Hannah Klinger Hannah Klinger
February 25, 2013

We were thrilled Friday to join Southern Living for a chat, oyster tasting, and beautiful seafood lunch with Jim Gossen, former president of Louisiana Foods and hero of Gulf seafood.

Jim told us that “sustainable” is more than just a politically correct term to arm yourself with at the fish counter—it’s about working with both small and commercial fishermen to make sure everyone can continue to enjoy what the ocean has to offer.

So, how do we do it?

First, we can ask our chefs to bring on the bycatch—lesser known fish like Mangrove Snapper, Tilefish, and Bluefish that get swept into commercial nets and then tossed back as chum for the birds (and boy, what lucky birds: simply baked with olive oil, salt, and fennel fronds, the snapper was delicate and buttery).

We’ve got to get over our “white fillet of meat” expectation of seafood, and get comfortable with fish cooked whole, maybe with a few bones here and there. (Roasting whole may be the easiest and most delicious way to cook fish—stuff the cavity with sliced lemons and herbs, rub the outside with olive oil, and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes). Or try this simply roasted snapper.

Jim also took us through a whirlwind of oysters from different appellations (a name for celebrated origins like Prince Edward Island or Beau Soleil). We slurped down a range, from giant, meaty oysters out of Galveston Bay to sweet, petite oysters from Northern California. The Gulf oysters were some of the finest specimens—expect to see more appellations, boasting deep shells and briny liquor, from the area soon.

Do you love a lesser-known fish that deserves the spotlight? Tell us in the comments.

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