Abundantly available in South Carolina salt waters this November is the Gray Triggerfish, not to be confused with the flourescent Triggerfish you may have seen in an aquarium. According to the SC Aquarium Sustainable Seafood Initiative, Gray Triggerfish is one of the most sustainable fish to catch and eat during this final full month of fall.
The Triggerfish is a champion of the underwater world. They are designed to play defense with sharp teeth, a trigger-like dorsal fin and hard as nails scales. They hang out close to the ocean floor and nestle themselves inside the holes of coral reef- a great hiding spot for their armor-like bodies. Triggerfish can crack open urchin and crab shells with ease because of their fang-like teeth. They are also known to keep close, aggressive watch over their eggs.
The fish’s claim to fame and subsequent namesake is its spine. The Triggerfish spine can rise and lock the dorsal fin into an upright position. The only way for a fisherman to release the fin (and avoid getting jabbed) is to press directly behind the raised spine, just like the trigger of a gun. The fin is sharp and painful when in position, to both anglers and underwater predators. The trigger fin sends a clear message that the Triggerfish doesn’t mess around! It is this unique behavior that keeps a greater population alive and able to thrive, making Triggerfish more plentiful and safe to enjoy.
Triggerfish is fresh on the menu this weekend at Amen Street. It makes a very sustainable substitute over grouper and snapper dishes this month. Triggerfish is light and flaky; many list it among the best tasting fish. At Amen Street you can have it prepared in any 3 of Chef Ollard’s special ways (herb grilled, blackened or Mongolian BBQ-ed) or try his featured entrée: Grilled Triggerfish with Braised Spinach, Polenta, Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette.
See the rest of Chef Stephen Ollard’s Daily Specials here and check back for daily updates.