Thursday 01 August, 2013

Susan Feniger Mary Sue Milliken and Rick Moonen: Trash Fish Dinner PICS and RECIPES!


Covering the Trash Fish Dinner at Border Grill Las Vegas for Bon Appetit was an educational as well as epicurean experience. I said essentially all that I wanted to in the feature, but for those interested in seeing all of the dishes, I thought I would post all of my pics from the dinner, as well as a short Tastemade video (both with help from Rocksan Clark)--and a couple recipes I managed to get.

The photos:


Check Out The Tastemade Video


And the Recipes!

Grilled Romaine and Avocados with Spicy Caesar Dressing, Sardine Croutons

Serves 4

3 to 4 romaine hearts, cut into quarters, core intact to hold leaves together
2 barely ripe California avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup Spicy Caesar Dressing (see recipe below), for serving
Sardine Croutons (see recipe below), for serving

Preheat grill to high heat. Over a large bowl, drizzle each romaine quarter with a few tablespoons Spicy Caesar Dressing, massaging to evenly distribute dressing between the leaves. Grill the hearts, turning every minute or two until lightly browned on all sides. Meanwhile, season avocado slices with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and place on the hottest part of the grill.  When char marks appear flip then remove when grilled on both sides.  To serve, toss grilled hearts in a bowl with the grilled avocado and Sardine Croutons adding any extra dressing needed to season the salad to your liking.  Serve immediately.

Spicy Caesar Dressing

5-7 garlic cloves
1 chipotle in adobo, canned
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 ounces aged cotija* cheese
1 cup mild, extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Tabasco
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a blender, place garlic, chipotle, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, lime juice, crumbled cotija, red wine vinegar and puree until smooth. Add the mayonnaise to the mixture and blend until smooth.
Then add the olive oil slowly to the mixture while it is running on medium speed. At the last minute, add the cilantro. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

*Cotija cheese is a popular Mexican cheese that can be found in most super markets. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with shredded parmesan cheese.

Sardine Croutons

3 to 4 medium to large sardines*, scales removed and filleted.
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil for frying

Cut each sardine filet into 4 squares, season liberally with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, dip into flour and pat vigorously to remove excess. Dip into beaten egg mixture and one by one, coat with panko pressing to evenly cover.

In a skillet, with 1/2 cup or 1/4 inch of olive oil, heat to medium high heat. When the oil shimmers and is quite hot, fry the croutons taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Brown evenly on both sides. Remove to rack until all are cooked then scatter on top of Grilled Romaine.

**According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, when it comes to sustainable seafood, Pacific sardines are a "Best Choice" as there's little by catch and low habitat impacts. For more info about sustainable seafood, go to

Smoked Sturgeon Brandade

Serves 6

8 ounces sturgeon *
Apple wood chips for smoking soaked in water for 1 hour **
15 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, to confit the garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
1sprig thyme
12 ounces Yukon potato, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 ounces butter, cold, unsalted

Season fish with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Place on top of a rack over soaked apple wood in a smoker or an old pot. Smoke on a low heat for 15 to20 minutes or until cooked through and well flavored. Chop well and reserve, covered.

Place the garlic in a small pot with the olive oil over low heat and cook until soft, about 20 minutes.  Remove garlic to a plate.  Add cream and a sprig of thyme to the oil and simmer gently 5 minutes.

Boil potatoes with enough water to cover until tender. Place warm potatoes into a food mill and process into a large bowl along with the cold butter and the warm garlic.

Fold the sturgeon and potatoes together and slowly add the cream/oil mixture.  Taking care not to overwork the potatoes.  Adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately with toasted French bread.

*According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, when it comes to sustainable seafood, Sturgeon farmed in the U.S. is a "Good Alternative" to most wild sturgeon, whose populations have seriously declined due to overfishing for sturgeon eggs (caviar). For more info about sustainable seafood, go to
* * Smoking food is an age-old tradition that has enjoyed resurgence by cooking aficionados around the world, and smoking with apple wood adds a deliciously subtle flavor to smoked meat.
Copyright © 2013, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger,


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