Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Saints Day

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Broadline Distributor Offers Sustainable Seafood

U.S. Foodservice Is First Broadline Distributor to Offer Certified Sustainable
Farm-Raised and Wild-Caught Seafood

ROSEMONT, Ill., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Foodservice, one of the country's
premier foodservice distributors, today announced a partnership with the
Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) making the company the first broadline food
distributor in the United States to offer its customers farm-raised seafood
certified as sustainable under the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)
certification logo.

Initial offerings will include catfish, shrimp and tilapia. This is the second
sustainable seafood certification offered by U.S. Foodservice. In April of
2008, U.S. Foodservice became the first food distributor to provide
sustainable wild-caught seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council
(MSC). MSC uses eco-logo labels to indicate certification of seafood products
from fisheries that are sustainable and environmentally responsible through a
third-party audit system.

"U.S. Foodservice is committed to offering sustainable product choices to our
customers who expect and demand the most environmentally responsible foods,"
said Jorge Hernandez, senior vice president for food safety and quality

"The GAA certification of farm-raised seafood fills an important gap in
seafood procurement processes and we are committed to continued partnership
with the food industry to promote environmentally responsible aquaculture to
meet the world's food needs," said Hernandez.

Through the development of its BAP certification program, GAA has become the
leading standards-setting organization for aquaculture seafood. The BAP
certification ensures social and environmental responsibility, traceability
and compliance with food safety best practices throughout the production chain
of farm-raised fish and seafood in countries worldwide.

"We are pleased that U.S. Foodservice has joined the growing ranks of retail
and foodservice operators and distributors in North America and Europe who
support the BAP program," said GAA Executive Director, Wally Stevens. "Their
leadership in the area of sustainability makes a difference for producers
around the world as well as for consumers who seek sustainable products."

U.S. Foodservice will begin to certify its source of Harbor Banks private
label catfish to BAP standards immediately, followed by shrimp in the coming
months and tilapia thereafter.

U.S. Foodservice's dedication to offering sustainable seafood products is part
of the company's ongoing efforts to offer customers products that meet the top
quality and safety standards and that are environmentally conscious. The
company also offers customers an exclusive line of Monogram Sustain®
disposable products that are made with renewable resources such as corn, sugar
cane and potato starch. The products are compostable, biodegradable and

About U.S. Foodservice
U.S. Foodservice is one of the country's premier foodservice distributors,
offering more than 43,000 national, private label and signature brand items
and an array of services to its more than 250,000 customers. The company
proudly employs 26,000 associates in more than 60 locations nationwide who are
poised to serve customers beyond their expectations. As an industry leader,
with access to resources beyond the ordinary, U.S. Foodservice provides the
finest quality food and related products to neighborhood restaurants,
hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, hotels, government entities and
other eating establishments. To find out how U.S. Foodservice can be Your
partner beyond the plate®, visit

About GAA
Founded in 1997 to promote responsible aquaculture development, the Global
Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is the leading standards-setting and advocacy
organization for aquaculture seafood, with more than 1.1 billion pounds of
globally produced seafood now certified to its Best Aquaculture Products
standards. BAP® is a registered trademark of GAA.

SOURCE U.S. Foodservice

Christina Koliopoulos, Director, Communications of U.S. Foodservice, Inc.,
+1-847-720-8304, Office, or +1-847-420-4286, Cell,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fish Stock

This recipe is a foundation for a great deal of advanced fish cookery, but making fish stock is pretty simple. Once it's finished, this stock freezes well for up to three months, and remains usable for up to six months.

The biggest difference between fish stock and other stocks is time: Fish stocks do not need hours and hours to come together the way beef or chicken stocks do.

Use lean fish like bass or cod - avoid oily fish like salmon or mackerel.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour


  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 3 lb. fish spines, fins and heads
  • 1/2 of a large parsnip root, sliced into rounds
  • 1 leek, sliced thin
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced into rounds
  • trimmings from a fennel bulb
  • 1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 t. dried
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as a pinot grigio
  • Cold water
  • Salt


Wash bones and heads well under cold water. If the gills are still attached, cut them out. They impart a bitter flavor you do not want.

Heat a large pan for 2 minutes on high heat, then add the oil.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the fish bones. You do not want them to brown, only to get a little color. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In a tall stockpot, add the wine and reduce it by half under high heat. Once this is done, add the fish bones and turn off the heat for now.

In the pan you sweated the fish bones in, add the vegetables and cook until the leeks are translucent. Stir frequently. When they are cooked but not browned (a little browning is OK), add them to the stockpot.

Add the herbs to the stockpot, stir everything to combine, and add enough cold water to cover it all by an inch.

Bring the stock up to a simmer. Do not let it boil. It is important that you don't let it boil, because fish stock will get cloudy in a hurry if you do. Look for a shimmer on the surface, not burble. If you have a thermometer you want something between 170-180 degrees.

Once the stock is at a simmer, move the pot off to one side of the burner a little. This will direct any impurities to one side, making it easier to skim. Simmer like this for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer with a piece of cheescloth set inside. Clean the stockpot and then return the stock to the now-clean pot. Taste it. Now is the time to add salt. Add enough to suit your taste.

Pour into quart jars and freeze. Make sure you leave enough space at the top of the jars to account for the stock expanding when it freezes!

Fish on the Barbi


The great part of cooking on the BBQ is you can prepare all the fish and seafood in advance; marinades, basting sauces and dips will all keep perfectly well in a fridge; leaving you free to chat and enjoy the company of family and friends.

You will be able to cook some fish and seafood direct on the BBQ, others will need protecting in aluminium foil.

Sardines, salmon, sea bass, king prawns etc, need no more than seasoning and basting with your choice of marinade or sauce. Others such as cod fillet and softer fish need protection.

Marinade your fish and seafood before cooking; olive oil, sea salt, honey, soy sauce and herbs and spices are all prime candidates for inclusion in a marinade.

Fresh herbs such as rosemary and bay leaves make ideal flavouring.

Try to lift the rack or grid you will be cooking on away from the charcoal, this reduces the heat allowing the fish to cook and not burn.

Consider staggering the cooking of seafood so each type is cooked separately, this way guests will be better able to enjoy the different tastes and textures.

Simple Ceviche


Preparation time: 15 minutes to prepare, 3-4 hours to let sit. Always use the freshest fish possible. Make the same day you purchase fresh fish.


  • 2 lbs of firm, fresh red snapper fillets (or other firm-fleshed fish), cut into 1/2 inch pieces, completely deboned
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh seeded tomatoes
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • Dash of ground oregano
  • Dash of Tabasco or a light pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Tortillas or tortilla chips


In a non-reactive casserole dish, either Pyrex or ceramic, place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chili, salt, Tabasco, and oregano. Cover with lime and lemon juice. Let sit covered in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure more of the fish gets exposed to the acidic lime and lemon juices. Let sit for several hours, giving time for the flavors to blend.

ceviche-1.jpg ceviche-2.jpg
During the marinating process the fish will change from pinkish grey and translucent, to whiter in color and opaque.

Serve with chopped cilantro and slices of avocado with heated tortillas for ceviche tacos or with tortilla chips.

Serves 4-8.

Roast Fish


Roasting and baking are similar ways of cooking fish and seafood. We suggest that all fish for roasting starts off by cooking in a frying pan. This allows you to colour the skin of the fish before putting it in the oven to finish the cooking.

Heat your oven to a moderate heat 200C/420F.

Heat a frying pan, add sunflower or any other good quality oil.

Season the scaled and gutted fish and place in the pan. If you wish, stuff the gut cavity with any flavours that you enjoy (preserved lemon, rosemary, thyme, capers).

Allow to colour, turn over and place in the oven. Cooking times will depend on the size and thickness of the fish. Use a skewer or fork inserted into the middle of the fish to see if it is cooked; if it is hot on the lips then it's time to remove the fish from the oven.

Remove from the oven, place onto a hot serving dish or plate.

De glaze the pan with liquid (water or wine) and season to taste.

Saute Fish

The French call it "saute", it's a great way of cooking most types of fish fillets as well as some whole fish.

  • Pat the fish dry with clean kitchen paper and make 3 or 4 shallow slashes accross the skin side of the fish and portion the fillets if necessary.

  • Heat a non stick frying pan or skillet until hot, add a little olive or sunflower oil.

  • Lay the fish into the pan away from you skin side down so that any oil that might splash from the pan doesn't burn you.

  • Allow the fish to start to crisp up, turn the heat down and allow it to cook until amost finished cooking; then leave the fish in the pan for a coupkle of minutes to finish cooking.

  • If you are cooking fillets, turn them over on to the flesh side and immediately turn the heat off. There will be sufficient residual heat in the pan to finish the cooking process.

  • If you are cooking a whole fish, place the pan into a hot oven (200C / 380-400F) and leave until cooked; this will depend on the thickness of the fish.

  • Decorate preheated plates with lines of Balsamic glaze and place your fish on to the middle of the plate.

  • Squeeze Lemon juice over the fish and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

  • Add extra virgin olive oil to taste.

Cooking Tip
As fillets of fish start to cook the cut sides will change colour from raw opaque to creamy white cooked. The more that the colour changes the closer to being cooked they are.

When light pressure on a fillet starts to separate its flakes, it is cooked.

Poaching Fish

Place the fillets in a shallow pan and moisten with a little wine or fish stock, water will do if you don't have anything else. There should only be sufficient liquid to keep the fish from frying, the fillets will produce their own liquid during the cooking process.

Cook over a low heat for around 5 minutes and remove just before the fish are fully cooked - fish always continues to cook a little on its own after being taken off the heat.

Cooking Tip

Reduce the cooking liquor and add flavours you enjoy; keep them subtle otherwise they will over power the delicate flavour of the fish.

Add a little butter, cream or olive oil to the liquor just before serving to enrich the sauce.

Knorr offer a liquid fish stock that is ideal for fish cookery if you have no fresh stock.

Grilling Fish


In its true meaning grilling is cooking over heat not under heat as we now understand it to be.

Heat your grill (salamander) to a medium-high heat.

Dry the fillets of fish with paper towel and place them on an oiled tray (non stick is ideal).

Season with salt & pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the fillets.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Cooking Tip
Always check the fish while it is cooking as over cooked fillets of fish will not be moist and full of flavour.

Serving Suggestion
In a pestle & mortar crush your choice of fresh chopped herbs with virgin olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over the fillets just before serving.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sustainable Seafood Meets Top Chef

On the latest Top Chef the contestants wage restaurant war at RM Mandalay Bay.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Sustainable Seafood Rankings

Blue Ocean Institute has just published the latest seafood ranking guide. Available here. If you are on the go you can also use fishphone just text 30644 with the message FISH and the name of the fish in question. And you will receive a reply with alternate suggestions if applicable.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

California's Sustainable Seafood Law

Just passed in California is a bill that seeks to promote sustainable seafood. Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmell who represents the area around Monterey Bay has penned AB 1217. Signed into law the legislation seeks provide consumers with information about sustainable seafood. The program will be voluntary and is expected to closely follow the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch List.

Contra Costa Times Article

Friday, October 9, 2009

A New Way to Look at Fish

Every once in a while someone takes a look at something and sees it in a new light. When it comes to photos of fish in ways never seen, that man is Marc Dimov. Marc came to our warehouse last week with a vision and a proprietary system to create some intriguing photographs of fish. After seeing his final product I realized that these images capture what the fish would look like as viewed underwater with all the suns radiance lighting them from behind. Or simply sublime. Either way I think I need to get at least one to hang next to a Denton lithograph of fish from the turn of the century. Photograph courtesy of marcdimov photography

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Seafood Suggestions

Here is the short list of my recommended sustainable seafood choices for Fall. These selections should be readily available until the start of winter. As usual the list has an East Coast bias, my apologies to the West Coast. So in no particular order:

  • bluefish: wild line caught, USA
  • clams: wild or farmed, hand dredge, USA
  • mussels: rope grown, Canada
  • wild striped bass: wild caught and tagged, USA
  • bay scallops: wild and farmed, hand dredge, USA and Mexico
  • coho salmon: wild caught, USA and Canada
  • wild shrimp: wild caught w/excluder devices, USA
  • arctic char: closed system farmed, Canada and Iceland
  • catfish: farmed, USA
  • sable fish: wild caught, USA

Matthew Hovey a Brief Bio

I grew up in Elyria outside Cleveland, Oh. Seafood experience was the Friday fish fry of perch and walleye. Many caught by my uncles and me.

I attended Kent State I settled in Tampa, Fl. While there I worked in restaurants and kitchens including; The Tampa Convention Center (I helped feed 4000 Mary Kay ladies), Cafe Creole (long time Tampa favorite), a retirement community, and Executive Chef at the University of South Florida.

My favorite memories of Florida are at a restaurant called Native Seafood.

There I often went to the docks to pick up fish. I maintain relationships with the same guys that have survived. We grew fresh herbs in a garden alongside the occasional papaya, banana trees, and a stalwart kefir lime tree. After 10 years we reluctantly shuttered the restaurant and I enjoyed a brief stint as a full time fisherman (recreational) and part time beach bum.

I moved to New York City to pursue my dream of filleting fish. My first gig was in Coney Island in charge of the kitchen at Keyspan Park as Executive chef of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Close to the water but not much fish.

Since 2002 I work for a major NY seafood distributor. I have been a retail manager, the executive chef, project coordinator for retail build outs, in house publisher, wholesale sales, and purchasing. My business card says Buyer / Account Executive, who knows what is next.

I reside in Rego Park, Queens with my wife Ewa, her mother, our six month old son Adam and Arki the best fed dog in the world. I try to fish when I can.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Who am I?

A fair enough question. I was recently approached by an online forum to contribute to the site in some way and it opened up some interesting questions.

"Hi Matt, Now doing a second look, I'm not sure myself exactly what your stance is on seafood. Are you for conserving marine life or are you for eating seafood for growth? Are you interested in fishing or are you a marine conservationist? (Nothing wrong with either of these stances, just asking for clarification.) And perhaps if you have a different viewpoint than what we are used to, perhaps you could share it on our site, make our readers understand why you feel the way you do. It couldn't hurt. Perhaps you've owned an aquarium in the past and would want to write about that? Well, first give me a little more clarification, I should better understand where you are coming from!
Thank you,(name withheld)"

So if you would indulge me for a bit I want to explain. I am involved daily in the seafood business as a buyer so I am deeply vested in the issues I try to address here.
  • I am for conserving marine life, and I believe that the way to do this is by an honest investigation and improvement of fishing technologies, catch methods and quotas, as well as sustainable aquaculture.
  • I like eating seafood, but I personally choose not to eat those I consider not sustainable.
  • I enjoy recreational fishing and I keep only what I can eat. I support current licensing legislation.
  • I am learning more daily, and I hope you do to. My opinions might develop over time, stay tuned.
  • I had a aquarium as a kid but since the Click-Clack incident that sent the contents of said aquarium to the floor I have never owned one since.
Just touching the surface.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Since it has been some time since my last post, and I have been neglectful with only sporadic information being shared I submit to you a list of things I should have written about.

  1. Ocean Acidification
  2. Jeremy Piven Mercury misgivings
  3. Bluefin Tuna depletion and politicking
  4. Greenpeace retail rankings and rants
  5. The TV show about Sword fishing
  6. Pollack and Hoki in crisis
  7. Lower than expected wild salmon catches (again)
  8. Economic factors in the seafood industry (hint it is the most expensive protein).
  9. Seals eating salmon, and sharks eating seals.
  10. Giant squid reports ( more than a few)
  11. Jellyfish
  12. More species misrepresentations.
  13. Various Seafood Festivals
  14. Water offsets in Aquaculture
  15. et al

With apologies,