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.”

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Frozen Fresh Alaska Seafood is Making Waves with Top Quality and Sustainability Practices

Frozen Fresh Alaska Seafood is Making Waves with Top Quality and Sustainability Practices
  • Alaska frozen fresh seafood maximizes sustainability, availability, and flavor of fish and shellfish supply.

  • Chefs Dustin Trani and Drew Johnson "slack it out" teaching C-CAP students how to properly prepare frozen fresh Alaska seafood.

Ever heard of cryogenic or blast flash freezing?

This process helps to preserve seafood at the peak of freshness.

“Flash freezing is able to prevent damage or breakdown of proteins and lipids, two major things we need to keep in our seafood in order to preserve quality,” Michael Kohan tells a class full of culinary students.

Kohan is the technical director for Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) and flew down to Long Beach, Ca. to help educate young students participating in a culinary training organized by Careers through Culinary Arts Programs (C-CAP).

In these trainings, like the one featured in this episode of On Foodable Side Dish, mentors like Dustin Trani, Executive Chef for J. Trani’s Ristorante in San Pedro, Ca., and Chef Drew Johnson of Kincaid Grill located in Anchorage, Ala., come together to give back and share their wisdom with the future generation of culinary professionals.

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Harvest Season for Florida's Stone Crab Returns

Harvest Season for Florida's Stone Crab Returns

By Kerri Adams, Managing Editor 

Seafood lovers prepare your palate because the Florida stone crab season starts up again tomorrow, which means that seafood restaurants will be featuring stone crab on their menus for the next 7 months.

After crawling on the earth for over 3 million years, these crabs are sought after and harvested for their delicious claws. These fascinating and long-surviving creatures are able to regrow their claws. As a survival mechanism, the process is known as molting and the stone crab can lose its limbs easily to escape from predators. This also makes them ideal for catching because once one or both claws are removed, they can be returned to ocean to regrow their limbs. Approximately 15% of commercial stone crab landings come from regenerated claws.

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