Interview With Sarah Schumann Of Eating With The Ecosystem


Sarah Schumann is a commercial fisherwoman who works with Eating with the Ecosystem, an organization built on the importance of sustainable seafood awareness.She spoke with us about the purpose of the organization, the importance of knowing where your seafood comes from and the effects our consumption habits can have on vital seafaring populations.

The Daily Meal: First of all, at what point did you and your team come up with the holistic approach to teaching people about seafood sustainability?
Sarah Schumann: Our place-based approach to sustainable seafood is one that is inspired by the local foods movement. The local focus is key. A global approach to the sustainability of seafood must of necessity leave out any in-depth consideration of the ecosystem, because when you buy wild fish at a supermarket, the collection of fish assembled at the seafood counter derives from many different ecosystems all over the world. But when you buy seafood locally through a farmers market, community-supported fishery program, or at the docks, the fish that you buy are coming from a single ecosystem -- the ocean in our back yard -- and so it becomes possible to look at a couple of things that can't be taken into account on the global scale. The first is how the different fish species that we eat locally fit together in our local marine ecosystem. Removing one fish from an ecosystem can affect other fish there, and it's important that we start to take this into account.

"Removing one fish from an ecosystem can affect other fish there, and it's important that we start to take this into account."

I came up with this realization -- that the local foods movement offers new and unique opportunities to craft a new approach to understanding seafood sustainability -- two years ago, as a result of being involved with a project selling local seafood at farmers' markets. Eating with the Ecosystem was kick-started through the generosity of the Toyota Together Green fellowship program, a program administered by the National Audubon Society that "invests in high-potential leaders, providing them with tools, resources, visibility, and a peer network to help them lead the conservation actions necessary to shape a greener, healthier future." The series started in RI but has expanded to the Boston area thanks to this grant.

Eating with the ecosystems offers a collection of events from dinners to sea-to table boat rides. Do you find this hands on experience allows people to become more intimate with the reality our marine environment is facing?
We try to educate people through all of the five senses: taste, touch, and smell, through the food on their plates; and sight and sound, through the narrations provided by expert speakers (marine scientists and commercial fishermen who discuss their observations on how our local oceans are changing and what we as consumers and citizens can do to take care of the ocean as a food source). The experience of eating while we talk makes the case, without saying a word, of why we have to take care of marine ecosystems: because they provide food for our dinner table and income for our fishing families. Food can also makes it easier to talk about difficult subjects such as climate change and ocean acidification, topics that can easily depress people. And lastly, food acts as a bridge between people, knitting all those present in the room -- speakers, diners, organizers, and chefs -- into an immediate community built around a shared experience.

What kind of feedback have you received from the dinners so far? Most notably, how did the kick off dinner for the Boston area series at Henrietta's table go? Eating with the Ecosystem has now hosted three dinners in the Boston area. The spring segment included a Southern New England waters dinner at nourish, Lexington, and a Georges Bank dinner at Ten Tables JP. The first dinner of the fall, Southern New England waters, was at Henrietta's Table. The chefs at all of these restaurants have been delighted to host them and delightful to work with. And the dinners have all been delicious! At the Henrietta’s Table dinner, we tasted monkfish, steamers, razor clams, mussels, squid, bluefish, lobster, and a special treat: roe-on sea scallops. (Scallop roe is a part of the scallop that is typically discarded at sea, representing a waste of delicious, marketable protein; in Europe, roe-on scallops are considered a delicacy). Several attendees said that their understanding of seafood sustainability had evolved as a result of this conversation.

With each different dinner, what can guests expect as each dinner works alongside the chef's own sense of what is important to get across? Eating with the Ecosystem simply provides a framework, and the other participants, whether they are chefs, marine scientists, commercial fishermen, or the diners themselves -- fill it in. Each of these participants speaks in their own voice. The looseness of the format can lead to a somewhat disjointed and free-ranging conversation, but we feel it's important to bring in a rich diversity of perspectives. The chefs typically join us for a portion of the meal and explain their own philosophy that informs their work with local seafood. Sustainability is a multi-faceted thing, and it is important to bring in many voices when discussing these topics.

Finally, do you think this is a good time to build a greater sustainability awareness based on the momentum of the growing interest in Boston's food community? Absolutely! Eating with the Ecosystem taps into an already growing trend of interest in knowing where your food comes from, supporting local food producers, and minimizing the environmental impact of food choices. We are one of a handful of groups working to make sure that fisheries are included in this movement. Our aim at Eating with the Ecosystem is to take this conversation to the next level: buying local isn't an end in itself, but a doorway into a whole suite of new ways to interact with and steward our local ecosystems.

One more dinner remains in the Boston area this fall and will be held at Tremont 647 in the South End on November 4th. The menu will be determined just before the dinner, in true, sustainable and seasonal fashion. Call (617) 266-4600 to reserve a spot now!


Online professional profile

Sarah Schumann, Kate Masury, Marie-Joelle Rochet. Recipes by Rizwan Ahmed. Art by Lea Tirmant-Desoyen. Published by University of Rhode Island with Eating with the Ecosystem, 2018. 100 pages.

You&rsquove heard that variety is the spice of life, but did you know that eating a wide assortment of seafood can actually help sustain ocean ecosystems?

Simmering the Sea is an underwater culinary adventure where you will meet (and learn how to prepare) forty underappreciated fish and shellfish that populate the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Sample species as varied as the coastal slipper limpet to the deep-water Acadian redfish, while learning how each one contributes to a flourishing ecosystem in the sea. Produced through a partnership between the University of Rhode Island, the nonprofit Eating with the Ecosystem, and Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts, this is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind cookbook that can serve as your manual for a more intimate and balanced relationship with the marine ecosystems off New England&rsquos shores.

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Rhode Island's Shellfish Heritage: An Ecological History

Sarah Schumann. Published by Rhode Island Sea Grant, University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute, and University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center, 2015. 186 pages.

The shellfish in Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island&rsquos salt ponds have provided humans with sustenance for over 2,000 years. Over time, shellfish have gained cultural significance, with their harvest becoming a family tradition and their shells offered as tokens of appreciation and represented as works of art.

This book delves into the history of Rhode Island&rsquos iconic oysters, quahogs, and all the well-known and lesser-known species in between. It offers the perspectives of those who catch, grow, and sell shellfish, as well as of those who produce wampum, sculpture, and books with shellfish &mdash particularly quahogs &mdash as their medium or inspiration.


Eating with the Ecosystem: Gulf of Maine

Earlier this year, I wrote about an event held in my neighborhood by Eating with the Ecosystem, a new initiative that aims to educate seafood lovers about the environmental and culinary benefits of a diverse palate that incorporates a wide range of sustainable seafood choices. After that dinner, I sat down with Sarah Schumann, the creator of Eating with the Ecosystem, to learn more about how her project emerged.

Sarah’s work is driven by a diverse and fascinating array of interests and experiences. Her love of commercial fishing was born more than a decade ago when she lived on the coast of Chile and got to know the small-scale coastal fisheries of that seafaring nation. Chile has enjoyed success in implementing cooperative and area-based allocation systems, which today are serving as a model for work being done by EDF, Rare and the University of California at Santa Barbara through the Fish Forever partnership.

After returning to Rhode Island inspired by her Chilean experience, Sarah worked as a deckhand on lobster boats and then a fluke gillnet boat, before branching out on her own. Today, she is a working commercial fisherman, harvesting conch, oysters, razor clams and quahogs in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay from a 12’ skiff or even while paddling a canoe!

As much as Sarah loves “the Ocean State,” she confesses a need to escape the summertime madness of its coastal waters in the summertime. True to her love of commercial fishing, she spends her summers in Alaska, another global bright spot of successful fisheries management, to work in a salmon cannery and experience the unique culture and camaraderie of the Alaskan fishing industry. Sarah’s time there has made her active in the ongoing effort to protect Alaska’s marine ecosystems from the proposed Pebble Mine project.

Eating with the Ecosystem was born out of Sarah’s experience selling her catch at local farmer’s markets. She found that too many people looking for local foods were only familiar with the more high-profile local species, too many of which have suffered from overfishing. But people were not aware that there are many lesser known species whose populations are healthier, and she wanted to get that message out.

During our conversation, Sarah asked if I’d be interested in joining my friend Jeffrey Pierce as the guest speakers at an event she held earlier this month. Like Sarah, Jeff is a commercial fisherman who harvests sea-run herring, a.k.a. ‘alewives’, on a tributary of the Eastern River in Dresden Mills, Maine. Jeff is also the Executive Director and Founder of the Alewife Harvesters of Maine, an industry organization whose Board of Directors I joined in 2010. Alewives are one of my favorite fishes, and one on which EDF has done a wide variety of work. Sadly, in too many places, alewife populations are suffering, and the species was recently proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The petition was ultimately denied, but not without some very serious concerns being raised about the future of these vital links in the aquatic food web.

Fortunately, Maine has enjoyed more success with alewife management than any other state, and many of its river fisheries have remained open while most others along the eastern seaboard have closed. Jeff brought some of his sustainably harvested alewives from Maine to Boston for the dinner, which was held at the renowned Lumiere restaurant. Lumiere is owned by Chef Michael Leviton, head of the Chef’s Collaborative. Michael is a kindred spirit of Sarah’s in his commitment to inspiring diners to sample more of the sea’s bounty, thereby spreading harvest pressure more evenly and reducing impacts on overfished species. In addition to the Eating with the Ecosystem event, Michael has hosted a ‘trash fish’ dinner at his Area Four restaurant in Cambridge to convey a similar message.

Michael began our dinner with Jeffrey’s alewives, fired crispy and accompanied by a pickled ramp remoulade. That was followed by a chilled monkfish liver torchon and then white hake accompanied by roasted root vegetable, spiced yogurt and harissa vinaigrette. The meal delectable, to say the least, and I, for one, can’t wait until the next Eating with the Ecosystem event to sample more creations using New England’s abundant seafood. With people like Sarah, Jeffrey and Michael hard at work, I’m confident New England’s fishing future will continue to provide such fresh, healthy and tasty offerings.


Eat like a fish

A citizen science project inspires a new cookbook exploring the New England ocean.

On the Vineyard, we are surrounded on all sides by water teeming with a vibrant ecosystem of aquatic creatures — an ocean boiling with life.

And yet, the popular fish that end up on our plates aren’t always the ones that are in greatest abundance off our shores, according to a recent citizen science report conducted by the nonprofit “Eating with the Ecosystem.”

The “Eat Like a Fish” citizen science project is part of a collaboration between Eating with the Ecosystem and the University of Rhode Island, supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Saltonstall Kennedy Grant Program.

The purpose of the project is to encourage New Englanders to “eat like a fish.” I asked Kate Masury, program director at Eating with the Ecosystem, what that means.

“Eat the way fish do — be generalists, not specialists — don’t be picky!” Masury said. She explained that fish gobble up whatever other species are around them, and without really trying, eat seasonally and eat a wide variety.

Humans don’t often think of themselves as being part of a larger food web, Masury has argued, and therefore don’t think about the consequences of their consumer choice on the ecosystem. “If humans eat species that are more abundant, eat less of the ones that are less abundant, we take the pressure off the species that aren’t doing as well,” she said.

The group sought to determine whether the New England region is eating in proportion with what the ecosystem is producing. “Eat Like a Fish: Diversifying New England’s Seafood Marketplace” was their first attempt at “assessing the availability and diversity of seafood in the New England marketplace through citizen-scientist real-life experiences,” said Masury.

From May to October 2017, an army of 86 citizen scientists divided and conquered the Northeast coast — from the northernmost tip of Maine to the southernmost corner of Connecticut. They even made it out to Martha’s Vineyard and visited Edgartown Meat and Fish Market, Stop & Shop in Edgartown, and Edgartown Seafood. Every week, the volunteers visited seafood markets in various locations, and requested a certain selection of fish species for purchase. In total, the group visited 394 markets 2,946 times, found 52 different species, and cooked a total of 1,048 meals.

They found that fish such as dogfish and scup are bought at a lower frequency because consumers are either unfamiliar with their names or unsure how to prepare them. People tend to stick to their traditional favorites — lobster, scallops, and cod.

Ultimately, Masury said, the project created an artificial market boost. “Stores started ordering more fish because we had citizen-scientists asking for them,” she said.

To combat consumer aversion to lesser known fish, the researchers compiled “Simmering the Sea,” a cookbook of recipes for 40 underappreciated fish and shellfish. With help from co-authors Sarah Schumann and Marie-Joelle Rochet, anecdotes from the citizen-scientists were integrated into recipe instructions, to ease any hesitation home cooks might feel toward unfamiliar gills. Some of these include Razor Clam and Fava Bean Salad, Scup Crudo, Grilled Herring with Fennel, and Dogfish Goujons with Aioli.

Currently, Eating the Ecosystem is using this data to inform the next phases of their larger project. One of these is the establishment of an online “New England Seafoodies” Club through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This club, said Masury, is a place where seafood lovers can learn more about the local catch, exchange recipes, and be armed with the right information in order to buy and prepare more uncommon fish species.

The next time you’re behind the glass at your local seafood counter, don’t just settle for the lobster or cod, ask the fishmonger for herring or a filet of John Dory.


SCUP CRUDO

2 scup, filleted and skin removed

Rinse under cold running water and pat dry. Sprinkle salt on both sides. Let rest in refrigerator for 8 to 10 minutes. Rinse in a bowl of ice water. Pat dry. Thinly slice each fillet on a bias (45º angle).

Vinaigrette

¼ English cucumber, thinly sliced
2 radishes, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced

2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste

Neatly line plate with cucumber slices. Place sliced fish fillets on top. Mix radishes, pepper, spring onion, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Drizzle over fish. Sprinkle with salt. Serves 4.

Learn more about Eating with the Ecosystem and order your copy of Simmering the Sea at eatingwiththeecosystem.org.

HOW TO EXPAND YOUR LOCAL SEAFOOD HORIZONS

Simmering the Sea is a collaboration of Eating with the Ecosystem, Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts, and the University of Rhode Island.


Eating with the Ecosystem's "School of Fish"

At Eating with the Ecosystem's "School of Fish", Rhode Island chefs will educate you on different methods for turning a whole fish - straight from the sea - into a marvelous dinner you can share with your family and friends. Learn how to use plentiful local species like scup, herring, whiting, skate, dogfish, and sea robin. Held in the demo kitchen (a former school classroom) at Hope & Main, each workshop is also a dinner, complete with wine and good company!

Lesson 1 (February 22, 6:00 PM): Chef Jon Cambra (Roger Williams University)

Lesson 2 (March 21, 6:00 PM): Chef Joe Simone (Simone's restaurant, Warren)

Lesson 3 (April 25, 6:00 PM): Chef Max Peterson (Hemenway's, Providence)

Each workshop will feature one fish species, prepared several ways. Come for just one class or attend them all!

Location: Hope & Main, 691 Main St. Warren RI 02885.
Each workshop costs $50 (includes tax and wine).
Purchase tickets here.


Simmering the Sea Cookbook Author Reception & Talk

Join us for an author reception and book talk with Sarah Schumann, co-author of the new cookbook, Simmering the Sea: Diversifying Cookery to Sustain Our Fisheries.

Simmering the Sea is an underwater culinary adventure where you will meet (and learn how to prepare) forty underappreciated fish and shellfish that populate the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Produced through a partnership between the University of Rhode Island, the nonprofit Eating with the Ecosystem, and Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts, this is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind cookbook that can serve as your manual for a more intimate and balanced relationship with the marine ecosystems off New England’s shores.

Published in 2018 by the University of Rhode Island, Simmering the Sea is authored by Sarah Schumann, Kate Masury and Marie-Joelle Rochet. With recipes by Rizwan Ahmed and illustrations by Lea Tirmant-Desoyen.

Schumann will also share research from the citizen science project, Eat Like a Fish which tracked the availability of local seafood in the local marketplace to find out how well it matches (or doesn't match) the mix of species found off our shores.

This event is free and open to all.
Copies will be available for sale and signing by the author with all proceeds to benefit the nonprofit Eating with the Ecosystem.


Trend No. 6

Farm-to-table dining is old news, but for a good reason: it’s everywhere now. There is a simple satisfaction in knowing that the grass-fed beef or thinly sliced fennel on your plate is grown only 20 miles away. However, the same hasn’t been true of what we’re harvesting from our waterways. And really, we’re the Ocean State it only makes sense that we should treat our seafood the same way.

Luckily for us, there are those who are making this ocean-to-table concept a reality. Take Sarah Schumann, a local fisherwoman passionate about sustainability. She is at the forefront of the Eating with the Ecosystem movement. This initiative works with local restaurants, chefs and fisherman to create one-of- a-kind events. The fishermen take their haul-of-the-day to a restaurant and the chef prepares a multi-course meal in celebration of the bounty. During the dinner, the fisherman explain where the seafood came from, their habitat, how they co-habitate with other organisms (such as the relationship between sea scallops and red hake), where the menu item is on the food chain and how overfishing of one species can affect others.

Wild Rhody – a fisherman-owned seafood distribution company - often partners with Sarah at the Eating with the Ecosystem events. They are the ones who caught that skate earlier that day in Narragansett Bay, which is now on your plate. Lifelong fishermen Chris Brown and Steve Arnold started Wild Rhody out of a need to create stability for themselves as fishermen, directly understand what the seafood demands were in the industry and to provide a fresher alternative to restaurants and retailers (such as Roxy’s Lobster food truck and Chef Derek Wagner of Nicks on Broadway).

Born of this collaboration between fishermen and chefs is Trace and Trust. It is a way for anyone to track where their seafood came from and when it was caught. Never before has such a connection been able to be made – unless of course you just happened to know a guy that owns a boat.

While these initiatives have been around for a little while, it’s only recently that local restaurants have caught on in a big way. So whether you’re noshing on Poppasquash oysters at Hemenway’s, Atlantic sea scallops at birch traceable through Trace and Trust, Atlantic mahi mahi hauled by the F/V Aces High docked at Point Judith at Local 121 or summer flounder at The Dorrance from Narragansett Bay caught by F/V Sweet Misery docked in Newport, seafood across our state is more personal than it ever has been, and we’d like to keep it that way.


A Bite of the Ocean

It’s August, and we’re finally getting a day without stifling humidity. The flowers outside Chef Rizwan Ahmed’s home seem renewed by the recent rain. The decline in temperatures means the chef can entertain with the windows open, a gentle breeze tickling the lace curtains as he cooks. It’s a perfect afternoon for chowder and crab cakes.

But here’s the thing: there are no clam or quahog shells lying around.

I nstead, on the counter near the sink is a neat mound of slipper limpets, sometimes called slipper shells. And the crab cakes are not from the usual blue crab: they’re Jonah crabs, long regarded by lobstermen as bycatch. Yet these choices were not made because the usual ingredients were sold out in fact, they symbolize the whole purpose behind Simmering the Sea , a new cookbook intended to introduce home cooks to sustainable eating.

Mitonnez la Mer

When University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography professor Jeremy Collie met French fisheries scientist Marie-Joëlle Rochet at a conference, he made an interesting discovery. Rochet had teamed up with other fisheries scientists to produce a cookbook focusing on underutilized fish resources. Its name? Mitonnez la Mer , or Simmering the Sea.

The idea for a similar book geared for a New England audience was born, and the two teamed up to begin the process. Later, they would partner with Eating with the Ecosystem, including Sarah Schumann and Kate Masury. The nonprofit is dedicated to developing ways for people to support “the region’s marine ecosystems and the people who depend on them,” according to their website. Schumann and Masury would do some of the writing, maintaining an approach to the American version that was like that of the French.

“URI researchers were looking into the production of the ecosystems and comparing that with consumer use and fish availability,” Masury says. “We wanted to find out what species were out there and why some species may not typically be found in our local marketplace.”

The foundation of Simmering the Sea was about to be established.

(Above) Chef Rizwan Ahmed, with Kate Masury, serves up slipper limpet chowder from Simmering the Sea.

Fish Finders

Most cookbooks are created in a relatively straightforward manner: The author may simply choose recipes from the latest trends or from what’s selling in a restaurant. Not so in this case.

“We enlisted citizen scientists for our research,” Masury says. “We had people from all over New England recording the availability of different fish species at markets. Every week they had an assignment that we called a ‘fish list’ of about four species of fish that they would try to find at three different markets.

The list was randomly generated from a list of 52 species, including the usual suspects like lobster or cod, but also unusual ones like dogfish or scup or skate. We’d send them out and ask whether a market had it. They recorded whether the market carried it, [and] if they did, the citizens were asked to buy it and prepare it at home, later reporting on their result. It ended up being a really cool project, and it had the added effect of getting a number of managers to stock the fish, saying, ‘Hey, you asked about that fish last week, and now we have it!’”

In addition to learning about the availability of species, the research had the added benefit of informing the team about which species might be challenging to work with. Citizens were asked about their experiences cooking these fish: Did they like it? Were they successful?

For example, Masury says many people struggled with butterfish they didn’t seem to know what to do with the bones. Once much of the research was complete, it was time to take the next step: bringing in the chef.

From Bait to Plate

The cookbook was not Ahmed’s first collaboration with Eating with the Ecosystem. Ahmed, an instructor at Johnson and Wales University (JWU), first met Schumann several years ago when he owned a restaurant in Bristol.

“Every Saturday I used to go to this farm stand and pick up produce and local ingredients for my restaurant, Hourglass Brasserie,” he said. “Sarah had a sign out saying she was looking for chefs to collaborate on a dinner series featuring underutilized seafood. I thought, ‘What a great idea!’ I invited her to my restaurant and she was very pleased. We already had a lot of that sort of fish on the menu like skate, scup, and periwinkles, and we really clicked right there. She asked if I would like to start the series off, and we had the first dinner event there. We had Sarah speak, I spoke, and we had others. I served a five-course meal, and as we served, we talked about the environment, how we chose the best species, so it was a good event. It caught on, and restaurants around the state began to host similar evenings.”

Ahmed shares an anecdote that might represent much of the philosophy behind the book: convincing the public that there are more delicious fish in the sea than just the typical seafood counter favorites.

“When I first moved to Bristol, I went with my wife for a walk in Independence Park. There was a fisherman out there who caught a skate. He took out a bat and hit it a few times, cut it up, and put some on his hook. I asked, ‘What are you doing?’ and he said, ‘This is no good. It’s a garbage fish, so I’m using it for bait.’ I said, ‘No, these are the kinds of fish I’m interested in using at my restaurant, so next time you catch any, bring them to my restaurant and I’ll take them.’ And guess what? The next time I opened my restaurant, he came in and sold some to me.”

Refining Recipes

Ahmed says it took about four or five months to develop the recipes, test, and refine them. Some alterations were made to make the recipes less intimidating.

“ As a chef in a fine restaurant, I learned that some of the recipes I sent to Kate were a little too ‘cheffy’—I wasn’t making the recipe for a home chef, so I needed to tone it down a little bit. It’s understandable. I was still going to use the recipes from my restaurant, but I would cut down on the ingredients. I would also go out to the farmers’ markets to be sure readers were able to obtain the recipe ingredients.”

JWU granted Ahmed permission to use their kitchens in recipe development.

He also chose four students to cook his recipes. “I had the recipes, I gave them to my students, and I said, ‘You guys go and make these recipes, taste them, and from there, you tell me what they taste like.’ I had it in my own head what they should taste like, but I wanted the guys to tell me what their experience was. Most came out well, but a few we had to tweak a little here and there.”

In his home kitchen, Ahmed is cleaning up after offering a sampling that was both delicious and looked like it came from a fine dining magazine. Both he and Masury speak of the enthusiastic cooperation Simmering received from URI, JWU, restaurants, and their citizen scientists—and the fishing industry.

“Fishermen are always very supportive of getting people to try more of the species that they normally don’t have a market for,” Masury says. “It helps them make a living because then they can go out and catch any kind of species that are in the water, not just cod or lobster. At the same time, they’re supporting the ecosystem because they’re taking things that are more abundant.”


Skate with Capers and Butter — Chef Rizwan Ahmed

Winter skate is an abundant species that historically has been mostly discarded as bycatch by groundfish harvesters in the U.S. because there was little market for it. That is changing, albeit slowly. While skate is popular in Europe, especially in France, it has yet to meet its market potential here. That should change as people discover how delicious it can be. There are several ways to prepare it, from simple to elaborate. I smoke it on the grill and slip it into gumbo where it adds yet another layer of rich flavor.

Skate with Capers and Butter

2 tablespoons canola oil

4 skate wings, skinned and filleted

Salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

Set a large frying pan over medium heat and add oil. Season skate wings with salt and pepper on both sides. Dust with flour. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on either side. Remove fish to plate and turn heat to high. Add cubed butter and cook until it foams and brown bits appear. Add lemon juice, capers, and parsley. Pour over fish and serve.

This recipe can also be prepared with dogfish, flounder, halibut, and black sea bass.

This recipe comes from the newly released cookbook Simmering the Sea: Diversifying Cookery to Sustain Our Fisheries. The cookbook is a collaboration between Sarah Schumann and Kate Masury of R.I.-based Eating with the Ecosystem, and Marie-Joelle Rochet of French research institute IFRMEMER (Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer). The cookbook provides accessible recipes for underutilized and common seafood species in the Northeast. Recipes were developed by Chef Rizwan Ahmed of the Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts (JWU) with the assistance of his students Salvatore Latorre, Michelle Marini, and Kazuya Tsutsumi.

This recipe is reprinted with permission from the publisher, University of Rhode Island.


Watch the video: Eating with the Ecosystem


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