Monday, November 28, 2011

Skuna Bay Salmon: There's more fish in the sea

Bluefin tuna is seriously overfished. Local Southern California seafood is seen on few menus. What's an avid pescatarian to do? Farmed salmon too has been thought to be a sustainable faux-pas, but Skuna Bay salmon, from the cold, clean Pacific waters off Vancouver Island, is out to change that perception.
The British Columbia fishery is launching the salmon to chefs first in Los Angeles, and says it's possible to produce a sustainable, responsible and delicious responsibly-farmed salmon that preserves wild stock.
A raw salmon with pesto mousse, fava beans, dust

We tried Skuna Bay salmon at a Drago Centro tasting dinner for chefs to see what they could expect from cooking with Skuna Bay salmon. Located off the coast of Vancouver Island, Skuna Bay's farm is designed for far less environmental impact than the average farm: the pens are moved around the area so that toxins don't become concentrated in one place, and the fish are far less crowded (only 1.5% fish per pen) than in typical farms. It's being branded as craft-raised salmon rather than farm-raised.
The fish is packed in a recyclable cooler box (unlike most fish, which comes in styrofoam)

Skuna Bay is partnering with Santa Monica Seafood to launch this meaty fish in Los Angeles, mostly to restaurants though some will be available to consumers at Santa Monica Seafood stores. Chefs can order up recyclable cardboard cooler boxes with three 10-lb.-plus salmon each, and they're then trucked at consistent temperature to L.A. (never tossed around an airport loading dock like many fish).
Salmon crudo with panna cotta
The raw salmon was firm, mild and made terrific crudo. Drago chef Ian Gresik also made the salmon into tender agnolotti and then seared a filet served over crispy potatoes and Brussels sprouts with pancetta. The texture was much nicer than mushy farmed salmon, and yet less dense than wild salmon which can easily be overcooked. I'd say the Skuna Bay fishermen have found the salmon sweet spot, and while I'm no fish expert, the craft-raising approach sounds like a carefully-thought out solution to some of the problems facing commercial fishing. If you're interested in trying Skuna Bay salmon, ask at your favorite restaurants or pick some up soon at Santa Monica Seafood.


BuyWoWAccounts said...

Salmons really look great, but surely are expensive.

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Thank you for sharing this. Your philosophy of thinking about with whom we are sharing our food is a great motivation for cooking-which I find often elusive. As a new mother and wife, I know you have enriched our life.