Magazine article Sunset

Fresh from the Sea: Grilled Wild Salmon Is the Centerpiece of a Delicious Seafood Dinner by Chef Dory Ford of California's Monterey Bay Aquarium. Everything on the Menu Happens to Be Environmentally Sustainable Too; It's Good Cooking That's Part of a Bigger Picture

Magazine article Sunset

Fresh from the Sea: Grilled Wild Salmon Is the Centerpiece of a Delicious Seafood Dinner by Chef Dory Ford of California's Monterey Bay Aquarium. Everything on the Menu Happens to Be Environmentally Sustainable Too; It's Good Cooking That's Part of a Bigger Picture

Article excerpt

TO HEAR DORY FORD describe his childhood on Vancouver Island--catching wild salmon in the Campbell River, foraging for chanterelles, picking huckleberries for pie, kicking up oysters at low tide and roasting them on a campfire--it's hard to imagine an upbringing more suitable for his current occupation.

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As executive chef at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Ford makes great-tasting food that also happens to be environmentally sustainable. Working with the aquarium's Seafood Watch program and the fishermen and farmers who supply his kitchen, Ford keeps his cooking close to West Coast sources, his eye on the ocean, and his menus grounded in the seasons.

At a recent party in Carmel, California, for his colleagues, Ford created a dinner that included oysters hand-raised in the pristine waters of Hog Island, 165 miles to the north, as well as wild Pacific halibut and wild Alaska salmon, both from fisheries that are managed well.

"Everything on this menu is food I grew up with," he says. "Salmon in season, oysters ... What we call 'sustainable seafood' is just how we ate. It's about being conscious of where your food comes from."

Ginger-rosemary lemon-drop cocktails

Keeping an herb garden inspired Ford to infuse lemonade with rosemary. Turning it into a cocktail--with ginger to add a kick--seemed like the next logical step.

PREP AND COOK TIME 30 minutes, including cooling time

MAKES 8 drinks

NOTES For a nonalcoholic ginger lemonade, increase the water in the concentrate to 3 cups and the sugar to 3/4 cup. Concentrate may be kept, covered and chilled, up to 1 week.

1 1/3 cups sugar
    1 piece unpeeled ginger, about 1 1/4 in. by 1 1/4 in., sliced into
      1/8-in.-thick coins
    2 sprigs rosemary (5 in. each), plus 8 sprigs (1 1/2 in. each) for
      garnish
    1 cup fresh lemon juice (at least 5 lemons)
    1 lemon
1 1/2 cups citron vodka

1. Make lemon concentrate: In a medium saucepan, bring 2/3 cup sugar, ginger, 5-in. rosemary sprigs, and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Let steep at room temperature 20 minutes. Strain into a medium bowl, discarding rosemary and ginger, and stir in lemon juice.

2. Pour remaining 2/3 cup sugar onto a plate. Slice 2 thin slices from lemon and quarter the slices. Insert a 1 1/2-in. rosemary sprig through center of each quarter. With a wedge cut from remaining lemon, moisten the rims of 8 cocktail glasses. Twist rims gently in sugar to coat.

3. Fill a large pitcher half-full with ice cubes. Pour in vodka and lemon concentrate and stir vigorously. Strain into glasses, dividing evenly. Float a rosemary-skewered lemon quarter in each.

PER SERVING 206 CAL., 0% (0.9 CAL.) FROM FAT; 0.4 G PROTEIN; 0.1 G FAT (0 G SAT.); 30 G CARBO (0 G FIBER); 1.7 MG SODIUM; 0 MG CHOL.

Dill-cured halibut with mustrad sauce

Cured in the same way as salmon gravlax, this halibut is delicate in taste, with a faintly sweet, herbal flavor. Pacific halibut gets a green light from Seafood Watch for its well-managed fisheries in both California and Alaska. Find creme fraiche in the dairy cases of well-stocked grocery stores.

PREP AND COOK TIME 20 minutes, plus 2 days to cure

MAKES 8 servings

NOTES Be sure to use a very sharp knife when slicing. Cured halibut keeps, chilled, for up to 2 weeks.

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup coarse sea salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  2 skin-on halibut fillets (8 oz. each), center cut (1/2- to 3/4-in.
    thick)
1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup light brown sugar
  6 slices square (5 in. … 
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