Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Tips For Grilling Whole Fish:

1: Select a whole fish from the Kanaloa retail counter. Striped Bass, Orata or Loup de Mer are regularly available and are excellent choices for the grill. Ask for your fish to be cleaned, gutted and scaled.

2: Once in the kitchen, the first thing to do is dry your fish! Any water left on the skin will create a barrier and keep your fish from grilling properly!

3: Cut small slits in the skin of the fish to allow the filet to breath. This is known as “scoring” the fish. Scoring will help your fish to cook more evenly. It will allow heat to penetrate and will prevent the fish skin from tightening up or curling, resulting in parts of the fish being lifted off the grill.

4: Try using a stuffing! If you have a beautiful whole fish to grill, why not put something in the belly cavity. This will add a tremendous amount of flavor to your fish as it grills. A stuffing can be something as simply as parsley stems, lemon slices, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

5: Rub oil on the outside of your fish, use a neutral flavor cooking oil, canola, rice, or grape seed oil.

6: Make sure your grill is HOT, and CLEAN!!! This will make or break your fish!

7: Lay your fish on the grill at a 45 degree angle to the bars, this way you can easily slide a spatula under it to flip it over

8: Cook your fish about 6-8 minutes per inch, per side, with the grill lid closed. Try to avoid excessive opening and closing of the lid.

9: Grill your fish evenly on both sides, moving it around the hot spots of the grill as necessary.

10: Remove from grill and let your fish set for about 5 minutes or so. This way the juices have a chance to evenly disburse through out the fish!

For a delicious and fragrant stuffing, place oranges, lemons, and fennel along with a pinch of salt into the body cavity of your fish

Michel Blanchet's Cordon Bleu Smoked Salmon

In 1973, Michel moved to New York City where he worked as a “poissonnier” at the famed La Caravelle in midtown Manhattan.

In French cuisine, a poissonnier is the chef responsible for every menu item containing seafood. Even a dish containing a nothing more than a half-cup of fish stock would fall under his or her provenance. The world of high-end French Cuisine is a demanding and unforgiving one. It is therefore necessary for the poissonier to become an expert in everything from mussels to menhaden. He or she must be a stickler for quality and freshness. Fish becomes something of an obsession for the poissonier.

After a two year stint in New York, Michel moved on to Los Angeles. He began working at L’Ermitage, a trend-setting restaurant for French Cuisine. Ever the poissonier, Michel was unsatisfied with the salmon that L’Ermitage was receiving from regional smoke houses. He decided to make his own.

At this time, Michel was working under Jean Berantrou, a demanding and ground-breaking restaurateur. As head chef of L’Ermitage, Berantou was known to go to extremes in his search for the finest meats and produce. He would pressure local farmers to cross-breed the perfect duck for fois gras or badger them into harvesting a new strain of green bean for authentic haricots-verts. Berantou’s passion and dedication would soon elevate him in the culinary world. He would soon be considered a visionary of West Coast Cuisine.

Eventually Michel himself rose to become head chef at L’Ermitage. One cannot claim that it was on the strength of his smoked salmon that he reached these heights, but we can say that perfecting the cold smoked delicacy certainly didn’t hurt his chances.

In 1995, after years of leading some of L.A.’s most highly-regarded restaurants, Michel decided to return to the ancient art he had mastered early on in his career: cold smoked fish. He opened Michel Cordon Bleu, a state of the art smoking facility in Los Angeles.

One reason Michel’s cold smoked fish is so delectable is that during the smoking process the salmon never reaches more than 99 degrees Fahrenheit. The fish is infused with a smoky flavor, but cures instead of cooks. It remains moist and tender: a true artisanal food, and a bonafide delicacy.

We now have Michel Blanchet’s salmon available at Kanaloa. It is delicious in pastas and quiches, in terrines or scrambled eggs, or simply on a bagel with cream cheese. Be sure to ask for this delicacy at our retail counter!

Grilled tarragon and spinach stuffed Loup de Mer with roasted fingerling potato salad


1 Scaled and gutted Loup de Mer

1 Cup cooked spinach chopped

1 T. Butter

¼ Cup Pernod

1 Shallot sliced

½ bunch tarragon picked and chopped

1/3 cup bread crumbs

¼ cup heavy cream

½ T kosher salt

3T Olive oil


½ lb. Fingerling potatoes

1 T kosher salt

1 t black pepper

2 T capers minced

½ Bunch tarragon picked and chopped

½ Red onion thinly sliced

¾ cup Mayonnaise

2 T olive oil

½ T Worcestershire sauce


For fish:

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Sweat the shallots till translucent, add the Pernod, and cook till almost dry. Add the spinach and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Fold in the bread crumbs to bind the mixture. Add extra breadcrumbs if the mixture is too thin. This stuffing should not be at all runny. Fold in tarragon and season with salt. Let the mixture cool until it has become formable, then pack the mixture inside the Loup de Mer and lightly tie the fish closed. Rub the outside of the fish with olive oil. Grill over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes per side until skin is crisp and the stuffing is hot. Serve alongside roasted potato salad.

For Potato Salad:

Preheat oven to 375

Gently toss the potatoes in olive oil. Season them with salt and pepper, and spread them out on baking sheet. Cook in oven for about 55 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned. Let stand in refrigerator. Once potatoes have cooled, cut them into bite-sized pieces. In a bowl, stir potatoes along with mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, onion, tarragon, and capers. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wolf of the Sea

Loup de Mer is French for “wolf of the sea”. It’s a perfect title for a predatory fish that feeds at any time day or night. Loup de Mer hunt small fish, shrimp, and crab, and its avid search for food leads it through a wide range of habitat including lagoons, estuaries and the open ocean. Loup de Mer is a species of sea bass and can grow up to three feet long, reaching a top weight of about twenty-five pounds.

Over the past few years, Loup de Mer has become a very popular item in upscale restaurants. It is an absolutely delicious fish that is moderately firm with a subtle but slightly sweet flavor. It is fantastic when cooked on the bone. Served raw it makes top-notch sashimi.

Though something of a novelty here in the United States, Loup de Mer has been enjoyed by cultures across the Mediterranean for centuries. In Turkey it is a familiar sight on the table, known there as “Levrek”. It is called “Lavraki” in Greece, “Branzino” in Italy, and “Lubina” in Spanish. It is only recently, however, that sustainable fisheries have made the Loup de Mer easily and readily available.

The ancient Romans were die-hard aficionados of this tasty sea bass. The poet Martial, when musing on all the great luxuries of life, included Loup de Mer in a list alongside perfumes, jewels, and silks.

This unique fish can actually take credit for some of the earliest known examples of aquaculture in human history. Both Loup de Mer and eels were so highly valued by the ancient Romans that aristocrats spent tremendous amounts of money building “piscinae” or fish ponds. The technology of these early tanks and ponds soon advanced to the point where they contained controls regulating both the flow of water and its salinity. Roman fish farmers were able to induce Loup de Mer to spawn in captivity, thus producing successive generations of this highly valued fish and allowing Romans to enjoy the delicacy year round.

Like just about everything else with the Romans, these fish farms were eventually taken to ostentatious and outrageous extremes. The aristocracy spent vast fortunes constructing tanks and pools. Aquaculture became a status symbol. Grand pavilions were built from which to view the fish farms. Some came to regard their fish as pets. For some reasons the Romans seemed to have identified on a personal level with their eels more than with their Loup de Mer. The mother of one emperor is reported to have a pet lamprey on which she hung golden earrings. Another is said to have declared a period of mourning when one of his prize eels turned up dead in the pool.

Although they didn’t bond with their sea bass the way they did with their eels, Romans still valued their Loup de Mer very highly. At banquets, guests used to discuss slight variations in the flavor of their Loup de Mer, the way we do with wines today. Loup de Mer was celebrated with elaborate depictions in mosaics. Preserved bones of the fish have even turned up in sites like Pompeii.