Usually when people think of eating seasonally, fresh produce comes to mind. Oregon-caught seafood also varies with the seasons, and local experts from Oregon State Sea Grant and Pacifica Seafood Market offer these tips on how to include seasonal seafood into your diet.
Oregon Sea Grant and the state of Oregon launched their “Eat Oregon Seafood” campaign to give local fishers a boost during the current pandemic.
Although food processing facilities like Pacific Seafood in Newport have had employee COVID-19 outbreaks, they are just one part of the seafood industry. Fishing boats and markets are often run by small, family-owned businesses. Decreased restaurant, export, and seafood processing plant business negatively impacted this sector of the coastal economy.
In addition to supporting the regional food economy, seafood is a healthy option, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Fishing boats, grocery stores, and specialty seafood markets are places to source fresh, quality Oregon-caught seafood.
Eat with the Seasons
“We have some resources on that website around what fish are actually caught off the Oregon coast and when they’re caught,” said Amanda Gladics, Assistant Professor of Practice, OSU Extension and Sea Grant. “You can get around needing to know the commercial seasons by buying frozen products. But some people really want to… eat with the seasons.”
Exact seasons vary a little year to year, but the general seasons are:
- Dungeness Crab: December to August
- Sturgeon: April to August
- Pink Shrimp: April to October
- Albacore Tuna: June -October
- Pacific Halibut: Short seasons in summer, until catch quotas met, set at June 22-24, July 6-8, July 20-22, and Aug 3-5.
Available Throughout the Year:
- Petrale sole
- Black cod
Resource: What’s Fresh When by Oregon Sea Grant.
Wild-caught salmon is another variety of seasonally available Oregon fish. Cassie Bordeaux, who owns Pacifica Seafood Market in South Corvallis, sells wild-caught salmon when it’s available. She said she purchases from the Native American tribes who catch it on the Columbia River. There are a couple of seasons, one in the summer and in the fall. Harvests vary by the population.
The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission published a guide to the salmon seasons as well as information about the sustainability of their practices.
Find Easy Ways to Incorporate Seafood
Gladics said one easy way to incorporate seafood is to buy pre-cooked pink shrimp and add it to salads and other dishes.
She also recommended buying small, frozen fish fillets. Simply thaw them in the refrigerator or bake them from frozen. Gladics also suggested talking to a fishmonger to get ideas on how to prepare the fish.
Bordeaux, who runs two fishing boats that supply much of the fresh fish she sells, agrees. “People that come in the store that don’t know anything about sea foods that are curious about it or feel intimidated by it,” she said. “We interact with them and give them recipes or tips.”
Bordeaux added that they customize the advice depending on the customer’s interests, favorite cooking methods, or tastes.
Oregon Caught Petrale Sole Recipe
Bordeaux suggested an easy recipe using Oregon-caught Petrale Sole. The exact ratios vary depending on taste preferences.
- One thin Petrale sole fillet per person
- A package of cream cheese
- Lemon zest
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chop the parsley. Simply whip the cream cheese, lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Feel free to mix the seasonings to taste.
- Place fillets in a lightly greased baking pan.
- Spread the cream cheese filling in the center of each fillet.
- Then wrap the fillet around the filling.
- Bake it for 10-15 minutes until the fish is flaky – time may vary depending on the size of the filets.
By Samantha Sied