To help locals and visitors find fresh local seafood, we post monthly “peak seafood” articles to let everyone know which species are in peak harvest season. Here is June.
Softshell crabs are still in peak harvest season, as are crawfish, brown shrimp, white shrimp, and pink shrimp. Rock shrimp are just now beginning to peak. Clams are cultured and so are in peak season year round in Florida – try them!
We are still in peak season for snapper and mahi-mahi, but yellowfin tuna are now beginning to peak.
This month we highlight a summer time fish that is becoming more and more popular. Mahi have always been regarded as popular food fish – for many… their favorite – but it has only been recently that you find them on most menu’s and as the “fish of the day”.
It is certainly a beautiful fish – with brilliant shades of green, yellow, and blue – it is an attractive fish for paintings and t-shirts. But most know that the colors do not stick with the fish long. The colors are generated by the shape of the scales on the fish’s body – which change once it leaves the water and thus, the colors are lost almost instantly.
Of course there is the confusion with the name. “Dolphin” means the marine mammal we all love at aquarium shows and the old TV program “Flipper”. But there is a fish called “dolphin” – actually two species of them. Some biologists have begun calling them “dolphinfish” to avoid confusion and many use the culinary name “mahi-mahi” to avoid this problem on menu’s.
The two species are the “dolphinfish” (Coryphaena hippurus) and the “pompano dolphinfish” (C. equisetis).
So how do you tell them apart?
Well… the “dolphinfish” has 240 to 280 scales along its lateral line – the “pompano dolphinfish” has less than 200… you asked… OH! The “dolphinfish” has 60 rays in its dorsal fin, the “pompano dolphinfish” only has 52… yep… you need to get counting!
Suffice to say that is not easy to tell them apart – HOWEVER the “pompano dolphinfish” rarely gets longer than 24 inches – the “dolphinfish” can reach 5 feet!
They are typically found offshore near flotsam – such as Sargassum weed. They tend not to bite hooks very easily but anglers do catch them and attempts to grow them in aquaculture have been pretty successful. The flesh is very good and now is a good time to order – they are in peak season.
Until July – enjoy Gulf Seafood.