Orange Coast Magazine

Taste of O.C. | Priscilla Mayfield on food

 

Napa Rose's Sutton Scales the Heights With Skuna Bay Salmon

Contest winner features every part of the fish

There was a lot of Skuna Bay salmon in play at the The Catch in Anaheim Tuesday, as five chefs faced off in a competition cooking with the Vancouver Island “craft-raised” fish. The winner of Tuesday’s contest advances to a semi-final round, with hopes of ultimately making it to Louisville in May for the finals, held days before the Kentucky Derby.

The winner was Andrew Sutton of Napa Rose, and judging by his entry, he has a serious shot. Literally judging—I was on the three-judge panel at Tuesday’s event, and Sutton’s dish, an elegant use-every-part-of-the-fish trio, was our unanimous pick. (Florent Marneau, chef-owner of Marché Moderne, and Anne Marie Panoringan, a writer for OC Weekly’s food blog, were my fellow judges.)

Sutton’s Skuna Bay Salmon Assorted Tastes and Textures, Southern California Style may have a long name, but it’s accurate. During the prep and cooking, I’d watched him zest a small mountain of tangerines and lemons, which figured into the light citrus cure on the exterior of his salmon belly sashimi and the puddle of golden, emulsified citrus vinaigrette beneath. A pan-roasted fillet was perfectly moist and translucent in the center, its tenderness the ideal contrast for ultra-crisped skin. My favorite of Sutton’s three preparations was an escabeche featuring salmon exactingly cut in tiny cubes, serrano chilies, and more of that California citrus in the mix.

Each chef cooked at separate stations in The Catch’s large, open kitchen. They began with a whole, 10-to-12-pound salmon—breaking down and filleting the fish was part of the criteria. Skuna Bay salmon are remarkably consistent due to the controlled environment in which they’re raised, but the resulting fare differed as much as the chefs who prepared it.

Sutton offered his dish on the Napa Rose menu for a few weeks before the contest—“I needed to get in some practice,” he says, and he promised to let me know when he’ll start serving it again. In the short term, he’ll be busy with the regional finals competition in Los Angeles in April, and after that—quite possibly—a trip to Churchill Downs in May.

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

OC Guides

Guides

OC Guides
  • O.C.’s Best: Tiki Drinks

    Though some regard them as overly cloying concoctions, tiki cocktails such as mai tais and zombies are enjoying a resurgence in Orange County. Craft bartenders layer the rum-based drinks with multiple spirits and spices to create beguiling and complex potions. Here are five great places to get your tiki on. Read More
  • Neighborhood: Dana Point

    Perched above Pacific Coast Highway, Monarch Bay Plaza reflects the relaxed sophistication of its Dana Point neighborhood. In the Spanish-style mall with red tile roofs, ocean breezes blow through white stucco archways, and upscale-yet-casual boutiques and restaurants attract locals and tourists. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Vegan Breakfasts

    Veg-heads don’t just mow down bowls of granola and slam wheatgrass shots at the break of dawn. Most want to enjoy brunching on Sunday-Funday with everyone else. And because it can be hard to find tofu scrambles and dairy-free waffles, we’ve rounded up five local eateries that provide tasty vegan options to start the morning right. Read More
  • Best of 2014: Nutty Brûlée

    No one can resist breaking into the sugary crust of crème brûlée, and this one packs an extra surprise with its abundance of silky-smooth chocolate-hazelnut custard below—thanks to the addition of Nutella. This sinful dessert is incredibly rich and best shared with a friend. $8
    704 E. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach, 949‑673‑7173, theslidingdoorcafe.com

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Honey Bee Chicken

    You’ll fall in lust with the chicken pieces at BBQ Chicken at Diamond Jamboree in Irvine. Fried in olive oil for a crunchy exterior, they’re tossed in a sweet honey sauce making them all the more delicious. $11 to $21

    Read More
 
 
wine blog
 

stuff we love

Charitable Events Calendar