In honor of our upcoming sustainable seafood Fresh Thoughts dinner in Baltimore, we sat down with featured chef, Mark Miranda of the Rusty Scupper, to get the scoop on how the sustainable dining movement is influencing the dining scene in Baltimore.
A chef for more than 30 years, Markl Miranda has served the Rusty Scupper's renowned Maryland crab cakes and seafood to some of the Monument City's most monumental appetites. In doing so, Miranda has also shared his passion for preserving the ecology and economy of our community by upholding his restaurant's commitment to serving only the best quality, sustainable seafood.
National Aquarium: What's your favorite sustainable seafood ingredient to cook?
Mark Miranda: My favorite sustainable seafood to cook with is the Stripped Bass, better known as Rockfish. Rockfish is a local favorite that is very versatile. It can be prepared in a variety of ways. The Rockfish population is thriving, not only in our area but also throughout the world.
NA: How is sustainable seafood playing a role in Baltimore's dining scene?
MM: As people become more aware and knowledgeable about sustainable seafood, they are paying more attention to restaurants and establishments that use sustainable seafood ingredients. Customers want to be sure they are supporting environmentally friendly practices so many are choosing restaurants that offer dishes prepared with sustainable seafood. Using sustainable seafood not only helps to build our business, it also allows us to give back to the environment.
NA: What's the biggest challenge when it comes to cooking sustainably?
MM: There really are no challenges in cooking with sustainable seafood. However, if you say you are using sustainable seafood, you must be sure the items are sustainable and stick to using them. Sometimes products can be misleading, so you must pay close attention to the sources of the ingredients to make sure the product is truly sustainable.
NA: In 2013, what is one sustainable seafood ingredient you hope to see more of in restaurants (including your own)?
MM: I really enjoy preparing dishes that incorporate the Basa fish. It is similar to the catfish and growing in popularity. The Basa fish can be prepared in a variety of ways—from grilling and sautéing to frying and blackened. When choosing to prepare Basa, it is important that you look for the fish to be U.S. farm-raised as it is farmed in a more ecologically responsible manner than those imported from Asia.