Before you grab that beef burger or toss some packages of hot dogs and buns into your shopping cart, think about going local this Fourth of July. East End baymen and baywomen provide heavenly and healthy seafood year round. Rounding out your holiday eating with fresh seafood from nearby waters seems to us a fine way to celebrate.
Right here and now, the folks at Stuart’s Seafood in Amagansett told us, there are fluke, flounder, striped bass, porgies, and bluefish from the inshore grounds. To that list the Seafood Shop in Wainscott added black sea bass and weakfish and said that local tuna just might be in the icy display case by the weekend.
From farther out at sea, tilefish, monkfish, butterfish, and mahimahi come over the docks. Other shops, like Gosman’s in Montauk, Round Swamp in East Hampton, and Amagansett’s Seafood Market, are loaded with much the same and are where you can pick up clams, oysters, and sea scallops.
Some things in the fishmonger’s case will not be from here, and reputable retailers will tell you so. Branzino, red snapper, salmon, most shrimp and soft-shelled crabs, octopus, trout are out-of-towners for sure. So, too, will be most of the great pelagic species, including a majority of tuna and swordfish until later in the summer.
Craig Claiborne, a Southerner by birth but an adopted son of East Hampton who had a house overlooking Hand’s Creek, had this to say, “Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” Whether you broil, barbecue, or steam, hook, net, or dig your own, or stop by a backyard fish stand, East End seafood is as good as it gets. Let’s hear it for the harvesters and spread some of that love around!