As home cooks look to expand their cooking repertoire, Thierry Rautureau, the Chef in the Hat, has shared some delicious Alaska Pollock recipes that will make you a Top Chef Master.
While he might he known as the Chef in the Hat, Thierry Rautureau is a master in the kitchen. Recently, the James Beard award-winning chef has shared some delicious Alaska Pollock recipes online. As many home cooks are looking to expand their cooking expertise, these fish recipes will impress the foodies in the house.
Foodies know Thierry Rautureau from his popular, award winning Seattle based restaurants Luc and Loulay. Food television fans remember him from his appearance on Top Chef Masters. The French chef is often referred to as the Chef in the Hat. While that reference has nothing to do with Dr. Seuss, there is an adorable story behind the nickname.
Chef Thierry’s wife, Kathleen Encell-Rautureau, gave him a fedora as a Christmas present. Chef always wore that hat. According to the story, a guest saw Chef wearing the hat in the restaurant and called him the Chef in the Hat. Other guests embraced the nickname and Chef Thierry trademarked the phrase. He continues to affectionately be called the Chef in the Hat.
Although Chef Thierry’s Seattle restaurants are currently closed due to the current crisis, he is sharing some delicious recipes via social media. As a supporter of sustainable fish, Chef Thierry believes that the home cook needs to discover Alaska Pollock.
The mild, flakey white fish is a perfect choice for the home cook. Sustainable Alaska Pollock is easy to cook and can adapt to a variety of flavors. From a classic French inspired dish to comforting twist on pho, the Alaska Pollock’s versatility makes it a chef favorite fish.
Recently, FoodSided spoke with Chef Thierry about the importance cooking with sustainable fish, tasty Alaska Pollock recipes and some favorite family dishes. Below is a transcript of that conversation.
Cristine Struble: Alaska Pollock is sustainable fish — why should cooks focus on using sustainable fish in their recipes?
Chef Thierry Rautureau: All cooks and chefs are stewards of the earth with the ingredients they choose. If you stay aware of what is sustainable and act on it, you are helping the planet rather than depleting it. It is fairly easy to be better to the planet, even by starting small. Using Wild Alaska Pollock is a good start toward that movement. Take care of the earth and it will take care of you.
CS: There is an old saying, what grows together, goes together. Can Alaska Pollock be paired with any seasonable produce?
Chef Thierry: Seasonal produce and Wild Alaska Pollock are easy to marry. Wild Alaska Pollock is mild in flavor and, therefore, is easy to pair with many fresh local and seasonal produce.
In eastern Washington, asparagus is coming in season – that’s how we know spring is here! Asparagus, peas and young greens – like spinach and kale – are all super fabulous choices for pairing with Wild Alaska Pollock. Cut these ingredients into small pieces and sauté with salt and pepper. Top the season greens with your baked or pan-fried pollock and you have a wonderful lunch. You could also blanch the greens and puree them to use in a soup, and then cook the pollock gently in the soup.
CS: Some people shy away from cooking fish at home because they fear over cooking or cooking it incorrectly — is there an easy way to overcome the fear of cooking fish at home?
Chef Thierry: Only cooks who try things will fail. Pollock is an affordable and friendly fish to cook; baked, steamed or pan-fried. Get in the kitchen and give it a shot.
CS: Alaska Pollock offers a lot of versatility in recipes, what flavors enhance the texture and mild flavor of the fish?
Wild Alaska Pollock is not strong in flavor, like salmon. That’s what makes it a great vessel for your favorite seasonings and flavors.
This week I’m releasing a new recipe video, in partnership with the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers, where I’ll show you how to gently smoke Wild Alaska Pollock at home. The fish absorbs the flavor quickly and works beautifully in a classic French tartine, where I’ll take the smoked and crumbled pollock, some pickled vegetables and goat cheese, and spread it on sliced grilled bread.
CS: If a novice cook wanted to cook Alaskan Pollock for the first time, what is an easy, approachable recipe that she could easily master?
If you’re afraid to overcook fish, I suggest starting with a recipe like Baked Alaska Pollock with Olive Tapenade, which is a mixture of chopped olives and herbs. I like this method because the fish bakes with the tapenade, which works as a nice covering to protect the filet from drying out. I use this same strategy for fish and meats on the barbecue.
CS: In your restaurants, many of your dishes are based on family recipes and French comfort food. Why do you think that home cooks are drawn to these types of recipes during this current climate?
Nothing tastes better than flavors from childhood memories. Many of the dishes we cook at Luc and Loulay are based on my childhood experiences and bring back the great flavors of that time along with the warmth and comfort you get from a home meal. I think most folks are really looking for that experience. My mama is a great cook and taught me; cooking is not brain surgery, it is a passion and a commitment. Family recipes and comfort food is where we go back in time of uncertainty. Hopefully that will not go away.
Are you ready to start cooking some Alaska Pollock recipes? With a little help from Thierry Rautureau, the Chef in the Hat, your dinner will impress all the foodies in your house.