Category: Seafood


imported italian anchovies

Sapori d’amare Italian Anchovies

The anchovy can be a polarizing subject, but for those of us who love them it is with unparalleled enthusiasm and fervor! No other single ingredient can do more to elevate a dish. As those lucky eaters who have tasted great anchovies know, these tiny little fish are the key to a whole world of flavor.

 

And so, it is with great excitement we announce the return of our hand-packed, imported Italian anchovies. Written up by Florence Fabricant in the Dining section of The New York Times for their rich meaty fillets, these anchovies are truly “For connoisseurs of very small fish”.

Caught in the Mediterranean, the anchovies are brought back to Bra, Italy where they are packed in salt and allowed to cure for two full weeks. After being cured the anchovies are rinsed, filleted, and hand-packed in extra virgin olive oil.

Sapori d’amare signature anchovy as well as 2 seasoned varieties, chive and garlic with parsley, are now available in limited quantity.

Iliamna Fish Co.

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Christopher Nicolson, of Iliamna Fish Co., was raised in a fishing community just like generations of his family before him. Fishing knowledge and connection to the local Kenai Peninsula of Bristol Bay, Alaska is part of Christopher’s heritage and his way of life. Lucky for us, Christopher is a neighbor and good friend of Heritage.

Each year when his delicious salmon becomes available we eagerly try to stockpile the ruby red filets for our customers. We just received a batch of his smoked salmon and the staff can’t help but add a little to every meal!

I had the opportunity to sit down with Christopher and chat about fishing and his favorite ways to eat smoked salmon.

CN: My name is Christopher Nicholson and I am a commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay, Alaska. And together my cousins and I have a little fish co-op we call Iliamna Fish Company. We fish on Bristol Bay, Alaska and we catch Sockeye Salmon.

There are 5 species of Pacific Salmon and Sockeye is the one that has the really scarlet colored flesh – they’re beautiful. My family has been fishing in that place for not just a few generations, my mother’s indigenous, we’ve literally been in that place for 1,200 years… It’s just the food source and the history of people like my family, I’m not the only one, there’s plenty of families like me, I’m so hopeful it will be there for my great, great grand kids too.

Wild Salmon hatches in cold fresh water streams. When large enough, the juveniles swim downstream and out to sea to live out their lives as adults, traveling thousands of miles from their nascent homes. Each species of salmon has a different life-cycle, but when it’s time to spawn all salmon travel back to their place of their birth – the exact stream in which they were born.

During the salmon run the river teems with fish as they climb upriver to mate. The fish dance, which is fascinating in itself, before mating, and finally dying. Their eggs are left to hatch and begin the cycle anew. Fishing happens during the salmon run, when the fish are fully mature and care has to be taken that enough fish make it upstream to mate.

CN: Bristol Bay is a special place because it is the US’s largest sustainably managed Sockeye Salmon fishery. And one of the reasons it’s so healthy is that the fishing in that bay is limited to hand-harvesting. And the kind that my family and I do is sort of the most old fashioned kind. And what we do is called set-netting. We fish on open little 20’ long skiffs. And we cast out these shallow nets by hand, and drag it in by hand, and pluck out all the fish by hand. It’s a real old fashioned, low-tech way of bringing in fish.

That really helps for two things. One, in terms of quality, I have the ability to pick all the most beautiful fish to pack for all my customers. For two, it really allows the biologist to manage the fishery to keep a really tight handle on how many fish are actually being harvested.

Lucky for us New Yorkers, Christopher is based seasonally in New York City (he’s a winemaker at the Red Hook Winery) and has personal reason to offer his family’s provisions in his seasonal home.

CN: A few years ago I made friends with three brothers, the Hurtado brothers, who run the Mt. Kisco smokehouse. They’re up in Mt. Kisco Smokehouse about an hour north of New York City. And I took some of my vacuum sealed and beautifully caught and preserved frozen fish up to them and asked if we could team up to do some curing on them. And the Hurtado brothers are wonderful. They have 30 years of experience with their curing and they have this really tiny beautiful little German kiln they work in. And they cure just with salt and sugar. So we experimented a little bit together and came up with a sockeye that we really love.

The kind that we are offering right now has a real kind of sweet buttery texture. Really melty in the mouth. And the smoke – it’s hardwood smoke we’re doing them with. It has that really kind of whiff or aroma of passing by a smokehouse.

So the way that we are doing it is what I would call traditional European cold-smoking. The fish are cured lightly with just salt and sugar. We’re not using any nitrates or nitrites. Then after that cure we’re cold smoking it at 78 degrees for 10 – 13 hours. We’re smoking it to taste.

Try Christopher’s favorite preparation tips:Fishlogo

CN: The simplest way is to have it is on black bread with a thick swath of delicious butter and just a slice of the salmon on top of it. The second way is the classic New York way – just a really well toasted bagel with, a fat smear of cream cheese and a slab of cold-smoked sockeye. And then if you want to get a little fancy with it, crispy roast some potatoes and toss like Boston lettuce and a little lemon cream dressing, put the hot crispy potatoes on the freshly tossed butter leaf salad and then a few slices of the sockeye in that. You can put a dollop of creme fraiche if you really want to be decadent about it.

 

Help Protect Bristol Bay

Over the years we have been lucky enough to partner with the hard working fishermen of Bristol Bay, Alaska.  They spend every summer working their nets to bring us delicious, sustainably harvested salmon. This precious fishery is currently being threatened by the proposed construction of the largest open pit copper and gold mine in the country.

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Sustainably caught sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, Alaska.

If the Pebble Mine is approved, up to 10 billion tons of waste would be created inevitably harming the largest sockeye fishery in the country.  The EPA released a draft of restrictions on July 18th in an attempt to protect the salmon’s habitat. They are accepting public comments until September 19th regarding the drafted restrictions and how it should proceed.

If you would like to learn more about the salmon’s habitat or the fishermen being impacted, please visit the Bristol Bay website www.bristolbaysockeye.org/

Or listen to this piece recently published at Heritage Radio Network www.heritageradionetwork.com/category_posts/593-Saving-Alaska-s-SalmonScreen_Shot_2014-06-06_at_1.29.46_PM

If you want to contribute to the conversation and encourage the EPA to continue to support the Bristol Bay fishery, please submit a comment at salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50802/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14589

 STAY TUNED THIS FALL for wild caught Alaskan salmon fillets. 

Florence Fabricant Loves our Anchovies!

Anchovies from Italy
Photo Credit: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

We are so proud that our anchovies got a mention in Florence Fabricant’s article in the New York Dining section today! Florence Fabricant Loves our Anchovies and we know you will too. We have olive oil and garlic with parsley.  

To Savor: For Connoisseurs of Very Small Fish

Those of us who like our anchovies rich and meaty are often disappointed by the ones sold at many supermarkets; while flavorful, they often tend to be flimsy or skimpy. Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food, is an anchovy aficionado who likes his from Italy, hand-packed in olive oil. These are available for the next few weeks, either plain or seasoned with garlic and parsley: I Sapori del Mare anchovies are $22 for a six-ounce jar from (718) 389-0985 or heritagefoodsusa.com.

Garlic Anchovies

The Best Anchovies You’ll Ever Taste

Heritage Foods is proud to once again offer artisanal anchovies!

Garlic Anchovies
Garlic Anchovies

Last year we received a small amount of anchovies from our friend Gianluca Di Liberto in Bra, Italy. Everyone in our office and the lucky customers who were able to get a bottle before they sold out fell in love with these meaty, delicious fillets.

We feel confident claiming that these are the best anchovies we have ever tasted.
Why? Because they are made with the finest ingredients and skill – each step in their production is carefully done by hand.

Here is more from Gianluca himself:

“What makes these anchovies special is that they are more fleshy,
slightly salty, and processed by hand. Compared to the anchovies from
supermarkets, they are bigger and fuller, handmade, and have a lower
salt content. Individual care goes into ensuring a wonderful eating
experience.”

Process

“The anchovies are caught and sent to our facilities near Sciacca and
Bagheria in Sicily. Fresh anchovies are gutted and cleaned then placed
in salt – a layer of anchovies and a layer of salt, over and over
until they fill a 25 kg drum. For at least eight weeks, the weight of
the stacking crushes the anchovies and causes them to lose liquid
while the salt ripens them.”

Anchovies

Ingredients

“The spices and oils we use come from the best regions in Italy. Our
parsley, garlic, and chives are HACCP certified for their safety and
quality. The extra virgin olive oil we use is produced in Umbria near
Perugia, and is world famous for its slightly bitter flavor that goes
perfectly with our anchovy fillets.”

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Company History

“Sea Lab was founded three years ago to continue the tradition the
company Taste of the Sea began in the seventies. Taste of the Sea took
its name from the fish market Rosario Di Liberto owned where workers
began experimenting and accidentally discovered our anchovy making
technique. Soon this led to an established business with high quality
packaged products. Sea Lab continues this work begun by Taste of the Sea, offering the
same quality of products that are unavailable at retail stores.”

We know you will love them as much as we do. They blow all other anchovies out of the water!

Slow Cooked Salmon with Meyer Lemon Relish

By Sylvano

grilled-whole-salmon

Of the various ways salmon can be cooked, this one is simple and strikingly good. The salmon is baked in a very slow, humidified oven, which yields a moist, tender, velvet-textured fish. When it is served at room temperature with fennel and fava beans, or tomatoes and green beans, or beets and garden lettuces, we find it has versatility and appeal the entire season. And since it holds well for a few hours, it’s also perfect for a picnic or buffet.

Serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients

1 salmon fillet, about 3 pounds
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 large shallot, diced fine
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
Salt
1 large Meyer lemon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped chervil or chives
Pepper

Directions

PREHEAT the oven to 200°E Place a pan of warm water on the lowest rack in the oven. This creates a humid environment that helps keep the salmon moist.

Lightly brush a baking pan with olive oil. Brush the salmon with olive oil and season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the salmon in the baking dish and put it in the oven. Allow about i hour for the salmon to cook through. If it seems to be cooking too fast, turn the oven down a bit. The salmon is cooked when it is just barely firm to the touch and juices are beginning to collect on top of the fillet. Let it rest at least 10 minutes, or up to 3 hours, at room temperature.

Meanwhile, get to work on the Meyer Lemon Relish. Put the diced shallot in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Macerate for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the lemon into 8 wedges. Remove the seeds and central core from each piece, then cut each wedge in half lengthwise. Slice the wedges crosswise into thin slivers. You will have about ½ cup. Combine the slivered lemon and shallot and add a little more salt. Stir in the olive oil, parsley, chervil, and some freshly milled pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

To serve, break Salmon into rough pieces, surround with summer vegetable salads, and accompany with Meyer Lemon Relish.

Heritage Radio Reports on Bristol Bay Salmon

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Here at Heritage Foods USA, we are luck enough to work closely with Heritage Radio Network. Both organizations were founded by Patrick Martins and both share the philosophy of promoting a healthy and sustainable food system and celebrating food culture. Part of this blog will feature stories from Heritage Radio Network reporting on issues, foods, farmers, and events.

Our first feature comes from an April episode of the Community Session featuring Christopher Nicolson of the Iliamna Fish Company talking about mining, fishing, and conservation in Bristol Bay in Alaska.

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From HRN:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is set to release the second draft detailing the environmental effects of a copper mine planned to be constructed in Bristol Bay, Alaska. In this HRN Community Session, Nathaniel Coburn sits down with Christopher Nicolson, vitner at Red Hook Winery, and Sockeye Salmon fisherman up in Bristol Bay. Find out how byproducts of mining, such as roadways, settling ponds, and heavy metals will endanger not only the Sockeye population, but the native bird populations and other fish species. How do indigenous Alaskan people feel about the potential of a mine coming to their homeland? Learn how consumers can vote with their fork concerning this environmental threat.

Listen here: http://www.heritageradionetwork.org/episodes/4028-Bristol-Bay-with-Christopher-Nicolson

Iliamna Fish Company

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The Iliamna Fish Company is a hardworking crew of native Alaskan fishermen who spend their summer months touring the fishery located deep within Bristol Bay, Alaska in search of fresh sockeye salmon.

Heritage Foods USA is proud to be working with the Iliamna Fish Company, a family of 25 immediate and extended relatives that has been fishing the pristine Pacific Northwest waters since 1948. Three of the fishing families live in Alaska full time while the rest spends winters all across the United States. Every June and July all the fishermen dutifully return to the healthy Bristol Bay waters where they spend many days on the boat waiting for the influx of salmon that helps sustain the community during the long off-season.

The sockeye salmon come from the deepest part of Bristol Bay, Alaska known as Nakneck. The rich flesh of these fish is a deep scarlet to persimmon red color and imparts a slightly sweet taste, a characteristic that can be attributed to the salmon’s journey from salt to fresh water.

Iliamna Fish Company has built the fishery on responsible marine practices and sustainable harvesting techniques. The fishery is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council thanks to a strong commitment from the fishermen to protect and promote the natural resources that preserve their livelihood.

The only way they fish is by setting nets, which are a lot like a sheet hanging on a clothesline floating in the wind. Part of the sheet floats on top while the remainder is anchored at the bottom and drifts with the current. The tide creates a basket that collects the fish, a spectacle often referred to as a “wall of salmon” that swims in the shallow water where the Iliamna fishermen waiting for the catch in their four-foot deep, twenty-foot long boats, carefully pull the net up and gently retrieve the sockeye. Each salmon is then bled by hand and submerged in a 33°F ice bath before it is brought to shore. Within six hours the fish are cleaned, inspected, packed and ready to be shipped to home chefs and restaurants all around the United States.

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