Three “Better” Seafood Sandwiches

How hard can it be to get a local dinner from American seas?

Paul Greenberg

--

“Quality Seafood” by JD Hancock is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

My New England seafood supper is lost over Tennessee.

Two dozen herring, 20 pounds of squid, and a bushel of blue mussels are circling in a thunderstorm over FedEx’s hub in Memphis. If the FedEx pilots manage to land, all that seafood just might make a northbound connecting flight back to New England, where it was all originally harvested. Eventually, fingers crossed, it will find its way onto a truck whereby it will end up at the cabin I’ve rented for my vacation on Deer Isle, Maine. That’s my hope, anyway. I planned dinner for 7 p.m. for a group of old-school Yankee neighbors. I promised them three radically new summer seafood sandwiches. I’ve now been promising these sandwiches for two days, and still the seafood hasn’t arrived. FedEx swears the re-delivery will come at 4:30 p.m. The Yankees are getting hungry and, in their impatience, are rigging their sloops for a little sailing. By 4:07 p.m., there’s no FedEx truck in sight.

That all these convolutions are necessary just to put a New England seafood dinner on the table in New England is part of my point. Even though the United States controls more ocean than any nation on Earth and is the world’s third largest consumer of fish and shellfish, Americans import 90 percent of their seafood. Meanwhile, the United States exports millions of tons of its own wild fish and shellfish — often to the very same nations that it receives imports from. Being a locavore on land is easier and easier these days. But at sea, it’s still pretty darn complicated. [Note this is something I discuss in a lot more detail in my podcast Fish Talk]

Americans import 90 percent of their seafood. Meanwhile, the United States exports millions of tons of its own wild fish and shellfish — often to the very same nations that it receives imports from.

But in all fairness, the meal I’ve planned is particularly difficult to source. I’ve designed three sustainable sandwiches involving marine life that has a hard time making it to American tables.

--

--

Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet and Goodbye Phone, Hello World paulgreenberg.org