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The lingcod fisheries off the coast, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound are producing good results for anglers pursuing one of the best tasting white-fleshed fish in the sea.

In this week’s Seafood Recipe of the Week, executive chef Tristan Chalker of El Gaucho in Bellevue has a lingcod recipe that will wow friends at your next dining experience.

El Gaucho chef Tristan Chalker. Photo courtesy of El Gaucho Restaurants.
El Gaucho chef Tristan Chalker. Photo courtesy of El Gaucho Restaurants.

Chalker grew up in Vero Beach, Florida, and at age 12, started in a friend’s bakery by prepping and doing dishes. He went on to be a prep cook at Dodgertown, the L.A. Dodger’s spring training camp. After traveling around the country, Chalker landed in Seattle where he met Chef Peter Levine at Bluwater Bistro. Chalker moved to open Geraldine’s Counter in Columbia City, and in June of 2006 he rejoined Levine at Troiani, one of El Gaucho Hospitality’s former restaurants.

After Troiani closed, Chalker was promoted to Sous Chef at AQUA in 2010, then left serve as a chef aboard a yacht. He eventually returned to AQUA in February 2014 as Sous Chef, and recently became promoted to executive chef.

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Chalker enjoys the outdoors life the Pacific Northwest has to offer and enjoys snowboarding, camping and hiking.

A lingcod sits on the deck of the boat Sensei with Island Guide Services.
A lingcod sits on the deck of the boat Sensei with Island Guide Services.

Word on lingcod fishing

Lingcod fishing off the coast at Westport, Ilwaco, La Push and Neah Bay has been excellent when the weather and ocean conditions allow charter and private boats to hit the fishing grounds.

In Puget Sound it has been a little tougher to catch them but anglers continue to find fair action for lingcod off Possession Bar on the south side of Whidbey Island; along the breakwaters at Elliott Bay, Shilshole and Edmonds marinas; Point Evans; south of Hat Island; southeast of Alki Point near the green buoys; and Toliva Shoals. In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the one of the most productive spots is Neah Bay on the exposed underwater banks, the green can buoy in front of Wadaah Island, as well as the shoreline heading west toward Tatoosh Island.

Lingcod fishing is open through mid-June from Sekiu to Port Angeles in the Strait, San Juan Islands and all of Puget Sound (closed in Hood Canal). The ocean lingcod fishery is open through mid-October.

Coming up

This season we will also have recipes and advice on how to cook up and dish out a wide variety of local seafood from a full line up of chefs at Maria Hines’ Tilth Restaurant including executive chef Joel Panlilio; Abby Canfield and Agrodolce restaurants owned Chef Maria Hines; Chef Taichi Kitamura, owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura; Chef Shota Nakajima, owner of Adana; Executive Chef Paul Duncan at Ray’s Boathouse Restaurant chefs; Head Chef Pat Donahue and other chefs at Anthony’s Restaurants; Executive Chefs Tristan Chalker, Ken Sharp, Jonathan Garcia, Jesus Boites and Wesley Hood from El Gaucho and AQUA by El Gaucho; Jason Wilson, owner of Miller’s Guild, The Lakehouse and Civility & Unrest; Chef Ben Godwin at RN74; Chef Jun Takai from Shiro’s Sushi; Chef Maximillian Petty from Eden Hill Restaurant; and Salvador Panelo owner of Seattle Fish Guys Seafood Market in Seattle.

Recipes will be posted every Wednesday and/or Thursday. Also, if you have a recipe you’d like to reel-in my way, please let me know and I will post them, and will even test it out with my family and friends.

Photo courtesy of El Gaucho Restaurants.
Photo courtesy of El Gaucho Restaurants.

Alaskan Lingcod with Mussels, Horseradish Creamed Spinach and Potatoes

Ingredients:

Four 8 ounce portions of fresh lingcod, skin removed

10 ounces of mussels, rinsed

One russet potato (approximately 12 ounces) peeled, diced and held in cold water

16 fluid ounces of heavy whipping cream

12 ounces of fresh spinach, washed

4 teaspoons of prepared horseradish

3 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

3 fluid ounces of clarified butter or canola oil

Kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal brand)

Fresh cracked black pepper

Johnny Zelepuza, deckhand on the Slammer, hoists a 30-pound lingcod caught off Westport.
Johnny Zelepuza, deckhand on the Slammer, hoists a 30-pound lingcod caught off Westport.

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Directions for the potatoes

Place diced potatoes in a medium sized sauce pot. Cover with water and place on stove over high heat. When water is to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook the potatoes until they are fork tender (you don’t want mashed potatoes!) approximately 8 minutes. Immediately drain and cool the potatoes and set aside.

Directions for the lingcod

Season the Lingcod with salt and pepper. Set aside. Place a large sauté pan over high heat. Add your butter or oil. Wait until the pan begins to smoke and then sear the lingcod potions on one side for 2 minutes or until a deep brown crust develops. Flip the lingcod, drain excess oil and finish in the oven for approximately 8 minutes to 130 degrees.

Directions for the mussels and spinach

While fish is cooking, place a large sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the heavy cream and mussels. As the cream begins to boil the mussels will pop open. Remove the mussels as they open and set aside. When all mussels are done add the potatoes and spinach to the cream. Cook over medium heat until the spinach has wilted. Add the horseradish, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To plate

Put the spinach and potato mixture into bowls. Place fish on top. Artfully place the mussels around the fish. Serve immediately.

(Serves four people)