Tag Archives: sustainable fisheries

Grilled Cod Cheeks with Szechwan Peppercorn Marinade

This recipe for Grilled Cod Cheeks with Szechwan Peppercorn Marinade is something I developed after visiting Newfoundland and Labrador last summer. Though my friends in Newfoundland will think it’s blasphemy, I used west coast Ling Cod Cheeks as fresh Atlantic cod cheeks were not available to me at that time. I’ve also used halibut cheeks when they are in season and they’re delicious too.

For folks living in the land-locked Prairies or west coast, I highly recommend Skipper Otto as a sustainable source of fish. Here in Calgary, you can actually get Fogo Island Fish Hand Line Cod from a company called Meta4Foods. The recipe follows.

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Confessions of a #fishsnob – This is where I buy my fish – @skipperotto #csf

Since 2010 I’ve purchased a subscription to Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery. This year I signed up again and I can take my share in spot prawns, ling cod, halibut, albacore tuna and many forms and kinds of salmon: candied, canned, smoked, lox, whole or fillets – pink or sockeye.

From one father and son operation Skipper Otto’s has grown their fleet of fishermen and boats committed to sustainable fisheries. Now they want to build their own processing facility to manage costs and support their fisheries while delivering the best quality fish straight to you.

They deliver to across the Prairies weekly in the season and ordering is easy. Memberships start at 100 dollars.

Click here to learn more then sign up now because today is the last day to sign up for this season! Don’t flounder around. This could be the best catch of your life!

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Salmon recipes for my June @AlbertaatNoon column

My Grizzly Bear Salmon with greens and edible flowers photo - Karen Anderson

My Grizzly Bear Salmon with greens and edible flowers
photo – Karen Anderson

This month on Alberta at Noon I’m talking about a sustainable Community Supported Fishery called Skipper Otto’s CSF. This post will share some of my favourite ways to use the beautiful wild B.C. salmon these fishermen catch when the salmon runs come in off the coast of British Columbia each summer. Salmon is a great ingredient and a favourite ingredient around my home. My family savours it all.

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From a small boat in the Pacific Ocean to land-locked Alberta – how @skipperotto #CSF feeds our appetite for @ocean_wise fish

Smoked salmon are on the menu for Skipper Otto's CSF subscribers photo - Karen Anderson

Smoked salmon are on the menu for Skipper Otto’s CSF subscribers
photo – Karen Anderson

In 2011, I did a year of reporting for CBC Radio One’s Homestretch program as their Calgary-based “food finder”. It was my job to find lesser known but great food stories, places and people. What a fun job.

One of the biggest delights of that year was discovering a company called Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery (CSF). This post will describe what CSFs are and provide the story of Skipper Otto then and now. Like most fishing stories, it’s a pretty tall tale – only in this case, it’s all true.

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Bonus: @ChefGroves shares @CatchCalgary @ocean_wise #halibut recipe

Pan Seared BC Halibut with Morel, English Pea and Chorizo Ragout photo - Karen Anderson

Pan Seared BC Halibut with Morel, English Pea and Chorizo Ragout
photo – Karen Anderson

In this week where sustainable fisheries are on my mind, it’s nice to receive inspiring news that a leader in Calgary’s restaurant scene has firmly anchored his seafood restaurant in the mostly unchartered waters of promoting sustainable fish consumption. I wrote about Catch restaurant’s new buycatch seafood market here. Many thanks to chef Kyle Groves for sharing this beautiful recipe and now we know where to get the “Jet Fresh” halibut we need to make this palate pleaser.

Pan Seared BC Halibut with Morel, English Pea, and Chorizo Ragout
courtesy of Chef Kyle Groves, Catch and The Oyster Bar, Calgary, Alberta

Serves 4
4 X 6 oz. Pieces of Wild BC Halibut Fillet
4 oz. Morel Mushrooms – washed and patted dry
8 oz. English peas – out of the shell and blanched
8 oz. Boiled ratte or fingerling potatoes – peeled and cut into ½” thick disks
6 oz. Chorizo meat – chopped into small pieces
½ oz. Fresh thyme – leaves only
4 oz. Fresh cold butter
1 oz. shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 oz. chives, minced
3 oz. Dry white wine
Salt / Pepper / Lemon juice to taste

1. In a cast iron pan sear the halibut fillets on one side until golden brown
2. Transfer to a 400*F oven and cook until the fish reaches 135*F
3. When the fish comes out of the oven, add a few thyme leaves and cook for one minute
4. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan cook the chorizo until the fat has rendered out of it
5. Add the minced shallot and garlic and cook in the chorizo fat until softened
6. Add the Morel mushrooms and sauté until softened
7. Add the fresh thyme leaves and cook until they “pop”
8. Add a splash of dry white wine to cool the pan slightly
9. Add the cooked potato disks and the English peas
10. Bring mixture to a boil and add the cold butter cubes slowly
11. When mixture is thick, season with salt pepper and lemon juice
12. Divide onto 4 warm plates and sprinkle with fresh chopped chives
13. Top with the halibut and serve right away


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Savour food – fish – landing a bit of hope – the green, the blue and the you

“The work of the Marine Stewardship Council”

I came across this video from the Marine Stewardship Council just now which outlines a positive change for the status of fisheries on our blue planet.

We know that food has been industrialized and treated as a commodity. It is becoming very apparent that while that model works for widgets it is not, in the meantime (hopefully not the end), great for our precious nourishment: our food.

The Green

I’ve seen that the pendulum is swinging back where food production on the land is concerned. Here are some things I’ve observed. We are opting out of the big and industrialized food system that is making our earth and us sick. People are saving heirloom, non-GMO seeds and growing their own food. Organic is the fastest growing food sector now for several years running. Direct sourcing via Community Shared Agriculture and Farmer’s Markets is being made more salient with each industrialized food scare. It’s like watching erosion via implosion but sadly, there are too many human casualties caught in that downward spiral. Alternative funding for small niche farms is becoming a reality (slowly through a group called Slow Money). Heritage food skills are being recognized for the important life skills they truly are. People are seeing that perhaps “cooking is a chore” was a bill of goods which helped sell the idea of “convenient” processed goods. We are now reawakening to the possibility of cooking as an art and a basic life skill. We can appreciate that food made from scratch is whole and the nourishment it provides us and our families is the key to health and wellness.

The Blue

The tide is turning for our oceans as well. Fisherman have been at the mercy of the industrialized system that encourages catching massive volumes of fish and selling them at whatever price the major fish auctions in Boston, Japan, Europe, and Australia set. But there is a tiny segment of fisherman participating in direct sales through Community Supported Fisheries (there are three of these in Canada and 30 in the U.S.). They’ve watched Community Supported Agriculture succeed and they are engaging their own consumer market directly so they can be price setters and not passive price takers in a system that dependant on wealth generated by margins and not wealth generated from health of our oceans.

This video talks about the Marine Stewardship Council that has been working since 1997 to recalibrate our oceans to sustainable once more. They do this by setting standards and by creating premium markets via a chain of transparency and custodial principles that extends from the fishermen to the consumers. They are slowly dragging fisheries along in their net and now have 275 worldwide engaged in a sustainable manner.

The You

I recently attended a talk given by Sandra Cedone of the Marine Stewardship Council where she revealed 50% of the world’s fisheries are still victimized by pirate-like companies who rape and pillage our oceans via massive overfishing with no policing whatsoever (I’m sure she said that in a far more politically correct way and my apologies for not quoting her exactly). Hearing such a statistic you might think it a hopeless case but it is not. We’ve come a long way in a short time. You can make a difference with each dollar you spend on fish.

I hope you’ll keep enjoying fish but look for products with symbols of sustainability when buying fish and making choices. By demanding products from fisheries we know used sustainable methods, because they are certified so and have a transparent chain of custody, we will send the pirates packing and they too will have to conform. Look for the Marine Stewardship Council’s check mark on President’s Choice Blue Label in Canada. High Liner will be certified this year so look for their products in retailers across Canada. Target has 30 products in their Archer Farms and Market Pantry labels. Whole Foods has been expanding their 10 year history of selling only fish from certified fisheries.

In restaurants ask if the menu has Ocean Wise or Sea Choice choices. Download the app from Ocean Wise to your smart phone

Your dollars and how you spend them will drive fisheries and consequently their sustainability. Listen to the fishermen talk in the video. You can hear their surprised pleasure in the return to health of fish stocks managed in this way. They went for the fishing and they landed a bit of hope for our very blue planet’s collective future.

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