‘Top Chef’ alum Brooke Williamson shares tips on cooking seafood this summer

Chef Brooke Williamson shares tips on cooking summer seafood. (Photos: Brooke Williamson)

In hopes of squeezing out every last moment of summer, it’s the time of year to hold on tight. From lazy days and sandy afternoons to a cornucopia of seasonal delights – nothing goes better with the season than seafood. From Butter Main Lobster Rolls to Flaky Chili Seas Bass, the reason for the summer season just might be the savory and light seafood bursting with flavor.

A catch (no pun intended)? Cooking seafood in your own kitchen can be intimidating and ordering it while dining out can be expensive. But chef Brooke Williamson, star of the new Food Network series beach brawl Says there’s no reason to shy away from seafood.

Williamson’s latest competition challenges teams of chefs in the final West Coast vs. East Coast “brawl” over which deserving coast eats the best beach. Born in Los Angeles, California, the head chef The alum co-owns Playa Provisions with her chef husband Nick Roberts at Playa Del Rey & Company for Diner Hospitality Group.

Her favorite fish of the season? “Wild seafood from Alaska is the perfect protein for summer, as it compliments many seasonal and fresh ingredients while keeping the dish light,” Williamson tells Yahoo Life. “I like to work with produce at the peak of their season to pair with seafood. Using seasonal produce allows for deliciousness in simplicity and allows seafood to shine.”

Williamson, who spoke with Yahoo Life as part of his work promoting Alaskan seafood, says creating fresh and light seafood dishes in his own kitchen is not a struggle.

In the summer, she says it’s best to avoid heavy stews and creamy textures that better compliment the colder months. Warm weather is all about meals that are light and bright but still full of flavor—and home cooks will be happy to know it doesn’t have to be complicated. There’s no laundry list of ingredients here, just minimal effort and maximum satisfaction.

“There is a wide range of frozen, fresh and canned seafood options that can be easily sautéed or grilled and paired with bright vegetables,” says Williamson. “A dish I’ve made recently that’s perfect for summer is a cod with asparagus and peas. The cod is lightly seared and then covered with an anchovy butter sauce and vegetables. “

Williamson combines cod with peas and asparagus to create this summer dish. (Photo: Brooke Williamson)

Williamson especially likes to cook with wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, for which the season begins in May and lasts until September. She says it differs from the standard salmon that many are familiar with and has a richer, more vivid color and flavor profile. “Along with salmon, I make a tomato and fennel sofrito with tahini sauce and pine nut dukkha, shares Williamson. “It has deep spices with coriander, cumin and sesame seed dukkha, yet also tomatoes, piquillo peppers. , has a mild base with fennel and onion. ,

Dressed with a tomato and fennel sofrito, tahini sauce, and pine nut duvets, this salmon is a perfect summer fish recipe, says Williamson. (Photo: Brooke Williamson)

In his kitchen arsenal, Williamson has found the rice cooker to be an invaluable tool, using it to make fresh sushi rice. She says those who have little time but still want to satisfy their hunger can simply sear a piece of salmon and serve over rice with whatever vegetables are on hand and with some miso dressing. .

Beginners can never go wrong with an appetizer staple, says head chef Season 14 winner. “I’m a sucker for a simple seafood cocktail,” she says. “Many people don’t think of finned fish when they think of seafood cocktails, but most fish can be simply poached and cooled and served with a remoulade or horseradish cocktail sauce. “

She lists the rockfish as one of the best seafood cocktail fish, explaining that it’s delicious and a perfect pairing for warm weather. Alaskan Rockfish is also one of her favorite dishes that she serves at Playa Provision. There, rockfish is served over crunchy rice with a green bean vinaigrette. The meaty fish is mild and pairs well with a vinaigrette that’s layered with flavor for Fresno chiles, ginger, scallions, chives, and green beans. “It tastes very clean, which is exactly what I like to eat in the summer,” she says.

One of Williamson’s favorite dishes is this Alaskan rockfish with crunchy rice and a green bean and fish sauce vinaigrette. (Photo: Brooke Williamson)

Ready to try summer fish recipes in your own kitchen? Williamson shares tips for cooking at home.

Start with High Quality Seafood

“When shopping for seafood, I always check its origins to see where it comes from and look for fish that come from Alaska because all seafood out-of-state is guaranteed to be wild and sustainably caught. ,” she says. “Sustainable fishing is written in the constitution of the state.”

“This includes salmon, halibut, cod, rockfish, crab, pollock and more,” she adds. “Alaska seafood is not only sustainable, but the natural environment produces seafood that is lean and flavorful.”

don’t be afraid to ask questions

Williamson says it’s okay to ask questions at your local seafood counter. “At the grocery store or market, your fishmonger can tell you where your fish comes from to help ensure you are making a sustainable choice,” she says. “Your fishmonger is also the most knowledgeable person to ask about freshness and quality.”

be courageous

“Don’t be afraid to try new types of fish,” she adds. “Many people may be most familiar with salmon, but other species such as halibut, cod and rockfish are just as flavorful and easy to cook.”

“These species are also so versatile,” she continues, and can be served hot or cold or turned into cakes or used in stews and soups.

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