Daily Archives: August 20, 2011

Collaboration Kitchen With Mitch’s SeaFood

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Tommy Gomes, the Son of a Portuguese fishing family and a Fisherman himself from San Diego, started Collaboration Kitchen on a bet.  Someone bet him he could not do it…. Tenacious Tommy took the bet and we are all happy he did because once a month, local folks get to experience a tasty meal prepared by one of San Diego’s finest Chefs right in the warehouse floor of Catalina Offshore Products.

Ticket sales are sold out lickity split!  Monarch School for homeless and at risk kids are the beneficiaries from Collaboration Kitchen Fund Raiser.

Let me show you how it works, around 100 + people show up with their chilled wine and get to tour the giant refrigerated rooms and deep chest freezers, lobster and shrimp tanks, see oversized scallops and a huge packing and distribution facility for Sea Urchins.  Basically see the freshest seafood and learn all about it from one of the most knowledgeable sources I’ve ever met.

A Chef and his/her team is in the designated kitchen area, cutting, slicing, dicing and getting dinner prepped.    There are plenty of things going on behind the scenes a good hour or more before guest arrive.   Specialty Foods brings over lots of fresh local farm produce for the evening meal.  Video and camera crews are setting up to film the experience.

The Chef demonstration begins and everyone is ready with hearty appetites because you are going to get a 6-7-course meal.  When the Chef needs a little extra prep time, Tommy pulls out fresh fish and slices up sashimi and the line forms.

An interesting bit of information shared this evening was about Fish Pearls…

Sometimes used for jewelry ….

July featured Mitch’s Seafood, a local place Marty and I go to probably 3 times a week.  It is a simple little restaurant by Point Loma Seafood and we sit on the deck overlooking the fishing boats come in.   It’s dog friendly, so we often take our Dobie’s or meet other dogs there as well.

Also Veni Delights from Venissimo Cheese, which is one of Marty’s favorite stops.

On to the evening in July where Dan and Tommy entertain us with banter back and forth of informative dialogs about local sustainable food sources.   This is a show and tell evening…. There are no Teleprompters and its just good stuff!   Where ever the conversation goes… one of them will go to the freezer and pull out a demonstration with that particular fish, crab, sea urchin.  There is no lag time happening at this event.   You are eating no… you are grazing non-stop the entire evening… and you leave with a belly full of healthy foods.   Many times the recipes are shared as the Chef prepares the meals and answers questions so people can make this at home.    *all recipes in amounts suitable for 2-4 diners

About Mitch Conniff-Chef/Owner Mitch’s Seafood

 | Featured Chef

Mitch Conniff is the chef/owner of Mitch’s Seafood in Point Loma. Mitch’s is a casual, waterfront Seafood restaurant specializing in the freshest, locally caught seafood. The restaurant was opened under the premise that good local seafood should be available in a laid back environment, simply prepared, showcasing the bounty of our coastal waters.


Besides Mitch, the restaurant is owned by a duo of fisherman that supply much of the fish for the restaurant.  

Prior to opening Mitch’s Seafood, Mitch Conniff was the Sous Chef/Banquet Chef at JSix restaurant in downtown San Diego, one of the local leaders in the Slow Food movement. Prior to that he was the Executive Chef aboard the sportfishing vessel American Angler, departing from San Diego on long range fishing trips down the Baja Coast.


Mitch has been an avid fisherman since early childhood and his years cooking aboard the boat were spent catching and preparing a wide variety of fish and learning as much as possible about our local waters and fisheries. Before embarking on his adventures at sea Mitch honed his seafood skills at Steamer’s Grillhouse, a well known seafood restaurant in Los Gatos, CA.


Salmon and Summer Corn Chowder


  • Two pounds fresh wild or sustainable farmed Salmon cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 ears fresh summer corn shucked
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (any variety will work such as Navy, Cannellini or Gigante or try a fresh shelling bean like cranberry beans or fava found at Specialty Produce or Local Farmers Market
  • 2 Leaks diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or peeled canned tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 4 sprigs time
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A few drops hot sauce
  • Chopped parsley or chives for garnish
  • Olive Oil for Sautéing and a little to drizzle over the top of each bowl.


Sweat the leaks, onion, garlic and celery in large pot.  Add Corn, bay leaf and thyme and cook for a minute longer then add wine and bring to a boil and reduce by one third.  Add tomatoes and beans and simmer lightly for half hour to combine flavors.  Turn off heat and adjust salt and pepper to taste, add hot sauce.  Add salmon with heat turned off and cover the pot.  The salmon will gently cook in about 5 minutes.  Serve the stew with a little chive or parsley over the top and drizzle each bowl with a little high quality extra virgin olive oil.   * For a different take on this dish you could also substitute some or all of the salmon with smoked salmon giving the dish a taste like you added bacon or smoked sausage.

BBQ Oysters



Shuck oysters leaving as much brine in the Oyster as possible.  Spoon a small amount of Garlic/Smoked Paprika Butter into each oyster.  Arrange Oysters on grill so that none of the oyster liquor or butter drains out, using aluminum foil under the oysters if necessary.  Cook for about 3 minutes allowing the oysters to poach in the butter and pick up the smoky flavor.  Do not overcook the oysters or they will become shriveled up and chewy.

Asian Pear Marinated BBQ Yellowtail Collar


  • 2-3 Yellowtail collars cut into individual servings (each collar should provide 1-3 servings depending on how hungry you are and whether you are eating dish as an entrée or an appetizer.
  • Asian Pear Marinade (recipe follows)
  • Quick Pickled Sesame Cucumber (recipe follows)
  • 2-3 Green Onions thinly sliced for garnish


Marinate Yellowtail collars overnight, reserving about 2 cups of the marinade for basting. Prepare a barbecue for grilling over medium flame.  Remove collars from marinade and let sit at room temperature for about ½ hour before cooking (this allows the fish to come up to the temperature which allows more even cooking and it also allows the marinade to drain off a little which will reduce barbecue flare up which can scorch the fish).   Grill the fish over the medium flame turning after about 10 minutes and grill for 5 minutes more basting with the reserved marinade a few times to glaze the fish.  You are looking to get nice charred grill marks on the flesh, but not overly blacken or burn the fish.  Which can happen easily due to the high sugar content in the marinade.  Grilling yellowtail collars is unlike grilling or cooking just about any other part of the fish in that you can cook it for a longer period of time without it drying out.  It is akin to cooking a chicken thigh or drumstick due to the fact that you are cooking it on the bone and it’s higher fat content.  It also contains muscle like a chicken thigh or leg which requires a little more cooking time to breakdown, but due to it’s higher fat content it becomes tender and luscious as it cooks.  Once the fish is cooked brush it with some of the reserved marinade, sprinkle with the green onion and eat with the pickled cucumber and rice and a little hot sauce to taste. Dig in with your hands and eat the collars like a drumstick or ribs and leave the knife and fork for another meal.

Asian Pear Marinade


  • 2 twelve ounce cans Asian pear juice (available in the Asian department of supermarket or at Ranch 99)
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup Rice wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons Ginger Grated
  • 2 tablespoon (or more if you like) of Sambal Oleck or Sriracha Hot sauce
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted Sesame oil.


Combine all ingredients thoroughly

Quick Pickled Sesame Cucumbers


  • 1 pound Japanese or English cucumbers (peeled if you prefer, but personally I do not) cut into ¼ inch thick rings
  • 4 cups rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons crushed red chilies
  • 2 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
  • ¼ picked Cilantro Leaves


Combine all the ingredients except the cucumbers and whisk together to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the marinade over the cucumbers and toss together to ensure the cucumbers are evenly coated.  Let sit a minimum of four hours until the cucumbers are slightly softened pickled.

Fish Tacos    |     White Sea bass (or any fish you want)


  • 8 2-oz pieces of white seabass
  • 1 pound shredded green cabbage
  • 16 white corn tortillas
  • Salsa Fresca (combine diced tomato, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, lime juice and salt, let sit for ½ hour before serving
  • Mitch’s seafood garlic lime crema (recipe follows)
  • Paprika, salt and melted butter with lemon and garlic in it for grilling the fish


Prepare a grill or grill pan to medium hot and brush fish with seasoned melted butter and season with paprika and salt.  Grill fish basting with butter while it cooks.  Fish will only take a few minutes to cook depending on the size and thickness of the filets, so be careful not to overcook it.  Meanwhile heat the tortillas on the grill until soft.   Using two tortillas for each taco put a little cabbage in the tortillas, place the fish inside and spoon a little salsa and the crema over the top and enjoy with a squeeze of lime and your favorite hot sauce.

Mitch’s Seafood Garlic Lime Crema


  • 2 cups Mexican sour cream (available in pretty much every supermarket now, but you can also use regular sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Salt to taste


Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.


Venissimo Cheese was founded by Gina & Roger Freize in San Diego, California, in 2003. But it almost never opened! The owner of the retail space was not interested in splitting a larger space nor leasing a little wedgie to an unknown business in an unknown industry (who wants to buy just cheese)?  After spending months calling & faxing reasons to let Venissimo in, Gina overheard that the owner would be at the site on a certain day. So she snuck in with a cheese plate to let the product speak for itself. Needless to say, the owner was convinced & agreed to the deal the very next day!  Venissimo Mission Hills opened its doors on January 17, 2004.  Roughly three years later, Venissimo opened its second location in Del Mar.  It’s third shop in Belmont Shore opened in November 2008 & its newest location – complete with an Academy of Cheese (AoC) – just opened in downtown San Diego in September 2009! 

Bucherondin with Edible Micro Flowers

A classic French chevre (goat cheese), aged only two months, with mineral notes and chalky texture at the tip and tangy flavor with a silky texture near the edible rind.

Lamb Chopper with Dried Cherries

Organic sheep milk Gouda from cypress grove cheese in Northern California, silky smooth and rick in pure sheep milk flavor.

Gorgonzola Dolce with Honeycomb or Fruit Nut Crostini

A sweet (dolce) blue from Lombardy, Italy, creamy & dreamy, classically enjoyed as a dessert.

Collaboration Kitchen 7/10/11 – Mitch’s Seafood & Venissimo 

Mitch Conniff Chef/Owner Mitch’s Seafood in Point Loma“Sustainable Seafood and the Consumer”

Venissimo CheeseMission Hills 619.491.0708 | Del Mar 858.847.9616 | San Diego 619.358.9081   http://www.venissimo.com

Sometimes, they even cut and package take home bags of fresh fish for sale at the end of the evening.

A great evening for a wonderful cause put together by good people.  Catalina Offshore donates all the seafood and all the produce donated by Specialty Products to support Monarch School.

100% of proceeds will go to San Diego charities through Fruit of the Soul!

A good thing and a wonderful time!   Enjoy! Comments welcome!  Nice one  of  course!