Photo: New Media Publishing / Flat Art Studios.com
Time to tuck away those shiny Mardi Gras beads. Lent is officially underway, and for many observant eaters, that means several fish-focused Fridays. Lucky for you, we found some folks offering tasty specials where the spotlight shines only on sustainable seafood. That makes it easy to leave your guilty conscience at home.
While Wisconsin throws a mighty tasty fish-fry, they're not the only ones. At Jackson 20 in Alexandria, Va., chef Dennis Marron says they're adding U.S. farmed channel catfish to their traditional fried chicken offering during Lent, making it "Fryday". (He said it, not us!) "We try and stay true to our Southern-influenced concept, and we like to get our fish from as close to home as possible. We track our carbon "fish-print"," he says. The catfish he serves is raised in closed containment systems and fed a mostly vegetarian diet which garners it a Seafood Watch best choice rating. Pass the tarter sauce, would ya?
While Louisville is deep in the heart of the fried-food South, chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia steers clear of a fryolator. His Fruits de Maine is a play on the traditional French dish, fruits de mer. "We try and embody the entire North Atlantic in one dish by incorporating four or five different seafood items from the coast of Maine." Depending on what Maine fishermen bring in each week, that could mean line-caught cod, Maine lobster or fresh clams.
Other chefs are making thoughtful choices too.
San Francisco-based chef Sascha Weiss of The Plant Cafe Organic will be offering sustainable line-caught halibut for Lent. Pan seared in olive oil, he'll be plating it with seasonal green garlic and Bloomsdale spinach. In San Diego, Sea Rocket Bistro is also offering Pacific halibut for their baked fish and chips Lenten special; while Boston's Chris Parsons decided to cure some tasty Arctic char for a sustainable appetizer at Parsons Table. "Char cures beautifully and evenly, which means the whole slice stays tender and butter," he says.
For those who'd rather do the cooking themselves, Martin Reed, owner of I Love Blue Sea says they're running some tasty ship-to-home Lent specials. They'll start the season with hook and line caught halibut, followed by lesser known fish like night smelt, caught with nets from the beach at Half Moon Bay.
And in New Orleans, all eyes are on the newly launched Crescent City Supported Fisheries this Lent. The brand-new community supported fishery (CSF) program is the first of its kind in a city hit-hard by the oil spill. From March 10 to April 21, members who sign up for weekly shares will collect seafood straight from the dock. This model means members directly support their local fishing families -- something we think embodies what Lent is really about.
- What exactly is "sustainable" seafood? Find out at KitchenDaily.com.
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