Don’t expect Chilean Sea Bass or even cod on the menu when you visit the ocean view Sea Glass Restaurant at Inn by the Sea on the coast of Maine. Alongside his lobster tasting menu, or signature Gulf of Maine seafood paella Executive Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich’s day boat catch and evening menus feature unexpected flavors from lesser known , and underutilized seafood fresh from Maine’s coastal waters.
The luxurious Inn by the Sea, Maine’s premier beach destination (the only Preferred Boutique™ and Virtuoso™ property in the state), has long been recognized a leader in green hospitality. Chef Kaldrovich has been celebrating Maine fare inside the intimate restaurant or Al Fresco on sea side decks since he opened Sea Glass in 2008.
Chef Kaldrovich now supports a sustainable seafood program that began with research from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), a handful of knowledgeable seasoned fishermen and all star chefs from the Portland area. They are bringing attention to abundant and delicious , but underutilized, seafood from the Gulf of Maine.
It is hoped the awareness will also benefit fishermen economically. Fishermen currently can get as little as 5c a pound for perfectly delicious seafood that often goes to foreign markets or to bait simply because there is no regional market demand.
Starting with GMRI’s research on local species, highly animated conversations between renowned chefs and seasoned fishermen ensued. The group debated issues related to their own experiences around underutilized seafood with criteria around abundance, life span, diversity, habitat, seasonality, taste and texture, the kind of treatment needed on the fishing boats for restaurant quality seafood, and finally, the experience for both chefs and diners preparing and eating the species respectively.
They finally narrowed the field to 5 choices. The seasonality for the each species allows for availability in abundance all year.
1. Northern Shrimp- Jan.-March
2. Atlantic Mackerel- March-May
3. Whiting- July- Sept.
4. Atlantic Pollock – Oct- Dec.
5. Red Fish- June- Sept.
Portland is a foodie destination, and these well known chefs and their trendy restaurants add the “sizzle” needed to bring attention to underutilized seafood.
By creating mouth watering recipes for their menus, it is hoped perceptions will be altered, and demand for lesser known fish increased.
At Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea, Chef Kaldrovich hosts garden parties once a week on the lawn at Inn by the Sea. Overlooking the Atlantic guests are invited to dine Al Fresco at a farmer’s table and eat whatever is growing at nearby farms with a day boat catch of underutilized fish, fresh from the sea, in a celebration of all things Maine.
Delicious recipes developed by the 4 Portland chefs and cooking tips on how to prepare the underutilized seafood will be launched with fanfare at Harvest on the Harbor, the Greater Portland CVB’s Food and Wine festival October 20-24, 2011. www.harvestontheharbor.com
The festival’s Seafood Splash event will feature the GMRI research, conversations with the fishermen and unveil delectable tastings prepared by the chefs on October 20th . Participating restaurants are Fore Street, Havana South, Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea, and The Salt Exchange.