Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Shopping for Wild-Caught Seafood In-Season

Poached Halibut with Ginger and Cilantro

Poached Halibut with Ginger and Cilantro

I’m already counting down the months until strawberries come back in season.

Strawberries taste immeasurably better when they’re in season, and so do peaches, tomatoes, corn and arguably every fruit and vegetable. The more I cook, the more I opt for cooking with what’s in season. But until recently, I had never thought about wild-caught seafood as seasonal.

The global seafood buyers here at Whole Foods Market explained to me that buying wild-caught seafood in-season means you’re buying fish that’s just a couple days out of the water — talk about fresh!

Plus, if a fish is in-season that means the supply is greater, which can translate to deals at the seafood counter. So take advantage of delicious fresh in-season fish at great prices.

Whether you’re interested in expanding your fish repertoire when the price is right or simply enjoying your favorite wild-caught fish during its peak season, here are a few highlights throughout the year.

Mahi Mahi Pineapple Skewers with Tomatillo Salsa

Spring

  • Pacific halibut. This firm, meaty white fish has a mild flavor. Thick fillets are great for Poached Halibut with Ginger and Cilantro.
  • US Mahi Mahi. Enjoy this mild sweet-tasting and distinctively firm fish grilled, roasted or broiled in a simple and satisfying meal like fish tacos or Mahi Mahi Pineapple Skewers with Tomatillo Salsa.  
  • Sablefish. Also known as black cod, this delicate mild-flavored fish can be smoked, broiled, simmered in a broth or pan roasted.

Baked Salmon with Warm Mango Salsa

Baked Salmon with Warm Mango Salsa

Summer

  • Sockeye salmon. This full-flavored deeply colored fish with a silky texture is a favorite because of its versatility. Looking for a simple but delicious meal? Try Baked Salmon with Warm Mango Salsa.
  • Swordfish. Meaty, rich and firm, swordfish is a perfect choice for grilling. Grilled Swordfish Tacos is an easy recipe sure to please.
  • Turbot. With a delicate flavor and flaky texture, this lesser-known and likable whitefish is delicious baked and served with garlicky sautéed greens. Its season spans until early fall.

Grilled Swordfish Tacos

Grilled Swordfish Tacos

Fall:

  • Dover sole. This delicate-flavored fish has a firm texture, which holds up well to sauces.
  • Gulf shrimp. Sweet and tender, Gulf shrimp can enhance an endless array of dishes from soups and pastas to curries and salads.
  • Icelandic cod. This mild-flavored fish is suitable for baking, poaching, braising, and broiling. Tip: Breaded and baked, Crispy Skillet-Baked Cod is a delicious alternative to fried fish.

Crispy Skillet-Baked Cod

Crispy Skillet-Baked Cod

Winter:

  • Dungeness crab. Boiled, steamed or roasted, and served as-is or in a soup, salad, sandwich or savory fried cake, succulent and sweet Dungeness crab is a highlight of the winter months.
  • Grouper. This lean, firm fish is a good candidate for baking, broiling, pan frying, poaching, steaming or roasting like in Roasted Grouper Ratatouille.

Much like fruits and vegetables, many fishes’ peak seasons do not fall neatly into spring, summer, fall or winter. Instead their peaks in availability span multiple seasons. The best way to discover what’s in season is to ask your fishmonger. He or she can also provide recipe ideas and preparation tips.

Remember, Whole Foods Market is the only national retailer with full traceability from fishery or farm to store. To promote healthy oceans, the wild-caught seafood we offer is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or rated either “Best Choice” or “Good Alterative” by Monterey Bay Aquarium and Blue Ocean Institute.

Check out what wild-caught seafood is in season (and possibly what’s on sale) now at our seafood counters. If you’re not yet familiar with one of those, now is the time to try it. Then search our hundreds of seafood recipes and get inspired!

Do you shop for seasonal wild-caught seafood? What discoveries have you made?