Spanish-style rockfish ceviche at H&H Fresh Fish Co.
Spanish-style rockfish ceviche at H&H Fresh Fish Co.
(Via Cade Wright)
Food & Drink

Eaters Digest: Rockfish ceviche at H&H Fresh Fish Co.

Following a delayed crab season and a canceled salmon season, Santa Cruz seafood market H&H Fresh Fish Co. has expanded its line of ready-made products featuring fresh, locally caught fish.

Welcome to the Friday Eaters Digest column. Each week, Eaters Digest does three things for you. First, I’ll highlight a single dish or drink worth seeking out. Second, I’ll share the most important food and drink events in the area — and our growing list of area food guides on everything from farmers markets to the Corralitos wine trail. Third, I’ll catch you up on Lookout’s and other food stories you might have missed.

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Eat This: Rockfish ceviche at H&H Fresh Fish Co.

Fishing in the Monterey Bay has been a bummer over the past year. Last winter, the lucrative Dungeness crab season was delayed more than two months, until the middle of January, missing the vital holiday season. When it finally opened, a surge of crab onto the market caused the price to plummet by more than 50%. Then, this spring, the salmon season in California was canceled for both commercial fishermen and recreational anglers.

With huge hits to two of its best-selling fish, local seafood market H&H Fresh Fish Co. is rolling with the punches. Owners Hans Haveman and Heidi Rhodes expanded its line of house-made seafood products featuring locally caught fish that are readily available, including halibut and rockfish from the Central Coast and ahi tuna from Southern California. Not only are the new items delicious and creative, they’ve inspired new ways to prepare fish in my own kitchen.

It was the rockfish ceviche ($13) that hooked me (pardon the pun) — chunks of tender white fish marinated in Mexican lime juice and tossed with red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro. Haveman, who worked for Wolfgang Puck for six years in the early 2000s, makes his own chili sauce, which gives the Spanish-style fish salad a sweet heat. It’s balanced and uber-flavorful — and while it’s great on tortilla chips, I’m also perfectly happy eating it out of the container with a fork.

Other items to grab in 8-ounce containers: maguro poke made with buttery, dark red California bluefin ($16); crab cakes made with California Dungeness crab, ready to fry at home ($26); salmon smear with house-smoked salmon ($13); and house-smoked ahi ($36 per pound).

While the fishing industry has its ups and downs, Haveman strives for consistency in H&H’s products: “When people like something, they’ll want to come back and eat the same thing again.”

Find it at H&H Fresh Fish Co.’s shop under Johnny Harborside restaurant in the Santa Cruz Harbor, and at the farmers markets in Aptos, Live Oak, Felton, Scotts Valley, downtown Santa Cruz and the Westside.

493 Lake Ave., Suite A, Santa Cruz. 831-462-3474.

Best of the Weekend

Here, find a curated list of the best food and drink events in Santa Cruz County for the coming week. At the top, I share my picks of unmissable local happenings.

South County’s sweetest festival is back: The Watsonville Strawberry Festival returns this weekend to celebrate the area’s most beloved — and most valuable — berry. Three days of family-friendly fun and events in downtown Watsonville kick off this evening and run through Sunday, including a carnival, live entertainment on three stages and more strawberry-themed art and food than can be believed.

Friday, Aug. 4

Saturday, Aug. 5

Sunday, Aug. 6

Thursday, Aug. 10

Can’t Miss City Guides

News from the Week

ICYMI — Here are the food news stories from Lookout that you might have missed, plus important news from beyond our borders picked by yours truly.

Lily Belli On Food: Greater Purpose Brewing closes (Lookout)
Popular Santa Cruz brewery Humble Sea opening Alameda location (East Bay Times)
YouTube star MrBeast sues ghost kitchen partner over ‘inedible’ food (Washington Post)

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