Cedar-planked Skuna Bay Salmon
Cedar-planked Skuna Bay Salmon at Fly 'N Fish in Newport Beach
The best chefs are entertainers. The craft of cooking may be a utilitarian one; but the art of being a chef is based on entertaining. We don’t obsess over food because it feeds us. Potatoes can feed us. The reason we Instagram our favorite dishes is because the chef has succeeded at making food fun.
Julio Hawkins, executive chef at Fly ’N’ Fish in Newport Beach, was born for the role of entertainer. He has the bold stories, magnetic charm and wide eyes of a carnival showman. His menu is inventive and reflects his unique perspective – like his Cedar-planked Skuna Bay salmon, which puts both the Native American and Asian American influences of the chef’s hometown, Seattle, on display.
Planked salmon comes from the Pacific Northwest Indians, who cooked the fish on slabs of cedar to ensure moisture (added by steam from the plank, locked in by smoke) and a denser woody flavor. Both qualities are noted here, and the sesame soy ginger glaze ties the dish together without masking the cedar plank effect.
When you order yours, see if Chef Hawkins is free to explain it to you. Maybe he’ll take time to share a yarn or tell you about his relationship with the fish’s purveyor. You’ll soon see that both the chef and the dish are worthy of an ovation.
Fly ’N’ Fish Oyster Bar & Grill, 2304 W. Oceanfront, Newport Beach,
949.673.8400 :: flynfishoysterbar.com
Sesame Soy Ginger Glaze
2 Tbs. sesame oil
1 tsp white sesame seeds
1½ Tbs. ginger minced
2 tsp fresh garlic minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. light soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
Zest of 1 medium lemon
Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl, using a wire whisk.
Let sit for 24 hours to allow flavors to develop.