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Outdoor Kitchen: The tastiest ways to prepare seafood this summer 


Summer is a golden time to have seafood. It’s light, fresh, and full of health benefits. From ahi tuna poke bowls to savory sea bass, seafood can satisfy anyone’s cravings.

Being on the Central Coast provides locals access to the freshest and highest quality fish—which is the first step to cooking tasty seafood, said Giovanni DeGarimore, owner of Giovanni’s Fish Market in Morro Bay.

“You want to start with your local fishmonger. If you buy some frozen fish, it’s not going to be great,” DeGarimore said.

Fish gets fishier the longer it’s been out of the water, and it’s not something people should wait to prepare or keep for a long time like beef or other meats, he said. As a local fish market and unloading facility, DeGarimore works with fishermen through independent contracts to get fish right off the boat and into the market.

“We will process them here and have them available for locals in our fish market, and we ship nationwide. People order from across the country [and] we ship overnight seafood to all 50 states,” DeGarimore said.

Some of the local favorites this time of year include salmon, halibut, and sea bass, but employees tend to push salmon when the fish is in season, he said.

“Summer is best known for the local California wild king salmon, but the Department of Fish and Wildlife regulates salmon more,” he explained. “It’s always an exciting time because it’s only available so [often]. People wait all year to get wild salmon as opposed to a farm-raised fish in the grocery store.”

Once you acquire your locally sourced fish, the best way to cook a filet is hot and fast on a grill, DeGarimore said—not low and slow because it can overcook the fish, which is a common mistake.

“When you overcook fish, it gets dry and chewy,” he said. “You want to cook it long enough where you get that nice sear on the outside, but it’s still juicy in the middle.”

DeGarimore suggested cooking salmon filets for six to eight minutes on each side to get the inside to be slightly opaque; it should be a pale pink but still glistening with moisture.

“It’s a good rule of thumb for most fish. You want to cook them less than you think; you don’t want them shiny but a perfect medium rare,” he said.

When it comes to seasoning filets, salmon can handle a heavier marinade, but DeGarimore believes the less complicated that marinade is, the better.

“Simplicity is king when it comes to fish. People try too many things with too many spices. Fish doesn’t need a lot going on,” DeGarimore said.


A popular recipe included on the market’s website is grilled salmon with strawberry cucumber salsa, which calls for a marinade made of fresh chopped ginger, orange juice, orange zest, sugar, salt, and pepper. After the salmon’s cooked, you top it off with the salsa made from strawberries, cucumber, red onion, more fresh ginger, honey, and lime juice.

This can be served with greens tossed in oil and balsamic vinegar, with a side of sourdough bread and a glass of light and fruity rosé.

For those looking for something simpler, a good go-to is using any kind of fresh citrus—like lemon, lime, or orange—with garlic and a little rosemary. DeGarimore said he puts four cloves of minced garlic, a half-stick of butter, salt, pepper, and a squeezed lemon and its peel into a bowl and zaps it in the microwave.

Once the butter’s melted and everything’s combined, he spoons that over the fish while it’s on the grill and then onto the charred side after he flips it, DeGarimore explained.

“The fish has that nice citrusy bite that offsets the fattiness and butteriness of the salmon. It also works for halibut or sea bass. It’s a go-to recipe if you’re going to bake, broil, or barbecue,” he said.

DeGarimore’s family has been in business since 1973 as one of the first fish wholesalers in town. Giovanni’s Fish Market prides itself on working with local fishermen to support its business model and to provide the best fish at the lowest price possible, he said.

“We have nearly 50 years of experience and figured out the key to getting it right with great service and great product. We really appreciate our customers and our fishermen,” DeGarimore said.

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