guides him in the making of his seafood salads. “I use less-known fish, or ‘trash fish,’” he says,
which has led him to using redfish. His other secret to profitability is to load salads with “stuff.”
Calling on vegetables, he pickles some, roasts some and uses others raw. “Then you don’t need
as much seafood—maybe 2½- 3 ounces of fish—but the customer is still getting a good salad,”
he says. He slices the fish thin to give the feeling of abundance.
Pond also likes to smoke fish for use in salads, which, to him, adds a meaty element for texture
and flavor in place of bacon. Bluefish, trout and swordfish hold up well to smoking, he says, adding
that meaty fish works best. He brines the fish first.
The trash-fish movement is familiar to and accepted by Dave Becker, chef/owner of Juniper,
Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Sweet Basil, Needham, Massachusetts. “Instead of using cod,
you could use shake or cusk,” he says. “But sooner or later, people will realize it’s really good.
Monkfish was a trash fish. Then people realized it was really good, and it became overfished like
everything else.” With this view, he is all for farm-raised fish.
Mussels are an affordable go-to sea creature for Louis Tikaram, executive chef at E.P. & L.P.,
the main dining room and rooftop bar in the same Los Angeles locale. “There’s a little work
involved with mussels, which is why they are not so big in home kitchens, but when you know how
to cook them, it’s easy,” he says. “They are underutilized in commercial and home kitchens.”
For a hot-and-sour theme, Tikaram makes poached seafood salad with a combination of
squid, mussels and shrimp along with a Thai-inspired red chili nahm jim dressing, cilantro and
mint. He says the lively dressing cuts the intense seafood flavor, providing a beautiful balance.
Coconut poaching liquid is Tikaram’s favorite for mussels and other seafood. He combines
coconut cream, crushed garlic, hot chili peppers, oyster sauce, fish sauce and cilantro root as an
aromatic. Salmon takes well to the poaching liquid. He breaks the fish into chunks and tosses with
green papaya, chili, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, mint and cilantro. He uses the poaching liquid
to dress the salad. “The salmon has such a beautiful and velvety texture and seafood flavor. The
coconut cream binds the salad together. With a squeeze of lime, it’s a beautiful salad,” he says.
Mussels, clams and king mackerel are the reasonably priced specimens Gaupin turns to for
salads. He also is a fan of pompano found in the Gulf of Mexico. “Guests are not going to spend
seafooD salad from the sea
CloCKwise froM lef T:
1) fijian-style snapper ceviche salad
with coconut milk, lime and chili at
e.P. & l.P. 2) Charred octopus salad at
saltwood at loews atlanta hotel.
3) squid salad at area four.
e,fromleft: 1)E.P.&L.P. 2)PhotobySaraHannaPhotography3)AreaFour