Chatter Serve and Protect partners with area restaurants to promote sustainable fishing practices

Chatter Serve and Protect partners with area restaurants to promote sustainable fishing practices

September 1st, 2017 by Gabrielle Chevalier in Chatter

Ryan Prewitt

Ryan Prewitt

Photo by Josh Brasted

"I just don't like seafood." It's a sentiment Chef Ryan Prewitt hears all too often as a partner of New Orleans' Peche restaurant.

"Then I always want to ask, What have you had? Where did your seafood come from? Who touched it?" he says. "If it's frozen stuff that was caught at sea two years ago and held in a container somewhere, it's not going to be good. If it didn't come from the U.S., don't eat it. And that's a hard message to convey when people just think seafood is seafood."

At Peche, winner of the 2014 James Beard Award for best new restaurant, Prewitt says he has focused on cultivating relationships with the individual fishermen on whom the restaurant relies. Much of the menu is centered on elevated seafood, and Prewitt — who earned his own James Beard Award that same year — ensures his staff is able to knowledgeably answer any questions about where or how any menu item is sourced. Whenever possible, he adds, hyperlocal items are used to guarantee flavor and quality, even if it means paying a local fisherman more as an incentive to adhere to sustainable fishing practices.

At this year's Serve and Protect sustainable seafood event at the Tennessee Aquarium, Prewitt will share the culinary secrets he has learned and the insight he has gained through his years in the seafood purchasing world. Each year, Serve and Protect partners with area restaurants and a starring guest chef to facilitate a conversation about sustainable fishing practices, as well as introduce attendees to seafood and recipes they may not have heard of or tried before.

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China: 61.9 million kilos

Thailand: 26.9 million kilos

Vietnam: 22.7 million kilos

Canada: 21.7 million kilos

Indonesia: 16.4 million kilos

Ecuador: 9.4 million kilos

Source: National Marine Fisheries Service

But Prewitt wants people to think beyond simply the seafood they purchase at a restaurant. Product knowledge is equally important in grocery stores, where many may not realize how long the seafood they hope to purchase — especially shrimp, freshwater fish, tuna, salmon, groundfish, crab and squid — has been on ice.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, those are some of the U.S.' top imports by volume. Many of those "fresh fish" journey nearly 7,500 miles to Tennessee from China; sometimes farther. Even Vietnam brings more to our shores than our closest major importer of seafood, Canada. China is responsible for nearly 64.5 million kilos of the U.S.' seafood imports so far this year, dwarfing Canada's 19.8 million kilos — and already surpassing last year's total from China.

Purchasing seafood from U.S. waters versus abroad has a huge impact not only on the fish's flavor, but the nation's economy as well. More than 146,000 people work in the seafood industry from Texas to Florida, according to the Gulf Seafood Institute. Another 107,000 jobs are related to recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, for a combined total of more than $21.5 billion in sales last year alone. If more places would incorporate sustainable seafood practices and buy locally, those numbers could rise further.

Instead, Prewitt says a recent trip to a Colorado grocery store while visiting family disappointed him, when he discovered that, out of all the "fresh" fish sold there, not a single scale or shell had been harvested or caught in American waters.

"We have abundant tuna in our waters, but in this grocery store the fish was from Indonesia. Same with the shrimp, but there it was from Vietnam. And that's an issue that these stores in America are buying products that aren't from our waters," he says.

Steve Pickett's trout with marinated field peas, heirloom tomatoes and Swiss chard

Steve Pickett's trout with marinated field peas, heirloom...

Photo by C.B. Schmelter

Steve Pickett's trout with marinated field peas, heirloom tomatoes and Swiss chard

Charlie Loomis, The Feed CO. Table + Tavern

What you need:

Four 9-ounce sides of trout

Grapeseed oil

1 pint mixed heirloom tomatoes

1/2 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon basil chiffonade

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

2 cups field peas (I used black-eyed peas)

2 sprigs rosemary

5 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons creme fraiche

1 tablespoon dill

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

2 bunches Swiss chard

1/2 lemon

4 cloves garlic

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

What you do:

1. Mix the minced shallot with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and set aside for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Mix the tomatoes together with the oil, basil chiffonade and vinegar mixture. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

2. Cut each side of trout into 3 pieces and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Add enough grapeseed oil to cover the bottom of the pan and place the pieces of trout in the pan, skin-side down. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and golden brown. The top should still have a little bit of pink. Flip the trout and turn off the heat.

3. Bring to boil 2 quarts of water. Add the rosemary, bay leaves and thyme. Season the water with 3 tablespoons salt. Allow the herbs to steep in the water for at least 5 minutes. Turn the water to a simmer and add the field peas. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the peas are tender. Allow the peas to cool in the water. Remove the herbs. Strain the liquid and reserve about 2 tablespoons. Mix this liquid with the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar, dill and creme fraiche. Add the peas and season with salt and pepper.

4. Heat the cast-iron pan back up to medium-low. Add the minced garlic with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute for about 1 minute. Add the Swiss chard and lightly season with salt and pepper. Move the chard around to mix with the garlic and oil. Squeeze the 1/2 lemon and mix well.

5. To plate, place the chard on the bottom of the plate and top with the trout, skin-side up. Top the trout with the marinated field peas and decorate the outside of the plate with the tomatoes.

Olive oil poached mahi mahi

Olive oil poached mahi mahi

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Olive oil poached mahi mahi

Hardin Cowan, Terra Mae

What you need:

6-ounce fillet of mahi mahi

12 ounces olive oil (or enough to cover the fish)

Salt and pepper, to taste

For runner bean salad:

3 ounces runner beans

1 teaspoon pimiento

1 teaspoon shallot

1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano

1/4 teaspoon garlic

1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

For smoky fall squash puree:

1 acorn squash

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

Alchemy Spice's Thai ginger salt, to taste

2 ounces heavy cream

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil

What you do:

1. Heat oven to 400 F. Remove the fish from the refrigerator, season it and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.

2. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the oil over low heat just until it reaches 120 F.

3. Gently add fish to the oil. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the fish reaches 120 F.

4. Rest the fish.

For runner bean salad:

1. In salted water, blanch runner beans until a little al dente but not quite fully cooked. Cool in ice water.

2. Small-dice the pimento and shallot. Pick and chop the oregano. Combine to create a salad mix.

3. In a small saute pan, bloom the garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic to the salad mix; reserve the olive oil.

4. Mix sherry vinegar with Dijon mustard. Emulsify the reserved olive oil in vinegar/Dijon blend.

5. Mix all components together. Chill until ready to serve.

For smoky fall squash puree:

1. Slice squash in half. Discard seeds. Rub down with oil, salt and pepper. Roast squash in oven until fork-tender.

2. While the squash is still warm, scrape the meat from the skin. Puree in food processor with all the spices and seasonings. When the squash is smooth, finish with cream and blend again.

Citrus ginger glazed cobia

Citrus ginger glazed cobia

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Citrus ginger glazed cobia

Regina Johnson – Back Inn Café

What you need:

8-ounce fresh cobia fillet

Salt and pepper, to taste

For citrus ginger glaze:

cup Chablis cooking wine

2 tablespoons grated ginger

Juice and zest of 2 lemons

Juice from 1 lime

1 tablespoon sugar

cup honey

For roasted baby carrots:

4 baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise

1 tablespoon olive oil

For sautéed garden greens:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 cups garden greens

cup Chablis cooking wine

For beet root puree:

1 large or 2 small fresh garden beets, peeled and cut in large chunks

1 medium-size carrot, peeled and cut in large chunks

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

teaspoon ground ginger

teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and pepper, to taste

What you do:

1. Heat grill. Sprinkle cobia with salt and pepper. Grill cobia approximately 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on thickness of fish. Fish should be opaque and easy to flake apart when finished cooking. Internal temperature should read 145 F if using a thermometer.

2. Immediately after fish is removed from grill, top with the citrus ginger glaze and plate with sautéed garden greens and garlic roasted baby carrots. Garnish dish with beet root puree.

For citrus ginger glaze:

Combine all ingredients in pan and reduce over medium heat until it is 1/3 the original quantity. Blend in food processor and set aside.

For roasted baby carrots:

Coat baby carrots in olive oil, then roast in oven at 400 F for approximately 12 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized.

For sautéed garden greens:

In sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and garden greens and cook until wilted. Add cooking wine and cook until tender.

For beet root puree:

Boil the beet(s) and carrot until fork-tender. Place in food processor with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Seared tuna wasabi caesar

Seared tuna wasabi caesar

Seared tuna wasabi caesar

Michael Blanton FIVE

What you need:

Yellowfin tuna, to taste

1 romaine heart, chopped

1 ciabatta loaf

1 stick butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

teaspoon kosher salt

teaspoon cracked black pepper

Parmesan wheel

For dressing:

4 cups mayonnaise

cup Dijon mustard

ounce anchovies, by weight

3 garlic cloves

1 1/2 lemons, juiced

cups Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/2 cups salad oil

lemon, chopped

3 tablespoons wasabi paste

What you do:

1. Mix 2 ounces of dressing* with chopped romaine and place in serving bowl. Add croutons* and Parmesan chips* around the outside of the bowl. (*Recipe follows.)

2. Season tuna with salt and pepper and sear on grill or griddle to desired temp.

3. Slice tuna and set in the middle of the salad and garnish with some grated Parmesan cheese.

For dressing:

1. In a food processor, add Dijon mustard, anchovies, garlic cloves, lemon juice, lemon (chopped), Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Blend all ingredients until smooth, then remove from food processor and add to a mixing bowl.

2. Mix in mayonnaise. Slowly whisk in salad oil until combined. To finish, mix in wasabi paste until fully combined.

For croutons:

1. Cut bread into 1-inch squares and add to mixing bowl.

2. Melt butter and add minced garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.

3. Toss bread with rosemary butter and bake at 350 F for 12 minutes on low convection. For non-convection (standard) ovens, bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

For Parmesan chips:

Using a potato peeler, peel off chunks of Parmesan from wheel. Cover baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and heavily coat with pan spray. Place Parmesan pieces 1 inch apart on tray and bake on low convection for 10 minutes, or until Parmesan turns golden brown.

Cobia 3 ways, with squid ink yogurt, summer vegetables and fried bread

Cobia 3 ways, with squid ink yogurt, summer...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Cobia 3 ways, with squid ink yogurt, summer vegetables and fried bread

Rebecca Barron, St. John's Restaurant

What you need:

1 pound sushi-grade cobia, divided in 3

1 cup yogurt

1 ounce squid ink

1 pound heirloom tomatoes, sliced into bite-size pieces

2 small cucumbers

1 jalapeño pepper


Kosher salt

Rice wine vinegar

Day-old bread

Sea salt, to taste

Choice of herbs/microgreens, for garnish

Vinaigrette (your choice)

What you do:

1. Cut fish into three sections. Dice one of the three sections to serve as tartare. Then, finely slice one of the other two sections to serve as sashimi. Leave both of the cut sections raw and place in the fridge.

2. Season the remaining section of cobia with salt and white pepper. Sear each side in a hot pan. Let cool, then slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

3. Mix together yogurt and squid ink.

4. Shave cucumbers and jalapeño on a mandolin. Mix together and season with a pinch of sugar, a pinch of kosher salt and a splash of rice wine vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes, then drain off excess liquid.

5. Thinly slice bread and drop in a fryer set at 350 F. Fry until crispy, remove and season with a little salt.

6. Remove your tartare and sashimi from the fridge. Mix the tartare with a little vinaigrette of your choice and a little salt.

7. Use a food-grade paintbrush to brush your squid ink yogurt in a pretty pattern on the plate. Alternate the cucumber salad and tomatoes on the plate, then beautifully scatter the three varieties of prepared fish across the yogurt. Place the fried bread in different places next to the fish and season everything lightly with sea salt.

Southside shrimp spring roll

Southside shrimp spring roll

Photo by Erin O. Smith

Southside shrimp spring roll

Tanner Marino, Broad Street Grille

What you need:

1 quart napa cabbage, shaved thin

1 quart Swiss chard chiffonade

1 English cucumber

2 ears of corn

10 basil leaves, no stems (2 per roll)

2 carrots

1 red onion

1 pound 21/25 shrimp, tail off, peeled and deveined

5 rice paper wrappers (or as needed)

Pickled okra, as desired for taste

Old Bay seasoning

What you do:

1. Grill, then slice the shrimp, and toss in Old Bay seasoning. Grill the corn, then remove from the cob.

2. Slice the okra. Julienne the cucumber and carrots on a mandolin using medium teeth. Thinly shave the onion on the mandolin. Combine with shrimp and corn to form spring roll mix.

3. Soak rice paper wrappers, 1 at a time, in a mixing bowl with room temperature water for about for 2-3 minutes. They should still be somewhat firm to the touch. Place them in between two damp towels and let sit for another 2 minutes.

4. Remove the top towel and roll mix into the wrapper while keeping the roll tight. Continue until a cylindrical roll is formed. (You will know it is rolled tight enough when it feels structurally stable and not flimsy.)

5. Place finished rolls in a pan with a damp towel on top and bottom. Slice finished rolls into 1- to 2-inch cylinders, much like sushi. Ensure your knife is sharp and it is wetted down prior to slicing.

6. Serve chilled with Thai chili sauce or Sriracha aioli.

Pan-seared cobia with lentils

Pan-seared cobia with lentils

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Pan-seared cobia with lentils

Kolby Carpenter Flying Squirrel

What you need:

5-ounce cobia fillet

3 ounces green lentils

2 ounces sofrito

2 ounces fresh cherry tomatoes

1 ounce fresh sea beans

1 ounce caper beurre monte

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 ounce butter

1 ounce white wine

Garnish, as desired

For sofrito:

1 small yellow onion

1 large carrot

1 Roma tomato

1 small bulb of fennel

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme

4 ounces white wine

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil

For lentils:

2 ounces dry green lentils

2-3 bay leaves

4 ounces chicken stock

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil

For beurre monte:

4 ounces butter

2 ounces capers

2 ounces white wine

What you do:

1. Rub cobia with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a medium saute pan to high heat with oil. Place fish, skin side down, in oil and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip fish and add 1 ounce butter. As butter begins to froth, baste fish with the butter. Remove from pan and rest 5 minutes.

2. In another small saute pan, saute tomatoes on high heat until they begin to blister. Add in sofrito* and lentils*. Saute for 1 minute, then add 1 ounce white wine and 2 ounces water. Cook until liquid is evaporated. (*Recipe follows.)

3. Remove lentils and vegetables from the pan and quickly cook sea beans for 1 minute; just enough to lightly wilt the beans.

4. On a large, round plate, place lentils and vegetables in a neat pile. Lay seared fish on top. Place sea beans on top of the fish, then ladle 1 ounce of beurre monte* over the fish and beans. Garnish with chive or parsley, and serve. (*Recipe follows.)

For sofrito:

1. Finely dice all vegetables and mix together in a small bowl. Heat a small saucepan to medium-high heat with olive oil.

2. Just before the oil begins to smoke, add your vegetable mix and sweat until translucent. Place in thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

3. Continue to cook until vegetables begin to gain color. Then, pour in small amounts of white wine to deglaze, allowing wine to steam out. Repeat 2-3 times, or until vegetables are very soft.

4. Place cooked sofrito onto small cookie sheet and chill.

For lentils:

1. In a small sauce pot, heat a small amount of oil on low heat. Add in lentils, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cook lentils in oil until lightly toasted.

2. Add in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender and all stock is cooked out.

3. Place cooked lentils onto a small cookie sheet and chill.

For beurre monte:

1. Dice butter into small cubes and set aside.

2. Heat a small sauce pot on high. Add in wine and capers. Cook until wine is reduced by half.

3. Slowly add in cubed butter a few pieces at a time, continuously whisking. As butter begins to melt, add more pieces, still a few pieces at a time, and continuously whisk. As last bit of butter is melting, remove from heat and leave sauce out at room temperature. This will emulsify the butter, keeping it from separating while making a smooth sauce.

Golden drum

Jason Shaw Bluewater Grille

What you need:

Two 5- to 6-ounce fillets of red drum

3 cups pomegranate juice

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 Granny Smith apple, -inch diced

3 strips hickory-smoked bacon, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 ounces goat cheese

3 ounces butter

1 teaspoon saffron

1 pound red potatoes

4 cups fresh spinach

1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

2 ounces white wine

Olive oil

What you do:

1. Boil potatoes until soft. Drain and cool. Once cooled, cut potatoes into wedges and mix with spinach, garlic and olive oil in a mixing bowl.

2. In a hot pan, reduce the pomegranate juice with the rosemary sprig until about 80 percent dissolved. (Contents should be the consistency of syrup.) Set aside for later use.

3. Mix butter and saffron and thoroughly coat the drum. Place fish in pan and cook on medium heat for roughly 2 1/2 minutes on each side. If fish begins to stick, add a small amount of wine to loosen it.

4. Simultaneously, in another pan, place apple, chopped bacon and brown sugar on a thin coat of olive oil and allow contents to brown over medium heat. Once browned, remove pan from heat and stir in the goat cheese.

5. Cook potato/spinach blend in a skillet on high heat with olive oil until brown, then add wine to deglaze.

Plate it like a pro:

1. Drizzle the pomegranate reduction across the plate.

2. Place potato/spinach blend in center.

3. Place drum on top of vegetables.

4. Top drum with apple/bacon/goat cheese mix.