Friday morning, October 27, 2006
There is no place in Penn-Jersey more exciting and alive at 4:30 a.m. than the Milton’s Wharf Fish Market. For most Miltonians, the hectic and scent-laden circus that takes place every morning is an unknown sight. Some may not even be aware that our town has an active fish market. But, even for the late risers, evidence of the dealings that take place at dawn is apparent all around Milton throughout the day.
The daily haul’s most abundant catches are showcased in the ever changing menus at many of our town’s best known seafood restaurants like The Captain’s Table in downtown Milton, Seafarer’s in Milton Heights, and the Old Timber Inn down on Salty Pine Road. Some of the more exotic seafood that comes in every morning will wind up at Giuseppe’s Alimentari, Milton’s only remaining independent grocery store. Unfortunately, the boxy sheet-metal monstrosity that stands on the old Chester Farm only sells fish that are farmed in south-east Asia, frozen, airmailed, and then thawed for that “fresh-caught” feel.
It’s easy to enjoy the labors of our hardworking fishermen by dining out or bringing home some nice filets, but for the price of a little extra get up and go you can experience the rare treat of seeing the market firsthand. You might even bring home one of the delicious and unusual catches that are only available for sale at Milton’s Wharf.
It is my hope that through the Wharf Watch column, and the delicacies described therein, my fellow Miltonians might be inspired to explore our town’s unique fish market.
Firefly Squid: These tiny “glow in the dark” squid are best known for the spectacle created by their luminescent mating dance. Originally fished in Japan, this species has thrived in mid-Atlantic waters where it makes a daily commute between its deep sea habitat, at a depth of more than 6000 feet, to its nocturnal feeding grounds just below the surface.
If this squid cannot be cooked immediately, freezing is recommended. ($17/lb.)
Immigrants’ Dreams of Prosperity: This species was almost fished to extinction at the height of its popularity, but through strict conservation efforts it has been able to rebound to a healthy stock and is legally fished in limited quantities.
Throughout the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, countless immigrants came to America by sea. Many of those immigrants brought dreams of prosperity along with them, although not all of those dreams made it to America. Some of the Immigrants’ dreams were lost en route. These dreams thrived in the ocean, where food sources rich in hope permitted them to grow and reproduce more rapidly than they had in the hearts of immigrants.
Dreams of Prosperity are well-known for being a forgiving fish to cook. They can be poached, baked, grilled and broiled, but my personal preference is smoked—a method which is well worth the effort if you have smoking equipment. ($26/lb.)