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the truth about true cod

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The codfish. Wars have been fought over it, revolutions have been spurred by it, national diets have been based on it, economies and livelihoods have depended on it, and the settlement of North America was driven by it. To the millions it has sustained, it has been a treasure more precious than gold. Indeed, the codfish has played a fascinating and crucial role in world history.” ~ Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. By, Mark Kurlansky

Truth: We love true cod. a.k.a Pacific cod. sometimes even called grey cod due to its coloring.

Even More So True: True cod is actually a very important fish to the US as we know it. Some call it, “the fish that changed America.”

Today we bring you fresh, Alaskan true cod. What is most interesting about this species is its history…
True Story: the AK true cod we have today is actually the same species of cod found on the East coast. From way back in the 16th century, countries were coming to fish for cod for salting. It was super abundant along the Atlantic all the way through Nova Scotia and to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.  Recap Previous Historical Truth: the cod fish industry was one of the driving forces behind the colonization of the Americas!

There was a sad time when due to overfishing, the cod species had eventually been wiped out and it has slowly come back to being a plentiful, super sustainable, well managed fishery today – especially in the Pacific where it is hook and line caught in abundance.  Truism: The U.S. Pacific cod fishery is now often hailed as one of the best managed fisheries in the world. More Sustainability Truths: A wealth of true cod are caught during the winter and spring months in the gulf of AK. Pacific True Cod are abundant and the fishery is considered by all means sustainable. These True cod are a Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch “Best Choice” as they are hook-and-line caught. Freshness Truth: Thanks to Hans’ Alaskan fishery connections, we are able to work with a group of hook and line fishermen that get them to us just 2 days out and in pristine condition.

Interesting Culinary Truth: True cod is the original ‘fish ‘n chip’ fish. True cod have a mild and clean flavor with a perfect flake & large white-meat which allows for a variety of preparations. Though often found in fish and chips, cod is at its healthiest baked or broiled. Other cooking methods that work well with this fish include a nice sauté, fry, stew, or chowder. True cod is also sometimes used as an alternative to halibut and can be substituted in most recipes that call for a white fish.

Nutrition Truths: This mild and sweet-flavored fish is low in calories! It’s an excellent source of protein (approx 30 g per 1/2lb serving) and selenium, as well as a very good source of vitamin B6 and phosphorus. Cod also is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, potassium, vitamin D and niacin.

Truly: delicious paleo recipes follow…

Spicy Cod Stew (I know, I know…towards the end of our last CSS season I became obsessed with fish stews and soups so I’ve tried to lay off of them for a while for those of you sick of my stew fascination…but it’s dang cold outside tonight. I’m not holding out any longer. True Life: I’m Obsessed with Fish Stew.)

1 tbsp olive/ grapeseed / or coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika 
200g can chopped tomatoes or 4 cups fresh
1 red pepper, deseeded, cut into chunks
1 pound true cod fillet, cut into chunks
handful coriander, roughly chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add garlic, cumin, paprika and cook for about 1 min.
Add a 1/2-1 cup water or stock and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat. Add the pepper, simmer for 5 minutes. Gently add the fish submerging it into liquids and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve with coriander and a wedge of lemon.
adapted by hr from

Baked Cod with Mustard

1 pound true cod fillet
2 tbsp olive / grapeseed / coconut oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425.
Put the fish in an ovenproof dish and drizzle the oil over it (melt coconut oil in ramekin first.)
Season, then brush the fillets with the mustard.
Bake the fish for about 10 minutes until it is cooked throughout and separates easily with a fork.
Serve with a wedge of lemon and a sprinkling of parsley.
adapted by hr from

Fish Sticks Yep. You read that right. I had to do it…gluten free, of course.

1 pound true cod
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup grapeseed oil

Cut fish into 1 inch by 5 inch pieces, following the lines of the fillets, remove bones if you find any. You shouldn’t. Place eggs in one dish and flour and salt in another. Dip fish sticks in egg, then flour; reserve to a plate. Put 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and heat oil on medium high.
Place half the fish sticks in the pan, leaving enough room around them so that they aren’t crowded.
Cook for a few minutes on each side, until well browned, then remove fish sticks to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Add oil –2 tablespoons grapeseed and 2 tablespoons olive to pan and fry remaining batch of fish sticks. Serve with lemon, ketchup, or desired saucy topping. Yeah, I said saucy.
adapted by hr from

Simple Baked Cod
This last recipe is adapted from the CrossFit Santa Cruz Central: EAT THIS! blog. CFSCC happens to host of one of our CSS drop-sites so some of you may have seen this before, but if you haven’t and you enjoy paleo recipes their blog is a wealth of information.

1 pound true cod fillet 
your favorite spices such as;
garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, oregano, paprika, sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the cod filets with desired spices.
Bake for about 10-20 minutes or until fish is heated through and flakes easily with a fork.

Thank you CSSers! We truly love being your trusted weekly seafood provider… Enjoy!

wahoooooo for ono

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This week we’re bringing you Hawaiian Ono (aka Wahoo), although we strive for as much local fish as possible for our CSS, when local fishing slows due to large swell and seasonality we feel the sustainable Hawaiian Ono is a wonderful alternative, not to mention it is considered one of the best eating fish ON THE PLANET. Once again we are dealing with Mother Nature prohibiting us from bringing you local species, but that just happens this time of year and thanks to Hans’ years in the seafood industry we are able to hook you up with Hawaiian (among other) specialties when local fishing gets slow.
Remember: the focus of our CSS is on sustainability first, locality second. While we’ll always choose a local fish over an imported fish, the beauty of what makes our program stand out is that we will be filling your coolers all winter long with fresh fish you can feel good about – local or not. We’re very picky about what we put our name on!

With a name meaning “good to eat” in Hawaiian, Ono has a mild, slightly sweet flavor with a firm texture and flesh that is white when cooked. You can find Ono year-round in coastal fish markets on the Pacific. The Ono we sell comes out of Oahu and is shipped overnight. This causes it to be at a very premium price when we sell it at our farmers’ markets, but our customers always go crazy for it.

I love that ono is a super source of healthy, extra lean protein. It is low in saturated fat as well as sodium and rich in niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium. Ono also provides about 375 mg of omega-3’s (DHA and EPA) per 4 ounce serving.

Ono is very versatile to cook; grill, broil, blacken, sauté, poach. Basically any good cooking method for a lean fish (those with a low fat content) is great, just to ensure that it doesn’t dry out when cooked. It is well-known for its many delicious twists on common recipes such as Ono tacos and Ono burgers. Of the many ways to cook Ono, one of the simplest is to grill it with a seasoned rub. Since it’s lookin’ like we may cling to a last little bit of sun this week before the rain rolls in I am giving you some great grilling recipes so get outside and enjoy the warm days while they last! Ono can be on the drier side if overcooked, so be sure to keep that in mind – it never really needs more than a medium-high heat. Remember, I’ve adapted these recipes to make them Paleo-friendly so feel free to adjust them to your own liking if you don’t enjoy the Paleo thing.

Basic Grilling

Olive or Coconut Oil
Lemon Juice

Start with a rinsed, DRY fillet. Heat and prepare your grill.  Drizzle the Ono fillets with oil, and rub to coat both sides (melt coconut oil in ramekin to spread.) Combine about 1 tbsp. paprika, 1 tsp. of black pepper and salt to taste. Rub the mixture onto the Ono fillets. Drizzle the Ono fillets with lemon juice. Grill over med-high heat for about six minutes per side for 1-inch fillets, longer if the fillets are thicker, until it reaches medium doneness.

Grilled Ono Tacos with Roasted Corn and Pepitas Recipe

1 pound ono
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons olive or coconut oil
1 ear corn, shucked (or 1 can if unavailable)
1 large tomato, 1/4″ dice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
4 corn tortillas (Paleo option: sub
cabbage or lettuce leaves)
1/2 cabbage, shredded
2 limes, cut into wedges
1/4 cup pepitas or roasted pumpkin seeds

For the  sauce (stir together)
1 cup light sour cream (or sub plain nonfat Greek yogurt)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder (or regular chili powder.)

Preheat your outdoor grill. Cut the fish into 8 thick strips, about 1″ wide x 4″. On a plate or bowl, toss the fish with the garlic salt, paprika and oil. Brush a bit of the oil onto the corn on the cob. Grill the corn on the grill over direct heat, rotating a few times.

Three minutes after starting the corn, it’s time to grill the fish for 2-4 minutes each side, depending on thickness of the fish. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, throw the corn tortillas on the grill, flipping halfway. The corn, fish and tortillas should be ready around the same time.

Use a serrated knife to cut the kernels off the cob. Toss with the tomato, salt and cilantro. Assemble tacos with cabbage, a piece of fish, a spoonful of sauce, grilled corn/tomato, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of pepitas.
Adapted by hr from

Hans’ Hawaiian-Style Ono Poke
YES! that’s right!! Ono makes a fantastic poke!

1 pound ono, cubed
2-3 tablespoons sesame oil(to coat well)
1 teaspoon Sriracha (rooster sauce) +/- for desired heat
1 tablespoon soy sauce or to taste
1 tablespoon green onion
1 tablespoon cilantro
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup chopped ogo seaweed (optional)
pinch of sugar

In a mixing bowl, coat ono with sesame oil then add the remaining ingredients. Stir gently and serve cold. Served in lettuce cups is delicious… “poke boats” as our kids call them.

“Fishmomger” tip: If you don’t eat it all tonight and want to have it a few days from now, try COOKING your leftover poke! We do that all the time with unsold market poke and we love it. Just a quick sauté or broil is all it takes, add nothing.

Aunt Linda’s
Grilled Ono with Tropical Salsa

1 pound ono
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
dash of sea salt
2 tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper
1 mango
1/2 avocado
1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime

Combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a ziploc bag and mix well. Add fish to bag and let marinate for 20 minutes. Half the tomatoes, remove the seeds and discard. Chop the tomatoes and place in a small mixing bowl. Chop the bell pepper, mango, pineapple, and cilantro and mix in with the tomatoes. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the salsa and mix well.
Grill the fish for about 4 minutes on each side. Serve topped with a generous spoonful (or three…) of the salsa.
Adapted by hr from Mastering the Art of Paleo Cooking, May 2011

You know… we really really love it when we can show off our members’ amazing CSS creations!!! Don’t be shy! It doesn’t have to be the prettiest plate… just tell/show us how you prepared your fish and how you liked it! You can share to our Facebook page or send and email at and we’ll share it for you!

Bon Appétit! or as they say in Hawaii, E ‘ai ka-kou!


sweet on swordfish

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Happy Valentine’s Day CSS’ers! {well, it may not be Valentines Day anymore but I’m sure you can rekindle the love for this fish any time …}

It is with love we bring to you this very delicious fish  – Local Swordfish.

If you were hoping to impress your date with a home cooked meal tonight, or even prepare something special to show yourself some love, then you’re in luck… filling your coolers today is sweet, succulent swordfish. Swordfish is rich and buttery with a dense, firm, juicy texture. Sexy, right?

Swordfish really doesn’t need much – a little olive oil, salt, and pepper under the broiler or on the grill makes for a delectable dinner if you like to keep it simple and really enjoy the fishes’ own flavor and texture. It has a texture that is also superb for kabobs, pasta dishes, or any other plate you wouldn’t want the fish to get lost in.

Here are some general cooking guidelines to help you out if you are unfamiliar with cooking swordfish:

~Grill – On medium-high heat, place steaks or skewered kabobs on clean, oiled grill grates. Cook for 8 to 9 minutes for 1/2 pound fillets; about 7 minutes for kabobs.
~Bake – Oil or line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or wrap fish in foil), bake in a 425°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
~Broil – On an oiled broiler rack or foil-lined baking sheet, place 5 inches from heat source and broil 8 to 9 minutes.
~Poach – Place fillets in a covered deep skillet and add a flavorful liquid (such as tomato sauce, coconut milk or wine, etc.) to fill until about 2/3 as high as steaks. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
~Pan-sear – Coat a heavy skillet or grill pan with a thin layer of oil or butter, sear for 6 to 8 minutes.

You know your swordfish is finished with the thickest part of the fillet separates easily with a fork.

Because of swordfish’s richness it also stands up beautifully to strong flavors and heavy spicing. There are tons of swordfish recipes online, but in addition to helping you put the smooth moves on in the kitchen tonight, I also like to do my part to help encourage a smooth movin’ body overall – let’s keep it healthy folks.  The recipes I feature will generally follow a Paleolithic eating style (learned from the one and only Paige Nutt- Trainer, Gym Owner, CSS Site-Host, Hot Mama at Studio 831 in Santa Cruz.) Paige even has her own Paleo cookbook featuring some of H&H’s own recipes and we’ll be featuring her recipes from time to time as well. If you’re looking for a local gym (since I know you like to buy local), check it out. You can even grab your CSS subscription there every Tuesday after your work out!  But I’m getting off topic… back to the hot cookin’ in the kitchen. (As I mentioned above, swordfish can be good with pasta so if you must eat it then try this one maybe?) So yeah, Paleo, here we go: continue reading for recipes & salmon info

css ahoy!

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It’s that CSS time of year again…we’ve had a nice little vacation and are excited to welcome both returning members and new members to our program!

To our returning members, you’ll find the Brainfood Blog is a little different format than the write-ups you may be used to.

To all members, we hope that you’ll find the BB a helpful resource for all things fish.  We will be posting our weekly CSS write-ups here along with frequent posts, pictures, recipes, happenings, etc. so check it often and please feel welcome to share it with non-css members as well.  Also, if you should ever have a question for our resident in-house Fisherman/Chef/Monger/Cool Guy Extraordinaire, (he’d be so freaked out if he knew I was calling him that, but come on…let’s call it like it is – the guy’s a wealth of information) Hans, we welcome you to ask it here. We will get back to any and all questions.

At H&H we understand…it’s not easy trying to choose fresh, good, ocean-minded seafood in an industry with a whole lot of “grey matter.” Deciphering through it all can be frustrating – we want to share with you our passion for sustainable fish ‘cause it’s what we do and it’s what we know. We love learning new things too – so give us what you got/know/heard/love/ate/cooked/caught/whatev– so long as it’s in the name of lovin’ fish then we’re here for ya.

Well then…without further ado…

To kick off our Spring 2012 Community Supported Seafood Season we are pleased to be offering up some of the best species the Monterey Bay has to offer this time of year – Petrale Sole and Grenadier (aka Black Snapper).

If you get 1 MEAL PER WEEK then you’ll be receiving Petrale Sole.

If you get 2 MEALS PER WEEK then you’ll be receiving Petrale Sole AND Grenadier (Black Snapper).

Let me tell you a bit about them both…

Petrale Sole

Many of our CSS veterans are Petrale Sole Professionals by now but this time of year when the local fishing gets a little more limited the Petrale Sole can generally be counted on to show up. Petrale Sole are trawled on sandy or muddy ocean bottoms with little or no lasting damage to ecosystems. They are sweet and mild in flavor with a firm, fine texture. Petrale Sole can be tricky on the grill, we recommend a quick sauté, broil, bake, or poach.

I’ve shared this recipe before but it is a good standard pan-seared recipe. Maybe try adding different herbs/spices, the cooking technique will be the same. 

Pan-Seared Lemon Sole

YIELD: Makes 2 servings


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 lb of sole fillets

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 lemon, ends trimmed

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained


Place the flour on a plate. Season the sole with the salt and then coat it in the flour, shaking to remove any excess; set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Slice the lemon into 12 thin circles and add them to the skillet. Cook until the lemon is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Push the lemon to the side of the skillet and add the sole. (You may need to cook it in batches.) Cook until the sole is the same color throughout and flakes easily, about 2 minutes per side. Add the remaining butter and the capers to the skillet. Remove from heat and tilt the skillet to swirl the butter until it melts. Transfer the sole and lemon to individual plates and spoon the capers and butter over the top.

Nut Crusted Sole with Citrus Salsa

The following is a most lovely recipe from I really strive in my recipe quest to keep them light, but that is so hard to do when searching for Petrale Sole recipes plus I’m trying to find new recipes I haven’t shared before.

How good does this look?!?!

Bear in mind this recipe calls for 1 ½ lbs of sole so adjust to your need accordingly.


Grenadier / Black Snapper

Grenadier, at our Farmers’ Markets we call it Black Snapper.  It is also commonly referred to as “Pacific Roughy,” and if you’re a fan of the Orange Roughy – then you’re in luck. The name doesn’t lie; it tastes like the Orange Roughy’s smarter, better looking, more sophisticated, Pacific cousin. We love it. I often suggest it to my market customers who either aren’t sure they love fish (duh) or have children that are picky. It is mild, flaky, delicious. UG-LY as heck though, man – what a fish! I’m not even going post a picture on here it’s so ugly. JFGI if you dare. No, but never mind that. Let’s get back to discussing how delicious it is… and versatile to cook –give it a sauté, poach, steam, bake, or broil. Best of all – it’s caught right here in our bay by our local hook and line boys along with Sablefish/Black Cod.  So here’s the thing…let’s get back to that “grey matter” I was discussing earlier. Watchdogs might tell you to “Avoid” this fish. This is where H&H breaks it down on a local level; there are 6 different species of Grenadier, much is not known about our local species which can lead to an overly extreme amount of caution. In other parts of the world Grenadier is often caught incidentally in bottom-trawl fisheries. Even the MBA’s small print will tell you “habitat damage is less of a concern with bottom longlines” and that “little is known about the grenadier species found in the Pacific Ocean.” Our California Grenadier gets a bad rap because it gets grouped with Giant and Pacific Grenadier. The moral of our story? Shop Local. Ask your trusted fishmongers. Read the small print.

In general, you can easily use any snapper recipe you enjoy for Grenadier. It has a bit of a finer, smaller grain than most “Red Snapper”, or Rockfish. This is part of what makes it so delicate and tasty, but it adapts to most snapper recipes just perfectly.

In honor of our recent Mexico trip, (not tacos cause I can’t even look at another taco) here’s a nice, simple recipe adapted by Hans and I that we love: 

Baked Black Snapper with Cilantro, Garlic, and Lime


1 lb grenadier fillets

2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I almost always sub coconut oil but that’s just my preference here)

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh lime zest lime wedges


Preheat broiler and lightly oil a shallow baking pan (1 inch deep). Pat fish dry and arrange in 1 layer in baking pan. Brush fish with oil total and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Lightly heat coconut oil to spread easily) Toss together cilantro, garlic, and zest in a small bowl. Broil fish 6 inches from heat, without turning over, until just cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer fish to a platter/plate and sprinkle with cilantro mixture. Serve with lime wedges.

Sautéed Snapper with Broken Black-Olive Vinaigrette

Here’s a sauté recipe that looks delicious courtesy of Don’t worry that the recipe calls for skin-on snapper – it’s just as well to have the skin already off which your Snapper does. Sometimes the skin on can add flavor to your dish but in this case it won’t matter. Also, you needn’t worry about the bones either, we’ve taken those out for you as well. Geez, I don’t know where gets their snapper but we’re hooking you up with the fine fillet job. The fish will be delicate so use caution when flipping it. Also, keep in mind the recipe calls for 4 6-oz fillets (= 1.5 lbs) so adjust the recipe accordingly depending on your portion size. Let me know if any of you try this recipe…I’d love to know how it is.



If you’re a returning member, please remember to bring BOTH of your coolers with you today. New members, go to your drop-site between 2:30-6:30pm. Find our CSS cooler and locate your little cooler inside with your name on it. Sign for your fish on the sign-out sheet, enjoy, and lastly…tell all your friends!

If you get 2 meals per week, both the fish today are equally fresh so you can enjoy which ever fish you prefer first.

For more information on your particular drop-site, log into your Farmigo account and click on the “Directions” tab.  Please review pick-up protocol for specific instructions and remember to respect our site hosts.

If you have any questions today please call the lovely Megan at 831-234-9484. This is our CSS line…use it any CSS delivery day if you have urgent questions or concerns since we are in and out of the office on Tuesdays.