Sena Sea Chop: Beyond The Classic Cuts
As a fishing family and provider of wild caught seafood we are always looking for more ways to make our harvest easier to enjoy and for ways to give back to the incredible wild environment. Several years ago many of the nation’s top chefs and restaurants began a trend of cooking and eating called “nose to tail” in which they tried to creatively use more parts of an animal beyond just the classic cuts. The goal of this foodie-lead movement was one of sustainability; to create a system that had less food waste and explore an environmentally friendly approach to eating meat.
Naturally, this got us thinking-- how could we do this with seafood? The answer: Chop!
What is Chop?
You may have already seen chop products listed on our website and on social media for some time but we’d love to share more about why we think this new product is worth a try. Chop is the leftover meat from a fish after filleting or portioning. When a fish is filleted even the most expert filleter leaves behind a small amount of meat on the spine, or “frame” as it is often called. As fishermen we’ve long enjoyed this little extra treat. It's easy to place a salmon frame on the grill for a finger food snack around a campfire. But the best way to use this meat that so often gets left behind in processing facilities is to scrape it off with a spoon and create chop.
These tiny pieces of fish are a great and versatile way to substitute fish in as a healthier option for ground meat. Salmon chop specifically is perfect for making meatballs and patties due to its high oil content and texture. For larger whitefish species like ling cod, rockfish or halibut, we create chop from the small scrape and trim created during the portioning process. These flaky chop options are incredibly versatile in the kitchen and can be an excellent way to enjoy a higher value white fish without purchasing an entire fillet. This also means that chop is a great way to try out a new type of fish you’re considering purchasing.
Reducing waste without compromising taste!
Even though chop and scrape is the leftover from a fillet, that doesn't mean it is any less delicious or healthy. Our chop product is processed along with all the other fresh fish portions we offer and handled in the same thoughtful, high quality way. This method of using more parts of the fish we harvest is also a great step towards reducing food waste. Each time we process fish and save the chop meat we save many pounds of valuable wild seafood. For example the Alaska Department of Fish and Game calculates that when a wild Sockeye salmon is filleted, only 57% of its body weight is used and eaten. Saving the extra meat on the salmon frame creates up to about ¼ lb of extra usable meat per fish filleted. It really adds up!
Photo credit: Copper River Salmon
Considering that Alaskan fishermen work so hard to harvest this incredible wild fish, it only makes sense that we try to use it as efficiently and thoughtfully as possible. By being creative with the way in which we use our wild caught fish, we not only are able to offer more diverse products for your home cooking needs but we are able to uphold our commitment to the environment and local food system as well.
Using chop in the kitchen
So how can you enjoy seafood chop in the kitchen? It’s easy! We have plenty of suggestions and recipes in our recipe blog and on our social media [link instagram/facebook]. Similar to our frozen fish portions, the chop comes packaged and frozen along with your other items shipped to your door. To thaw, simply snip the edge of the package with scissors to allow air flow and either sit in the fridge the night before use or place in a bath of cool water in the sink a few hours before meal preparation. As the chop thaws, the pieces will break apart and separate for use. Chop can be a great option for a last minute dinner idea since, because of its smaller piece size, a package of chop will typically thaw a bit faster than an entire portion.
Chop is truly a pesactarian dream come true! Salmon chop is the perfect option for substituting traditional ground red meat in any recipe to form a patty, salmon bite or hearty meatball. Best of all when you create your own salmon patties at home with our raw chop the options are endless for including your favorite flavor variations and additional healthy ingredients like diced veggies and herbs. Wild alaskan salmon holds together well thanks to its high oil content which makes patties made from our chop great on the grill or fried in a pan.
On the other hand, whitefish chop was simply made for tacos and stir frys! Whitefish chop is perfectly sized for hearty bites without needing extra chopping during preparation. The texture and versatility of white fish like wild halibut, ling cod or rockfish lends itself perfectly to your favorite stir fry. These yummy bits also go great on top of fresh salads for added flavor. Even a small addition of high quality protein like wild Alaskan seafood to a dish such as fried rice or a summer salad can elevate an ordinary weeknight meal to a culinary treat! Once you start using chop, we guarantee you will love it’s versatility and texture.
Many of the seafood recipes you already enjoy can be made with chop for easier preparation. Some of our favorites include creative and delicious dishes such as the Skinny Rockfish Tacos, Coho Chowder, Salmon udon Meatballs, Cool Summer Salad or Bang Bang Salmon found on our recipes blog. [link all recipes]
Already using our seafood chop in your recipes at home? Tag us and help inspire others on Instagram @SenaSea_seafoods
Eat Wild to Save Wild!
-Sena C Wheeler
Sena holds degrees in nutrition and food science in addition to being a Mom, foodie, and third generation fisherman's wife. Visit her at SenaSea.com where she blogs about family, fish and food.
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