BURHOP'S SEAFOOD STORE
Below are the questions we get asked the most frequently in the store. If you have another question about choosing or cooking seafood that isn't answered here, feel free to send it to us on our "Contact Us" page.
Q: What’s the best way to cook fish?
A: That depends entirely on the fish and your personal preferences. Thin fish fillets, such as sole or perch, lend themselves best to a simple sauté. More delicate fish that you can sauté or cook in the oven include whitefish, cod, scrod and walleye. Thicker fillets or steaks, such as tuna, halibut, mahi mahi or salmon, can be baked in the oven or grilled with equal success. Stronger flavored fish, such as salmon or tuna, lend themselves to more flavorful preparations, such as blackening or spicy toppings. We stand by the Canadian rule of thumb when it comes to cooking temperature and time: cook your fish at medium high heat for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measuring the fish at the thickest point. Whatever you do, don’t overcook your fish. A few extra minutes won’t ruin a steak, but it will dry out and ruin your fish, especially if you’re grilling. If you start with truly fresh fish and cook it properly, i.e. not too long, you’ll find that cooking fish is easier and faster than almost anything else you can prepare for the center of your plate.
Q: What goes with (fill in the fish here)?
A: We have an excellent selection of rubs, seasonings, marinades and toppings to go with your fish. For grilling, we have a great selection of salt-free rubs that are delicious; our own line of marinades (Bon Dijon, Tahitian, Shoyu and Herb Garden) are also great for grilling or baking. In our fresh food case we have our Lemon Dill Sauce, which our customers say makes anything taste great; Sun Dried Tomato, Poblano, Arugula (seasonal) or Artichoke Pesto; and several fresh salsas which are great either baked with your fish or spooned over the fish after it’s cooked. These are simple and delicious ways to turn an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one, and we do almost all the work! We also have a wonderful selection of side dishes to serve with your fish, including a wide variety of rice pilafs, fresh Grilled Vegetables, Grilled Asparagus (in season), Herb Roasted Potatoes, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Crunchy Coleslaw, Herb Polenta, Broccoli Salad, Garlic Green Beans and much more, all freshly made in our kitchen. Go to our Pure & Simple listing to see the full range of choices. Ask your Burhop’s sales clerk for ideas. For entertaining, we highly recommend that you place an order a few days in advance, so that we can make sure you get what you need. Because we make everything fresh, we try to run out by the end of the day, and we don’t want you to be disappointed.
BUYING/STORING FRESH FISH
Q: What’s fresh today?
A: Unlike most chain grocery stores with vast distribution systems that keep fish moving around for days before it lands in the store, Burhop’s has our own distribution company (we’ve been in wholesale seafood since 1926) right on our premises in Glenview. Fish is picked up daily at the airport, and it comes directly to our back door. Fish for Hinsdale is placed onto a refrigerated truck and delivered in hours. So it’s all fresh. We keep the fish in stainless trays set in ice, the ideal way to maintain freshness. In fact, we do a lot of our own filleting right before your eyes! Our goal is to run out of many of our offerings by the end of the day, to make room for new fish the next day. That’s why it’s always good to call ahead if you need something special.
Once you get your fish home, you should keep it in the coldest part of your fridge, generally the bottom shelf or drawer. We don't recommend keeping fresh fish in a home refrigerator for more than one day, because home fridges aren't as cold as keeping it on ice, like we do. Because of our decades of experience buying fish, we are confident that our fish is superior in quality to almost any other retail source in the Chicago-land area. One of our favorite stories involved a “customer” who came into one of our stores, sampled a recipe we were demonstrating and picked up a copy of the recipe. She came back a week later, and complained loudly to the demo person that our recipe was flawed, because she’d made it at home and it wasn’t good. After much questioning, about what the woman had done, it finally came out that she’d gone to a supermarket to buy their fish to use with our recipe. We explained that we don’t guarantee the quality of our recipes done with another retailer's fish. The greatest recipe in the world won't help bad fish.
Q: I don’t like bones, so what should I buy?
A: We provide a personalized filleting service, i.e. we do it while you watch most of the time, so you know it’s done. Some fish which is readily made into steaks, like tuna or halibut, will have either no bones at all or just a bone right in the middle. Sole, swordfish, mahi mahi, grouper, whitefish, perch, any of these will be virtually bone free. But like your mother said, chew your food well, just in case. While we endeavor to remove all the bones, it’s possible to miss one. Ask your Burhop’s sales clerk for suggestions as to which fish will suit your needs. We aim to please, no bones about it!
Q: Why can’t I always get certain fresh fish/shellfish?
A: Except for raised fish, most seafood is a wild product. To protect the resource,
fishing of certain species is only allowed during certain months. Pacific halibut is only available in the spring/summer as fresh fish, but is available frozen year-round; different species of wild salmon are caught virtually year-round, because of staggered fishery openings, but the price varies enormously at certain off-season times. Native-American caught fish is sometimes available at times when other fresh wild salmon is not Some things depend on nature for availability. Soft shell crabs are only available when the blue crabs are molting; stone crab claw season is when the states where they’re caught say it’s O.K.; shad roe is only available when the shad are spawning in the spring. Some items that were once avoided in the summer, like oysters, are now raised in various areas of temperature regulated, pristine waters and are available year-round.
Fish from other countries is affected by the value of US currency – sometimes we
have to decide whether the cost of the fish will make it too expensive for our market.
But if you really want something, like French turbot or fresh crawfish, we usually can get it –
if you’re willing to pay the price! Shellfish like crab, shrimp and lobster, caught out in the depths of the ocean, are generally frozen on board the boat to preserve them in their best possible condition. Shellfish is particularly perishable, and is rarely available fresh unless you happen to live in places like Alaska, Mexico or West Australia. If you would like to be notified when certain seasonal items are in our stores, find us on facebook or send us an email!
RAISED V. WILD FISH
Q: What is “raised” seafood?
A: We prefer the term “ocean raised” or “fresh water raised” for fish that’s not caught in the wild. Both are excellent sources of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids, and we carry an extensive selection of both wild and raised fish and shellfish. As some wild fisheries have been over-fished, we feel that raised fish is a perfect solution to protecting the resource. (You don’t eat “wild” lamb, chicken, pork or beef, do you?) We know and trust our suppliers, and only
get fish from those who follow exceptional & sustainable environmental practices. Contrary to popular myth, raised salmon is not “dyed” pink. The meal fed to the fish contains a beta carotene vitamin found in the food wild fish eat. It’s not dye; it’s a food supplement, a sort of Flintstones for fish. It’s an essential part of the salmon’s diet, which they need to survive. There are differences in taste between the various species of wild and raised fish, so it’s really a matter of trying each one to see what you like. What we sell is all good, and good for you. Unfortunately, the wild-caught salmon people, as well as farmers of other protein sources (beef, chicken, pork etc.) feel threatened by the raised fish industry. They are spending a lot of money to
try and convince the public that raised fish is bad for you. A study frequently quoted by the newspapers which touts wild salmon as being better for you than raised salmon was funded by a group promoting wild salmon consumption (Pew Charitable Trust), and carried out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organization considered more political than scientific. One of the reasons why conventional farmers are threatened by fish farming operations is that the ratio of feed to meat produced is much better for fish than for red meat, i.e. it takes approximately 10 lbs. of grain to produce one pound of beef, but it only takes 1.5 lbs. of feed to produce a pound of fish. Hence raised fish grow to a marketable size much more quickly (without the use of growth hormones so often used in other protein sources), and can be a more economical source of protein for a much larger population.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Q: Where do you get your fish from (state/country of origin)?
A: Just about anywhere that you can catch fish. Because we’ve been in the business for almost 90 years, and have our own distribution company, we deal directly with many of our long-standing suppliers in places like Alaska, Washington State, Maine, Europe and Australia. We also get some of our seafood from local distributors who specialize in restaurant-quality product, because that is the highest grade of fish on the market. We always know that our product is superior in freshness, and we know that nothing is illegally caught or from areas known for bad environmental practices. We eat the fish as well, and feed it to our families. We wouldn’t sell you anything in which we were not confident about its quality or origin.