Wholesale or Retail Turtle Meat in New England?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by capecodchef, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    Sorry for long shot thread, BUT... I have a hankering to offer an old school, Creole snapper soup, but can only find boneless turtle meat mail order out of Louisiana mostly. It's definitely an old school item and a Southern thing, but my lifelong best ever taste of soup was the Snapper Soup at Bookbinder's in Philly in 1980. I'd like to give a go to duplicating it, but can find a local source of the main ingredient. Any ideas? I'd also love to hear any tips and recipes from anyone with experience cooking it?
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Check the Asian markets in Boston or nearby areas. The bigger ones have fresh turtles.  I don't' know if it's a seasonal thing or what kind of turtles they are but that would be my first stop. 

    I'll check the library tomorrow to see what recipes I can find. 
     
  3. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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         Charles Ranhofer's The Epicurean has quite a dissertation on turtle, or terrapin as he refers to them and several recipes. I'll attempt to scan and post as re-typing the entire thing would be too time consuming. 

    What I can tell you so far is that he recommends letting them swim in tepid water for about half an hour, then change the water several times. 

    Rinse and scald in boiling water until the skin (on head and feet) can be easily removed. The meat attached to the upper shell is the most delicate and flavorful. 

          Then simmer or steam for about forty five minutes. The feet meat should yield easily to pressure when done. Cool. ,  Remove the shell then, "the lights, entrails, head, tail, claws, heart, muscles and gall bladder to be thrown away." Watch out for the gall bladder. Don't pierce it. Save the liver. 

         Sherry, Madeira and white wine feature in most of his recipes. Also served in thickened broth of one kind or another after substantial cooking times. Hard cooked eggs, sliced or sieved feature in many recipes as well.

    The older versions of Joy of Cooking have a recipe for turtle. Not too far from Ranhofers' but no discussion on cleaning fresh turtle.

     According to Ranhofer, the winter months are the best time for turtles, ending about March. I don't know if that's still relevant.

    If I can find any more I'll post an update. 
     
  4. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    That's a terrific read and i really appreciate the effort. Also thanks for the idea on the Asian markets in Boston, but I dont want it TOO fresh. Not sure I'm up to butchering and breaking down a turtle. A few pounds of boneless meat for snapper soup would be ideal.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  5. mking143

    mking143

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    Check Dole and Baily in Woburn, Ma.
    If they can't get it for you they'll probably steer you to someone who does.
     
  6. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    Dole and Baily is a good call, but I've met with them on a different product and they held to a $500 minimum. That's steep for a single item. It's not like they could reasonably replace my broadliner so it was a confusing and rigid requirement. I expect an upcharge, but why price me out?