Beyond Halibut: Oregon Seafood You Must Eat Right Now

Black cod to gapers, bay shrimp to butter clams, here’s where to find—and how to prepare—the best of Oregon’s briny bounty.

By Ramona DeNies and Kelly Clarke May 13, 2016 Published in the June 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

We knew Oregon seafood had it going on—we just didn’t know how wild and weird it could be. So imagine our thrill when tiny Portland restaurant seafood purveyor Wilder Land & Sea netted us a briny feast. 

Find local fish and shellfish at Food Front, Newman's Fish Company, or sustainable seafood outfit Flying Fish Company.

Idiot saygle

Idiot (a.k.a. kinki) Fish

West of Warrenton
Find: Bamboo Sushi
“We serve this as sashimi, with a garlic-chile-ginger ponzu that’s delicious on mild whitefish,” says chef de cuisine Paul Osborne. “It’s not something we get often—a lot go straight to Japan.” (For a “great bar snack,” request the head and bones, deep-fried till edible.) 

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Black Cod

West of Warrenton
Zilla Sake
“This is a delicious roasting fish—it’s buttery, it’s flaky, so tender it almost falls apart,” says Zilla Sake chef and co-owner Kate Koo. “We prepare it in an old-school Japanese style called kasuzuke: marinated in sake lees, which adds a bit of sweetness.”
Make: Oregon Black Cod with Pears & Chanterelles

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Nevør Oysters

Netarts Bay
Find: Oyster Social Pop-Ups at Tournant and around Portland
“Nevør oysters are pristine and have a real smack of brine,” says Oyster Social’s Mona Johnson. “An oyster has the ‘merroir’ of its place, and Netarts Bay is super-clean and protected—beautiful water makes beautiful oysters.”

Cockles gapers gdprsa

Cockles, Gapers, and Butter Clams

Find: St. Jack
“You can do anything with larger clams—the sweetness and salinity differ depending on the cut,” says St. Jack chef-owner Aaron Barnett. A recent hit? A salad of cockles, gapers, and butter clams warmed in fish fumé and butter, paired with fermented cabbage, lemon balm, and spring pea pistou.

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Dungeness Crab

West of Warrenton
Find: Clyde Common
“There’s a certain level of social awkwardness when you eat crab with your hands,” says Clyde Common’s Carlo Lamagna. “You have to let that go if you want the good stuff.” Start with Lamagna’s summer crab bake, stuffed with bay shrimp and togarashi, and served with a cracking tool to pick out the sweet leg meat.
Make: Departure Chef Gregory Gourdet’s Dungeness Crab with Tamarind Ketchup

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Bay Shrimp

Find: Woodsman Tavern
“We love making head-on salt-and-pepper bay shrimp,” says Woodsman chef Andrew Gregory. “We drop them in a hot fryer for 30 seconds, then season and hit them with lemon and scallions. They’re so small and tender you eat them whole."

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Razor Clams

Find: St. Jack
St Jack’s Aaron Barnett says he often treats razor clams like frog’s legs, sautéing them in brown butter, white wine, garlic, and herbs. He also has a secret weapon when it comes to introducing diners to new seafood: “Put any challenging ingredient on top of a Caesar salad and people will eat it,” Barnett says with a laugh. “Seafood adds a new dynamic and keeps it interesting.”
Make: Wildwood Chef-Founder Cory Schreiber’s Razor Clam Chowder

Skate qekprn


West of Gearhart
Find: Roe
"The classic preparation is brown butter, with tarragon, mustard and lemon," says Roe's Trent Pierce. "Skate has a neutral taste, so it takes aggressive flavors well. We sear it, and finish it off in the oven."

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