When it comes to seafood, just about anybody will tell you that they prefer fresh, local product over the imported or lower-quality stuff.
But all too often, shoppers settle for less. For many, it has to do with price and availability. For others, though, it’s a matter of comfort zones. Whenever we find a food that we like, we tend to cook it over and over without mixing up the menu—even though there are similar but better options available.
If that sounds like your dinner routine, it’s time to spice things up with some Alabama Gulf Seafood.
Some of the most common seafood products—Salmon, Catfish, Tilapia, etc.—are similar to Gulf species that feature better flavor, more freshness, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re supporting Alabama’s seafood industry. It may cost a couple extra dollars, but you’ll be getting way more bang for your buck.
Next time you’re at your local grocery store or seafood market, look for these items (and request them if they’re not on the menu!).
If you like Salmon, try Mackerel.
Salmon is one of the most popular seafood products in North America for a reason. It’s tasty, it’s easy to cook, and it comes with some nice health benefits.
You’ll find all that and more in both Spanish Mackerel and King Mackerel. These Gulf fish are a big part of our industry thanks to high demand in other parts of the country, and you’ll be getting a strong combination of robust flavor, meaty texture, and superb nutrition (including high protein, low calories, and one of the best sources for Omega-3 fatty acids).
If you like Argentine Red Shrimp, try Royal Red Shrimp.
Some of you may have been lured by the colorful red shrimp from Argentina at your local seafood counter. If you were wowed by the taste of these shrimp, we have good news: There’s a much better option.
Royal Red Shrimp are the crowned jewel of Alabama Gulf Seafood, and for good reason. The lobster-esque flavor that you’ll find in every bite is simply remarkable. And while they may look the same as their Argentine imitators, you’ll find less taste and lower quality in the imported version.
If you like Tilapia, try Red Snapper.
Tilapia is a common sight at grocery stores throughout the country, mostly because it’s a cheap product and its lack of natural flavor helps it adapt to a variety of dishes.
If you prefer your product with flavor, though—a sweet, nutty flavor perhaps—give Red Snapper a try. This premium, locally caught fish is similar in texture to Tilapia, but it’s light years ahead in every other category, including nutrition (which Tilapia lacks in general).
If you like Snow Crab, try Blue Crab.
Snow Crab can make for a tasty meal, but cracking those crab legs takes a lot of effort and can create a mess. If you love the flavor of crabmeat, there’s an easier way.
Blue Crab from the Gulf Coast is a versatile seafood product that you can enjoy several ways. Lump crabmeat goes with all kinds of dishes, crab claws are a terrific appetizer, and Soft-Shell Crab is a Gulf seafood delicacy that’s just as much fun to cook as it is to eat.
If you like Catfish, try Grouper.
We can’t say too many negative words about Catfish, since it’s a tried and true Southern dish in its own right. But if you need some variety in your kitchen routine, you don’t have to look very far.
Grouper is a similar consistency to Catfish, and it features a mild, sweet flavor that can be prepared several different ways. It’s no coincidence that Grouper is one of the most popular fish on the Gulf Coast, especially if you love a hearty fish sandwich.
If you like Rainbow Trout, try Flounder.
Rainbow Trout is another well-loved freshwater fish here in the South, one that features a low flavor profile and thin, flaky filets.
If that’s the kind of fish you prefer, you’ll love Flounder. Their flavor is mild as well, which means these filets are ideal for all kinds of pairings and seasonings. Flounder are also in season for a long while, which leads to plentiful harvests and frequent appearances at your local market.
If you like fried shrimp, try fried oysters.
Oysters can be an acquired taste, especially if you’re not the most adventurous eater. But just about anybody you’ll meet is a fan of golden fried shrimp.
A tasty breading will help lighten the strong flavor of Gulf oysters for those who are new to it, and while it’s a different taste from fried shrimp, they go together marvelously. Try ‘em together on a fried seafood platter or a pair these fried products on a po’ boy.
Now that you’ve got some new Gulf seafood products to try, you might need a recipe or two. Well you’re in luck, because we’ve got 150+ recipes that should do the trick.
Can’t find some of these Gulf seafood products in your hometown? Tell your local grocers that you’d like to see local seafood added to the menu! Don’t forget our motto, folks: Always ask, never settle.