Sustainable seafood at Jax Fish House & Oyster -- with recipes!
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is definitely in the swim when it comes to sustainability. The restaurant recently announced its partnership with Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, a program that encourages consumers, restaurants and distributors to make friendly choices for healthy oceans.
Since she started at Jax seventeen years ago -- when the LoDo location was just the second in the homegrown mini-chain -- executive chef Sheila Lucero has made considerable strides regarding sustainable seafood. "We want to continue to be able to serve and eat great seafood for years," Lucero says.
She pushed the restaurant partnership with Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch because she strongly believes in educating not only consumers but also the restaurant industry on the importance of raising awareness and sustaining a healthy ocean ecosystem. "I have always been really conscious about where we are getting our products. So I did some homework and I found Monterey Bay Aquarium to be a good partner to further our commitment to the environment," Lucero says.
Lucero's efforts have paid off: Jax Fish House is now the first restaurant group in the state to serve only environmentallyresponsible seafood based on Monterey Based Aquarium standards. The program seeks to teach seafood buyers what types of seafood items are "best choices," which ones are "good alternatives" and which to avoid because the seafood was caught or farmed in ways that can harm the environment.
As outlined by the partnership, Jax uses only items that fall into the "best choices" or "good alternatives" categories, such as the whole grilled branzino or fruit de mer appetizer whose recipes she's sharing.
Whole Grilled Branzino (serves 4, pictured above)
Roasted fingerling potatoes, arugula, goat cheese, grilled lemon, sherry vinaigrette
four 1-pound branzino (also known as Loup de Mer, European sea bass --
ask your fishmonger to gut, and scale your fish before purchasing)
2 lemons, thinly sliced
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs tarragon
1. Rinse branzino under cold water, until water runs clear. Pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Equally divide the lemon slices between the four fish.
3.Place lemon slices, 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 sprig of parsley, and 1 sprig of tarragon inside the cavity of each fish.
4. Set aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill.
1 pound fingerling potatoes, quartered lengthwise
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Place potatoes in a large bowl, toss with oil, and season with salt and pepper.
2. Place seasoned potatoes on a metal sheet tray and roast until potatoes are tender and golden in color, approximately 20-30 minutes.
1 each shallot, minced
4 oz. sherry vinegar
3 sprigs thyme, stems removed and discarded, leaves minced
1 tsp Dijon
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Place all ingredients except oils in the blender.
2. Turn blender on medium speed. Slowly add oil until mixture is emulsified.
2 lemons, cut in half horizontally
4 cups arugula
4 oz. goat cheese, 1 year aged, shaved thin (Haystack Mountain -- queso de mano)
1. Preheat grill to a medium-high heat. Rub Branzino with oil and season the outside of the fish with salt and pepper.
2. Place fish on grill along with the 4 lemon halves, cut-side down.
3. Grill the Branzino for 6-7 minutes per side.
4. As fish are cooking, place roasted potatoes in a large bowl and add arugula. Toss with half the sherry vinaigrette.
On four long plates, place dressed potatoes and arugula down the middle -- essentially long enough for the fish to lie on. Place pieces of shaved cheese on top of potatoes and arugula. Lay grilled branzino on top and drizzle the fish with the rest of the vinaigrette. Place one grilled lemon half on each plate. Serve and enjoy.
Keep reading for the fruit de mer appetizer recipe