Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PORTLAND — Peter Sueltenfuss, executive chef at Grace, recalls that whenever he went fishing with his uncle as a kid, they always threw back any redfish that ended up on their lines.
In the kitchen at Grace in Portland, executive chef Peter Sueltenfuss prepares and plates a serving of his pan-roasted red fish with spring vegetable fricassee and asparagus veloute. Grace is among 20 Maine restaurants participating in Out of the Blue, organized by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.
Photos by Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer
Executive chef Peter Sueltenfuss of Grace prepares his pan-roasted red fish.
Midwestern markets, where it is known as ocean perch, have developed an appetite for the white, flaky fillets, but in New England the species is largely sold as lobster bait. Only 22 percent of the allowable catch for redfish was harvested in 2010. Also known as Acadian redfish, the species is harvested year-round from the Gulf of Maine.
OUT OF THE BLUE: THROUGH SUNDAY
HERE ARE THE RESTAURANTS that are participating in the June edition of Out of the Blue:
• Bar Lola
• Browne Trading Market
• East Ender
• Five Fifty-Five
• Fore Street
• Foreside Tavern
• Hot Suppa!
• Local 188
• Old Port Sea Grill
• Petite Jacqueline
• The Salt Exchange
• Azure Cafe
• Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea
• 50 Local
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
OUT OF THE BLUE will return on these dates:
July 20-29; Sept. 28-Oct. 7; Oct. 26-Nov. 4
January/Feburary 2013, date to be determined
TO LEARN MORE about the Out of the Blue project, keep up to date on participating restaurants or download recipes, go to gmri.org.
SERRANO-WRAPPED ROASTED REDFISH, LOBSTER AND SEAFOOD SALPICON, ROASTED OYSTER MUSHROOMS AND SALSA VERDE
From chef Mitchell Kaldrovich, Sea Glass Restaurant, Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth
2 pounds thick-cut redfish, skin off
4 to 6 slices of serrano ham or prosciutto ham
1 whole lobster, fully cooked with meat sliced
1 cup local shrimp, quickly blanched (20 seconds in salty water, then iced)
½ cup smoked bay scallops
½ cup celery, diced
½ cup carrot, diced
½ cup seedless cucumber, diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, tarragon and parsley
Juice of 2 fresh lemons
5 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, pepper, cumin powder and coriander
1½ cups fresh oyster mushrooms, clean and with bottoms removed
1 garlic clove
Chopped Italian parsley
Chef's note: Salpicon is a traditional South American cold "chopped salad" usually made with leftovers such as roasted chicken or grilled fish. You can add any kind of vegetables as well.
PREPPING THE SALPICON:
Blanch, chill and strain the shrimps. Slice the lobster meat into little bites. Mix all seafood in a bowl. Add the raw diced vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and lightly sprinkle with cumin and coriander.
Add the herbs, the lemon juice and olive oil. Keep refrigerated.
Ask your fish market to skin your redfish.
In a very hot cast-iron skillet, add some canola oil and roast the fish wrapped in serrano, then lower the heat to medium.
Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it starts to get golden brown, then flip the brown side up and transfer the pan to a preheated oven at 350 degrees and cook for about 8 to 10 more minutes.
The serrano ham should be crispy but not burned, and the fish should be just cooked through. Reserve the fish in a warm place.
Using your finger, tear the mushrooms into smaller stripes. Make sure there is no dirt or leaves.
In another very hot saute pan, quickly add some olive oil or canola and cook the whole garlic clove for 10 seconds, then add the mushrooms and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown.
Season with salt, pepper and chopped parsley.
1 cup cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons chopped chives
½ cup parsley leaves
4 sprigs of fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons of capers
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 lime
½ cup olive oil
Blend all ingredients into the blender until a smooth puree. Season with salt and pepper. Chill.
PAN ROASTED REDFISH WITH SPRING VEGETABLE FRICASSEE AND ASPARAGUS VELOUTE
From Peter Sueltenfuss, executive chef at Grace, 15 Chestnut St., Portland
FOR THE FISH:
4 fillets of redfish (2- to 3-ounce fillets)
2 tablespoons pomace oil
2 tablespoons butter
Lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE FRICASSEE:
2 ramps, cleaned bottoms removed and split lengthwise, tops chiffonade
½ cup blanched English peas
½ cup blanched and picked fava beans
½ cup cleaned Mousseron mushrooms, or available market mushrooms of your choice
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE VELOUTE:
2 cups fish fumet
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
8 spears asparagus, peeled, trimmings reserved
Heat the pomace oil over high heat until almost smoking. Place the fish in the pan skin-side down and lower the heat to medium. Cook until the skin is crisp and the fish is almost cooked through. Add the butter and lemon juice. When the butter begins to froth, baste the fish until it is cooked through, giving very little resistance when touched. Remove from the pan and let rest on a paper towel.
Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add the ramp bottoms and cook over medium heat until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the peas and favas; stir until warm. Add the ramp tops and cook until they are wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the fish fumet. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until homogenous. Add the fish fumet ¼ cup at a time, whisking to be sure there are no lumps forming. When all of the fumet has been added, simmer over low heat for 12 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the flour from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Strain through a fine sieve and chill.
Place the blanched asparagus trimmings in a food processor and puree until smooth. Fold the puree into the chilled stock and pass through a fine sieve again. Warm the asparagus spears in the veloute.
HERE ARE THE MEMBERS of the Out of the Blue steering committee:
• Michael Boland (Havana, Rupununi)
• Charles Bryon (The Salt Exchange)
• Bob Campbell (Yankee Fisherman's Cooperative)
• Ken Cardone (Bowdoin College Dining Service)
• Jim Frank (fisherman)
• David Goethel (fisherman)
• Sam Hayward (Fore Street)
• Mitchell Kaldrovich (Sea Glass)
• Rauni Kew (Inn by the Sea)
• Richard Kolseth (fisherman)
• Justin Libby (fisherman)
• Rick Trundy (fisherman)
It was only lobster bait, after all. Redfish just wasn't in the same league as those staples of the New England table, cod and haddock.
So why is Sueltenfuss pan-searing redfish for his customers this week, offering it as a menu item alongside his other more sophisticated dishes?
Grace, along with 19 other Maine restaurants, is participating in "Out of the Blue," a special promotion organized by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute that began June 1 and runs through Sunday. Out of the Blue celebrates those lesser-known, under-appreciated species in the ocean that rarely end up on diners' dinner plates.
Mainers got their first taste of redfish at Harvest on the Harbor last fall, when chef Sam Hayward of Fore Street in Portland prepared it for a hungry crowd that also downed Atlantic pollock tacos and gumbo made with northern shrimp.
Over the winter, a steering committee that included Hayward, other restaurant owners and chefs, five fishermen and several others with an interest in sustainable fishing developed the Out of the Blue program as a follow-up to the Harvest on the Harbor event.
Stop into any of the participating restaurants this week – 15 of them are in Portland – and you'll find a redfish option on the menu.
Sueltenfuss is making pan-roasted redfish with a spring vegetable fricasse and asparagus veloute. David Connolly, chef at the Old Port Sea Grill in Portland, is offering pan-roasted redfish with asparagus, ramps, fingerling potatoes and shallot-orange poppy vinaigrette.
David Ross, chef/owner of 50 Local in Kennebunk, is preparing pan-roasted redfish with a spring-style cassoulet.
Browne Trading Market on Portland's Commercial Street is serving a New England-style redfish chowder, and chef Christopher Bassett at Azure Cafe in Freeport will be making a polenta-encrusted Acadian redfish fillet served over garlic creamed kale, fresh tomato and chives.
And Hayward? He said he'll likely serve it in a variety of ways – roasted whole in Fore Street's wood-burning oven one evening; sliced raw and served chilled as an appetizer the next.
Customers who order the redfish options will be given a small card that tells them a little about the Out of the Blue program. They can scan the card with their smart phone to go to the Out of the Blue website (gmri.org) and learn more.
Redfish is harvested year round in the Gulf of Maine, but spring and early summer is when the season really heats up for local fishermen, said Sam Grimley, sustainable seafood project manager at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.
"We thought it was a nice one to do, to kind of kick off the summer," he said.
DIFFICULT TO PROCESS
Redfish live in the deep waters of the Gulf of Maine. They were a prized source of protein in the 1940s and '50s, but in 2010, fishermen harvested just 22 percent of the total allowable catch. Much of that was used as lobster bait.
"Because there isn't as much demand, the price is relatively low for what fishermen get paid for it," Grimley said. "And it is also a difficult fish to process. It's a smaller fish than a cod or a haddock, and because right now it has a relatively low value, not a lot of money goes into processing it. If the demand were higher, we're hypothesizing that processing would come around."
Out of the Blue is designed to increase the demand for redfish and other species that will be highlighted during similar promotions in July, September, October, November and a final promotion early next year. The idea is that making Mainers more familiar with these more abundant fish could take some of the pressure off species that are being overfished.
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Pan-roasted red fish with spring vegetable fricassee and asparagus veloute, at Grace in Portland.
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Serrano-Wrapped Roasted Redfish, Lobster and Seafood Salpicon, Roasted Oyster Mushrooms and Salsa Verde, from chef Mitchell Kaldrovich, Sea Glass Restaurant, Inn by the Sea.
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Peter Sueltenfuss, executive chef at Grace, says of redfish, “It’s nice for us to be able to have a dish that we can keep at a low price point.”