On Wednesday, June 24, Paul Greenberg, author of the New York Times best-seller Four Fish, will host the Grand Banks Bait to Plate Lunch — a guided lunch of several lesser-known, yet vital forage fish species in Manhattan — as part of Sustainable Seafood Week New York City, which begins Monday, June 22.
The lunch, featuring a variety of bait species served by chef Kerry Heffernan, will be held between noon and 2 p.m. aboard the S/V Sherman Zwicker, North America’s last sail-powered cod fishing boat, which has since been converted into a floating restaurant at Pier 25 in Manhattan.
Greenberg, who is currently working on a new book on omega-3 supplements, is a noted journalist of aquaculture and sustainability, and recently published an op-ed in The New York Times featuring simple guidelines for eating sustainable seafood: “Eat American seafood. A much greater variety than we currently do. Mostly farmed filter feeders.”
Those rules, Greenberg confirmed, will be in effect at the Grand Banks lunch, which we might consider the aquaculture equivalent of “wastED,” the recent food waste pop-up from chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill.
As for the menu, chef Heffernan told The Daily Meal that guests should except to see species like surf clams, fried whitebait — “which refers to small, often juvenile species such as spearing or even sand eels — which we affectionately call ‘fries with eyes,’” as well as butterfish, sardines, and herring.
“It's interesting how in some of the best sushi restaurants, these species were traditionally the finest and most highly regarded,” said Heffernan. “These things can be found in some of the better fish markets — they are often seasonal and come in great quantity, and then are gone, pretty much.”
As passionate advocates of sustainable seafood, the goal of the luncheon and Sustainable Seafood Week in general is to instill a greater sense of responsibility in Americans as they choose their seafood.
“What we'd like people to do is to start to ask a little more of their fishmonger,” said Heffernan. “Where was that fish caught and how was it caught? Troll, hook and line, and long line gill nets, et cetera. [These questions] will give them a great window into the sustainability of that fishery”