Sauteed 'Jaws' on menus

Food vendors in Gulf and West Coast cities are featuring an appetizing new specialty -- shark steaks. The delicacy is catching on fast. Waitresses in McArthur Park, a with-it restaurant in San Francisco's financial district, are recommending it to luncheon guests. West Coast newspapers have been featuring recipes like Shark Creole, Shark Marseillaise,m and Shark Orientale.m And in any number of West Coast fish markets it is possible to buy the firm, white-textured meat of the famed deep-sea denizen for around $2 a pound.

The rise in popularity of the huge saltwater fish for food has been its low retail price. Relatively boneless, the shark meat can be processed quickly and inexpensively. Almost half of a shark's normal carcass (and the small ones are the most desirable for food) can be rendered as steaks or fillets -- similar to halibut, swordfish, or sea bass, but without bones.

Shark is plentiful, too, in US Gulf and coastal waters. Until recently, many of those caught inadvertently by commercial fishermen seeking shrimp or other catches were discarded. Now these big fish are sold for preparation to retail fresh and frozen food outlets.

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