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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sustainable Seafood is Easy with Real Good Fish

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge Channel Island Ridgeback prawn ceviche - ALI WUNDERMAN
  • Ali Wunderman
  • Channel Island Ridgeback prawn ceviche
When Sir Francis Drake first laid his eyes upon the San Francisco Bay, he was rumored to have remarked that it was so clear, he could see straight down to the bottom.

The opacity of our beloved body of water may have changed since then, but believe it or not, the life inside of it has continued to flourish. This ranges from edible life like nori seaweed, anchovies, and shrimp, to sightseeing wonders like great white sharks, humpback whales, and other marine mammals.

As the disconnect between urban eaters and agriculture grows, issues like overfishing become the standard, and go unnoticed by the layperson. In general, San Francisco may be more aware of these sorts of things than most cities, but there remains a tremendous amount of effort that needs to take place in order to staunch and then reverse the damage done to our oceans.

Real Good Fish is a community supported fishery with pick-up sites throughout Northern California, including Sausalito, and they're working to do exactly that. That's why they and Davey Jones Deli partnered with the crew of the Freda B to host a sustainable seafood sailing trip around the Bay over Memorial Day Weekend, which I had the chance to attend (along with about 20 others).

click to enlarge ALI WUNDERMAN
  • Ali Wunderman
Initially, I was really excited to have the opportunity to sing sea shanties; I was even able to convince one of the sympathetic sailors to join me briefly, to no one's entertainment but my own.

It was a good day for sailing, with plenty of powerful gusts to propel the beautiful schooner around Angel Island. Feeling the salt wind in my hair as harbor porpoises played in the Freda B’s wake was nothing short of fantastic, helping me properly appreciate the Bay-based meal that was about to come.

While I sipped wine and considered whether or not I’m too old for a career in the Navy, Real Good Fish’s captivating Maria Finn was busy at work below deck with Chef DR Jones of Davey Jones Deli, who sports a Gavin Newsom-level of handsomeness. The pair almost outshined the food.

click to enlarge Marin Miyagi Oysters - ALI WUNDEMRAN
  • Ali Wundemran
  • Marin Miyagi Oysters
One by one, we were delivered a bevy of delicious and innovative seafood dishes. First there were fresh Marin Miyagi oysters served in an adorable mini canoe whose seaworthiness I questioned. Next came an anchovy dipping sauce prepared with crudités, which easily challenged the strange notion that anchovies are exclusively available in canned form, where they've earned a reputation of stinkiness.

The Channel Island Ridgeback prawn ceviche brought back memories of the Caribbean, even though they originated quite a bit closer. The wind threatened to take all the herring bottarga-based Aphrodite salad away, but fortunately it was so good no one had it in their hands for long. I recognized the seaweed in the cornbread from the rocks at Muir Beach, where I’ve previously been foraging. I should mention it was made with uni butter, which was uni-believable (sorry, not sorry).

Toward the end of our trip, the team served black cod chowder and California King salmon sliders, both deep sea fish that can be interchanged based on the season. They were cooked to perfection, preserving the unique flavors of each, and frankly tasted way more fresh than most store-bought stuff I've had. I’m not going to go on about the four or five brown butter cardamom cookies that I stuffed in my face after all that.

Suffice it to say, there is a tremendous variety of seafood available at our fingertips, no importing necessary. The word “sustainable” gets thrown around a lot these days, but what I saw for myself on this trip is that species and ecosystem eradication are possible to avoid when buying from local fisherpeople who fish only what’s available at the time. Just to be sure I've learned that lesson, I'll have to check out the beer version of this sailing trip during the fall.

Find more information on how to support sustainable fishing practices at Real Good Fish.

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Ali Wunderman


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