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Raleigh puts the focus on eating N.C.seafood with Winter Seafood Jubilee

Calms are available in N.C. in the winter
Calms are available in N.C. in the winter
Kim Alexander

2014 may be the year of the horse, but February in Raleigh, N.C. is the month for local, fresh seafood. Locals Seafood, a seafood distributor who sales seafood caught solely by N.C. fisherman, has established the state's first Winter Seafood Jubliee.

"Our goal is to let the public know that N.C.seafood is not seasonal. It's available year-round for foodies to enjoy," remarked Amanda Miller of Locals Seafood. "With the help of social media influencers and local chefs, we will be able to introduce the public to species of fish that are N.C. caught, but are not as well-known."

Miller is referring to fish such as mullet, dogfish, ribbonfish, triggerfish, black sea bass, sturgeon, wild-caught catfish caught from the Albemarle sound, oysters, clams, and much more.

"So much is available from our N.C. fishermen this time of year, but you have to remember that all of our seafood is fresh off the boat so you must buy based on a seasonal chart, " commented Miller. "Unfortunately, you can't ask for fresh shrimp in February. It simply is not available."

The Winter Seafood Jubilee kicked off online at the beginning of February with the “3 on 3 at the Winter Seafood Jubilee”. Locals engaged three Triangle social media foodie gurus to participate, Kim Alexander (@triLocalista), Kristen Baughman (@knbaughman), and Johanna Kramer (@durhamfoodie).

Each social media foodie was responsible for one week, and they were given three different species of winter seafood. Their task was to prepare each product three different ways, and chronicle their culinary journey via three social media platforms of their choosing.

Kim Alexander prepared a scrumptious dish this week using ribbonfish. As part of the campaign, her recipe is now on her blog, Triangle Localista. She also cooked with fresh clams during the week.

“3 on 3 is the epitome of what Locals is all about - introducing folks everywhere to fresh, local seafood that may or may not already be on their radar," says Locals owner, Lin Peterson. "We’re grateful that the social media community is eager to participate.”

Local chefs in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area are Locals biggest customers, and these culinary experts are used to working with different types of seafoods daily. Three restaurants will host a dining event featuring a variety of winter seafood to conclude the month's Winter Seafood Jubilee.

On Thursday, February 20 at 6:30 p.m., Mandolin Restaurant in Raleigh hosts a four-course winter seafood feast featuring a different item in every course. The price is $49 per person. Reservations required, please call Mandolin at (919) 322-0365.

On Wednesday, February 26 at 5:30 p.m. til closing, Oakleaf Restaurant in Pittsboro will offer a supplemental Winter Seafood Jubilee menu in addition to their regular menu that evening with a selection of small plates under $20 featuring winter seafood items. Reservations encouraged but not required, please call Oakleaf at (919) 533-6303.

According to Chef Brendan Cox at Oakleaf, "If we're truly dedicated to seasonality, it cannot begin and end with produce but must include our fisheries. Everything including fish and shellfish tastes better in its time."

On Thursday, February 27 at 6:00 pm, Carolina Crossroads in the Carolina Inn invites guests to attend a cooking class in the Piedmont Room highlighting Chef James Clark’s techniques preparing three types of winter seafood. The event features the beers of Durham’s Fullsteam Brewery, with founder Sean Lilly Wilson on hand to speak to the importance of seasonal, local sourcing.

For the first hour, guests will enjoy pickled shrimp & yucca, flounder brandade croquette, crispy oysters with country ham leek reduction and sturgeon poached in duck fat olive tapenade.

Then at 7:00 pm, Chef Clark will provide a three-part cooking demonstration featuring cold smoked sunburst trout with roasted beets, North Carolina apples, frisse and horseradish vinaigrette; “Full” steamed clams served with cilantro, anaheim chilies, Spanish chorizo, candied orange; and butter basted triggerfish accompanied by sunchoke puree, roasted radishes & squash and arugula pesto.

Guests will also indulge in warm cinnamon sugar doughnuts served with bourbon anglaise, caramel culcey chocolate lollipops and coconut passion ice cream with ginger sandwiches.

Carolina Crossroads Restaurant, managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, specializes in cuisine that Executive Chef James Clark describes as “Contemporary Southern” committed to a strong emphasis on local fresh sustainable ingredients.

Reservations required. $45 per person and limited seating is available. Please call Lina Hooker at (919) 918-2735 for reservations.

Visit the Winter Seafood Jubilee for more information.

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