Robert please tell us about yourself, your passion for food, why you think it’s important in be involved with Forever Oceans:
I am currently in the process of preparing the JWU Marriott Charlotte for a July opening in uptown as the Executive Chef of Dean’s Steakhouse.
Despite being extremely busy planning the opening of a 400 room hotel with 3 restaurants (one of which is a seafood focused oyster bar), I still think it is important to be on the Forever Oceans Culinary Board and contribute towards its mission.
I fell into kitchen life, and where I fell in love with it was cooking in Maryland, where Chesapeake seafood was the heartbeat of restaurants there. Seafood every which way: broiled, fried, sauteed, baked, and just about all of it made better by loading it up with blue crab imperial. As amazing as the seafood was at the restaurants I worked in, growing up in my home it was not something that typical families had access to or could afford, unless you lived directly on the coast and in the right fishing town.
I would love to see seafood become more approachable and available for everyone, not only because it is delicious and good for you, but because it is in many ways a superior protein that needs to help carry us into the future. But for that to happen, we need companies like Forever Oceans to create ways to produce quantities of high quality fish in an environmentally friendly, sustainable way.
What should we look for when purchasing fish:
The most important thing you can do when purchasing fish is to educate yourself and do a little research. Research to know what fish in your area are sustainably caught or raised, what is in season, and which fish are likely caught in ways that are damaging to the sea and dwindling populations of fish.
Then seek out a fish market or another shop that specializes in fresh fish, and ask a lot of questions to the fishmonger in the shop. If they are enthusiastic about the fish, and speak knowledgeably about the species of fish, where they source it from, and its culinary uses, then you have found your shop. Become a regular, it is certainly worth a little extra drive if needed.
Thank you chef, what would you like to cook for us today?
This is a simple dish using Forever Oceans Kahala that turns out beautiful everytime. Kahala Poached in Dashi with Bok Choy & Shiitake Mushrooms. Dashi gives a deep and superb flavor to this zesty broth. Poaching is a pretty, gentle way of cooking the Kahala. Make sure to leave the skin on to keep it from breaking up and falling apart as the stock gradually simmers and infuses all those wonderful flavors together.
Kahala Poached in Dashi with Bok Choy & Shiitake Mushrooms
4x 6oz Kahala fillets
1 quart dashi, or substitute low sodium organic vegetable stock
4 heads of baby bok choy, raised clan and split in half
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 Fresno chili, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons ponzu
1 teaspoon sesame oil, plus 2 more teaspoons for garnishing
2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, such as grapeseed, vegetable, or light olive oil
¼ cup sliced green onions, reserved white and light green parts for dashi
Freshly ground black pepper
Pour dashi into a wide saute pan, deep enough to hold all the ingredients. Heat gently over medium heat on the stove until just beginning to boil, turn down to maintain the heat just under a simmer, around 180’F. Season with the sesame oil, ponzu and salt to taste.
Place bok choy, mushrooms and chili into the broth.
Heat 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium high heat until the oil begins to shimmer and slide around the pan easily. Add the fish fillets and sear for 60 to 90 seconds or until lightly brown.
Carefully remove each fillet from the pan and gently place them in the broth with the vegetables. Allow to poach until the flesh is almost cooked through and firm to the touch, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Remove vegetables from the pan and divide equally between 4 wide soup bowls, top with the cooked Kahala fillets. Ladle broth over and garnish with green onions and more sesame oil.
Chef Robert Reinken
Executive Chef of Dean’s Steakhouse,
JWU Marriott Charlotte