Underutilized Fish Species: Collaboration and Education Create Balance

Today, consumers across the globe are relying on seafood as a primary source of protein. This has sparked an educational movement to limit overfishing in an effort to promote seafood sustainability. The idea is to use less of an overused species like Salmon, and substitute it with a less familiar and potentially more abundant species, like Pollock.

On this Foodable.io talk, brought to you by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, our Host Daniela Klimsova, and panelists Warner Lew, Taho Kakutani, Taichi Kitamura - explore how we define an underutilized species. They also discuss the need to not only market to chefs and restaurants but to the consumer, who has a significant role to play in a more sustainable future.

Taho Kakutani, a fishmonger at Pike Place Fish Market, leads by saying discussions about sustainability started to stand out about five years ago, which lead the fish market to prioritize seafood sustainability and advocation of the practice.

“There is a need for story...the seafood industry is particularly compelling,” said Kakutani. “From the sea to the table is this amazing journey that’s happening. So when we have these touch points like sustainability...there’s this opportunity to create this really interesting story that I think consumers are really looking for.”

Taichi Kitamura, executive chef and co-owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura, agrees that as chefs, they are responsible for educating consumers on underutilized species being included on their menus.

“I have to be very careful about what I say to my customers, and actually what I practice in terms of what to put on the menus,” said Kitamura. “You really have to be on top of this issue...it wasn’t the news then, but now it’s the news.”

Bristol Bay’s Fleet Manager, Warner Lew, got his start in the 1970s as a deckhand for local fisheries. He now is known as a crusader for getting Americans to eat canned, smoked Alaskan herring. With a nod to chef Taichi Kitamura’s herring sushi dish from a chef’s seminar, he speaks about how a species could become underutilized.

“The herring, it’s...underutilized in this country because few people know how to handle it… [or] how to enjoy it. That’s the trick [when] utilizing the fish, is how do you make it enjoyable and easy,” said Lew.

Mainstream seafood is often overfished and over marketed. Experts all agree that to create a significant change in reducing overfishing of certain species, industry leaders such as fishermen and chefs need to collaborate, educate and expose the underutilized species market to the masses.


Westward's Chef Will Gordon Shares His Matbucha Braised Wild Alaska Pollock Recipe

On this episode of On Foodable, we are featuring Chef Will Gordon, former Executive Chef of Westward, a Seattle restaurant located directly on the north shores of Lake Union. Chef Gordon will be working with wild Alaska pollock, provided by Trident Seafoods, to make a delicious Matbucha Braised Wild Alaska Pollock dish. This is the last episode out of our four-part series of chef demos that were filmed at our Foodable.io Seattle event, sponsored by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

About the Dish

Wild Alaska Pollock Braised in Matbucha with Preserved Lemon Cream, Charred Shishito Peppers and Herbs

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.


Ingredients:

  • 6 ea. / skinned, Wild Alaska Pollock Fillets

  • 1 recipe Matbucha

  • Lemon juice

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 pt preserved lemon crema

  • 24 ea. medium-sized shishito peppers washed

  • 3 pts mixed pickled herbs: parsley, mint, and dill

  • Finishing salt


Method of Cooking:

This recipe serves 6 people. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Heat up matbucha in two saute pans its oven proof handles (thin with a little bit of vegetable stock, water or tomato juice to the consistency of tomato sauce). When it is at a nice simmer, nestle in three portions of fish per pan, leaving space between each piece. Move to oven and bake for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is just done and flaky.  While the fish is in the oven, blister the shishito peppers in a hot, dry pan until black spots occur, and they are just cooked. Remove to a plate on the side.

After you remove the pans of fish from the oven, gently remove all of your fish to a plate off to the side. Put the matbucha back on the stove and reduce down if it needs it. Add a little olive oil, salt or lemon as necessary to make it taste as you like.  


Plating:

  • To serve, spoon some matbucha on each plate, nestle a few shishitos in the matbucha as well as your fish. Garnish with dollops of the preserved lemon cream and herbs that have been lightly dressed in extra virgin olive oil and salt.

Westward

“Westward is a restaurant with a real sense of place,” says Chef Gordon. “You can sit on the deck there, on the patio and look out and see all of Seattle… and eat oysters or eat a nice piece of fish out of our wood-fired oven and it’s like no where else in the world.”

To hear Will Gordon’s thoughts about what the role of a chef is today and to replicate his delicious sustainable fish dish, follow along by watching the episode above!

Chef David Glass, from Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Demonstrates His Lemon & Thyme Stuffed Wild Alaska Pollock Dish

On this episode of On Foodable, we are featuring Chef David Glass, from Ethan Stowell Restaurants’ Staple and Fancy Mercantile located in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard. Chef Glass will be working with wild Alaska pollock, provided by Trident Seafoods, to make a beautiful Lemon and Thyme Stuffed Wild Alaska Pollock dish. This is the third episode out of our four-part series of chef demos that were filmed at our Foodable.io Seattle event, sponsored by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

About the Dish

Wild Alaska Pollock, stuffed with Thyme and Lemon, with Brown Butter Cauliflower and Salsa Verde

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.


Ingredients:

  • 2 ea. / skin on Wild Alaska Pollock Fillets

  • 1 lemon, sliced 1/4 inch thick

  • 3 sprigs of thyme

  • 1 cup cauliflower florets 

  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed

  • 1/4 lb butter

  • 1Tbs extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup picked parsley, fried

  • 1/4 cup picked sage, fried

  • 1 lemon, juice of


Method of Cooking:

Take the two skin-on fillets and lay slices of lemon and thyme in between. Tie the fish with butcher’s twine to secure the two filets together. Sear the cauliflower in the olive oil. Add the capers and butter. Allow butter to brown and add the lemon juice to stop the browning process. Grill the fish on both sides (about 4 minutes per side).


Plating:

  • Plate the fish, snipping and carefully removing the twine, and top with cauliflower, caper and butter mix. Top with crispy parsley and sage. 

Staple & Fancy

At Staple and Fancy there’s a focus on seafood and utilizing the abundance of quality local resources that are available to chefs in the city of Seattle. For Chef Glass, sustainability is a personal responsibility.

“As a chef it’s easy to think about today and tomorrow or just cooking for now,” said Chef Glass. “But when we look at the big picture and we look at five years from now…, twenty years from now and the impact of the use of the ingredients we have today on the future it’s important for us to have thought in the product that we use and ensure that we’re using product that is gonna be sustainable and it’s going to be available for our children.”

Essentially, he would hate “for species to become extinct and no one would have the chance to taste them again.”

To replicate this delicious sustainable dish follow along by watching the episode above!

Kona Brewing Company is Craft Beer Brewery with a Passion for Sustainability

Some say Aloha means to live in harmony with the natural world and each other, this is the test of our time. Kona Brewing Company is more than just another craft beer company. With a focus on smarter energy, responsible practices, and a dedication to the community around them Kona is embodying the true meaning of Aloha.

On this episode of On Foodable filmed at Foodable.io Seattle sponsored by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, we get to learn a little more about Kona Brewing Company from Parker Penley, Lead Innovation Brewer at Craft Brew Alliance.

“Two just absolutely integral parts of what we do are sustainability and quality. And I always kind of say that those are not mutually exclusive,” said Penley. “Those actually work in parallel beautifully, you just have to, you know, be very conscious about what you’re doing and the impact on those around you and the environment.”

With this mentality and respect towards the Hawaiian Islands, Kona Brewing Company has established sustainability as one of its primary pillars. From building a state of the art brewery powered by solar panels to investing in a new High-Efficiency Brewing System to use less grain and barley, this company is taking sustainability to the next level.

However, Aloha doesn’t stop there at Kona Brewing Company. Besides having a focus on sustainability, their passion and desire fosters not only a high-quality beer but always creates an experience.

Aloha is all about the connection people have to the land and the way they connect with others on the island. Kona Brewing Company embodies that, by connecting local ingredients used to create their product, connecting with the community, and relaying the spirit of Hawaii and paradise to their consumers.

Watch the episode above to learn more about Kona and its sustainability efforts and the challenges faced in doing so on the island.

Looking for more beer and wine brands that are putting sustainability first? We recently interviewed Rob Bigelow, Senior Director of Wine Education and On Premise Development at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, about Villa Maria Wine Estate—a company in partnership with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

Seattle's Chef John Sundstrom Breaks Down a Spanish-Styled, Braised Wild Alaska Pollock Dish

On this episode of On Foodable, we are featuring Chef John Sundstrom, owner of Lark Restaurant in Seattle, who will be working with wild Alaska pollock, provided by Trident Seafoods, to make a rustic Spanish-styled dish. This is the first episode out of our four-part series of chef demos that were filmed at our Foodable.io Seattle event, sponsored by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

About the Dish

Braised Wild Alaska Pollock with Tomato, Smoked Paprika and Olive Oil Smashed Potatoes

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.


Ingredients:

  • Wild Alaska Pollock Fillets

  • 2 cup Small Yukon Gold Potatoes

  • 3 ea. Garlic Cloves, cracked

  • Vegetable Stock

  • 2 qt. Water

  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt

  • 2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Fleur de Sel

  • Pimenton

  • Herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley

  • Seasoning: Pepper, Smoked Paprika


Method of Cooking:

To begin preparing the sauce for the Spanish-styled stew, sauté diced onions in olive oil until light golden. Then, add the sliced garlic, and cook until softened. While that is cooking start simmering some fingerling potatoes until they are tender in another pot with salted water, crushed garlic, and a couple branches of thyme. To continue with the sauce, add some white wine to stop the cooking process. As the reduction settles down, add really ripe, rough-diced tomatoes to the saute pan, add kosher salt and pepper as it simmers. Don’t forget to season your wild Alaska pollock fillets with some salt and pepper before you add it to the sauce. You will simmer until cooked for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add a splash of more white wine and vegetable stock. Also, add some fresh thyme, a pinch of rosemary, and smoked paprika. Finally, remove from heat, then serve or cool.


Plating:

  • Smash potatoes (skins on) with a fork to crush open.

  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel

  • Spoon braised pollock and sauce over the top.

  • Sprinkle on a little more pimenton and parsley leaves

 

Lark Restaurant

Sundstrom is the chef and owner of Lark Restaurant, which has been around for 15 years now.

“We were one of the first restaurant that were really able to celebrate underutilized species and cuts of meats and fish that were not so well-known,” says Chef Sundstrom. “So, you know, one of the first restaurants to really get into nose-to-tail and farm-to-table in the region.”

To replicate this delicious dish follow along by watching the episode above!