Friday, January 15, 2010

Citarella West Village and the switch to brown rice

The Citarella in the West Village is the closest good supermarket in our neighborhood. I like Citarella in general. They have the best seafood and service is great.

At their deli/appetizing counter, I saw grilled artichoke hearts which I had never noticed before. I bought two and the guy gave me an extra one for free!

I quartered them and tossed with lemon and olive oil. They were delicious.

Mabel couldn't believe that you could just buy them. No pile of discarded artichoke parts. No need to fire up the grill to grill them. The thought of making artichokes from scratch is now like the thought of making french fries from scratch.

I also got 2 stone crab claws and some fresh Spanish mackerel fillets.

We saw stone crab claws advertised all over in Fort Lauderdale, but they were so expensive we didn't get them while we were down there. We've never had these before, but they were really nice and fun to eat.

Mabel thought it was really cool that the claws are strong enough to break through oyster shells. But she was a bit horrified by the harvesting of the claws.
Harvesting is accomplished by removing one or both claws from the live animal and returning it to the ocean where it can regrow the lost limb(s). To be kept, claws must be 2.75 inches (70 mm) long, measured from the tips of the immovable finger to the first joint. If both claws are legal size they may both be taken. Studies by the state of Florida have shown that removing both claws do not harm the Stone Crab in any way when removed properly. In fact numerous studies have shown that by removing both claws Stone Crabs are forced to eat sea grass which has been proven to be more healthy for their diet and regenerate their claws faster ... ( from Wikipedia)

So they lose both claws, but at least they're eating better. I'm not sure how to think about that. All I know is that if I were an oyster I'd be glad.

Mackerel is simpler. It's one of our favorite fishes, and I'm still not sure why it hasn't caught on. I most closely associate scombroid food poisoning with mackerel (and bluefish), but I don't think most other people do. So I'll put in a prediction: mackerel will be the trendy fish of 2012. It's got everything. It's got to be really fresh when it's sold fresh, it's flavorful, it's supposed to be healthy, and eating it is somewhat environmentally sensitive because it's so plentiful.

I decided to change things up a bit and poached it according to an excellent Asianesqe Mark Bittman recipe.

Turned out well, and as a bonus our apartment is not smoky. As you can see, the rice is brown. I picked up Nishiki brand brown rice today.

This trial of brown rice marks a great shift in our diet. Mabel went through a phase years ago when she tried to switch to brown rice but just didn't like it. She refused to try it again, that is, until I made a dinner with lots of other good stuff to weaken her defenses. Aren't I diabolical? It turns out that she never tried the Nishiki brand (which is what we sometimes buy for white rice), and she likes it. I like it too. I know this sounds a bit ridiculous, but this brown rice tastes like pleasantly al dente white rice. We're not planning on giving up white rice at all, just hoping that we can make more use of brown rice.

424 6th Ave (at W 9th St)
New York, NY 10011
(212) 874-0383

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