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One fish, two fish: blue fish -- and recipe for sustainability

Sustainable bluefish recipe
Sustainable bluefish recipe
Greenporter Hotel

Homegrown chef and sustainable thought leader, Deborah Rivera Pittorino, will present her North Fork bluefish recipes at the American Culinary Federation, Northwest Regional Conference in Warwick, Rhode Island, Monday, April 14th. This year’s conference is dedicated to the issue of Sustainability.

A featured chef in this Examiner’s The Hampton & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook chef Deborah is also a passionate chef devoted to sustainability. "Sustainable cooking is about appreciating your local resources and the North Fork just happens to be in the perfect place for that," said chef Deborah.

Her presentation and demonstration entitled, "Bluefish: The Fish that could change the World" will focus on the inherent sustainability of bluefish as a result of its abundance on the North Fork of Long Island.

It is chef Deborah’s considered culinary opinion that the locally fished bluefish is, curiously, and counter intuitively, under-appreciated due to its abundance.

"Many of my fishing buddies throw Bluefish back as a rule rather than to take it home for dinner and I want to change that," she says with East End enthusiasm.

In a twist on the ancient proverb, “Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish” ... sustainably… and we can preserve our food source and local environment. Chef Deborah will put her plate where her passion is and teach the conference attendees how to season and smoke North Fork bluefish to enjoy as a filet for dinner with a side dish and also how to use it as an alternative to the ever-popular "crab cakes."

As part of the prep and cooking demos, she will demonstrate how the “blue cakes” can be served as an appetizer or main course. Small cakes are a great hors d'oeuvre and can be dipped into the tangy lemon mustard cream, according to chef Deborah.

One fish, two fish, Bluefish: A Sustainable “Crab Cake” Recipe

Smoked Bluefish Croquettes with Lemon Mustard Crème.

Ingredients for smoking bluefish:

  • One medium size bluefish filet or two filets if using snappers
  • 2 tablespoons of hickory chips

  • Foil wrap

  • Salt & pepper
  • Your favorite garden herbs
  • Olive oil


· Take two sheets of aluminum foil and perforate the bottom sheet

· Sprinkle with wood chips and place another sheet on top

· Season filets with salt and pepper to taste

· Lay the fresh herbs on top and drizzle with EVOO

· Place another sheet over the fish and press the ends to form a closed pouch

· Place on grill with cover down for 15 minutes at high heat

· The grill will smoke more than usual and you’ll smell that familiar hickory scent

· Allow to cool to room temperature before crumbling to make the croquettes

Ingredients for making the fish cake:

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 breadcrumbs or crackers of choice as a binder
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh assorted herbs

  • Another ½ cup of breadcrumbs for the coating

  • Salt & pepper

Instructions for mix and cooking:

1. Beat two eggs and set aside

2. Measure out 1/4 cup of any breadcrumbs, ground crackers or matzo.

3. Chop a heaping tablespoon of your favorite herbs and set aside.

4. When ready to make, use large bowl and add the crumbled smoked fish, then add the eggs, then the breadcrumbs and herbs. Be careful to not over mix. 

5. Add 1/8 teaspoon of salt and fresh ground black pepper and taste for seasoning. The mixture should appear to be a thick muffin batter and if you over mix it, your croquettes will be heavy.

6. Heat a flat cast iron skillet to medium high and add drizzle of you favorite oil. Since you are not deep-frying these, you can use EVOO or other cold pressed oil. 

7. Use a cookie sheet and sprinkle the bottom with breadcrumbs. Form your cakes into small cakes and drop onto the cookie sheet. When finished with all the mixture, sprinkle more crumbs on top.

8. Be cautious to not crowd the pan and place your first round in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes on each side and slide on to another cookie sheet to warm up if you are not serving them immediately. Otherwise load right on to your serving platter.

The Lemon Mustard Cream Dip:

1. Add a half pint of crème fraiche to mixing bowl

2. Add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a drizzle of EVOO and the juice of half a lemon

3. Salt and pepper to taste

4. Then empty the contents into a decorative ramekin and place in the center of a serving tray lined with fresh herbs or lettuces and place the croquettes on top

These croquettes are perfectly paired with a glass of Rose or full bodied white wine from the North Fork from any of the 60 vineyards on the North Fork. Check out

Chef Deborah runs a sustainable kitchen where organic produce and local seafood are the backbone of the menu complemented by the selection of regional wines by the glass and garden-inspired seasonal cocktails. Chef Deborah is dedicated to promoting the locally harvested foods and wines of Long Island.

As a "Green" restaurant and hotel, Chef Deborah serves eco-friendly cuisine. As part of this philosophy, the restaurant uses energy-efficient appliances, uses prep time to prepare for multiple meals, uses recycled paper products and participates in a cooking oil recycling program. Chef Deborah's kitchen also uses organic cleaning products and does not use Styrofoam. She also grows her own herbs on site and is also part of a garden cooperative for other vegetables.

The Greenporter Hotel and restaurant are located in the heart of Long Island's North Fork, Greenport.

The restaurant offers local seasonal fare with international inspirations from Chef Deborah's culinary experiences in India, Mexico, France and Spain. She was also inspired by the cuisines of North and West Africa and Brazil.

Chef Deborah is currently working on her first cookbook on seasonal soups, Soups for all Seasons: 50 recipes for Soups, Bisques and Chowders.

To learn more about Chef Deborah, her culinary inspiration and sustainability, order The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook

And subscribe to chef Deborah’s blog, The Seasoned Fork

Can’t be too Sustainable:

Sustainapalooza kicks of in New York tomorrow at the New School. Sustainapalooza is a two-day gathering to celebrate Earth Day at which student leaders and young alumni from around the region will exchange visions for a more just and resilient urban environment.

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