Acadian redfish is a slow-growing, slow-reproducing fish that is also known as ocean perch. It shouldn’t be confused with Gulf redfish, which are a type of drum.
Acadian redfish numbers hit an all-time low in the mid-1980s. But under improved management the population has rebounded. Today, the species is under Sector management, a modified catch share, as part of the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. Not only have Sectors helped redfish return to sustainability, they’re also beginning to encourage innovation. For example, a group of researchers and fishermen have joined forces to create REDNET, an ongoing research program to determine management measures that can yield the highest long term benefit to this fish and the fishermen who catch them.
Redfish had no problem finding markets in the 1930s and ‘40s, when it was a critical source of protein for the armed services. Since returning to abundance more recently, however, new seafood markets have been slow to emerge. Fishermen are catching less than half of the 15 million pounds they are allowed to sustainably harvest—due in large part to low consumer demand. At its current low price of about 50 to 60 cents a pound, fishermen need to bring in hefty hauls to make the effort worthwhile. If domestic fishermen can sell redfish into more stable and valuable markets, they will have an incentive to fish less, and preserve the resource for future.
This versatile fish is lean, flaky and moist.
CHEF RICHARD GARCIA
YIELD: 12 PORTIONS
8 oz dried Maine Yellow Eyed beans soaked overnight (any dried white bean will work)
3 oz slab bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
2 tbsp olive oil blend
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 pieces celery, medium dice
2 medium onions, medium dice
3 carrots, peeled and medium dice
8 cups lobster stock (or good quality fish stock)
1 white potato cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup winter squash medium dice (butternut, red kuri etc)
15 oz canned plum tomatoes drained and chopped½ cup shredded Savoy cabbage
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
6 oz kale rough chopped
8 oz cooked Maine lobster, cut into bite-sized pieces
8 oz Gulf Of Maine Acadian red fish fillets, boneless/skinless cut into 1×1 chunks and sautéed until cooked
8 oz Gulf Of Maine Pollock boneless/skinless cut into 1×1 chunks and sautéed until cooked
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Cook the soaked beans in water until they are just tender. Reserve.
2. Using a large, heavy soup pot, fry the bacon in the olive oil. Add the garlic, stirring and cooking until it starts to just brown. Add the chopped celery, onion, and carrots, stirring and cooking until the vegetables start to soften. Stir in the lobster stock and bring the mixture to a boil.
3. Add the potatoes and squash and cook until they start to soften, then stir in the beans, plum tomatoes, Savoy cabbage, kale and basil. Simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper.
4. When ready to serve, bring the soup to just under a boil and stir in the fish and Maine lobster and cook over gentle heat until seafood is warmed through. .
Serving Suggestion: Transfer to soup bowls and sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of fresh parmesan cheese on top. Serve.
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