Monday, April 28, 2014

The Hawthornes Attend Cooking Class At The North Carolina Aquarium With Chef Andy Montero.

As you know, I love our cooking classes
at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

I always learn something.

Last week, Chef Andy Montero
 of Montero's Restaurant in Elizabeth City, NC,
was the presenter.

I've always loved his presentations.
Chef Montero has a big personality,
enjoys what he does,
and always asks for audience input.
He's fun to watch.
He's entertaining.
He's informative.
He's an educamation.

Before any presentation,
Aquarium Instructor Beth Wilcox
always explains about whatever fish we're having.
Today, it's yellowfin tuna.
And I loves me some tuna.
Yellowfin tuna is the top tuna harvested by US fishermen in the Atlantic.  It's a fast-growing fish that reproduces at an early age, producing millions of offspring - a necessary trait to help them withstand heavy fishing.  As one of the top three seafood items sold in the US, tuna is in high demand and many populations are declining.  Yellowfin is caught with many types of gear - troll, pole, longline, and purse seine gear; however, not all yellowfin fisheries use ocean-friendly methods. The best choice is yellowfin caught by troll or pole - that is the most sustainable option.  With pole or troll gear, there is little or no bycatch.  Longlines and seines result in large quantities of bycatch, including threatened or endangered species such as sea turtles, bluefin tuna, billfish, sharks, and seabirds.  In US longline fisheries, as opposed to international fisheries, fishermen abide by a number of measures that reduce the fisheries' impact on other species.  For example,the mandatory use of special hooks and baits is required to reduce bycatch.  Also, the fisherman carry gear and are trained in handling techniques to dehook species and safely return them to the water.  US fisheries are monitored for bycatch ensuring the fishermen responsibly harvest yellowfin.  Sustainable seafood is what it's all about.

Our first offering is Tuna Poke, pronounced POH-kay),
a Hawaiian dish of raw fish doused in seasonings.

Tuna Poke
4 oz. tuna, fresh, raw, small dice
1 TB Sushi sauce
dash sesame oil
1/8 tsp sesame seed, white
1/8 tsp sesame seed, black
1/4 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp chives, minced (Reserve tops for garnish.)
1/2 tsp lime juice
pita points

Mix all ingredients except pita points and chive tops.
Mix well to incorporate flavors.
Serve atop pita points and garish with chive tops.
Serve immediately.

I loved this.
So much so, that after eating my allotted two tuna pokes
that were served to me,
and staring at the platter in front of Chef Montero
containing the remaining 5 tuna pokes
while he worked on the next dishes,
I finally got up in the middle of class,
walked up front and
announced to my classmates
that they all had their chance to get one
and I was taking one.
After that, three more women got up and grabbed a poke.

I learned something new - Sushi Sauce.
Chef Montero recommends Yoma Brand, not Kikkoman.
I haven't seen this in stores,
but I'll look for it next time I'm at the Teeter or Fresh Market.
At any rate, both Mr. Hawthorne and I
tasted the Sushi Sauce right out of the squeeze bottle
and we can duplicate it -
Tamari, mirin, sake, honey.
I meant to ask Chef Montero what kind of pita crisps those are.
They're really good.
I'll have to look for them too.

ETA: Chef Montero answered my email.
The pits are Kontos brand pita rounds.

Remember I said there were five remaining pokes
and I grabbed one and three others came up to grab a poke.
Why do people always leave one appetizer or cookie on a platter?
Look at the poor sad little poke on the platter up there.
Well ...
when I went up to get my plate of bronzed tuna,
 citrus slaw, and couscous ...
... you better believed I snagged that little bugger!

I loved the slaw.
Anytime I have a slaw without mayonnaise
I am happy.
This was tangy and refreshing.

Citrus Slaw
1/4 head cabbage, shredded
1 tsp each lime, lemon, and orange zest
4 TB orange/lime/lemon juice mixture
2 TB honey
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red onion, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
pinch granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste

The bronzed tuna was coated in equal amounts 
of blackening seasoning and brown sugar.
It was seared in a minimal amount of oil in a sauté pan.

Hot vegetable stock was poured over
couscous, shredded carrot, sliced grape tomatoes,
sliced red onion, granulated garlic, salt and pepper.
Cover for 15 minutes or so.
Fluff with fork and sprinkle fresh oregano over top.

I'd throw some butter on it!

Thank you Chef Montero
for an informative and enjoyable presentation and great food!

As always, the turtles are happy to see me.

Here are some more denizens of the aquarium.

If  you have a chance,


Catherine said...

Looks like a nice class and fun.
The aquarium looks like a great way to spend a day.
Blessings Rosie, Catherine xo

Rosie Hawthorne said...

We enjoyed it very much, Catherine. Always fun!

Marilyn said...

That looks so good!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

'twas, Marilyn!