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Shark Week for an Island family

COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO This thresher shark fed a family of three for more than a week, with lots left over.

It took three members of the Mastropietro family 45 minutes to bring in a 177-pound thresher shark 15 miles due south of Montauk, but over a week to fry, roast, grill and give away the hundred-plus pounds of meat.

Fortunately, they have plenty of seafood-loving friends and family on Shelter Island.
As sharks go, it wasn’t even that big. This year’s top three winners of the Star Island Yacht Club’s Shark Tournament — the Mastropietro didn’t compete — were 453, 333 and 288 pounds respectively.

The Mastropietros landed their beast on August 8, fishing with Captain Frank Braddick, and first mate Donnie Briand on the Hurry Up. It was their first time fishing for — let alone catching — a shark. Eighteen year old Dino Mastropietro said his father, also named Dino, his Uncle Paolo and he, spelled each other as they fought the fish to the death.

Dino, who is a computer engineering student at the University of Michigan, was awestruck at what they had done. “It was a big, majestic thing,” he said. There was a lot of blood.

Dino’s younger brother Dante got a little queasy, but rough seas were to blame.

The Mastroprietros have rented on Shelter Island every summer for most of Dino’s life and his mother, Karen Pandiani has summered here for 30 years.
Dino was determined to make good use of every scrap of  thresher, snout to caudal fin. “I thought if we are going to take this thing home, we are going to honor it.”

The first beneficiary of shark largesse was the Pridwin; the Mastropietros brought in about 30 pounds of meat for the chef to cook.

As for the rest, a large extended family, and endless days of fish feasts took care of it.

They grilled shark steaks with the skin on, like swordfish, but started trimming them when the steaks warped and curled as the skin shrank on the grill. As days went by, they made shark tacos, shark po-boy’s, shark fried in olive oil and even shark ceviche.

By August 16 Shark Week at the Mastropietros was over, and all parts of the creature had been honorably dispensed. “That definitely gave me consolation,” Dino said.

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