June 6, 2012

Soup to Nuts: Let's give it up
for ... redfish!

Restaurateurs and fishermen are touting a new program to promote the use of under-appreciated species in seafood menus. First up, the much-maligned 'lobster bait.'

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

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

click image to enlarge

Executive chef Peter Sueltenfuss of Grace prepares his pan-roasted red fish.

Tim Greenway

Additional Photos Below


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.


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





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.


From chef Mitchell Kaldrovich, Sea Glass Restaurant, Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth

Servings: Four

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.


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.


From Peter Sueltenfuss, executive chef at Grace, 15 Chestnut St., Portland

Servings: Two


4 fillets of redfish (2- to 3-ounce fillets)

2 tablespoons pomace oil

2 tablespoons butter

Lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste


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


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)


Out of the Blue-style programs have been tried in other parts of the country, including the mid-Atlantic, with some success.

"There's a species of fish called jumping mullet down there, which kind of has the reputation of being a bait fish that recreational fishermen would use," Grimley said. "They started serving it through a community-supported fishery, and it gained some popularity through that, and then some of the restaurants came on board and they've begun to try serving it.

"There's areas where they've tried to serve dogfish, and it hasn't really caught on," he said. "I think probably the most well-known example would be monkfish. Back in the day, Julia Child talked about it on her TV show, and at the time it was kind of considered a trash fish here. When she showed it on TV, and showed how to prepare it, it really took off and really developed a strong market."

The Out of the Blue program is funded by a Saltonstall-Kennedy grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service that runs out at the end of the year.

"I would love to see this program continue," Grimley said, "and kind of expand regionally and focus on other species."

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: mgoad@pressherald.com

Twitter: MeredithGoad


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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Pan-roasted red fish with spring vegetable fricassee and asparagus veloute, at Grace in Portland.

click image to enlarge

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.”

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