Peruse the menu at any fine restaurant in Miami and you're sure to find a lot of bragging about the pedigrees of the various ingredients of the dish you're about to eat. With phrases like Prime, USDA Certified Angus, wild-caught, sometimes you're not sure whether to eat your food or introduce it to your parents.
Red The Steakhouse's Executive Chef Peter Vauthy recently tried to take the mystery out of the meat and seafood on your plate with a friendly little talk on what you're eating.
What's the difference between USDA Prime and Certified Angus Beef Prime? For one, only Angus-influenced cattle can be called Angus beef, where USDA prime can come from just about any cattle, including retired dairy cows. Certified Angus Beef also has more pronounced marbling, which means more flavor and juciness.
What exactly does each cut of meat come from? Here's a rundown:
- Ribeye comes from the rib section, between the short loin and the chuck. It's served boneless.
- Strip Steak, also known as a New York Strip, is the boneless top loin muscle.
- A Filet comes from the tenderloin.
- A Porterhouse is cut from the large end of the short loin and contains meat from both the tenderloin and top loin muscle.
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There are five species of salmon, all found in the rivers and streams along the Pacific from California to Alaska. While most salmon are usually about 7-12 pounds, Chinook or "King" salmon, can weight 75 to 100 pounds.
Halibut, in the flounder family, are found both in the North Atlantic and North Pacific. Halibut are usually about 75 to 80 pounds, but the largest halibut caught on record weighed 470 pounds and was over eight feet long.
A few fish tips:
- When shopping for fish, look at the eyes if the fish is whole. They should be bright. If the eyes are cloudy, don't buy the fish.
- Fresh fish should never smell "fishy." If it smells like "fish", walk away.
- Try to buy wild caught fish whenever possible. Most fish are available year-round and since we live on the ocean, there's not much of a reason to but frozen or farm-raised fish.