Monday, April 5, 2010

Warren Bleir's Tilefish Campaign

At the urging of Warren Bleir, who sells fish at farmers’ markets in Manhattan several days per week, I bought some tilefish filets this weekend.

Haven’t heard of tilefish? Bleir is trying to change that as he works to shift his customers from cod to tilefish.

“Tilefish is highly underappreciated in New York City,” Bleir said. “It’s sweet, firm and versatile for cooking.”

(I used my tilefish to make a ceviche; check back later this week for instructions.)

Bleir, based in Hampton Bays on Long Island, estimated that about 75 percent of the tilefish caught by American fishermen gets exported. Montauk, at Long Island’s eastern tip, is one of the largest tilefish ports in the world.

Bleir would rather sell his catch locally, though, especially as the weather warms.

“Cod is great during the winter,” he said, “but during the summer they swim to deeper waters further from the dock.”

Bleir and the American Seafood Company can be found at farmers’ markets at Columbia University (115th & Broadway) on Thursdays, Tucker Square (66th & Broadway) on Saturdays and the Museum of Natural History (77th & Columbus) on Sundays. In June, Bleir will also be at Upper East Side markets on Saturdays and Sundays.

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