California Seafood: Our Local Waters
Autumn A Time to Sample the Bounty of Our Local Waters
October is National Seafood Month a time of year that provides a bounty of choices among the nearly 300 varieties of seafood harvested each year in California. Albacore tuna is plentiful in September. California swordfish and shark peak in availability from October through Christmas. Other fall season specialties from California waters include:
Ridgeback prawns nicknamed "ridgies", "RB's", sometimes called Santa Barbara shrimp, these popular southern California crustaceans are the dickens to peel but may be the sweetest tasting prawns on the west coast. Ridgeback season extends from October to May.
California spiny lobster Open season in our local waters extends from October to March. Although lacking the pinching claws of eastern lobster, California lobster are meatier, with larger tails and a sweet flavor that is prized in Asian markets. California commercial fishermen have harvested spiny lobster since the 1800's in this well-regulated fishery.
Rock crab A cousin of the Dungeness crab, three species of rock crab are harvested throughout the year in California's coastal waters. Most of the meat is concentrated in the large claws. Rock crab may be boiled or steamed; rock crab claws and meat are a tasty addition in soups, stews, and cioppino, as well as California bouillabaisse. (Please see the recipe in the winter section.)