Summer is here and Mar Vista's Summer Wine Special is back! We are excited to offer our locals and summer visitors a complimentary bottle of Manager's Select wine. Just come by boat or car to this gem of a real Florida dining spot and receive a bottle of wine when you purchase two lunch or dinner entrees.
What better to compliment a beautiful view of Sarasota Bay while you sit inside the quaint dining room, outside on the covered deck or under the canopy of ancient Buttonwood trees than a bottle of wine and a delicious meal made from locally sourced and sustainable seafood, produce and land fare.
Come experience Florida dining the way it was meant to be.
Mar Vista can't be beat!
To receive offer, just print or show this coupon to one of our Mar Vista team members.
This is a recent Bradenton Herald column written by Ed Chiles.
What the “Blue Economy” Can Mean for Manatee County
“Houston, we have a problem!” It’s not just a local problem or a national problem….. It’s an international one. Fortunately, the problem is also an opportunity for us locally. It’s an opportunity to create tremendous economic development in our area while honoring our heritage and speaking to our values. It’s an opportunity to be a model for other coastal communities around the world and to do so in a sustainable and environmentally sensitive way.
The problem is - How are we going to supply the growing world population the high quality protein that we all want and need? And what are we going to do to address the huge imbalances we have when it comes to our seafood supply?
Here are a few sobering facts. We are importing ninety plus percent of the seafood that we are consuming in the U.S. today. Half of what we import is farm raised and comes primarily from Asia. The top three imported seafood items are shrimp, tilapia and salmon. Today the U.S. is supplying one percent of the aquaculture that is produced worldwide. China is 30 years ahead of us in this regard.
Here is the opportunity - We live in the only area in the country that has three national estuaries on our borders: Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay and Charlotte Harbor. We are, in many regards, the nursery for the Gulf of Mexico and we all know with today’s challenges, and the events of recent years, the gulf needs all the help it can get. We are blessed to have an abundance of wild seafood resources. The finest grey striped mullet in the world, Spanish mackerel, grouper, red snapper, amberjack, sardines, octopus and stone crabs just to name a few. The opportunity is to better utilize those resources and in doing so capture a higher economic value. Wild, organic seafood is in demand yet we have a situation where we see tremendous underutilization of the number one seafood resource out of our area - grey striped mullet. Indeed, on occasion, in years where there are heavy mullet runs we see males thrown overboard only to wash up on our beaches and in our canals.
We are fortunate to have one of the oldest continual fishing villages in the state of Florida in Cortez. The opportunity is to change the business model there from one that is in large part a commodity based model and can and should be more oriented to a value added based model. Seth Cripe and I have tried to demonstrate a model for doing just that by starting the Anna Maria Fish Company. We take the roe from the grey striped mullet that our area is famous for internationally but that is unfortunately too often underappreciated here at home and we finish it. Instead of shipping it all the way across the world in 30,000 pound containers at an average of $10.00 a pound we cure the roe here, pay the fisherman a higher value and create a gourmet product that we can sell for up to $90.00 a pound.
We have the ability to expand on this and capture more value by processing our local seafood in a value added way. Fresh packing, canning, curing, smoking, drying and pickling not only mullet but amberjack, mackerel and octopus. Because when is the last time you were in a market and you didn’t see canned sardines and salmon, herring, smoked oysters and clams in three and a half ounce tins and it’s all from some other country. Mullet and a lot of our other local seafood resources are high in omega three fats that can be processed into valuable oils. The waste stream from our local seafood production can be turned into valuable sustainable fish meal or fertilizer.
Additionally, we can seize the opportunity to be a model for bivalve aquaculture. Many people are not aware of the fact that this is ground zero for growing clams. Clams have tremendous value as a high quality protein source that, unlike most other aquaculture products, has no detrimental environmental effect but indeed is very beneficial to the environment as a filter feeder with each bivalve filtering ten gallons of water a day, while also promoting the development of sea grass in the areas where they are planted.
The fact that we have one of the foremost bivalve experts in the world, Curt Hemmel, living and working in our community is another great asset. Curt produces the majority of the clam seed for the whole eastern seaboard and also does oyster and scallop seed production which are other environmentally friendly opportunities with huge economic potential. Couple that with the horsepower that Dr. Michael Crosby and Mote Marine Laboratory bring to the table in terms of advances in the science and production of aquaculture as demonstrated in the development of their Siberian sturgeon farming and caviar operation as well as their work with other marine species like red fish, pompano and flounder. Then mix in private investment by Healthy Earth, a venture capital private equity group, that has purchased Mote’s sturgeon and caviar operation and partnered with our Anna Maria Fish Company to scale up the value added seafood production that I have been discussing and you have a recipe for sustainable economic development of our Blue Economy in a way that speaks to our values and our heritage. Now bring in the Gulf Coast Community Foundations half a million dollar X Prize challenge to call one and all to develop proposals to address these issues and you can see a community that is moving forward to address the challenges of how we feed the burgeoning world population and how to do it in an environmentally conscious manner.
To learn more about the X Prize challenge go to: http://www.gulfcoastcf.org/news/2015/02/24/gulf-coast-launches-500000-innovation-challenge/
Mullet are getting fat this time of year. The important part is how you treat your fish. If you catch them or have someone who will do it for you make sure you break their necks right after they are caught and the plunge the whole fish into a nice iced brine. This will set the filets up beautifully. If you don’t want to bother come out to any of our restaurants and will serve you great fresh mullet beautifully prepared.
Here are some of my favorite ways to cook them:
1. Mullet fingers.
• Scale and filet the mullet. I prefer to leave the skin on as there is a lovely layer of fat between it and the filet.
• Cut into fingers
• Dip in an egg wash and then dredge lightly in flour and cornmeal. I/3 flour 2/3 corn meal. Fry lightly in canola oil and serve with lemon and tartar sauce if you wish.
2. Skin on mullet fillet.
• Scale the whole mullet and filet both sides leaving the skin on
• Squeeze some fresh orange juice and lime juice on the filets.
• Sprinkle some good sea salt and some fresh ground pepper and rub it with a little olive oil.
• Sear it skin down in a hot pan.
• Cook it skin down for a couple of minutes and then turn it for a minute or so. Don’t overcook.
• Serve with a wedge of lemon and lime.
Lionfish: King of the Menu at Beach House
It’s a venomous predator known to ravage local Florida reefs and destroy surrounding ecosystems, but, thanks to restaurants like the Beach House, a (delicious) solution to the Lionfish problem threatening the Gulf has been found. And, it involves serving the fish alongside roasted vegetable cous cous.
Though the Lionfish is known for its frightening appearance – thanks to its bright vertical stripes, expansive fan-like fins and 18 venomous spines (used in defense) – diners should not be fooled. They are much more delicious than they are dangerous, posing no threat to the humans who eat them.
And, in serving Lionfish in his restaurant, owner Ed Chiles is also contributing to the solution and getting these predators, who are known to wipe out entire populations of sea creatures, out of the wild.
It is thought that the non-native fish was first introduced to the Gulf (and surrounding bodies of water) in the 1980’s by those realizing it made for a terrible aquarium tenant, eating all other reef fish it came into contact with and stinging its owners during aquarium cleanings. And, since then it has surely made its presence known.
That’s because Lionfish produces upwards of 30,000 eggs at one time. And, with no known predators, the fish has been spreading along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf and Caribbean, jeopardizing the populations of many other fish it comes into contact with, specifically the snapper.
Because the Lionfish lurks towards the bottom of the ocean, it’s tricky to catch and is most often caught in lobster traps or by spear only. This means catching it can be far less lucrative for fisherman than it is for other species, which exacerbates the problem.
Once caught, however, the Lionfish is a treat. It’s light and delicate, and is another healthy and tasty fish on the Beach House menu.
In serving the Lionfish (pan seared with roasted vegetable cous cous, Basil and Red Curry infused Olive Oil at the Beach House) Chiles, who is currently the only local restaurateur offering the pervasive and evasive fish, is also working to increase demand, which will aid in the continued removal of the species from the Gulf and further alleviation of the problems it causes
And, as Chef Will explains, diners should not fear the venom found in the Lio fish’s spikes. The fish’s meat is separated from where the venom is stored (in its spine) and cooking renders the venom harmless, meaning the Lion fish poses no threat to those who order it.
Still not sold on the spikey seafood delicacy? Beach House is now offering samples on a limited basis and serving it as an entrée while it is still available. In trying it out, not only will you be introduced to a new unique dish, but you’ll be helping to preserve the nearby gulf. So, you are officially out of excuses to not give Lion fish a taste during your next visit!
Hungry for more? The Chiles Restaurant Group is constantly looking to source the best fresh seafood available while also educating our guests on local sustainable seafood items. For information about other products and projects, including grey striped mullet, Mount Cook Salmon, Open Blue Cobia, locally-grown middleneck clams, sunray clams and more, check out our blog.
Pan Seared Lion Fish
by Beach House Chef Will Manson
2 - 4 6 oz. portions of filleted Lion Fish
3 oz. Olive Oil
Israeli Cous Cous
Mixture of sauteed vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste
Basil/Red Curry infused Olive Oil
Lightly season Lion Fish on both sides with salt and pepper
Sear skin side down for 2 -3 minutes or until light brown depending on thickness of fish
Flip and sear skin side until skin is crispy
Prepare vegetable Cous Cous
Mix vegetable stock with Cous Cous in a 1:1.25 ratio.
Place fish over vegetable Cous Cous mixture
Drizzle with a basil, red curry infused olive oil