I bet you’ve noticed that some seafood in the grocery store seems surprisingly cheap. I have learned that cheap does not mean sustainable and good for our oceans. Living in Vancouver, Chef Ned Bell was my first introduction into the world of sustainable seafood. I have met Chef Ned at food shows and a charity event I volunteer at and have been continually inspired by his commitment to sustainable seafood. A previous blog about spot prawns highlighted my first foray into sustainable seafood, having a good understanding of where my seafood comes from and how to prepare it in a way to get the most bang for my buck.
Fast forward to earlier this year in Las Vegas. Didiayer invited me to be behind the scenes during filming of an episode of At Home With Didiayer. I had the privilege of watching Chef Rick Moonen, who I was already a fan of, create a beautiful sustainable seafood dish that we all got to try. I have to say, aside from the dish tasting phenomenal, observing a chef like Rick Moonen or Ned Bell, in their element, passionate about making better choices in the fish and seafood we consume was so motivational.
Fast forward to even a few more months later and Chef Moonen and Chef Bell were at an event together in Vancouver to talk about sustainable seafood. I unfortunately could not attend, but my partner was able to and interacted with the Chefs, asked questions and brought home the stories of the event. How fantastic to see these 2 chefs collaborate to share such an important message.
The more I have learned about sustainable seafood and understanding where our food comes from, I have been inspired to make better choices. I know that the better choices may not always be the most wallet friendly, but that’s okay. If large portions of sustainable seafood are out of the budget, why not try decreasing the portions and adding additional protein in other ways? Maybe take a small fish filet and pair it with a nice chick pea salad? Add a green salad with some local cheese? Your protein does not always have to exist in one form.
I recently purchased some beautiful sablefish filets, also known as black cod, and instead of pairing the filets with ultra-exotic ingredients, I kept it really simple. I butter-basted the fish in one of my new pans, starting with the flesh side down and turning it over to get a crispy skin, finishing it with lime juice. I boiled some local organic potatoes to make a buttered potato mash and repurposed some coleslaw that was near the end of its useful life into a cabbage stir fry, brought to life with the flavours the fish was prepared with – lime, chili flakes and sesame seeds. The repurpose of the coleslaw into a hot vegetable side was a revelation and might even be my best Cupboard to Table tip of 2018.
I encourage you to do an internet search for sustainable seafood in your region and to take a second look at what is presented to you in the grocery store. Sustainable seafood will help us preserve our oceans for generations to come.
Written by contributor writer: Dan Saunders.