7th annual Fish Bites event celebrates sustainable seafood

Seafood lovers have a vested interest in the Minnesota Zoo's message: Sustainably sourced fish and fruits de mer are the future -- or else.

At the 7th annual Fish Bites event, this Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, eight Twin Cities chefs will gather to celebrate sustainable seafood and spread the word about how to preserve our favorite, tastiest species.

See also:
Best Seafood Minneapolis 2014: Sea Change Restaurant & Bar

The zoo will welcome chefs from Masu Sushi & Robata, Lancer Catering, Luci Ancora, Butcher & the Boar, Lucia's, Saffron, Smack Shack, and Sea Change to showcase fine sustainable ocean and freshwater dishes. Highlights include a trout pate from Butcher & the Boar; Lucia's smoked whitefish croquette with watercress tartar sauce; a cured Arctic char and chickpea blini from Saffron; Sea Change's Florida trident-speared frog legs with fried chili, cashew, coconut, and lemongrass; and fried Lake Superior Smelt with baby artichoke tapenade from Smack Shack. Lakeville Liquors will offer a variety of sustainable wines to accompany the dishes.

So what makes these particular items sustainable?

"Well, for instance, the frog legs are individually speared. So they go out and use a trident and get them one at a time. Usually when you're catching things one at a time like that it's a lot easier on the population. You're not going through and kind of drag-netting everything that's there," says Keane Amdahl, sustainable seafood coordinator at the Minnesota Zoo and a frequent contributor to Hot Dish. "We generally define sustainable seafood as harvested in ways that not only maintain populations, but are also eco-friendly and don't damage habitats."

For those who want to eat sustainably beyond Thursday's event, Amdahl recommends talking to the person behind the fish counter at your local grocery store to find out more about the sourcing of the products you buy. He also recommends diners and shoppers download the Seafood Watch app, a free app for Android and iPhone with a searchable catalog of species that will tell you whether your seafood selection is a sustainable choice.

This year's Fish Bites event is the biggest yet, with a record number of tickets sold already. But they aren't sold out quite yet. Click here to get your tickets online today for $50 or purchase them tomorrow at the door for $55.

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