Several varieties of shark are marketed in the U.S., including mako, blue shark, and black tip. All three have a firm, white, mild-flavored flesh that belies the predatory fierceness of their source. Mako tastes quite similar to swordfish blue shark has a whiter flesh and more delicate flavor black shark shares these qualities, but tends to be a little dry.
Although shark may seem exotic, even weird to many Americans, it’s more commonplace than you think. A fair amount of what passes for swordfish in this country is actually shark. Anxious to avoid unpleasant connotations, though, many fishmongers market shark by the benign name of dogfish a rather strange choice considering the idea was to make the fish sound more attractive.
There’s another reason to love shark, besides its fine-flavored flesh: It’s virtually boneless. Endowed with a cartilaginous backbone, shark lacks the tiny bones found in ordinary fish.
As for the seasoning, fresh herbs, including chives, parsley, thyme, mint leaves, and culantro are basic. (The latter is a sawtooth-leafed herb that tastes like strong cilantro.) These herbs grow in profusion in Paramin, a hilltop community a half hour north of Port of Spain.
To round out the seasoning, you’d ideally add a Trinidadian chile, called a seasoning pepper, that tastes like a scotch bonnet without the heat. Possible substitutes in this country include green bell pepper, cachucha pepper (a small, pattypan squashnshaped pepper sometimes called chile rocotillo or aji dulce), or even a seeded, deveined scotch bonnet.
The recipe included here is a North American’s take on a Trinidadian classic-inspired by one of the best places to eat shark and bake: Natalie’s Shark and Bake Shop at Maracas Bay on Trinidad’s north coast. If you’re in a hurry, you could omit the "bakes," substituting grilled slices of your favorite prepared bread, instead. This recipe also works well with swordfish.
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