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Michigan’s Best Local Eats: The Fish Monger’s Wife assembles ‘hearty’ seafood meal kits in Muskegon

MUSKEGON, MI – Cooking seafood can be intimidating, but a fresh fish market in Muskegon wants to help.

The Fish Monger’s Wife, located at 2127 W. Sherman Boulevard, prepares weekly meal kits for customers to take home and cook seafood-based dishes like spinach artichoke stuffed salmon, coconut curry cod or smoked trout chowder.

“A lot of people feel fearful of cooking seafood and fish, and they’re really intimidated by it. So, we were just putting together simple recipes with all the ingredients to make it more approachable for people,” said owner Amber Mae Petersen.

Petersen and her husband Eric launched The Fish Monger’s Wife in 2010 by selling fresh whitefish caught in Lake Michigan at the Muskegon Farmers Market. The brick and mortar shop now features a fully stocked fish counter and specialty ingredients.

Petersen started selling the meal kits a couple of years ago to a lukewarm reception. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the prepared dishes gained popularity after a Mother’s Day special relaunched the idea.

“Everybody was cooking at home, everyone had more time, and so we just found that they became super popular,” Petersen said.

Assembled weekly, the kits include everything to make a complete dish.

A Creole-inspired gumbo comes with shrimp, andouille sausage, a base to make broth and step-by-step cooking instructions. Petersen also partners with Kaja’s Flavor Packs in Muskegon Heights to season the gumbo and Hodgepodge Bakehouse in Muskegon to make cornbread muffins for the kit.

Related: From farm markets to retail outlet, Fish Monger’s Wife building a fresh-fish business in Muskegon

“As long as you follow the directions, you should have success,” Petersen said.

Customers can purchase a single serving kit for $15 to $18 or a four-person family style for around $50. Prices vary depending on the seafood featured in the recipe.

“Those are pretty hearty servings. We really try hard to make sure that you’re going to get a full meal,” Petersen said.

As a self-taught chef who enjoys teaching others how to cook, Petersen envisions most of the weekly meal kit recipes.

Each month Petersen says she aims to offer “tried and true favorites,” a shellfish item, a fish from the Great Lakes and something to “challenge your palate.”

Related: Local eats: Muskegon’s Hodgepodge Bakehouse has a ‘lot more to offer’ than bread

Another popular meal is a spinach feta salmon patty topped with house-made coleslaw and garlic aioli on a Hodgepodge Bakehouse bun.

“This is what started as a passion project and has finally taken off,” Petersen said.

Meal kits can be pre-ordered online at thefishmongerswife.net or by phone 231-755-1600 to be picked up on Friday or Saturday at the Fish Monger’s Wife.

Pre-orders should be placed by Thursday with some kits being available for walk-in purchase.

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