columnist, Mike Osinski.

Did we miss some favorite spring seafood? Let us know and let us know how you cook it?

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Brian Halweil

Brian is the editor of Edible East End, and co-publisher of Edible Long Island, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. He writes from his home in Sag Harbor, New York, where he and his family tend a home garden and orchard, and keep ducks and oysters.

  • http://www.EatingInTranslation.com Eating In Translation

    Are whiting really little-known on the East End? They’re the mainstay of most fish-fry joints in Harlem and Upper Manhattan!

    • Brian Halweil

      I’d say whiting are little-known even in Harlem and Upper Manhattan. People may eat them, but they don’t know that they are eating whiting.

  • Bonnie C.

    As someone who grew up clamming on Long Island, I believe “Top Neck” are the smallest variety, followed by “Little Necks”, followed by “Cherrystones”, followed by “Chowders”>