Sustain

Legal Sea Foods "Promoting" Sustainability?

 

Every once in awhile something comes across the transom that sets off the BS Meter. The needle is buried in the red zone.

 

Legal Seafoods and the Culinary Guild of New England are co-hosting a dinner "of Supposed Blacklisted Fish." Their purported goal is to educate but their tone is one of derision for science.

 

This seems to be part of troubling trend of cynics who say: "you can't trust the hand-wringers" and "forget the science, give me the last plate of bluefin" (Tony, I'm talking to you.) The tone of this press release and menu strike me as a bit off target. Is the goal to discredit someone else or is it truly to educate the dining public? If the intent is to educate then why not celebrate what IS sustainable rather than take a swipe at those who work so hard in the field. Why proclaim "blacklisted fish" is okay? (PS no one is using the term "blacklisted" this is nothing more than a cynical swipe at the green/yellow/red guides that are so popular. Even Whole Foods is adopting the framework.)


I note that the Legal's website has only this when you search for Sustainability:

 

"Alaskan Wild Salmon" - good. Then, they offer two statements about their Core Values:

 

  • to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business
  • to be truthful, fair and genuine on all levels of communication

 

I called Legal's Boston to ask about a few items on their dinner menu "Tuna Sashimi" is "yellow fin ahi", they list both Atlantic salmon "Eco-certified" but could not tell me by whom. They indicate their Black Tiger shrimp comes from Vietnam and Indonesia. Why not use Maine shrimp instead? Both sustainably harvested with by-catch reduction equipment and local, I asked. Legal's staff were unsure of how their shrimp were farmed, raised or caught and weren't aware of environmental issues with shrimp. I offered to send them information and asked about the hake and cod. I was referred to Corporate.

 

My call to the Corporate buyer Bill Holler has gone un-returned. My email to the Culinary Guild as well, unreturned.

 

From the Press Release:

 

Legal Sea Foods’ Roger Berkowitz Speaks on Sustainable Seafood

President/CEO Hosts Dinner of Supposed “Blacklisted” Fish

To Educate the Public on the Truth about Sustainable Fishing Practices


WHAT: The Culinary Guild of New England and Legal Seafoods co-sponsor an educational dining event to shed light on sustainable seafood. Legal Sea Foods’ President and CEO Roger Berkowitz presents a four-course dinner, followed by a discussion on the most current information concerning sustainable seafood fishing practices.


Over the last few years, news reports on the sustainability of seafood have become more frequent, causing widespread discussion on what fish is sustainable, and therefore safe to eat. Unfortunately, this discussion is flawed by outdated scientific findings that unfairly turn the public against certain species of fish. In a direct effort to counter existing misinformation about sustainability, the menu for this event is deliberately designed to serve what is commonly believed to be outlawed or blacklisted fish. The menu includes:


Fritters
Black tiger shrimp, duck cracklings, smoked tomato, and avocado sauce
Hermann J. Wiemer Reisling, Finger Lakes, 2008

 

ED NOTE: Click here to see what the Seafood Watch folks have to say about Black Tiger Shrimp.

 

ED NOTE: One of the main issues with shrimp, primarily from Southeast Asia is the destruction of mangrove habitats that both protect the shores from natural disasters and provide a delicate, balanced ecosystem between saltwater and the shore. Read more about restaurants who have signed a pledge to stop using imported shrimp and also about the Mangroves here, Mangrove Action Project.

 

 


Cod Cheeks
Spaghetti squash, toasted pecans, melting marrow gremolata
Schiopetto Sauvignon, Collio, 2008

Prosciutto Wrapped Hake
Braised escarole, Rancho Gordo beans, blood orange marmalade
Domaine du Viking Vouvray, "Cuvée Tendre," Loire Valley, 2009

 

ED NOTE: Hake and cod both provide insights into the issues of trawling which destroys ocean habitats. While hake maybe a species "in recovery" there are alternatives which are from healthier fisheries and which are harvested in less destructive ways. Read more here.

 


Citrus Almond Cake
Yuzu semi freddo, candied kumquats
Jorge Ordoñez Moscatel Selección Especial No.1, Málaga DO, 2007


There will be an opportunity for CGNE guests to ask questions about what’s safe to eat, which species are indeed plentiful, and how to read between the lines of media reports. In addition, Sandy Block, Master of Wine, and Legal's Vice President of Beverage Operations, has chosen wines specifically to complement the menu devised by Rich Vellante, Legal's Executive Chef. Alexander Murray, Assistant Director of Beverage Strategy, will be there to present the pairings.

 


Reactions

The PR person responsible dismissed me, insinuating I'd misunderstood the presser. Many of the people to whom I forwarded it, "misunderstood" it in exactly the same way I had. Comments included "arrogant" "misguided" "if their purpose is to educate, why wouldn't they list where the seafood is from and how it's caught?"

Time Magazines's Environmental Hero Casson Trenor weighs in:

I don't understand this event.  It baffles me.  It seems like Legal Seafood is selling tiger shrimp and Atlantic cod for no other reason than to encourage seafood consumers to mistrust the work and guidance of any number of scientists, environmental organizations, and progressive fishermen and aquaculturists around the globe.  

I am trying to see this dinner as something other than unadulterated hubris on the part of a myopic businessman, but it's difficult.  Why would scientists be trying to steer people away from safe, responsibly caught fish?  It is true that outdated data is a concern -- the dynamic nature of the ocean means we're always playing catch-up -- but who is more likely to offer a precautionary and wise course of action: a scientist who remains unaffected by the vicissitudes of the seafood market, or a fishmonger who is quite clearly benefiting (in the short run) from the sale of as much fish as he can get his hands on?

 

Some publicists believe even bad publicity is good and that provocative is always a winning strategy. They have missed the mark here. Rather than establishing themselves as leaders in this complex journey, they denigrate (without specificity, I note) "outdated scientific findings." This is a disservice to all the fishermen who are trying mightily to fish in responsible ways. It is a slap in the face to conservationists and ocean activists who struggle daily to break our complacency and our addiction to environmentally unsustainable species. It is cynical at a time when we are dying for authenticity and open dialog. I believe they fail in their stated CORE VALUES quoted above.

I wish I could say I am surprised, but when I personally discussed the issue of sustainability with Rich Vellante he could not have been LESS interested in the topic. I got the thousand mile stare and barely a nod of a brush-off. Perhaps he's seen the light and is now devoted to sustainable seafood. I just don't get that from this press release. I sincerely hope I am/we are wrong and that Legal Seafood and the Culinary Guild will make some mid-course corrections and open up this dialog and educational process they purport to aim for.

 

What you can do:

 

  1. Contact Legal Seafoods Corporate buyer, Bill Holler and Roger Berk and urge them to promote sustainable seafood, not to knock science and conservation. Call: 617-530-9000
  2. Contact The Culinary Guild of New England and urge them to find a better partner to promote sustainable seafood. EMAIL: info@culinaryguild.org
  3. Tweet this, Facebook this and drop a comment here. What do you think of this approach? Is this an "truthful, fair and genuine" way to educate the public on issues of sustainability?

 

Teach a Man to Fish 2010 - Round up

The 4th annual Teach a Man to Fish sustainable seafood event is finally wrapped. Thankfully this is a virtual potluck or these lovely dishes would stink to high heaven...!

A Little Background

For those unfamiliar with this event, I started it four years ago with the thought that sustainable seafood choices are increasingly complicated to make though a growing number of us want to lessen our impact on the oceans and species we love. Why not, I thought, invite my conservation friends, my chef buddies, some celebrities, food bloggers and home cooks to participate in a huge teach-in and virtual potluck. We each share a recipe, a story about what we made and why, and I wrap up the whole post including photos, links to your blog or website, and additional resources so everyone can learn more about what we've chosen and why.

Accolades came from far and wide and I was most delighted to hear from many participants that they loved learning and sharing. The young mother from Germany who was looking at food choices in new ways now that she was feeding her child learned about better choices for her family and the oceans. The reader from Southeast Asia who wondered if there was anything akin to a wallet card for that part of the world. (There was! We found it.) The editor who decided to start a dialog with her fishmonger and shared a simple five-step plan for how we could do the same.

Even people who did not participate by sending an entry in have written me via this site, Facebook or Twitter and thanked me for the compilation of resources and the collection of inspiring recipes.

 

2010 TM2F

Teach a Man to Fish (TM2F) this year is no less inspiring in terms of the entries I've received, the leaders I've spoken with and the progress we've made. Looking back over the years of round ups and resource guides, it's clear to me that we have really come some distance since I started this.

Success is not where we are but how far we've come from where we started. TS Eliot

Here we are in December (DECEMBER!) and I'm still trying to get this damn round up out. And a few of you actually submitted recipes/entries on deadline. Even when traveling. I apologize. It seems that this year has been a struggle for so many of us. Even last week I got a voicemail from a leading sustainable seafood organization I had contacted months ago to participate. Another yes definitely has simply fallen off. Finally, I try to remember that we never know what other things people are contending with in their own lives and we must be as patient and forgiving with them as we hope they'd be with us. So, with a few holes, but a lot of great content we are here. At last.

Seven Questions for...

I hope that you've been enjoying the newly added "Seven Questions for..." series. Sharing the thoughts of some of our leading thinkers, movers and shakers in the area of sustainable seafood was a new item I added to the mix this year.

Seven Questions for...

 

 

Looking ahead to our 5th Anniversary of TM2F 2011

There are already some great plans in the works and I'm going to move it up into late Summer. We will miss October's National Seafood month tie-in, but we also miss everyone's crazy holidays and travel schedules which seem to ramp up earlier every year. So, do me a favor and mark your calendar now for August 15 - September 15. That should give us wiggle room with summer vacations and back-to-school and maybe even some nice tie-ins.

And speaking of looking ahead - but just ahead - seafood figures prominently in many cultures' holiday traditions. This recent post combines "little locavores" and little silver fishies which are something we should all be paying more attention to. Please enjoy: The Sardine Man Cometh.

On to our Roundup..

The fish: Barramundi

Contributed by: Chef Jeffrey Mahony, McCormick & Schmick, Colorado

The Recipe: Barramundi with Shitake & Lemongrass

For more info: The Better Fish; The Super Green List

Barramundi is a fish that still needs its breakout role. This fish could be the "it" girl if we could find that vehicle. A few chefs have discovered it and wider distribution is on the horizon. Allow me to introduce you.

Barramundi has much to recommend it:  sustainably farmed in above-ground, closed-container tanks, it eats a largely vegetarian diet (meaning it doesn't put pressure on natural fish populations for feed). It has the remarkable ability to turn its feed into omega-fatty acid-rich delicate, flaky white fillets that have enough healthy fat to make it easy to cook, even for beginners.

Chef Jeffrey Mahony has more than 18 years experience in the restaurant industry.  Most of these were spent working with fresh seafood.  He began his career at the Pelican Fish restaurant in Fort Collins, CO. During his tenure, Mahony worked his way up from host to chef and eventually, general manager. The restaurant was named “Best Seafood Place” and the “People’s Choice Restaurant” for eight years by the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

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Shiitake Sauce

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 cup sliced shitake mushrooms

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup corn starch slurry (corn starch and cold water 1:2 ratio)

1 1/2 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/8 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tbs chili flakes

3 tbs minced garlic

3 tbs minced ginger

In large sauté pan or sauce pan heat vegetable oil to a smoke. Add mushrooms and sauté until golden brown. Add chili flakes and brown, add garlic and ginger sauté until brown (do not burn) add all ingredients except for slurry and return to a boil add slurry and return to a boil.  Thickness of sauce may need to be adjusted, add more slurry to make thicker or chicken stock to make sauce looser.

Lemongrass Shitake Barramundi

4 each 7oz Barramundi skin-on filet

4 half pieces lemongrass

3 cup white wine or chicken stock

Salt/pepper

Sharpen lemongrass into spear.  Skewer Barramundi filet length wise and place in a shallow baking pan.  Add stock or wine and roast in a 400 oven until done about 7-10 minutes.

Serve over Jasmine or Sticky rice, sides might include baby bok choy or asparagus lightly sauced with sesame oil and soy sauce.

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The fish: Mussels, Clams, Squid

Contributed by: Vanessa Barrington, Author of DIY Delicious: Recipes and Ideas for Simple Food from Scratch (Chronicle Books 2010)

The Recipe: Seafood Stew

For more info:

Sustainable Seafood Stew with Meyer Lemon and Parsley Aioli Croutons

Seafood that’s low on the food chain is both healthier for both you and the oceans. Plus, it’s tasty and economical. This recipe combines clams, mussels, and squid, but you could replace all or some of these with crab, lobster, or even sustainably caught or farmed fish, local to your area. You can gussy this dish up with chopped fresh tomatoes, citrus zest, or saffron, but it’s quite good as-is. A good trick for making a flavorful, quick stock is to ask the fishmonger for some heads or bones of fish trimmed that day. It’s cheap, fresh, and flavorful. To shop for sustainable seafood, get a Seafood Watch card for your local area and take it to the store with you.

Time Required: about 1 hour active; 20 minutes passive (excluding aioli preparation)

Yield: 4 as a first-course or light-supper servings

1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for croutons

1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 celery rib, roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1/2 small fennel bulb, chopped

2 garlic cloves, left unpeeled and smashed with the side of a knife blade

Salt

1 pound fish heads and bones

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 or 4 sprigs fresh parsley

6 black peppercorns

Pinch of fennel seeds

1/2 baguette, sliced into 1/4-inch slices on the diagonal

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound mussels, washed and debearded

1 pound clams, washed

1/2 pound squid, cleaned (see Note)

Meyer Lemon and Parsley Aioli (recipe follows)

In a medium soup pot over medium heat, warm the ¼ cup oil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, fennel, garlic, and a few pinches of salt. Let the vegetables cook gently until soft and aromatic, about 10 minutes.

Add the fish heads and bones, 3 1/2 cups water, the wine, parsley, peppercorns, and fennel seeds to the vegetables and bring to a boil. Skim any scum from the top and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer until fragrant and the stock begins to color, about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lay the baguette slices out on a baking sheet in a single layer, brush with olive oil, and bake until lightly toasted, about 7 minutes.

Remove the broth from the heat and strain it, reserving the fish for other uses (see No-W aste Tip). Return the broth to the pot, taste, and adjust the salt, pepper, and acid by adding a little more white wine if desired.

Add the mussels and clams, cover, and simmer until they just open, 3 minutes or so . Add the squid and turn off the heat. Let sit, covered, for 30 seconds. Discard any unopened clams or mussels and ladle the stew into 4 warmed, shallow bowls. Spread the croutons with aioli and float 2 in each bowl of soup.

Note: To clean fresh squid, lay them all out on a cutting board near the sink. Position a bowl in the sink bel ow the cutting board and also have a colander ready in the sink. For each squid, pull the head free of the body and cut the tentacles off just above the eyes. Put the tentacles in the colander and pull out the remaining portion of the head with the eyes and guts that come with it. Discard them into the bowl with the ink sac. Using the dull edge of a knife, scrape the squid body so that the opaque, white viscera inside falls into the bowl. Do this several times to get as much out as possible. At the same time, scrape off the mottled skin so the squid is clean white. Turn the squid over and do both sides. Reach inside the body and pull the bony quill out, making sure to get it all.

Place all the cleaned squid in the colander with the tentacles, and rinse thoroughly, letting the water run through the bodies to remove any remaining sliminess.  Drain and cut the squid bodies into rings about 1/2 inch thick.

No-Waste Tip: If you have a dog or cat, reserve the fish heads and trimmings after you strain your broth.  Boil in fresh water until the bones are completely soft. Puree and add to your pet’s food for a special, healthy treat.

Meyer Lemon and Parsley Aioli

The word aioli is often misused to describe and flavored mayonnaise.  But it seems fitting to use the term aioli to indicate that this is special mayonnaise. Follow this basic recipe to make any variety of mayonnaise you like. Depending on how you are serving it, or your inclination, you might want to add cayenne, capers, anchovies, different types of herbs, or chopped, canned chipotle chiles. This is lovely in vegetable sandwiches, in BLTs, as a dip for roasted asparagus, or as a dressing base for potato salad. My very favorite use for Meyer Lemon and Parsley Aioli is to spread it on croutons and float them like buoys in Sustainable Seafood Stew. Of course you may make this in a food processor, but washing slippery mayonnaise out of a food processor always makes me cranky, while whisking it by hand is quick and soothing.

Time Required: 10 to 15 minutes active

Yield: about 2/3 cup

1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole

Salt

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1/2 cup good, but not too pungent, olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice, at room temperature

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

Pound the garlic to a paste in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Add the oil a few drops at a time, whisking continuously, and making sure that each addition of oil is incorporated fully before adding more. You can begin adding the oil more quickly about halfway through the process because the more oil the egg has incorporated, the less likely the aioli is to separate.

When all the oil is incorporated, and the aioli becomes very thick and yellow, like lemon pudding, add the lemon juice a little at a time, whisking continuously. If you want your aioli to have a thinner consistency, add warm water a few drops at a time.  Stir in the parsley and the garlic paste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a jar and seal. The aioli will keep, refrigerated, for 3 or 4 days.

To make in a food processor, follow the same procedure, adding the oil a little at a time through the feed tube while processing continuously.

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The fish: Squid

Contributed by: Braddock Spear, The Sustainable Ocean Project

The Recipe: Squid "Noodles" with Kalamata Olives and Arugula

For more info: See the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafood Watch Squid profile and choose longfin

Squid ‘Noodles’ with Kalamata Olives and Arugula

Squid are a great candidate for sustainable seafood. They mature quickly and are prolific reproducers. This recipe is a slightly modified version of a recipe by Chef Anne Burrell from her TV show, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. Squid are one of the few seafood products that hold up well to freezing. If your local fishmonger does not have fresh product, thawed frozen squid also works well for this recipe.

¾ - 1 pound cleaned squid, tubes and tentacles

Extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, smashed, plus 1 whole for rubbing bread

Pinch of crushed red pepper

Salt

1 cup dry white wine

¼ cup kalamata or other black olives, slivered

4 large slices rustic Italian bread

2 cups arugula

2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish (optional)

Insert a chefs knife into squid tube and cut through one side to create one open sheet. Cut into ¼-

inch wide strips, or ‘noodles’. Cut tentacles into segments.

Before cooking the squid, grill the bread on both sides (on a grill pan or gas grill). Lightly rub

warm bread with the garlic clove. Drizzle bread with the highest quality olive oil you have.

Coat a large sauté pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add the smashed garlic cloves and

crushed red pepper and bring to high heat. Once the garlic is golden brown on both sides, remove

and discard. Add the squid and quickly stir in hot oil. Season with salt and sauté for 1 minute.

Add wine and olives and cook on high heat until wine has reduced by half. Taste to make sure

there is enough salt.

Divide the arugula between 4 shallow bowls or plates. Spoon squid and sauce over the greens.

Cut each piece of bread on the diagonal and arrange around the bowl. Garnish with chives and serve

immediately.

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The fish: Little Fishies - Sardines

Contributed by: Richard Auffrey, The Passionate Foodie

The Recipe: Serving Suggestion: bruschetta

For more info: Seafood Watch Sardines Report

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Let’s face it: bluefin tuna has an exceptional taste, which makes it very easy to realize why it is so popular.  But we also cannot deny that it is seriously endangered and we need to take action to prevent them from extinction.  Rather than dining upon tuna, which is near the top of the oceanic food chain, let us seek the opposite, little fishies much further down on the food chain.

On my recent trek to Spain, I dined at El Faro, an excellent seafood restaurant in Cadiz.  My meal started with a simple but exceptional dish, fresh sardines atop toasted bread with crushed tomatoes and a bit of olive oil.  Each element of the dish stood out on its own, yet also blended harmoniously together.  It was crispy, briny, sweet and absolutely delicious. Who would have thought that simple sardines could be so compelling?

Unfortunately, you don’t find enough sardines at local restaurants. And not enough people order them even when they are available.  I think that is partially a misconception, diners not realizing how good this fish can taste.  Plus, restaurants don’t do enough to promote sardines, often making them appetizers rather than an entrée on a menu.

Besides being tasty, sardines are also a perfect sustainable choice.  Organizations such as The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch consider sardines to be a “best choice.”  Sardines breed in large numbers, develop quickly and oceanic stocks are in excellent shape.  That is the same for similar small fish, like herring and anchovies.  Being low on the good chain has its advantages.

Besides their sustainability, sardines are also a very healthy option.  Three ounces of sardines contain more calcium than milk.  They are also loaded with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, far more than many other types of fish. Both herring and anchovies also possess lots of omega-3 fatty acids, even more than sardines.  In addition, as all of these fish are small, they contain much less negative chemicals such as mercury and PCBs.

As the flesh of these small fish tends to be oily, the usual wines you might have with seafood might not always be the best.  Instead, why not try some sherry, a dry Fino or Manzanilla, which pair very well with sardines.  I had some Tio Pepe Fino with the sardine dish at El Faro and it was a very satisfying match.  I would also recommend a Basque Txacoli, a lightly effervescent wine, usually white, which is also a very good match for oily foods.  Even a dry Sake would be a good choice.

Savor sardines, embracing the lower and sustainable members of the oceanic food chain.

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The fish: Clams

Contributed by: Carolyn Jung/FoodGal.com

The Recipe: Steamed Manila Clams with Udon

For more info: “best choice’’ on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide Seafood Watch Fact Sheet

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What’s not to love about clams?

After all, they’re easily available year-round, come from well-managed aqua farms that have low impact on the environment, help filter debris in surrounding waters.

Moreover, they cook in no time and are practically fool-proof. When the shells open, you know the clams are done. Any that don’t open should be discarded as that’s an indicator that the clams may have expired before cooking.

A great way to enjoy clams is in this classic dish of “Steamed Manila Clams with Udon’’ by Chef Larry Tse of the House restaurant in San Francisco. The recipe is from the new book, “Daring Pairings’’ (University of California Press) by Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein who recommends a Spanish Albariño with this satisfying dish. To learn more about why he favors this particular varietal, go to FoodGal.com.

The only change I’d make when making this dish again would be to cook the clams in a little less water, then add the clams and their cooking liquid to the final broth to amp up the clam flavor even more. Tse also says to remove the clams from their shells before adding to the broth. But I like the look of the whole clams, so I left them in their shells when serving.

Steamed Manila Clams with Udon

(makes 4 to 6 main-course servings)

For broth:

2 ½ quarts water

1 (4- to 6-inch) square kombu (dried kelp)

1 tablespoon instant hon dashi (soup stock) granules

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 leek, white part only, coarsely chopped

2 cups firmly packed katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)

Salt

For rest of dish:

4 cups water

3 pounds Manila clams, scrubbed

¾ pound dried udon noodles

2 (3 ½-ounce) packages enoki mushrooms, roots trimmed and separated into small bunches

1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 sheets toasted nori, cut into 1-by-1/4-inch strips

To make the broth, in a saucepan, bring water to just below a boil. Remove from heat. Lightly wipe the kombu with a clean cloth (you don’t need to wipe away the white film), and add to the hot water along with the hon dashi granules and soy sauce. Let stand 30 minutes to rehydrate kombu. Return pan to medium-high heat, add leek, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add katsuobushi, and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pan. Taste and adjust with salt (it may not need any).

To cook clams, pour water into a large, wide pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add clams, cover, and steam, shaking pan occasionally, just until clams open, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a wire skimmer, transfer clams to a bowl, discarding any that failed to open. Discard cooking water. Remove clam meats from their shells. Set meats aside.

Cook udon noodles according to package directions, drain, and reserve.

To serve, bring broth to a boil , remove from heat, and add clams and mushrooms. Divide noodles evenly a mong individual serving bowls. Ladle broth, clams and mushrooms over the noodles. Garnish with chives and nori, and serve at once.

Note: Look for kombu, instant hon dashi, katsuobushi, dried udon, enoki mushrooms, and nori in Japanese or other Asian markets.

From “Daring Pairings’’ by Evan Goldstein

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The fish: A rule for choosing any fish

Contributed by: Becky Selengut, Chef and author of Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast  (to be published May 2011 by Sasquatch Press)

The Recipe: Mussels with Guinness Cream

For more info: Chef Reinvented blog [I just got a peek at the galleys - this book is going to be gorgeous, practical, a must-have!]

"Chef, writer, teacher, forager; too many interests, too little time, way too much to laugh about, except for the karmic hilarity of being a chef allergic to garlic. That's not funny. Stop laughing." That's Becky's description of her "Chef Reinvented Blog" and perfectly shows her sense of humor. She's also keenly aware of environmental issues and devoted to helping her clients and readers navigate the tricky waters of sustainable food. Here's an excerpt from her upcoming book.

The Good FISH rule:

F: farmed fish are not all bad (closed-containment, land-based fish farms are far superior to ocean based farms  because the water is cleaned and recirculated, the ocean is not polluted, escapement is rare and diseases are not spread to wild populations).  An exception to this would be ocean-farmed shellfish which is an excellent choice because no antibiotics are added to the water, no wild fish food is needed to feed them and they filter feed, cleaning the oceans). Many farmed fish (trout, arctic char, catfish, tilapia, barrimundi) don't require a lot of wild fish food to be taken from the oceans to feed them, unlike farmed salmon - a carnivorous fish.)

I: investigate (ask questions at your restaurants and fish counters and support good corporate decision making and chefs and fishmongers doing the right thing:  PCC (on the West Coast), Safeway, Target, Wegmans (East Coast) and Whole Foods lead the pack in supporting sustainable seafood.  Costco was ranked 14th worst according to Greenpeace.)

S: smaller (eat less fish, 1/4 pound per person of finfish is plenty; eat fish lower on the food chain to avoid mercury and preserve the ocean's ecological balance) and lastly:

H: home (eat fish from USA waters or farmed here - we have better laws and environmental standards when compared to fish caught/grown elsewhere).       

A sneak Preview Recipe from Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast  (to be published May 2011 by Sasquatch Press)

Mussels with Guinness Cream

I try to eat fairly lightly, and that means I don’t reach for cream every time I cook. Cream can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be

a crutch masking the flavors of the food it is paired with rather than elevating them. I tend to use cream judiciously, with the precision of

a rifle, saving the cream cannon for ice cream. Then, one day, while developing mussel recipes, I hit on a major exception to this rule. It

was on this auspicious day that Cream met Guinness, and a romance was born. Guinness elevated Cream into a decadent, malty, rich version of itself, and Cream elevated Guinness by rounding its caramel and chocolate edge with a warm white blanket. They lived happily

ever after.

Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds mussels

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup minced shallots

Pinch of salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

3/4 cup Guinness stout

3/4 cup cream

1 teaspoon freshly grated or prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons minced fresh

Italian parsley

Good, crusty bread

Scrub and debeard the mussels.

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil; when it is hot, add the shallots and salt. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the shallots are lightly browned. Add the cayenne, Guinness, cream, horseradish, honey, and mussels. Toss the mussels through the sauce. Cover the pot, turn the heat to high, and cook for 3 minutes.

Stir the mussels, and when most of them have opened, transfer them with a slotted spoon to a large serving bowl. (Any mussels that do not open can be pried open using an oyster shucker or discarded.) Boil the sauce gently until reduced by half. Turn off the heat, swirl in the butter and parsley, taste for seasoning, and pour the sauce over the mussels. Serve with bread to dip in the Guinness cream.

Pairing : Guinness beer, but of course.

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The fish: Bluefish

Contributed by: Chef Michael Leviton, Chef/Owner of Lumiere Restaurant and National Board Chair, Chefs Collaborative

The Recipe: Miso Glazed Bluefish with Shiitake Mushrooms and Mustard Sauce

For more info: See Seven Questions for Michael Leviton interview and click here to learn more about bluefish

Miso Glazed Bluefish

6-ounce bluefish filets, skinned and pin bones removed

Miso glaze (recipe follows)

Lemon juice

Pre heat the oven to 500°.  Season the fish with salt and pepper.  Brush both sides of each filet with the miso glaze.

Heat a non-stick pan over a high heat.  Add the fish flesh-side down and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the miso just begins to caramelize and turn black.  Flip the fish and place it in the oven for about 4-5 minutes, until barley done.  Remove the pan from the oven and let the fish rest in the pan for 1 minute.  Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the fish and then remove it from the pan.

Miso Glaze

½ cup red miso

¼ cup mirin

¼ cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

Shiitake Mushrooms

1 pound Shiitake mushrooms – stems removed and cut into quarters or sixths

Toss the mushrooms with canola oil to lightly coat.  Spread the mushrooms in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan.  Roast in a 500° oven for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are lightly crispy on the edges.

To serve: Reheat the mushrooms in a tiny amount of canola oil.  Add the soy-ginger vinaigrette (recipe follows).  Add minced chives, finely diced shallots and toasted sesame seeds.

Mustard Sauce

3/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 1/2 cup mirin

1/4 pound butter

Combine the Dijon mustard and mirin.  Bring to a boil and whisk in the butter.  Season with salt and pepper.

Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette

6 ounces soy

2 ounces mirin

12 ounces ginger vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Ginger Vinaigrette

1 cup ginger oil  (recipe follows)

6 ounces rice vinegar

Ginger Oil

8 ounces pureed ginger root

2 cups canola oil

Combine the above ingredients.  Bring to a simmer over a medium heat.  Remove from heat, let stand for 12 hours and then strain through a cheese cloth or coffee filter.

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The fish: Cured Salmon Roe

Contributed by: Barton Seaver, Chef, Activist, National Geographic Fellow

The Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup with Cured Salmon Roe

For more info: See Interview, Seven Questions for Barton Seaver and the National Geographic Ocean site

Barton took time to speak with me this year and contributed three recipes. Do take a look at the National Geographic site - see Ocean Hero Barton in clips including Maryland blue crab and striped bass. Cook-wise is just one of the resources there. The Seafood Decision Guide is another great tool to be found there.

This is a great way to start out an elegant meal or a simple weeknight dinner. The soup can be made with any variety of sweet potato or autumn squash so buy what looks best and don’t be afraid to experiment a little with something new. The salmon roe is always sold salted and I like to re-brine it for a few minutes to remove a little of the salt to draw out more of its flavor. It also benefits from a quick marinade in a splash of sparkling wine, lime and olive oil.

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 pound sweet potato or autumn squash, peeled and roughly chopped

3 cups water

4 ounces cream cheese

1 lime juiced

1 ounce sparkling wine

1 ounce salmon roe

For the soup, start with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the sweet potato and the water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are falling apart. Transfer the soup to a high-speed blender and add the cream cheese and all but a few drops of the lime juice. Puree the soup until it is a very smooth texture. Place back in the pot to stay warm.

For the roe, cover the eggs with a little cold water and add a pinch of salt. Mix gently with your fingers to separate the eggs and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Pour off the water and any broken and floating eggs. Add the remaining lime juice, sparkling wine and the remaining olive oil to the eggs and stir gently.

To serve the soup ladle it into bowls and then spoon into the center the marinated salmon roe. Any remaining marinade can be drizzled over the top of the soup. Serve immediately.

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The fish: Oysters

Contributed by: Barton Seaver

The Recipe:

Broiled Oysters with Smoked Paprika and Peach

For more info: See Environmentalism on the Half-Shell on the National Geographic Ocean site and the Cook-Wise page; as Barton says "Save the world, Eat an Oyster"

Broiled Oysters with Smoked Paprika and Peach

I love to pair something a little sweet with oysters. The salty punch of the oyster liquor is well balanced with the aromatic sweetness of the peach and the slight bite of the paprika. This dish is great to cook over the grill if you are entertaining outside.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

16 oysters, washed thoroughly

1 large peach, diced into ¼ inch pieces

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pre-heat the broiler to high

For the oysters, open each one and discard the top shell. Slice the oyster free of the bottom shell so that the oyster is sitting freely in the shell. Reserve as much of the liquor as possible by placing the opened oysters on a bed of salt on a broiler pan.

For the peach topping heat the olive oil with the paprika over medium heat for three minutes. Mix the infused oil with the diced peaches and toss to combine. Place a spoonful of the peach mixture on top of each oyster and place under the broiler. Cook for about 4 minutes or until the edges of the oysters begin to curl and the peaches are slightly browned.

Serve immediately

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The fish: Black Cod

Contributed by: Jessica, ILoveBlueSea.com

The Recipe: Black Cod with Harissa Beurre Blanc

For more info: Wild-caught Black Cod is a best choice per the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.

I used to love Chilean Seabass.  The way it crisps up when you broil it, the rich texure and light flavor... but once I found out how threatened it was, I had to take a pass.  I could not, in good conscience, enjoy eating a fish that was fighting for survival.  

That's when I discovered Black Cod.  Black Cod is also known as Butterfish, and when you give it a try, you'll immediately know why.  It's a good choice for the health of our oceans as well as a superb choice for flavorful and sophisticated dishes.  

Black Cod with Harissa Beurre Blanc

* 1.5 pounds Black Cod Fillets
* 2 shallots, minced finely
* 2 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
* 4 tablespoons white wine
* 2 tablespoons heavy cream
* 7 ounces cold butter, cut into 20 or so pieces
* 2 tsp Harissa (Tunisian chili paste)
* 2 tsp Lemon Juice
* salt to taste
* 1 1/2 cup Chicken Stock
* 1 cup couscous
* 2 cups shredded spinach
* 1/2 cup pine nuts
* 2 tablespoons lemon zest

Cod:
Preheat the broiler and season the cod with salt and pepper.  Lightly oil a glass pan and place the fillets, skin side down, in the pan.  Place in the broiler and cook for 20 minutes, or until the flesh is opaque and lightly browned around the edges.  In the meantime, get the cous cous started.  

Couscous:

Bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil.  Add the couscous to the water, give it a good stir, cover and remove from heat.  

Place the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat.  Turn the pine nuts often and roast until they turn light brown, about 3-4 minutes.  

Combine the chopped spinach with the hot couscous, lemon zest and pine nuts.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Sauce:
Add the shallots, vinegar and wine into a small heavy pan (a saucier pan will work best, but any heavy pan will do).  Heat on medium until the liquid reduces and the sharp alcohol/vinegar scent subsides.

Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on medium until it reduces to just a few tablespoons of liquid.  Turn the heat down to low.

Cut the cold butter into pieces and add them one at a time while constantly stirring.  Don't add another piece until the previous one has melted completely.  You want the butter to slowly melt, not boil.  Remove the pan from the heat all together if necessary.

Once the butter is incorporated and the sauce is smooth, stir in the Harissa, lemon and salt.  

Create a bed of couscous, place the cod on top and add a generous serving of the sauce.  Garnish with fresh lemon thyme or parsley.

Enjoy!

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The fish: Herring? No! Haddock! Read why below

Contributed by: Katharine Deuel of the Pew Environmental Group

The Recipe: Haddock Cakes

For more info: The Herring Alliance

The Herring Alliance (www.herringalliance.org) is a coalition of environmental organizations that work to protect and restore ocean wildlife and ecosystems in the northeast United States by reforming the Atlantic herring fishery. This fishery uses destructive small-mesh nets as big as a football field, capable of catching everything in their path. Though herring are not overfished, the industrial-scale fishery is not sustainable for the future of herring or the other fish that feed on herring and get caught in the nets as bycatch.

Most of the herring caught in New England go to the lobster bait industry or are shipped overseas. Finding fresh, local herring to eat is nearly impossible now. So we’ve chosen to highlight a recipe that uses Atlantic haddock. The herring industry is currently lobbying to be allowed to catch more haddock as bycatch. They claim this is necessary for the way they fish. We say they need to change the way they fish or risk jeopardizing haddock populations –a fish that is considered fully rebuilt and is one of New England’s true success stories.

Although many other populations of “groundfish” (bottom-dwelling fish like cod and flounder) are still considered overfished, Atlantic haddock in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank are abundant. But this won’t be true if the herring industry continues to be allowed into sanctuary areas for juvenile groundfish, where they can catch thousands of pounds of haddock as bycatch in a single tow. Herring Alliance is currently contributing to the fishery management process that is developing new rules we hope will exclude industrial herring trawlers from these sensitive groundfish nursery areas.

Consumers can seek out haddock from fishermen using hook and line or from the local small boat fleets. Visit www.portclydefreshcatch.com for a variety of sustainable Maine-caught seafood delivered to your door. And connect with Herring Alliance on our website (www.herringalliance.org) or on Facebook (www.herringalliance.org/facebook) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/herringalliance).

Haddock Cakes

A quick, light dish that satisfies the craving for something pan fried and comforting. Liven it up with additional herbs or spices. It’s also easy to make more and freeze for later. Adapted from Gourmet Today, (http://www.amazon.com/Gourmet-Today-All-New-Recipes-Contemporary/dp/0618610189/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289857557&sr=8-1) by Ruth Reich, one of my favorite everyday cookbooks.

5 slices firm bread – any good bread on hand

1 large celery rib, coarsely chopped

2 scallions, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup parsley (or cilantro, or a combo)

1 pound of Atlantic haddock, chopped into 2 inch pieces

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Dash of paprika

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or ghee – my new favorite for frying)

Tear bread into pieces and pulse to fine crumbs in a food processor. Transfer about half the crumbs to a large bowl for fish cakes and reserve remaining half in a shallow bowl or plate for coating.

Pulse celery and scallions in a processor until coarsely chopped. Add parsley (and/or cilantro) and pulse until finely chopped. Combine celery mixture with crumbs in large bowl.

Pulse fish in processor until finely chopped (be careful not to process to a paste). Add fish to celery-crumb mixture along with egg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and paprika, stirring until well combined.

Stir 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper into reserved bread crumbs for coating. Gently shape fish mixture into patties (mixture will be soft). Should make about 4 large or 6 smaller cakes. Coat well with reserved bread crumbs. Transfer to a wax-paper-lined large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for 10 minutes. (Can be prepared several hours in advance and stored covered.)

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add fish cakes in batches of 2 and cook, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spatula to paper towels.

Serve with lemon wedges and/or tartar sauce. Served over a bed of greens with some creamy dressing and a bowl of soup and you’ve got lunch or a light supper.

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The fish: Sardines

Contributed by: Chef Greg Jordan, Mare

The Recipe: Sardines Gratinate Agrodolce

For more info: Mare Restaurant, Seafood Watch Sardines report

Here is a recipe for sardines gratinate with agrodolce sauce.

For the sardines - purchase fresh sardines, with the head and bones
removed, leaving both fillets attached if possible, otherwise boneless
fillets will work just fine.

Season both sides with salt and pepper, and place skin side up on a
broiler safe pan.

For the breadcrumbs

1 c good breadcrumbs or panko

1 t chopped fresh thyme

2 T extra virgin olive oil


Mix all ingredients together

For the agrodolce -

3/4 c dry white wine

1/2 c toasted pine nuts

1/2 c golden raisins

1/3 c of good quality white wine vinegar

2 T of brown sugar or honey

Pinch of salt

2T butter

1T chopped parsley


Add all ingredients to saucepan, and simmer for about 6-8 minutes,
gently reducing sauce.  To finish sauce, stir in butter and parsley,
adjust seasoning if necessary

Broil sardines for 2 minutes.  Remove, and top with breadcrumbs, and
place back in broiler till the breadcrumbs are evenly browned all
over.
To serve, simply top with the agrodolce sauce.

Here at the restaurant, we are always trying to work with sustainable
seafood as much as possible.  We've been working with our vendors to
source the best fish that we can find, both wild and farm raised.  I
love serving these sardines, as they are a great sustainable option.
The richness of the sardine pairs well with the agrodolce sauce, and
the texture with the breadcrumbs give this dish a great crunch.

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The fish: Black Cod

Contributed by: Author Rebecca Katz

The Recipe: Triple-Citrus Ginger Black Cod

For more info:

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Triple-Citrus Ginger Black Cod

Rebecca says: If black cod were in a band, it would be the bass player: steady, meaty, but not much of a soloist. It benefits from some jazzy front men and especially likes to swing with citrus high notes. You’ll find plenty of those riffs in this dish. Serves 4

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

Pinch of cayenne

4 3.5-ounce black cod fillets, pinbones removed

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or mint

In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, orange zest, lemon zest, ginger, and cayenne. Place the cod in a baking dish and season each piece with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Pour half of the orange juice mixture over the cod and turn to coat well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the cod from the refrigerator, uncover, and add 2 tablespoons of water to the bottom of the dish. Bake just until the fillets are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center

of each fillet registers 137°F; it will take 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining orange juice mixture and the mustard in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Pour the reduction over the fillets, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve immediately.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes (plus 20 minutes to marinate)

Storage: Store tightly wrapped in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

Per Serving: Calories: 130; Total Fat: 4.3 g (0.7 g saturated, 2.6 g monou

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The fish:

Contributed by: Kian Lam Kho

The Recipe:

For more info:

http://www.redcook.net/2010/11/17/enjoy-oysters-guilt-free/

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The fish:

Contributed by:

The Recipe:

For more info:

http://mattikaarts.com/blog/seafood-recipes/video-slow-roasted-black-cod-glazed-baby-carrots-lemonbuttercaper-sauce/

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The fish:

Contributed by: Sunburst Trout Co

The Recipe: Garlic Studded Trout Fillets

For more info:

Sunburst Trout Company

Sunburst Trout Company is a third generation artisanal purveyor of gourmet trout since 1948, located in the heart of the Shining Rock National Wilderness at the base of Cold Mountain.  Our philosophy is to provide only the best sustainable gourmet trout fillets and many other value added trout products including Smoked Trout, Cold Smoked Trout, and our renowned Trout Caviar. Sunburst Trout is hormone-, antibiotic-, and PCB-free.

Here are two of our many recipes of the months.  We post a new recipe every month to our Facebook page and website.  You can follow us on twitter @sunbursttrout, facebook.com/sunbursttrout, www.sunbursttrout.com, and sunburstsally.blogspot.com

Garlic Studded Trout

Serves 4

4 Sunburst Trout Fillets (8-10oz)
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Coarse Ground Sea Salt
1 tsp. Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 Cloves Garlic Peeled
Dill weed, or oregano

Preheat your oven to Broil

Slice Garlic Cloves into thin slivers

Place Trout Fillets on nonstick baking pan

Insert Paring Knife into flesh of Trout (Knife should be Perpendicular to fillet) to make a small slit

Make a slit every ¾” to 1” in the thickest part of the fillet.

Insert garlic Slivers into slits

Sprinkle Trout Fillets with lemon juice and Olive Oil
Sprinkle Trout Fillets evenly with seasonings

Place under Broiler for 5 to 7 minutes.
Enjoy!

Note:

For a truly intense garlic experience slice garlic thicker!!!!!

While we are truly blessed with some great local garlic, I used a variety called Korean Red that I obtained at a Garlic Festival in Oregon.

This recipe is perfect for grilling, or inside during the cooler months, in a pan.

Whether you decide to make your own marinade, use a store bought one, or just use salt and pepper here are some basic tips for grilling the best trout you have ever had.

If you are using a marinade make sure to marinate your fish at least 2 hours before grilling. 
Once your grill is hot spray with a grilling spray such as Pam for Grilling so your trout will not stick. 
Place the trout flesh side down first for 5 minutes .
After 5 minutes flip the trout to skin side down so the skin will stick to the grill and you can pull the trout off without the skin. 
Leave the trout skin side down for 3-4 minutes. 
The trout should be ready now, it is better to have the trout under cooked instead of over cooked. 
Knowing where your seafood comes from makes this cooking tip an easier decision.
After 3 - 4 minutes your trout is done and ready to be served.

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The fish:

Contributed by:

The Recipe:

For more info:


Smoky, Spicy Coho with Tortilla Espanola

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles

When I looked at the meal I'd prepared this quote came to mind. Read on and you'll see why.

 

That's enough salmon for two servings, almost, but we each had jumbo servings like this! I guess I was cutting the side of Coho after Doc called to say how hungry he was. He wanted cous cous. I wanted to make Tortilla Español. I made both. (please pay no attention to the mix and match service!)

I started this afternoon with the pound cake, at one o'clock in the photo. I used Cynthia Mushet's Art & Soul of Baking double vanilla pound cake recipe and layered some blueberries I had cooked slightly for tartlettes.

I had more berries than my tart pans would hold.

So I made this lovely pound cake and swirled the extra berries in the middle. This was not as sweet as "we" like it so the neighbors got half. I'll suffer through the last bit.


(Click on the image to buy this great book from my Powell's bookshelf.)

The Tortilla Español was my first. I should have used a nonstick pan but I got carried away with the mandoline and sliced up so many potatoes and onions, I decided to risk the cast iron. It's pretty well-seasoned but the eggs stuck around the edges of the pan when I turned it out. Of course, you could use the Ferran Adrià and Mary Reilly technique and layer potato chips instead of potato slices, but a bag of chips wouldn't last long enough in my house!

After dinner and taking care of the rest of the dishes, there was this to contend with. Here's the great thing about cast iron. It's indestructible. I soaked it for a bit in water, then scraped what I could with this stiff spatula. Then used a plastic scrubbing pad with Kosher salt to scour out the stubborn bits. I towel dried it then rubbed it well with bacon fat and a paper towel and put it in a low oven.

Here's what the Tortilla looked like when I turned it back over, it looked fine and tasted great. I layered in some chorizo, last of the Valencia Iberico pork products.

See?

This sweet-smoky spice-rubbed Coho is a keeper. This is a spice blend for salmon that I just love. Here are the ingredients, please visit the Alaska Seafood Marketing site for this recipe and many more.

Sweet-Smoky-Spicy Alaska Salmon Rub

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton) 
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
4 Alaska Salmon steaks or fillets (6 to 8 oz. each), fresh or thawed 
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Directions:
Heat oven to 400 F. Blend all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve 1/2 tablespoon rub for potatoes.* Rub/pat remaining spice mixture over top of Alaska Salmon. Let the salmon rest 5 minutes before cooking.

Heat an ovenproof pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then salmon, rub side down. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until browned. Turn fillets over and place entire pan in oven. Roast just until fish is opaque throughout, about 5 to 8 minutes.

*For Roasted Potatoes Accompaniment: Heat oven to 400 F. In a bowl, stir 1 tablespoon olive oil into 1 pound cubed Yukon Gold or fingerling potatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon each thyme and sea salt to reserved rub; sprinkle herb blend on potatoes and stir to coat. Place potatoes on spray-coated pan and roast for 15 to 20 minutes.

Nutrients per serving: 275 calories, 11g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 35% calories from fat, 117mg cholesterol, 41g protein, 3g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 359mg sodium, 21mg calcium, and 1270mg omega-3 fatty acids.

 

 

About Coho and Cordova

This Copper River salmon comes from in Cordova, Alaska. They spawn in the coastal lakes and streams and have delicate flavor and rich orange-red color. The skin is silver with a faint blush on the belly. This is a lake in Cordova I fell in love with. Cordova is a fishing town that is one of the most unique places on the planet. It is a place of stunning beauty and remarkable people. It's home to some of the very best salmon, sustainably harvested. It's also home to a small museum which houses the Shame Pole Mike Webber carved after the USS Valdez spill in the Sound. That is one of the most moving works of art I've ever seen and it's on my mind with the recent disasters in the Gulf.

 

This is the harbor in Cordova.

Coho before.

 

Coho after, and the meal did have some color, too.

Next up: Ceviche!


Season for Flavor - Salmon from Alaska

 

This April, I was thrilled to be invited to participate in the Season For Flavor Club pilot project. The Prince William Sound marketing team and fishermen have teamed up to spread the word about all the salmon available in different seasons. Would I be wiling to let them send free samples of each wild Alaska salmon species harvested in their seasons? Hell yes. After my visit to Cordova a few years ago, I became such a fan of the Alaskan fisheries management practices, especially with respect to salmon, that I am eager for the salmon run each year.

Alaska's wild fisheries are one example of a system that honors seasonality. We here in the lower 48 tend to be fuzzy on the topic of seasonality with respect to fish. Sure, we know that asparagus come up in Spring, Tomatoes are in Summer and Apples are in Fall. But we're unaccustomed, most of us, to thinking of seasons and fish. For more on this topic and some links to great sources please read my latest post on Suite101, Seasonal Striper with Fines Herbes.

First of the Season - King Salmon

I've loved all the Alaskan salmon I've had and couldn't wait to enjoy my first shipment. Each Spring I think about Salmon and also feel connected to the fishermen and wonder how they might be faring each Spring. I begin scouring the news about the salmon run and scanning the fishmongers' counters. Are the Salmon running strong? Will we see it here? I think of the people in Alaska whose lives are inextricably linked to the health of the fisheries, and I hope for all of them, the salmon and the fishermen, that we'll have a strong season.

This program naturally began with the first of the season, the King or Chinook. This large, prized salmon are the first to run. These are the largest of the species and have high levels of fat stored for their arduous journey home to spawn. The Chinook also have some of the highest levels of Omega-3s of any fish.

I grilled some, cured some using Vieux Carré Absinthe and a homemade spice blend. For grilling, I used a delicious spice rub included in an Alaska Seafood Marketing brochure.

Salmon on the grill (another example of hunger taking priority over composing a perfect shot.)

Check out this post in my BBQ Bonanaza series for more info on grilling the salmon and a great cookbook to guide you in all your grilling.

To the left (above) is the Himalayan Pink Salt block I received in Portland at my IACP dinner with the SELmelier. We had some scallions, which I decided to grill on the salt block. The salmon I'd spiced rubbed and set on lightly oiled cedar papers set right on the grill. (Soaked the papers first in water.) This created a light cedar smoky flavor, scenting the salmon. This and the rub complemented the rich fat of the salmon perfectly.

Here is some of the lox I cured with a touch of absinthe.

 

Copper River Sockeye

Copper River Sockeye was the second to arrive.

Look at that deep red color! And the skin toasts up nicely for a Japanese-style treat.

 

Prince William Sound Sockeye roasted with herb butter added at the final minutes of roasting.

 

How about roasted Sockeye with a sweet corn risotto?

This risotto was fantastic. I used terrific rice from Panzano's - a small multi-generation family rice farm in Spain produces it. Had some corn stock

from stripping corn down for another recipe. Here, I'm folding in pea tendrils from the farmer's market into the sweet corn risotto. This would be a terrific main course meal in itself. We served it with the second of our Salmon.

 

Corn, corn and more corn!

I found that the sweet corn is a nice foil to rich salmon. Writing this post for Suite101 on how to shop the farmers' markets and save, I was reminded of so many good ways to enjoy corn - it's more than one post can contain.  Here are more ideas in this post, Better than Sex Grilled Corn.