Please extend a warm Seafoodie welcome to a very special Dish on Fish guest! To help celebrate National Pescatarian Month, we’re catching up with our friend and leading seafood expert Chef Barton Seaver. When we last chatted with Chef Seaver, he dished about his favorite ways to prepare seafood at home (including the toaster oven!), so we wanted to share more of his easy, real-life tips for getting seafood on the table more often.
Seafood has always been Chef Seaver’s passion. He’s a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef who worked at top seafood restaurants in Washington, D.C., before becoming an author, educator and advocate for sustainable seafood. His extensive seafood resumé includes traveling the world with National Geographic, directing the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health and serving as a member of the U.S. Culinary Ambassador Corp. Chef Seaver’s insights on sustainability and public health have made him an in-demand speaker, contributor, television personality and TED presenter. He’s written seven books on seafood including The Joy of Seafood and also is the founder of the Coastal Culinary Academy in Portland, Maine.
In short, you could say Barton is the ultimate Seafoodie! But he’s also a busy parent who relies on back-pocket recipes and time-saving tips, just like the rest of us. Let’s hear what he has to say about going pescatarian!
If you had 30 minutes, any seafood and up to five additional ingredients, what would you prepare, and how?
Several good glugs of olive oil and as much garlic as you care for. Sauté until golden brown. Add in a couple dried chiles, a can of San Marzano tomatoes and mash it up. Put in a couple pieces of whatever seafood you’ve got. Bring it to a simmer and put a lid on it. Turn it off after about 15 minutes and let it sit. Perfect every time.
When you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing meal, what seafood dish always does the trick?
I love to put out a whole side of smoked salmon. I’ve always found that the gathering, the initial milling about, snacking, is my favorite part of an event and to extend that period, I’ll sometimes go ahead and put the centerpiece of the meal right there inside the front door. Smoked salmon is something I think we too often have too little of, and being generous with a whole side is a really great way to welcome people.
What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate seafood into breakfast?
Of course I’ll slap some smoked salmon on a piece of toast, but more often than not, seafood breakfast dishes require more forethought than I have these days (i.e., smoked trout quiche). In the a.m. you’ll often find me popping open a can of sardines and topping it with hot sauce for a mid-morning snack. And I’ve always found that the convenience of canned seafood is unparalleled.
How do you get kids (of all ages) to love seafood?
I’ve got two boys (ages 1 and 5). Well, their dad is the coolest person ever, and their dad really likes seafood. But in seriousness, seafood has always been front and center, and we involve them in the process: taking them to the market, letting them select what they want to try. Familiarity begets confidence. And it’s their confidence and willingness to try whatever that’s made it easier to have seafood so often.
What advice would you give budding pescatarians who are trying to get more seafood into their diets?
Have a well-stocked freezer. Frozen seafood is now comparable to the best of the fresh case, and shifting your purchasing of seafood to view it as a convenience food—always on hand and able to be bought in bulk—flips the script and makes it the thing you reach for first on a hectic night.