Monday, August 29, 2011

FISH OF BRAZIL - Namorado (The Boyfriend Fish)

One of the most common deep-water fish in Brazil,  a fish called the namorado inhabits the waters off the entire 7500 miles of Brazilian coast from the border with French Guiana to the border with Uruguay. According to Babylon's Portuguese-English online dictionary the name namorado can be translated into English as "boyfriend, lover, sweetheart, sweetie, or honey". Whichever translation you choose, the fish bears a distinctly amorous moniker.
Namorado (the fish)
Namorado (Madonna's Brazilian ex-boyfriend)

We here at Flavors of Brazil have no idea why this fish, known in English by the relatively pedestrian-sounding name of sandperch, should have such a poetic name in Portuguese. In fact, we're a little nervous about making guesses, particularly about lonesome fishermen out at sea. Nonethless, namorado it is and it's a very popular eating fish in Brazil. The commercial namorado fishery is one of Brazil's largest, with the species accounting for just over 18% of Brazil's long-line catch. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the namorado fishery is sustainable at current levels, and the IUCN ranks the namorado fishery among those "of least concern."

The namorado's habitat is the sandy bottom of tropicals seas for there it can find its main sources of food, small crustaceans and fish. The namorado lives at great depths, normally around 500 feet (150 meters) but at times up to 1000 feet (300 meters). In these waters the fish can grow up to a length of 3 feet (1 meter) and weigh up to 30 lbs (15 kgs). This "boyfriend" is a well-built fellow, indeed.

In fish markets and supermarkets namorado is usually sold already filleted, with fillets being cut into smaller serving-size pieces. It can also be purchased as steaks. The flesh is light pink in color and the flavor is mild. Namorado can be oven-baked, pan-fried or deep fried, or cut into cubes and cooked in stews or soups. It can be used in almost any dish that calls for grouper, snapper halibut or dourado.

Because the fish is relatively abundant, it's among the least expensive of the white-fleshed fish, comparably priced to snapper or grouper. Because it's a sustainable fish as well, buying namorado in Brazil is a smart consumer's perfect option, economically, ecologically and gastronomically.