Shop with A Chef: Grant Macdonald
October 2, 2011
For a city by the sea, Vancouver, surprisingly, has only a handful of high-end, strictly seafood restaurants. So when chef Grant Macdonald and his team at YEW at the Four Seasons mused about the best way to change up their menu, the decision was a no-brainer: more seafood. The revamped room has a Cape Cod vibe, but the menu champions sustainable ingredients found close to home, like Dungeness crab, Honey mussels, and B.C. albacore tuna.
How to Buy
“Always ask how the tuna was caught,” says Macdonald. “Troll-, pole-, and line-caught fish are a whole lot better on the environment than trawling nets.” When buying albacore tuna, you want to make sure it’s from B.C. “We’re the only place in the world that manages their albacore stock responsibly.” Look for a steak that’s pink and oily and has a clean, fresh smell. If you head down to the docks at Granville Island to buy from Steve Johansen at Organic Ocean (1505 W. 1st Ave.), you can shake hands with the man who caught your fish.
How to Cook
Most common mistake? Overcooking. “I think people are afraid, food safety-wise,” says Macdonald. “But if you get fresh seafood and cook it just enough, you’re fine.” Season albacore tuna with salt and sear for about a minute on each side in a hot, oiled pan. The outside will be brown and crispy, leaving the middle pink. For an easy appetizer, slice the seared tuna and plate it with arugula, diced pears tossed in lime juice and sugar, toasted hazelnuts, bonito flakes, and a lime-and-miso aioli (a spoonful of miso paste to four spoonfuls of mayonnaise plus the zest and juice of half a lime). Finish with a splash of hazelnut oil.