Diving into the world of seafood at home has become an amazing culinary adventure through Vancouver-based, chef Ned Bell’s new cookbook Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast.
I’ve always waded with trepidation into the seafood section of my local supermarket knowing that I’d likely walk away with cod or salmon, the catch of questionable fishing practices from as far away as Asia. The fish would come out of my oven over-baked and dry. However, because I know seafood is full of Omega-3 healthy fats (although probably not after I’ve prepared it), I’d swallow it down without any pleasure.
My Brief History as a Fisherwoman
What I did know about seafood was the best dang fish I ever had was caught by my own hands and prepared the day of by seasoned fishermen. The first experience was on the Great Barrier Reef when I was 21 and went gallivanting with a group of local fishermen on their commercial boat. They set me up with a rod and when my line tugged, I entered into a battle of endurance with a yellow-fin tuna. The men knew the sense of accomplishment I would feel if I reeled it in myself and they were right. Back on shore that evening they barbequed the tuna into the most delectable sea fare I’d ever had. The second time was on a fishing vessel during a LVMH press trip. Off the coast of Vancouver Island I caught my first wild salmon. It was cooked hours later on a cedar plank into a mouth-watering, unforgettable dish. Other notable culinary adventures with seafood: Eating dissected shake n’ baked squid in my 10th grade Science class. I can’t even…worst.
Finally with Lure, I’ve been able to kick up my seafood game, outside of catching my own fish, not only with delicious recipes but also with the education Lure provides on how to buy local and sustainable sea fare.
“I want to simplify your life by sharing delicious recipes, easy techniques, and straight forward sustainability guidelines around Pacific species. These recipes are nutrient-dense and plant-based with a focus on sustainable seafood.”
Chef Bell educates on what labeling to look for when purchasing Pacific species and even how to find your local fishmonger. Lure is divided into sections. Back-to-Basics covers vital information like seafood seasonality, how to store fish, how to make sustainable choices and how to cook fish. The next sections are divided into fish profiles such as White Fish, Fatty Fish and Shellfish with recipes to go with each profile. Finally the book ends with Species Profiles to ensure you know for example, the five sustainable species of wild Pacific salmon.
Of course no cookbook would be complete without mouth-watering images of prepared recipes but we also love that Lure gets a little edgy with photos of fish in the raw, featured on high contrast, colourful backgrounds by photographer Kevin Clark.
If there is a cookbook that every home chef should have in his or her kitchen, it’s Lure . To reel you in further into the world of seafood prep Her Vancouver is sharing one of our favourite recipes from Lure:
Wild Salmon Bake With Sauce Vierge
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 3 cups)
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ cup chopped fresh chives
3 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 (2 to 3 lb) salmon fillet
Olive oil, for brushing the salmon and for drizzling
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°f. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the skin of the salmon with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the salmon skin side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Add the lemon cut side up beside the salmon, and bake for about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of fish. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part should read 120°f to
125°f. Set aside to rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Add a few generous spoonfuls of sauce vierge on top, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with the charred lemon.
Chef’s notes: Alternatively, preheat the grill and cook on the grate skin side down. (The bbq acts like an “oven” with the lid closed so you cook the fish evenly.)