It’s September; the last of the outdoor barbecues are wrapping up, and watermelon and salmon will not make an appearance in our fridges until next year. But just because summer ingredients are pretty much done for the season, doesn’t mean that we have to miss out on fresh produce. The Daily Meal spoke with fish and produce experts from Whole Foods, and both delivered ideas on which sustainable seafood and seasonal fruits and vegetables we should be buying this fall, and why it’s important to buy local, in-season ingredients.
First, we spoke with David Pilat, global seafood buyer for Whole Foods Market.
Buying in season is simply a great way to try unique kinds of seafood that may only be around during certain times of year. Customers will be getting those items at the peak of freshness and when they’re at their most abundant, which can often mean the best prices. While there are fantastic responsibly farmed options available year-round, seasonal items are also a great way to mix up your routine and find new favorites.
What are the best ways to cook these seasonal fish varieties like swordfish and grouper, now that BBQ season is over?
First, why do we put away the grill after summer!? We love to grill seafood all year. A great, simple way to cook virtually any kind of fish is to lightly brush fillets with olive oil or butter, season with salt and pepper, and broil until the fish is flaky, but tender. Then finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Which are the best seasonal fish varieties to buy at this time of year.
Red Grouper: It’s versatile and can be baked, broiled, fried, grilled, or sautéed. Bake grouper with your favorite spices wrapped in foil for those worried about over cooking; it will keep it nice and moist and hard to overcook.
Petrale Sole: It’s a mild and delicate fish, so it does well pan-sautéed or -fried and seasoned simply with salt and pepper. It’s easy and fast to cook. It’s also great stuffed with julienned vegetables like carrots, zucchini and squash.
Next, we spoke with James Parker, global associate perishables coordinator for Whole Foods Market:
Why is it important to buy in-season with produce?
Buying seasonally (and regionally where possible) often ensures you are getting peak freshness and flavor. In-season commodities are also the most abundant and can have the shortest distance to market; this will almost always translate into the most value for your food dollar. If you’re not sure what’s in season, ask a produce team member. And when in doubt, whatever you’re seeing featured and in large quantities in the produce department is a safe bet.