Seafood snob salute to freshness
One of the things I discovered while living on Guam is that my parents inadvertently raised me to be quite the seafood snob. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, seafood was a regular feature in our weekly meals, much as it is here on Guam.
There was a phenomenal fish market a few miles from our house where we could take our pick from a vast selection of fillets and shellfish that were only hours off the boat. Without realizing it, I became groomed to turn my nose up at anything that had that icky fish smell. I find myself quoting my mother in restaurants, asking our server where their mahi-mahi is from.
Moving to Guam, I was over the moon to discover this same seafood freshness is conveniently available seven days a week right in the middle of town. The Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative is a weekly (or more) stop among my run of errands.
I checked out other fish markets on island, but only the co-op offers consistent hours, a variety of options (hello poki!), and a reliable selection of fish caught by local fishermen in the waters surrounding Guam. The fish is so fresh, you need very little seasoning to make a fantastic meal. We’ve even had rave reviews from dinner guests who said they don’t like fish (turns out they just never tried it that fresh before!).
I have talked to a number of people who would like to go to the Coop but don’t know where it is, don’t know what to buy, or don’t know how to cook fish. As for what to buy, I suggest first-timers start with fillets of yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, or marlin. The Co-op also carries salmon, which is caught off the coast of Washington state but has always met my snob standard of freshness.
Pick out enough fillets to average a serving size of half a pound of fish per person, and plan on cooking your fish within 24 hours of buying it. Eat any leftover fish within 48 hours of cooking it.
Those new to cooking fish will quickly learn it is one of the easiest entrées to prepare. There is a lot of leeway in cooking time, especially when you are working with quality sashimi-grade fillets the Coop sells. I like to bake mahi-mahi, opah, salmon, and onaga in a 400-degree oven with a simple seasoning of salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice.
We grill tuna and marlin steaks outside on a charcoal grill or even over the stove on a grill pan. Serve with steamed vegetables and a mango salsa, and you have Fresh Factor dinner perfection.