Food

Dockside Dinners

Recipes from the sea

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

When I first wrote about the Dockside Market in mid-October, Bellingham SeaFeast, the Port of Bellingham, and the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County were testing the waters to see if people would support local fisher-folks by purchasing directly from them at Squalicum Harbor.

A few months later, it’s clear the collaboration was a canny one. Two or three days a month, those selling their catch from aboard their boats or adjacent to the docks have not only been seeing their products go directly into the hands of their customers, they’re also able to share stories relating to the provenance of the seafood, offer a safe way for people to procure gustatory goods in the midst of a pandemic, and give cooking tips.

Nerka Sea Frozen Salmon, for instance, told people buying their whole king and coho salmon at a December market not to worry about the meat they left on the backbone when filleting, noting it could be used for a bonus meal such as salmon miso ramen. And when we picked up a dozen oysters from Blaine’s Drayton Harbor Oyster Company during that same visit, we were told they were a little bigger than usual, and would work well for grilling—maybe with a little garlic butter and parmesan.

That night, we waited for the skies to clear, shucked the oysters and did just that—saving a couple of the briny bivalves to slurp raw, with just a little lemon juice to complement the freshly harvested shellfish. For the next night’s dinner, we thawed a three-pound box of whole side stripe shrimp that had been caught and frozen in Alaska by Captain Bill Armstrong of Icy Fresh Seafood and used it in a variety of ways.

For an appetizer, we dipped some of the thawed shrimp into cocktail sauce and confirmed their promised sweetness. We saved every last shell and spiky appendage and put them aside to use in a seafood stock with chopped celery, onions, herbs and garlic. Then we made shrimp scampi in wine sauce with linguini, and although there were leftovers, it wasn’t for lack of trying to finish every delicious bite.

Following our Bellingham Dockside Market pickups, we’ve also successfully experimented with baking fresh whole black cod from Over the Rail Seafood Sales, pan-seared scallops from Sea to Shore Seafood Co., and contemplated what to do with sea urchin from Crab Bellingham.

With two markets this month—from 10am-2pm Sat., Jan. 9 and again Sat., Jan. 23—we’ll have even more opportunities to expand our palates while supporting those who make their living on or near the sea. Per usual, we’ll check the list of purveyors before heading out the door, grab a cooler to keep our catch on ice, and then make our way to the waterfront. Follow the signs, and you can too.

For more info, go to http://www.bellinghamdockside.org

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