How to Shop for Fish Without Ruining the Planet…

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“Without question, fish is the most nutritious animal we can eat, and by far the most varied in flavor and texture. But once you know that humankind has decimated the wild population, you don’t have to be a Greenpeace raft captain to feel conflicted about consuming it. Do we really want to be the generation so obsessed with gastronomic pleasure that we exterminate the Pacific? We can do better—not only for the future of our oceans but for the future of our appetites. There really are plenty of other fish in the sea: sustainable fish, regret-free fish, delicious and abundant fish that in some cases are such invasive species, it’s actually virtuous to murder them. With just a few modest substitutions, you can do your part for the planet while still eating like a king.

Continue reading

Seafood fraud: traceability of what you eat…

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Seafood fraud has been defined as a purposeful misleading of consumers in order to increase profits, and it happens more often than you might think. Roughly one in three seafood samples were found to be mislabeled, worldwide. As consumers we are routinely given little-to-no information on exactly where or how our seafood came to us.

Many restaurants have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on the source of their fish; beyond the marketplace, they may not even be aware of the complex web that fish catches enter after being harvested. Continue reading

The Vegetarian Myth…

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“We are urban industrialists, and we don’t know the origins of our food. This includes vegetarians, despite their claims to the truth…

Certainly most people who consume factory-farmed meat have never asked why and how it died. But frankly, neither have most vegetarians.

The truth is that agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet, and more of the same won’t save us. The truth is that agriculture requires the wholesale destruction of entire ecosystems. The truth is also that life isn’t possible without death, that no matter what you eat, someone has to die to feed you…

How many rivers were dammed and drained, how many prairies plowed and forests pulled down, how much topsoil turned to dust and blown into ghosts? I want to know about all the species–not just the individuals, but the entire species–the chinook, the bison, the grasshopper sparrows, the grey wolves. And I want more than just the number dead and gone. I want them back.

Despite what you’ve been told, and despite the earnestness of the tellers, eating soybeans isn’t going to bring them back. Ninety-eight percent of the American prairie is gone, turned into a monocrop of annual grains. Plough cropping in Canada has destroyed 99 percent of the original humus. In fact, the disappearance of topsoil ‘rivals global warming as an environmental threat…’image5-e1423503883414.jpg

We have to be willing to face the answer. What’s looming in the shadows of our ignorance and denial is a critique of civilization itself. The starting point may be what we eat, but the end is an entire way of life, a global arrangement of power, and no small measure of personal attachment to it.”

Starting a new book. The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability. By Lierre Keith.

Squid Stuffed with Herbed Breadcrumbs

squid-stuffed-with-herbed-breadcrumbs


Recipe by: Mario Batali

Author of nine cookbooks, chef/owner of 23 restaurants and host of several television shows including ABC’s “The Chew.”

Ingredients

(Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a first course)

  • 1 1/2 pounds large cleaned squid
  • 4 slices country-style white bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped drained oil-packed sundried tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives

 

Directions

  1. Separate the squid bodies and tentacles and refrigerate the tentacles. Place the bodies in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover partially and simmer until tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, place the bread in a food processor and process until medium-fine crumbs form. Heat a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup breadcrumbs and cook until crisp and beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sundried tomatoes and garlic and sauté until the garlic starts to color, about 3 minutes. Add the toasted breadcrumbs and stir until well mixed. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool. Mix in the parsley, green onions and thyme. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine the plum tomatoes, chives and 3 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Drain the squid bodies and cool slightly. Stuff with the breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Preheat the broiler. Place the squid bodies and tentacles on a baking sheet or broiler pan. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until beginning to brown and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Divide the squid among 4 warmed plates. Spoon the tomato mixture over and serve immediately.

Hint from the chef:

  • Called calamari on Italian menus, squid are fresh-tasting and tender-crisp when grilled, sautéed or deep fried for no more than 3 minutes, or simmered for 45 minutes to an hour. Anything in between and it will be tough.

Spiced Mahi Mahi Tacos with Salsa Fresca and Chipotle Crema

mahi-mahi-taco


Recipe by: Nathan Lyon
Cookbook author, chef and Emmy Award-nominated culinary host for television show “Good Food America.”

Ingredients

(Serves 6)

  • 6 corn tortillas, warmed through
  • 2 avocados, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded green cabbage

Mahi Mahi

  • 1 pound mahi mahi, 1-inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salsa Fresca

  • 1/4 pound cherry tomatoes, diced small
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced small
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Chipotle Crema

  • 1/4 cup organic sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Directions

  • Combine all salsa fresca ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix well.
  • Combine all chipotle crema ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix well.
  • Remove mahi mahi from the refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels. Mix the cumin, coriander, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Evenly coat the mahi mahi with the spice rub on all sides. Discard any excess spice rub.
  • In a medium nonstick sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Let sit for 1 minute, until the oil is hot. Add the mahi mahi and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. The fish is done when the flesh becomes opaque and begins to flake. Remove from heat and transfer the mahi mahi to a plate. Flake the fish into bite-size pieces.

To finish and serve:

  • Smear a dollop of chipotle crema on a corn tortilla. Top with a few slices of avocado. Add some mahi mahi, cabbage and finish with salsa fresca.

Seared Scallops with Chorizo and Potatoes

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Recipe by: Rick Bayless
Author of eight cookbooks and chef/owner of Frontera Grill, Toplobampo and Xoco in Chicago, Illinois.

Ingredients

(Serves 6 to 8 as a soft taco filling or tapa)

  • 1 pound red-skin boiling potatoes (about 4 medium), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 pound scallops
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage (about 1 1/2 cups), casings removed
  • 4 large green onions, roots and withered outer leaves trimmed off, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Corn tortillas (optional)

 

Directions

Potatoes

  1. Half-fill a 4-quart saucepan with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to boil. Add potatoes and simmer over medium heat until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Scallops

  1. Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Heat a 12-inch skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. For best results, choose a skillet or griddle that is heavy and nonstick or a well-seasoned cast iron.
  2. Add oil and, when quite hot, add scallops in an uncrowded layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear, turning occasionally, until golden, about 2 minutes total. With high heat the scallops will sear without overcooking.
  3. Scoop onto a wide plate.

To finish and serve:

  1. Place chorizo and green onions in skillet. Cook over medium heat, breaking up any clumps of chorizo, just until sausage has rendered its fat, 6 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add drained potatoes and continue cooking, occasionally scraping up any sticky bits, until potatoes begin to look crusty-brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the scallops into pieces that resemble the diced potatoes.
  4. When the potatoes are browned, add scallops. Mix everything together as the scallops heat for 1 minute or so.
  5. Scoop the mixture into a serving bowl and set before guests. For tacos, serve with corn tortillas.

Hint from the chef:

  • People are a little afraid of heat in their home kitchens so what they turn out doesn’t have that rich caramelization on the outside that so many people love in restaurant cooking. Whether it’s sautéing, grilling or searing on a griddle, it’s all the same thing. It’s about getting the temperature hot enough that the food will sear beautifully without overcooking.

Halibut Veracruzana

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Recipe by: Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger
Authors of five cookbooks, television personalities on Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales,” and co-chefs/owners of Border Grill Restaurants in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as Border Grill Truck in Los Angeles.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless halibut, cut into 4 portions
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 jalapeños, stemmed and sliced into 1/4-inch disks
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 tomato, cored and seeded, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup Spanish green olives (picholines), sliced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup fish stock or clam juice

 

Directions

  1. Heat one very large or two medium sauté pans over medium-high heat for 1 minute then add olive oil. When hot, add fish fillets seasoned with salt and pepper to taste, and turn the heat to very high. Sear the fillets until golden brown and flip to sear on the other side. Remove fillets from pan and place on a rack over a plate to catch juices.
  2. Return the pan (or pans) to the heat, add onions and cook over high heat, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeño slices, lime wedges, tomatoes, oregano and olives and sauté briskly for 1 minute more.
  3. Add white wine and reduce liquid by half.
  4. Add fish stock and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and return fish fillets along with the juices to pan. Finish cooking, covered, about 1 to 3 minutes depending upon the thickness of fillets.
  5. Taste broth and adjust seasoning, then serve immediately in soup plates with a generous puddle of broth and garnish of vegetables.

Copyright © 2009, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

Dungeness Crab Ravioli in Fragrant Bouillon

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Recipe by: Michael Cimarusti

Chef/owner of Providence in Los Angeles, California.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

  • 1 large (2 pounds) cooked Dungeness crab
  • 1 bunch green onions

Bouillon

  • 2 pounds chicken legs
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • 1 small onion, peeled, cut into quarters
  • 1 large shallot, peeled
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces, or a 2-inch strip lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 15 black peppercorns

Ravioli

  • 4 ounces ground fatty pork
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1, 10-ounce package gyōza/potsticker wrappers

Garnish

  • 1 small carrot, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1, 3 1/2-ounce package buna-shimeji (brown beech) mushrooms, bunapi-shimeji (white beech) mushrooms, or enoki mushrooms, cut into 1-inch long pieces
  • 20 fresh mint leaves
  • 12 fresh cilantro leaves
  • 12 small, fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai basil
  • 1 red jalapeno, thinly sliced with seeds

 

Directions

  1. Remove the crabmeat from the shells, reserving the shells for the bouillon. Place the meat in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate. Cut the white part of the green onions from the green part. Thinly slice the lower 2 inches of the green part; place in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate. Reserve the white part for the bouillon.

Bouillon

  1. Place the crab shells, chicken legs and a pinch of salt in a large pot. Add 2 quarts of water and bring to a gentle boil. Skim off any particles and fat that rise to the surface. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel (colored part only) from the lime and orange and add the peel to the pot. Reserve the fruit for another use. Add the white part of the green onions and all the remaining ingredients for the bouillon. Cover partially and simmer slowly for 3 hours, skimming the surface occasionally.
  2. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Season to taste with salt. Set the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice and water and chill quickly. (The broth can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Ravioli

  1. Combine the crabmeat, pork and egg yolk in a medium bowl and combine with a fork. Mix in half the sliced green onions, the ginger, shallot, garlic, mint, cilantro, salt, lime and orange zest and white pepper.
  2. Dust a large baking sheet with flour. Place 4 gyoza wrappers on a work surface. Place 1 teaspoon crabmeat mixture in the center of each wrapper. Dip a finger in a bowl of cold water and then spread the water around the edges of the wrappers. Fold the wrapper in half, enclosing the filling; press the edges together to seal. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Dry the work surface and then repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. (There is enough filling for about 50 ravioli. As a starter, use 8 ravioli per serving. Freeze the remaining uncooked ravioli in a single layer. When frozen wrap in plastic and freeze for another use. Do not thaw before cooking.)

Garnish

  1. Place the carrot slices in a small bowl. Arrange the remaining sliced green onions and garnishes on a plate.

Final Preparation

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water and a kettle of unsalted water to a boil. Bring the bouillon to a simmer in a medium saucepan; remove from the heat and cover to keep hot.
  2. Pour the water from the kettle into 4 shallow bowls to heat them. Add the sliced carrots and 32 ravioli to the pot of salted water. Boil gently until the ravioli are tender and the filling is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Check by removing 1 ravioli and cutting into the center.

Hints from the chef:

  • Lemongrass, star anise, gyoza wrappers and buna-shimeji mushrooms can be found in many grocery stores and Asian markets. Citrusy and floral, kaffir lime leaves are sold frozen in Asian markets.
  • Stone crab claws will also work in this recipe; replace the Dungeness crab with an equal weight of stone crab.

Crispy-Skin Coho Salmon with Mushroom-Miso Sauce

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Recipe by: Susan Spicer

Author and chef/owner of Bayona and MONDO in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

  • 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots or onion
  • 1 tablespoon matchstick-size slivers peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons sherry
  • 2 tablespoons red miso
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • 3 cups sliced bok choy
  • 4, 6-ounce coho salmon fillets
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 cup matchstick-size slivers carrot
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or shallot

 

Directions

  1. Cut the stems from the mushrooms and place in a large measuring cup. Cut the caps into 1/2-inch pieces. Add enough of the cap pieces to the stems to measure 2 cups total. Reserve the remaining chopped caps for the vegetables.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a heavy, large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushroom stems and caps and sauté until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the shallots and 1 tablespoon slivered ginger and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the sherry and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes, pressing on solids to extract liquid. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Transfer the broth to a small bowl. Whisk the miso, vinegar and 1/4 cup of the canola oil into the sauce.
  3. Cook the bok choy in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water 30 seconds to soften slightly. Drain well. Squeeze lightly to remove excess liquid.
  4. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Arrange the salmon skin-side down in the pan. Cook until the skin is golden and crisp, pressing occasionally with a spatula to flatten, about 7 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook until it is springy to the touch and just opaque in the center when cut into with a small, sharp knife, about 1 minute.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil and the sesame oil in another large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the reserved chopped mushrooms and toss to coat with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, sliced onion, minced ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the bok choy and stir-fry until the vegetables are just crisp-tender, about 1 minute longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide the vegetables among 4 warmed plates. Top with the salmon, skin-side up. Drizzle the sauce over and around the fish and serve.

Hints from the chef:

  • To make matchstick-size slivers of ginger or carrot, cut into thin diagonal slices, fan out the slices on a work surface, and then cut into slivers.
  • Red miso, an intense paste made from fermented soy beans and rice, can be found in the refrigerated Asian section of the grocery store or in Japanese markets.

Chicken-Fried Trout with Green Tartar Sauce and Asian Slaw

chicken-fried-trout-wtih-green-tartar-sauce


Recipe by: Rick Moonen

Author and chef/owner of Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood and Rx Boiler Room in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

Trout

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile paste (sambal oelek)
  • 4 trout fillets (7 ounces each)
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • All-purpose flour for dredging
  • Corn or peanut oil for frying
  • Green tartar sauce (recipe below)
  • Asian slaw (recipe below)

Green Tartar Sauce

  • 1/4 chopped cornichons
  • 1 tablespoon chopped capers
  • 1 medium shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Asian Slaw

  • 1 pound cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 cup grated carrots (use the large holes of a box grater or the shredding disc of a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup Asian vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Coarse salt

Asian Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped hot pepper

Recipe from Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook’s Essential Companion, by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

 

Directions

Trout

  1. Combine the buttermilk, onion, scallions, dill, garlic, zest and chile paste in a baking dish. Whisk or stir well.
  2. Lay the fillets in the marinade, making sure you’ve got them completely coated. Cover with plastic and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
  3. When you’re ready for dinner, remove the fish from the marinade and season it with salt and pepper. Coat the fillets well with flour.
  4. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a heavy skillet (this is a good time to pull out your cast-iron pan) until very hot but not smoking. Fry the fish in batches for about 1 1/2 minutes on the first side, then turn and fry for another 45 seconds. The crust should be golden.

Green Tartar Sauce

This sauce is best made ahead. Letting it sit in the refrigerator for about 24 hours gives the flavors time to develop.

  1. Drop the cornichons, capers and shallot into a food processor. Process for a few seconds just to combine. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, herbs, lemon juice and white pepper and process for about 8 seconds to blend well. Scrape down the sides. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream.
  2. Scrape the tartar sauce out into an airtight container, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before using.

Asian Slaw

The flavors here are bright and clean, a nice contrast to fried fish. So even if you have a mayonnaisey coleslaw in your repertoire, try this one.

  1. Toss the cabbage and carrots with the vinaigrette and mint. Season with salt, toss and taste. Adjust the salt if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Asian Vinaigrette

This tangy dressing works well with all sorts of salads. It doesn’t emulsify the way a French-style vinaigrette will; just give it a shake before you use it.

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a jar and give them a good shake. Use as needed in a salad, and keep the leftovers in the refrigerator. This lasts forever.
  2. Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc nam) can be found in most Asian markets and in many specialty food stores and grocery stores. Look for the Golden Boy brand. Thai chile peppers are what I prefer, but any hot pepper will work. Whatever you use, though, don’t seed it.