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How Some Chefs Have Stopped Cooking So Much Salmon And Learned To Love Trash Fish

OPB | Nov. 11, 2013 12:40 p.m. | Updated: Nov. 12, 2013 2:15 p.m.

Wolf Eel (photo credit: Dan Hershman)

Wolf Eel (photo credit: Dan Hershman)

This is a Wolf Eel. It may not look particularly appealing but some chefs and environmentalists want you to consider eating it. Kelly Myers is the chef at Xico and she says it tastes great — and it’s not even actually an eel. She’s part of the Chef’s Collaborative that’s aiming to both expand the American palate and save some vulnerable fish populations. 

Some Wolf Eel is bycatch out of Port Orford. That means it’s caught by accident by fishermen trying to catch other fish, and is often thrown out because it’s thought no one would want to buy them. Wolf Eel is just one of many species considered “trash fish.” But environmentalists say it’s these trash fish that could be key to saving the more desirable fish species like salmon.

Not every trash fish looks, well, ugly. Ivory Salmon is also considered a trash fish because its flesh is white, not pink.

Pan roasted Ivory King Salmon (credit: starleigh)

Pan roasted Ivory King Salmon (credit: starleigh)

The Chef’s Collaborative message is simple: Expand the palate. Ed Backus with Ecotrust Fisheries says changing attitudes toward eating unfamiliar fish is necessary to save native species and those that are endangered. We’ll talk with him and Kelly Myers who is one of the chefs for the Trash Fish Supper at Nostrana this weekend. The menu includes Wolf Eel, Pacific Skate Wing, Ivory King Salmon and Sand Dabs.

Have you eaten a trash fish? What was it like? What questions do you have about trash fish?

Pictures from the Trash Fish Dinner.

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