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Oceana Magazine Summer 2010: Chef's Corner: Jeremy Bearman of Rouge Tomate

Jeremy Bearman of Rouge TomateAs one of the most environmentally sustainable restaurants in New York City, Rouge Tomate composts its food waste and uses energy efficient equipment and lighting.

The restaurant also abides by the culinary charter known as SPE, or “sanitas per escam,” which means “health through food.” The initials also stand for Sourcing, Preparing and Enhancing, the three philosophical pillars of the cuisine at Rouge Tomate.

Executive Chef Jeremy Bearman is  particularly passionate about the “S” – he tries to use local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients whenever possible, including seafood.

“Ensuring that your seafood is sustainable is not always an easy task,” he said. “Until you really do some research into the fish you are buying, it’s difficult to make the right decisions all of the time. Unfortunately it’s even more difficult for the average guest to make good decisions, so that is why we choose to serve only sustainable foods and take the guessing out of the game for our guests.”

Bearman first became interested in sustainable seafood while he was working in California and visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

“Becoming more aware of the fishing industry, the waters and fish that inhabit different places, along with fishing practices, has allowed me to gain a much broader perspective on how our choices in restaurants can affect the viability of the ecosystem and the fish that will be around in the future,” he said.

Oysters in the half shell with quick rhubarb mignonette

1 dozen shucked oysters
2 cups rice wine vinegar
3 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1 Tbsp brunoise (fine dice) reserved
for finished mignonette
2 Tbsp minced ginger
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp shallot minced
2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1 dozen shucked oysters
2 cups rice wine vinegar
3 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1 Tbsp brunoise (fine dice) reserved for finished mignonette
2 Tbsp minced ginger
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp shallot minced
2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Combine the vinegar with the 3 cups chopped rhubarb, 2 Tbsp ginger, ½ cup sugar in pot and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Take 2 Tbsp of liquid and pour over the 1 Tbsp brunoise rhubarb and set aside for later. Once the liquid is chilled, strain it and discard solids.

You can keep this rhubarb vinegar inyour fridge and use for mignonette or vinaigrettes. Add reserved rhubarb to 3 Tbsp of strained vinegar, fresh cracked black pepper, shallots and tarragon.

Spoon over 1 dozen oysters.

Start time: chopping rhubarb, ginger, shallot and tarragon 5-10 minutes.

Bring vinegar to a simmer 3 minutes.  Let vinegar stand 10 minutes and 20-30 minutes to chill in refrigerator. Combine and spoon over oysters 2 minutes.

Active time: 15- 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 40-50 minutes

You can ask your local fish monger to shuck oysters for you if you aren’t sure how to do so yourself.