We know you’re wondering, so let’s address this right up front. The cooking demonstrations at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium do not use any of the actual fish in the Aquarium’s collection.
Instead, Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at National Louis University partners with Shedd Aquarium to demonstrate recipes using species that are sustainably fished.
Shedd’s Sustainable Seafood webpage explains that overfishing, habitat loss and climate change threaten our planet’s waters, fish and marine life. Consumers can do their part by purchasing and eating fish that are in abundant supply and avoiding species which are threatened.
The Shedd’s recipes page features recipes using sustainable seafood, many from Kendall College chefs.
On May 11, Chef Mike Salzinski, a Kendall College instructor, and students Tom Eichman, Yuqi Liu, Pat Sutorius and Luo Yue presented a sustainable seafood cooking demo at Shedd’s Oceans Gallery. They prepared an hors d’oeuvre using sablefish.
First, Chef Salzinski and his team demonstrated how to smoke the sablefish and separate it into portions. Then they prepared the aioli, cut and fried the potato gaufrettes, sliced and prepared the pickled radishes, fried the crispy capers and carefully assembled the delectable bites. They started with the gaufrettes, laid on the pickled radishes, then built them up with the sablefish and added the aioli, capers and a sliver of green onion for garnish.
You can try preparing them at home using the following recipe.
Recipe: Smoked Sablefish on Potato Gaufrettes with Pickled Radishes, Horseradish Aioli, and Crispy Capers
(makes 24 pieces as an hors d’oeuvre)
- 1 ½ pounds Sablefish fillets
- salt and pepper to taste
- For smoking the fish: 1 cup hickory or applewood chips
Step 1: Smoke the Sablefish: spread the salt and pepper evenly over the fish fillets, and smoke the fish as demonstrated over medium-low heat until just cooked through (approximately 12 -18 minutes). Remove from smoker and chill thoroughly. When cold, separate the smoked fish into large flakes, and set aside in a mixing bowl.
Step 2: Prepare the horseradish aioli: thoroughly mix the following ingredients in a bowl and hold under refrigeration.
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- tbsp prepared horseradish
- tbsp minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
Step 3: Cut and fry the Potato Gaufrettes:
- 4 large Idaho russet potatoes, peeled
- 1 quart vegetable oil, heated to 325°F
Cut the potatoes on a mandolin into long, thin gaufrettes (waffle chips), place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Remove 6 gaufrettes at a time, blot dry, and fry in the oil until golden brown. Remove from oil, season with salt, and allow to cool and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining gaufrettes.
Step 4: Prepare the Pickled Radishes:
- 6 radishes, washed and thinly sliced
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
Whisk together vinegar, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add sliced radishes and allow to sit for 30 to 40 minutes. Drain thoroughly before proceeding.
Step 5: Prepare the crispy fried capers:
- 2 tbsp capers, drained and blotted dry
Carefully fry the capers in the hot vegetable oil until golden brown and opened like a flower. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a clean paper towel.
Step 5: Assembly:
* potato gaufrettes (or other potato chips)
*sliced green onion
Lay out the 24 potato gaufrettes, place a pickled radish “shield” (2-3 slices) on each gaufrette to protect it from the moisture of the fish and aioli, add a couple pieces of the smoked sablefish on top of each radish shield, top that with a small dollop of the horseradish aioli, lay a couple pieces of sliced green onion on the aioli, and finally place one crispy caper on top of each piece.