Underutilized species of fish being marketed as ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ seem to be catching on with a growing number of both chefs and home cooks.
As Chef Kara Brooks told Bill Daley of the Chicago Tribune, ‘Sometimes it makes sense to sell something sustainable from the South Pacific rather than something from Long Island Sound that will be gone in three years.’
Brooks’ Still River Café in Eastford, Conn., has garnered a reputation as a green restaurant, offering a menu peppered with local, seasonal and sustainable choices. Overfishing is threatening to wipe out entire species—Brooks calls it ‘cooking to extinction’—and farm-raising fish operations can harm the environment if not handled properly. Brooks recently began menuing farm-raised yellowtail from Hawaii, but only after doing some research on the Kona Kapachi label.
Chefs have begun to menu underutilized and underappreciated fish, some of which are ‘bycatch’—fish species caught unintentionally while another type of species was being fished. Dayley spoke with Chef Susan Spicer of the Bayona Restaurant in New Orleans, who has introduced her customers to such little-known fish as sheepshead and tripletail. Sardines have also had a renaissance recently with both chefs and home cooks, due to their flavor, abundance and reasonable price.
Brooks advises consumers to do the research when trying to find sustainable seafood. Ask questions at the fish market and learn about seasonality of various species. One of the best ways to research sustainability is to check the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and look for their ‘Best Choice’ selections.
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