Grouper Scandal

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the ancient mariner
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Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 3:21 PM
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The front page story in the St Petersburg Times ---

Headline------The Grouber Catch

"It is getting harder to get the gulf's signature fish on your plate."
"That grouber sandwich you ordered? Well, it might not be."

"____survey of 11 restaurants featuring grouber showed that six served a cheaper fish instead. One Palm Harber restaurant charged $23 for "champagne braised black grouber" that actually was tilapia.

A Panama City seafood wholesaler imported frozen Asian catfish for
$1.52 a pound, then passed it off as grouber, which wholesaled at 4 times that much. ($6.14 actually).

The Times ordered grouber in 11 restaurants and had the meals DNA tested-----6 samples were fakes. They then listed the 11 restaurants, the price and what the fish actually was. Two---Crabby Bill's on the Beach and the Hurricane in Pass-a-Grille were the only local fresh grouber,

Something is mighty fishy here in the Sunshine State.

ctrueder
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 3:23 PM
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I KNEW it!

Do you have a link to that story?

GAWD, I hate crooked reataurants!

seafarer john
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 4:40 PM
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Thanks guys for that very informative article and chart on grouper. I've liked Harvey's wonderful hamburgers since we discovered it only last winter, so I'm pleased to learn that they serve the real thing for a grouper sandwich. We also like Crabby Bill's, but have never eaten grouper there- we like to load up on their cheap oysters and a couple of beers. The Hurricane is not far from where we stay, so we get to eat there now and then, also good to see they passed the test. La Terresita is a place to get a Cuban sandwich and other Cuban delicacies and I'd never think of ordering seafood there. I have to wonder about some of the little shacks along the beaches where we frequently order grouper sandwiches - usually winding up with a very nice piece of fish - I think I'd recognize catfish (which makes a very nice sandwich under its own name) , but I've no idea what tilapia and some of those others look and taste like- caveat emptor.

Cheers, John

TJ Jackson
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 4:47 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by the ancient mariner

The front page story in the St Petersburg Times ---

Headline------The Grouber Catch

"It is getting harder to get the gulf's signature fish on your plate."
"That grouber sandwich you ordered? Well, it might not be."

"____survey of 11 restaurants featuring grouber showed that six served a cheaper fish instead. One Palm Harber restaurant charged $23 for "champagne braised black grouber" that actually was tilapia.

A Panama City seafood wholesaler imported frozen Asian catfish for
$1.52 a pound, then passed it off as grouber, which wholesaled at 4 times that much. ($6.14 actually).

is grouper also spelled "grouber" ?

Jimeats
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 4:48 PM
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There was a related article a couple of days ago about the same problem. It appears that it isn't the restaraunt owner, but the wholesaler , middlemen and in some cases the fishermen themselves. Product arrives at its destination marked grouper when in fact it is something different. This is a pratice that has gone on for years in the industry, with all types of fish and shellfish. The industry has no USDA inspections so it is open to all kinds of corruption. Don't blame it on the owners, the vast majority of them are breaking their butts to give us the best product avalible. Chow Jim

roadrash
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 5:04 PM
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Similar to this, I have heard from many folks (some in the seafood industry, some not) that much of the product marketed as "sea scallops" is, in fact, meat cut from the "wing" portion of the common skate/sea ray. I do not know if this is true, but I have heard it from numerous different people. I'd be interested in learning if anyone has specifics about this.

the ancient mariner
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 5:12 PM
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Brother Jackson, it would appear that you have caught a grave error in the spelling of the name of the fish grouber. It is obvious that the inhabitants of Florida do not no how to spell the name of their favorite fish---they have been using the word grouper. Us guys from NY, who are used to real fish like Cod, Flounder, Fluke and Haddock have not got around to calling grouber grouper yet.

Thanks for the correction TJ, I will go sit in the corner with the dunce cap on. And I was reading it right out of the newspaper. Mea culpa, mea culpa !!!!

TJ Jackson
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 5:19 PM
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err....so there is a fish called a grouber?

(question is serious...I have no idea....seriously.....I don't know much about fish, but I've heard of a grouper but have never heard of a grouber)

Pigiron
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 5:24 PM
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There was an investigative story in NY a few years back regarding restaurants swapping out veal for cheaper meats. It seemed that a large pecentage of veal dishes they tested turned out to be pork. I have also heard that scallops are replaced with circular cuts of cheaper fish, and there's the whole "wild vs. farmed" salmon scandal. Just seems to me that anytime someone has the opportunity to screw the customer in order to make a few bucks, they will.

xannie_01
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 5:29 PM
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thanks pigiron,
i was going through the nytimes to find that very article. it said that monkfish was being sold as scallops.

Tedbear
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 5:48 PM
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Can we assume that this is the same fish that is frequently referred to on Chinese restaurant menus as Garoupa (sic)?

Rayme
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 6:30 PM
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I love grouper but these days I don't order it because groupers are overfished in a serious way; the fishery is in big trouble. It's hard to get local grouper.


Greymo
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 7:22 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by TJ Jackson

err....so there is a fish called a grouber?

(question is serious...I have no idea....seriously.....I don't know much about fish, but I've heard of a grouper but have never heard of a grouber)


I think that it was just a spelling error.

seafarer john
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 10:21 PM
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I guess some innocent folks who are eating what they think is sea scallops for the first time might be fooled by some other kind of fish. But, once having tasted and felt the texture of a real scallop it would be difficult to fool even the most indifferent eater. I really doubt that skate wings and monkfish are successfully
passed off as sea scallops - therefore, I think it is just one of those urban legends.

Cheers, John

Jim Ross
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 11:46 PM
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On the chart it shows that 4 out of the 11 restuarants were actually selling fresh local grouper and 1 of the 4 is Red Lobster

ann peeples
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Thu, 08/10/06 11:48 PM
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My husband was watching one of those investigative shows on Tv a couple months back, and they did a segment on the fact that skate is being passed off as sea scallops.They tested both restaurants and grocery stores.So I really do not believe it is an urban legend...

CCJPO
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 6:14 AM
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I have always believed that Pompano is best Florida fish. I quess, as is everything it is a personal choice.

Jimeats
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 7:56 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by seafarer john

I guess some innocent folks who are eating what they think is sea scallops for the first time might be fooled by some other kind of fish. But, once having tasted and felt the texture of a real scallop it would be difficult to fool even the most indifferent eater. I really doubt that skate wings and monkfish are successfully
passed off as sea scallops - therefore, I think it is just one of those urban legends.

Cheers, John
No unfortunatley it's not an urban myth. On the fish piers here, at the supply area where they sold knives,hooks, rubber aprons gloves,boots and what have you they also sold punches for skate wings and cod and shark cheeks. The whole industry as a rule has long been open to all kinds of unscrupulous acts. Unless you have a keen eye and a knowlege of the business it's very hard to tell. Chow Jim

doggydaddy
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 10:25 AM
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So where does Scrod come from? We all know about Cod, but up here in New England many places feature Scrod.
Snapper also falls into the falsified fish category and other ones are used to substitute for that.
Sea Scallops have a connective muscle on the side and that is one way to identify them. A good restaurant usually removes it, but they wouldn't use anything but the real McCoy to begin with. I have never seen the muscle on Bay Scallops, so who knows?

On the other hand, I got really P.O.ed the other day when I ordered Lobster Lo Mien as a to-go order and when I arrived home discovered that it was Langostino.

Jimeats wrote: ---There was a related article a couple of days ago about the same problem. It appears that it isn't the restaurant owner, but the wholesaler , middlemen and in some cases the fishermen themselves. Product arrives at its destination marked grouper when in fact it is something different. This is a practice that has gone on for years in the industry, with all types of fish and shellfish. The industry has no USDA inspections so it is open to all kinds of corruption. Don't blame it on the owners, the vast majority of them are breaking their butts to give us the best product available.----

I agree and I think you hit the nail on the head.
On thing that I have seen happening is the practice of getting frozen, individual portions of cryovac wrapped fish and then passing it off as fresh. I have even used mussels packed this way. It seems like it has been so long since I have actually had to fillet a salmon or cut swordfish or tuna steaks. It is there that I do fault the owners for not providing the real thing.
Mock crab(surimi)is also very popular as a substitute when they think they can get away with it. I call it mechanical crab. Those seafood stuffed mushrooms? Yeah right...don't believe it.

mark


Michael Hoffman
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 10:31 AM
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There's no such fish as scrod or schrod. It's a made-up word for any white-fleshed saltwater fish. Usually it's used for smaller fish, but not always.

ctrueder
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 11:37 AM
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Outstanding lesson on "scrod"!

Straight from the website: http://www.scrod.net/scrod.html

Google is a wonderful way to keep people occupied! [|)]

Coastal Southern
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 11:51 AM
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Although this is something that we have all thought about and feared, it is disturbing to hear confirmation of the same. I am quickly loosing faith in the supply market for fresh seafood. My personal menu is almost exclusively limited to something that i have caught and harvested myself, or when i am lucky enough to be on the dock when fresh catch is coming in and the captain is feeling generous. That is the only way to ensure you are getting what you want to be eating. I know this limits the consumption of fresh seafood and this is the tragedy of the situation. Something i love so much is becoming more and more tainted.

On the other hand i am blessed to have a few great local restaurants that are family owned and operated that i can trust, but i imagine i am becoming the minority in that regard.

It really says a lot about strictly committing to seasonal and local.

Fred Ferris
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 11:51 AM
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This happens with Rock Shrimp quite a bit too...I know exectly what it looks/tastes like, and I'm constantly disappointed in places that tout it on their menu, only to serve something completely different..

seafarer john
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 11:54 AM
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According to my CIA Dictionary of Food and Wine, Scrod is a Cod or Haddock under 3 lbs. But it's easy to see how that could convienently be applied to just about any small saltwater fish if the fishmonger chooses to do so.

As to recognizing scallops or their fakes - it's easy. A Scallop has a piece of connective tissue on the side, and is solid in its consistency - no layers, no flakes.-, and most of all, it has a definite flavor unlike any other fish or shellfish.


Those punches you saw at the chandler's shop are used to punch holes in canvas and leather to accept a fitted- in gromet, and to punch bolt holes in gaskets . Not to say they could not be used to punch out circles of some flatish fish if one were inclined to do so. Investigative TV story or not, I still say the punched out skate wing substitute for scallops is an urban legend.

Cheers, John


mayor al
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 3:51 PM
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Please take your personal disputes to email. Flaming attacks will not be tolerated on the boards.

Tony Bad
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 4:20 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by ctrueder

P.S. Would it be asking too much that we return to the original thread?




Many should print out this quote and read it before pushing that "submit reply" button! It would save us all a lot of watsted reading

xannie_01
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 4:26 PM
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well, i couldn't find that article, so i cede to seafarer john.
(don't you hate it when you read something and can't
remember where? early senility)

dayle

Greymo
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 4:28 PM
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Dear Doctor,

I have been reading this forum with great interest as I was first introduced to scrod at a seafood restaurant on my first trip to the ocean along the Mass. coast (years ago). I saw scrod on the menu and could not believe that I had never heard of this fish. I asked the waitress and she told me that it was a name for small white fish that were nice and fresh that the restaurant had been supplied that day.

I was new to liking fish at that time and opted for fried whole belly clams (the first time I had them). I loved them and was so glad that I ordered them. However since that day, I have had scrod at many seafood restaurants and have found it very good.

The only reason that I entered this discussion at all is because I know that the waitress in that restaurant knew what she was talking about and I am sure many other posters do too.

Thank you for your kind wishes. I am having and will continue to have a great day in spite of my advancing age, but wonderful memory.

OOPS see that you have deleted your post directed to me but I will leave this on for your information!

RibRater
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 4:50 PM

seafarer john
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 10:10 PM
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Chef Pisto has an interesting recipe, but tellingly, he does not claim they are scallops - he says they are fake scallops. I stand by my belief that passing off punched out skate wings as scallops is an urban legend.

And, I'm going to ask my fish monger to get me some skate so I can try it for myself to learn what it tastes like - i think I'll like it - I hope I'll like it...

Cheers, John

oltheimmer
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Fri, 08/11/06 11:56 PM
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There were articles about this a couple of years ago here also, both the substitution of lesser fish and the pork for veal thing. The most common substitutions here were tilapia for red snapper, basa, or 'Vietnamese catfish' for catfish, and Chinese crawfish tails for the much more expensive and much tastier Louisiana crawfish.

GordonW
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sat, 08/12/06 12:49 AM
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There was the red snapper scam of a few years ago -- lots of fish sold as red snapper in fact is not.

http://research.unc.edu/endeavors/win2005/snapper.php

But the fake scallop thing generally is regarded as legend.

http://www.nyseafood.org/dc.asp?dc_id=52&node_id=231&document_id=3198&func=view_doc

oltheimmer
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sat, 08/12/06 9:43 AM
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The article on red snapper is very similar to what was published here 2 or 3 years ago. I remember scarlet snapper and rockfish, apparently also called bay snapper, mentioned as substitutes, but tilapia is the most common.

One local restauranteur claimed he couldn't get red snapper for less than $17-18 a lb. and had to charge $27 as I recall, but those figures were hotly disputed. I use price as a guideline. If a restaurant offers a red snapper dish for $7.95, it's less likely you're going to get real red snapper.

seafarer john
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sat, 08/12/06 11:32 AM
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Thanks , Gordon W, for the item on fake scallops- I spent almost 2 hours yesterday trying to find any citation of the legend and failed - it never occured to me to go to the NY Seafood council, a well known authority that I should have thought of.

I guess the answer is: yes, it has been tried, but probably not successfuly, and yes there are recipes for skate wings that are probably pretty good in their own right.

Cheers, John

lleechef
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sat, 08/12/06 7:19 PM
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A few seafood facts: There is no fish called grouber, it's grouper.

The seafood industry has long been accused of punching out skate wings for scallops. Anyone who can't tell the difference between skate and a scallop, well, shame on you. Not to defile the lowly skate, it's very tasty. There is a restaurant in Paris that specializes in skate. But it sure is not a scallop!

Scrod is a size definition. There is scrod cod (or haddock), market cod and whale cod. There is no fish called a "scrod" contrary to what New Englanders believe.

Now the question of wild vs. farm raised salmon. Up here there is no farm raised salmon, just like there's virtually no wild salmon in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately the USDA has not yet really stepped into the seafood arena, HACCP certified processors are just as good.

Seafood 101 is now over!

fhoran
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 9:31 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by TJ Jackson

err....so there is a fish called a grouber?

(question is serious...I have no idea....seriously.....I don't know much about fish, but I've heard of a grouper but have never heard of a grouber)


No but there is a "groper" which is defined as a middle-aged guy trying to find his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night without turning on the lights and waking up his wife. I think that most of the places that serve "scrod" around Boston do use cod but there is no such fish as a scrod (I can't be sure about them using cod as I usually forget to bring my DNA test kit when I go out to eat but it usually looks like it). And to Greymo, I too remember my first whole belly fried clam (I was probably about 5 years old). Clam strips should be illegal! Fred

Adjudicator
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 9:39 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by lleechef

A few seafood facts: There is no fish called grouber, it's grouper.

The seafood industry has long been accused of punching out skate wings for scallops. Anyone who can't tell the difference between skate and a scallop, well, shame on you. Not to defile the lowly skate, it's very tasty. There is a restaurant in Paris that specializes in skate. But it sure is not a scallop!

Scrod is a size definition. There is scrod cod (or haddock), market cod and whale cod. There is no fish called a "scrod" contrary to what New Englanders believe.

Now the question of wild vs. farm raised salmon. Up here there is no farm raised salmon, just like there's virtually no wild salmon in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately the USDA has not yet really stepped into the seafood arena, HACCP certified processors are just as good.

Seafood 101 is now over!



So, scallop wise. Do "sea scallops" exist that are in reality scallops? I am only familiar with "bay scallops", which I pretty much assume are the real thing.

fhoran
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 10:35 AM
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Bay scallops are smaller, usually growing to about 10cm while Sea scallops are two to three times larger. Both are real and tasty. Fred

Adjudicator
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 10:59 AM
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A 20cm to 30cm REAL scallop? Please.

Trencher
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 1:21 PM
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how many inches are in 30 cm?

leigh

Michael Hoffman
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 1:26 PM
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11.81

the ancient mariner
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 1:56 PM
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Whats a cm ???? I have enough trouble with inchs and feets.

Trencher
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 1:58 PM
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that's NOT right. no scallop gros to over 11 inches!

seafarer john
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 2:02 PM
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Sea Scallops run about an inch to an inch-and-a-half. Bay Scallops run to about a half inch and sometimes a bit larger. Beware of bay scallops- a lot of them are really coquina (sp?) , a bivalve that lacks the sweetness and delicate flavor of the real bay scallop.

Cheers, John

fhoran
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 7:24 PM
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Well okay, I was watching the Red Sox on replay and said "cm" when should have said "mm". So sue me. Well, actually, please don't. The bay scallops (around here sometimes called "calico bay scallops" which is Latin for "I could have been a skate" )are about the size of one of those foam rubber earplugs shooters use (or they work pretty well if your wife snores too)to protect their hearing. Sea scallops are usually 2-3 times that but can be the size of a biscuit. Fred

mayor al
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 7:43 PM
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Fred,
No big deal. Some folks got all excited about the typo... Forget it. Most places I see scallops use the definition and description close to what you (and Joh and others) just said. Small ones are Bay Scallops and Large ones are Sea Scallops. Scallops are probably my favorite seafood of all!!! I love Sea Scallops in almost every form!!
The rest of you just calm down and start cutting your fellow members some slack.

lleechef
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 7:45 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Adjudicator

quote:
Originally posted by lleechef

A few seafood facts: There is no fish called grouber, it's grouper.

The seafood industry has long been accused of punching out skate wings for scallops. Anyone who can't tell the difference between skate and a scallop, well, shame on you. Not to defile the lowly skate, it's very tasty. There is a restaurant in Paris that specializes in skate. But it sure is not a scallop!

Scrod is a size definition. There is scrod cod (or haddock), market cod and whale cod. There is no fish called a "scrod" contrary to what New Englanders believe.

Now the question of wild vs. farm raised salmon. Up here there is no farm raised salmon, just like there's virtually no wild salmon in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately the USDA has not yet really stepped into the seafood arena, HACCP certified processors are just as good.

Seafood 101 is now over!



So, scallop wise. Do "sea scallops" exist that are in reality scallops? I am only familiar with "bay scallops", which I pretty much assume are the real thing.

Heck yes, they exist! You can get "diver" scallops, u-8 to u-10 to u-15 scallops. The diver scallops look like hockey pucks, they're so large. The u-8, u-10s and u-15s are very tasty too. The Florida Bay scallops are in my opinion.....well......nasty. Then there are the Nantucket Bays which can only be harvested in November......they get a premium price and are delicious. Up here in AK we have Kodiak scallops from the sea, so sweet, so lovely, so delectable, makes you glad you're an Alaskan! New England also has lovely scallops from No Man's Land and Maine.

fhoran
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 8:08 PM
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Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

Fred,
No big deal. Some folks got all excited about the typo... Forget it. Most places I see scallops use the definition and description close to what you (and Joh and others) just said. Small ones are Bay Scallops and Large ones are Sea Scallops. Scallops are probably my favorite seafood of all!!! I love Sea Scallops in almost every form!!
The rest of you just calm down and start cutting your fellow members some slack.


Thanks Mayor. Actually when I saw the responses, which correctly pointed out that my increments were just a tad overstated, I started laughing as I was thinking about "Barry Bonds Scallops" or "Michelin Tire Man Scallops". I didn't feel "flamed" but thank you for your consideration and your work as administrator. Fred

fhoran
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RE: Grouper Scandal - Sun, 08/13/06 8:49 PM
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Originally posted by xannie_01

fhoran,
i love your posts!
you never fail to bring a smile to my face.
dayle


Thanks Dayle.