Ocean Wise seafood

If you care about how you feed yourself and your loved ones, you must care about whether the earth will still be able to feed them in 40 years.

At the rate we’re scraping everything off the ocean bottom, picking out what we like and tossing the rest back in, dead or alive, we won’t have any seafood left to eat in 37 years, according to Ocean Wise program partner relations manager Mike McDermid. The Ocean Wise program was started in 2005 by the Vancouver Aquarium and now has 3,000 partner restaurants, markets and food suppliers across the continent, including a number of local restaurants, Codfather’s Seafood Market and MarketPlace IGAs. (For a list, go to oceanwise.ca)

When you see the Ocean Wise logo, you are assured the seafood has been sustainably harvested.

Mission Hill Winery chef Matt Batey is a passionate proponent of the concept and hosted McDermid at a recent culinary workshop, where he prepared a number of recipes from the new Ocean Wise cookbook, edited by Jane Mundy.

There are some intriguing recipes in the book, but I’m not a big fan of cookbooks that are a compilation of other people’s recipes because there’s no consistency. However, the photography is really lovely and there are 25 pages of excellent information about seafood before you get into the recipes.

On the other hand, the culinary classes at Mission Hill Family Estate are consistently excellent, from the entertaining and knowledgeable chefs to the fabulous flavours and matching wines that march across your plate during the evening.

New this winter is a professional, hands-on series of classes: four hours in the kitchen followed by a three-course sit-down dinner in the culinary theatre, to which you may invite a friend. Try the Escoffier class Feb. 17 or the Marco Pierre White class Feb. 24.

Regular classes are about three hours, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and they fill up fast. There are still spaces in the California class Tuesday, Jan. 25; Singapore Thursday, Feb. 3 and Alsace Tuesday, Feb. 22.

For details and to register, go to the website at: www.missionhillwinery.com

UBC Okanagan is also offering a food and wine pairing workshop on Saturday, Jan. 29, 1-4 p.m., with chef Matthew Morazain, with such tastebud-tickling mates as pinot noir and seared duck breast. Pre-register at: www.ubc.ca/okanagan/continuingstudies

Masala Salmon Wrapped in Banana Leaf

Chef Matt Batey served this with halibut instead, and it was moist and delicious, as the banana leaf keeps the moisture in. It’s Chindi Varadarajulu’s recipe, from the Chutney Villa in Vancouver.

2 tsp. (10 ml) black pepper

3 tsp. (15 ml) salt

1 1/4 tsp. (6 ml) chili powder

2 tsp. (10 ml) grapeseed oil

4 6-oz. (175 g) salmon filets

Dry-rub the salmon (or halibut) with pepper, a teaspoon each of the salt and chili powder.

Heat the oil in a large frypan over high heat. Place the fillets in the pan and sear them for a minute a side. Set them aside.

Masala:

2 tbsp. (30 ml) vegetable oil

1 tsp. (5 ml) fennel seeds

1 tsp. (5 ml) cumin seeds

1 tsp. (5 ml) fenugreek seeds

5 dried curry leaves

6 shallots, thinly sliced

1 c. (250 ml) chopped tomatoes

1 tsp. (5 ml) ground ginger

1 tsp. (5 ml) minced garlic

2 tbsp. (30 ml) ground coriander

2 tsp. (10 ml) ground fennel seed

2 tsp. (10 ml) ground cumin

1/2 tsp. (2 ml) ground turmeric

1/2 c. (125 ml) coconut milk

8 banana leaves (or use foil)

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or medium, deep-sided pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the fennel, cumin and fenugreek seeds. Stir them constantly for two minutes. Add the curry leaves and shallots. Cook the spice mixture until the shallots turn brown, three to five minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, ginger and garlic. When the tomatoes soften add the coriander, fennel, cumin, turmeric and remaining chili powder. Simmer until the tomatoes get very soft about eight minutes. Turn the heat to low and stir in the coconut milk. Season to taste with salt and cook five minutes more or until it’s thick.

Heat the barbecue and spread a dollop of masala on each leaf. Place half a fillet on top and spread fish with more masala. Fold the banana leaf or foil over the fish and barbecue it for three to five minutes a side. (Or bake at 350 F for 15 minutes).

Serve with a lime wedge and a dollop of yogurt.

Serves 4.

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