Most of you know that I was in Vancouver (stuffing my face) last month, and over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of my favorite and most memorable experiences from my trip.
On Thursday, May 28th, hubby Kris and I attended "For The Love of Fish: From Producer to Plate", a guided tasting of eight local sustainable seafoods prepared by local chefs, hosted by Slow Food Vancouver and SeaChoice at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver.
The star line-up included world renowned chef Hidekazu Tojo, famous for inventing the California roll, Chef Robert Clark of C Restaurant, local champion of sustainable seafood, and Chef Andrea Carlson, executive chef of Bishop's Restaurant, a Vancouver institution featuring award-winning regional cuisine.
Featured producers and fishermen, including my spot prawn buddy Steve Johansen from Organic Ocean, were there to showcase their sustainable seafood and answer questions. Only 100 seats were available for $50 per ticket ($35 for Slow Food members), a bargain price to taste the seafood creations of local celebrity chefs (and a lot cheaper than fine dining at Tojo's, Bishop's, or C Restaurant).
I know most of you are probably here to gawk at the food, but I've also thrown in some sustainable seafood facts and interesting tidbits I learned from attending this 3 hour event.
The tasting was accompanied by a bread basket from the Bread Affair, artisanal cheeses from Mt. Pleasant Cheese Company, and wine from Farmstead Wines:
ALBACORE TUNA, spice encrusted and lightly seared, chilled and served with smoked salt, Pemberton beet salad, and horseradish dressing (from Natural Gift Seafoods, as prepared by Chef Peter Berg, and plated by Chef Quang Dang of C Restaurant):
BC albacore tuna is not only sustainable (trolling results in very little by-catch), it's deliciously rich and buttery, and so highly regarded that most of the commerical catch is shipped to Japan as sashimi grade tuna.
PACIFIC SARDINES, lightly seared and pickled, pumpernickel bread, sour cream, cilantro and cucumber (from Seaside Marketing, as prepared by Chef Colman Herrington, A Plus Catering): Sardines are very nutritious, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and low in mercury and other contaminants. They disappeared completely from British Columbia waters in the 1940s and mysteriously reappeared 50 years later in the early 1990s. Overcooking oily fish like sardines will result in fishiness!
SABLEFISH COLLAR aka SABLEENE, marinated in sweet vermouth, served with edamame daikon salad (from Seaside Marketing, as prepared by Chef Clement Chan, Mosaic Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Vancouver):
Sablefish is also known as black cod. Before sableenes became fashionable, they were thrown overboard by fisherman or ground into fishmeal for fertilizer! Sustainable seafood is all about using every part of the fish, and these tasty little morsels are starting to pop up on local menus.
KUSSHI OYSTER, shallot wine mignonette, brunoise of organic apples with cider vinegar (from Stellar Bay Shellfish, as prepared by Chef Matthew Davies, Provence Marinaside Grill): Off-bottom oyster farms have little impact on the environment. This clean tasting kuushi was also Kris' first raw oyster! And he liked it!
COHO SALMON, marinated in brown sugar, with watercress salad (from Swift Aquaculture, as prepared by Chef Robert Clark, C Restaurant):
Most Atlantic salmon is farmed using open-net pens in the ocean, a method known for it's devastating impact on wild salmon populations. Swift Aquaculture's coho salmon is farmed in an environmentally responsible closed tank system, and it's really delicious too!
DUNGENESS CRAB, fried crispy dungeness crab avocado roll (from Seafood 4 Life, as prepared by Chef Hidekazu Tojo from Tojo’s Restaurant):
DUNGENESS CRAB, raw scallop, raw salmon, wrapped in egg crepe, topped with roe: Unique to the Westcoast, sweet Dungeness crabs are caught using baited traps, resulting in low by-catch. I have to admit that I get starstruck easily, so I was most excited to try these sushi rolls prepared by the famous Hidekazu Tojo! And they were absolutely delicious. Raw fish novice Kris was on a roll that night (pun intended), eating raw salmon, scallop, spot prawn, and oyster! YAY Kris!
SPOT PRAWNS, on kombu with pea shoot salad and tomato jelly (from Organic Ocean, as prepared by Chef Julian Bond, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts):
Named for the 4 distinctive white spots on their shells, sustainable wild BC spot prawns are highly prized for their sweetness and firm textured flesh. But you already knew that if you've read my recent post about Vancouver's Annual Spot Prawn Festival and my interview with producer Steve Johansen.
PACIFIC SCALLOPS, cured with fennel, salt and sugar, citrus brine, with sweet sicily pod, shaved fennel and rhubarb (from Edge Water Foods, as prepared by Chef Andrea Carlson, Bishop’s Restaurant):
My favorite dish of the night, scallop was super sweet and juicy! Off-bottom farming of BC scallops doesn't hurt the sea floor like dredging (on-bottom farming).
Do you love fish and seafood? Are you worried about our oceans? You can make a difference by choosing sustainable seafoods:
USA - Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch for all US Regions