Baiting Guests with Underutilized Fish Species: Serving Delectable, Sustainable Seafood

Baiting Guests with Underutilized Fish Species: Serving Delectable, Sustainable Seafood

Michael Cimarusti is the Executive Chef at Providence in Los Angeles and Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood, both seafood-centric restaurants. He also opened his own seafood market, Cape Seafood and Provisions which heavily promotes sustainability.

So Cimarusti is clearly a seafood expert, so he’s the guy you should talk to before you cook any fish dish.

When people cook fish, they usually stick to a number of classic preparations but in an interview with The Splendid Table’s Russ Parsons, Cimarusti shares some of the best techniques you may not have heard of for cooking certain species of fish and supporting sustainability.

Some key tips:

Brining

The most common preparation for fish is, ironically, wet brining. Best for use with fish you plan to grill, brining in a 5-7 percent salt solution is a classic step in allowing fish to form a pellicle, a sticky coating on the surface of the fish that seals in flavor. Dry brining is another option, especially for those looking to eat fish raw. Simply put sea salt on a filet of fish and let it rest until the fish begins to sweat.

Roasting

With larger fish, you can roast a large filet, let it rest and then separate into single serving portions. When applying roasting to fish, Cimarusti says, you wind up with different results and textures and a cooking that’s far more consistent.

In the below excerpt from the interview, Cimarusti explains that just because a species is not a classic does not make it any less delicious. In fact, these species can be top of the line and cost much, much less.

Russ Parsons: One of the big problems with seafood in America is that we still concentrate on one or two species – shrimp, salmon, things like that – but those are getting scarcer and less sustainable.

Michael Cimarusti: And more expensive.

RP: But, there are lots of other fish that are plentiful, delicious, and completely sustainable. What are some of the ways for a cook who may not be familiar with those fish to approach them?

MC: There are so many different ways. Smaller fish like sardines and anchovies, anchovies specifically, if you are going to cook them at all, the best thing you can do is salt them and throw them on the grill. It's almost true for sardines as well, unless you get really big sardines, in which case you might filet them or butterfly them open and cook them in different ways. Mackerel is sort of the same thing. I love mackerel grilled. When we get what are called tinker mackerel – which are smaller mackerel – we take them, debone them, butterfly them open, and grill the skin side just briefly. We then pull them off the grill and brush them with an herb oil. At this point, the flesh has not been touched by any direct heat at all. Brush the flesh with a little herb oil, a little squeeze of lemon juice, and put breadcrumbs over the top of it with lots of extra-virgin olive oil. Finish it in the broiler so it gets crispy and golden brown. Underneath, you have the grilled flavor of the fatty fish and this beautiful herb oil that's just a little spicy from red chili flakes, and it's incredible. That's a fish that, at the most, it's going to cost you six or seven dollars in a fish market, but they're incredibly delicious. They're low on the food chain and they're plentiful. But go and try to find one; it’s a very difficult fish to find. That's because it's a low-value species. It's not worth a lot to the fisherman, so you don't see a lot of them on the market, which is a real shame.

Read the whole interview at “The Splendid Table.”

Read More

Elevated Dining: Chef Experiences Cater to the Passionate Foodie Looking for a Culinary Adventure

Elevated Dining: Chef Experiences Cater to the Passionate Foodie Looking for a Culinary Adventure

BKrystal Hauserman, Foodable Contributor

Did you know we are in the midst of a food Renaissance, people? The bar has been raised! Diners are looking for much more than a “good meal.” They are looking for a memorable culinary adventure. They want to chat with the cooks about sourcing local ingredients, feel the heat of the open flame on their skin, and taste incredible, creative food. In this day and age, the restaurants and chefs that offer such experiences will no doubt find themselves with a cult following and a house full of adventurous eaters.  

A Seat at the Chef’s Table

Open, “exhibition-style” kitchens have been around for decades, and as diners have become increasingly interested in where ingredients come from and the techniques used to transform them, a seat at the “chef’s counter” has become highly coveted. Sitting face-to-face with your favorite chef typically commands a premium price, but offers a more bespoke experience – something the savvy sushi counter aficionado has known for years. The best spot in the house is often at the counter, elbow-to-elbow with a handful of other engaged patrons oohing and aahing over the parade of dishes. The menus are a bit edgier. The laughter a little more raucous. And it’s unlikely you will get the stink eye for snapping a photo or two.  

Read More

Once in a Lifetime Experience: Dining with the Michelin Stars

Once in a Lifetime Experience: Dining with the Michelin Stars

Seeking out the best restaurants in the world is a passion of all foodies. We read reviews, listen to critics and friends, and establish our own opinions and standards. And when the Michelin Guide, the prevalent rating system in the world that awards 0 to 3 stars of excellence each year, comes out and we make sure that restaurants that have received the coveted stars are on our lists.

With just over 100 Three Star Michelin restaurants around the world, and maybe double that number of Two Star Michelin restaurants, these are some of the greatest chefs in the world and restaurants worth visiting.  But, it can also be a costly venture for foodies. In fact, for approximately $275,000 per couple, a UK company offers a travel package that takes guests on a six month journey around the world to eat at each of the 107 Three Star Michelin restaurants. 

Read More