Gulf Seafood Continues Support Of Monterey Bay Aquarium Cooking For Solutions

Star Chefs Showcase Delicious, Wild-Caught Gulf Shrimp to Support Sustainability

Gulf Seafood Continues Support Of Monterey Bay Aquarium Cooking For SolutionsMarking its third year at Cooking for Solutions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition (Coalition) is continuing the legacy of sharing wild, delicious Gulf seafood while highlighting its unique flavors and versatility at the annual event, held this year May 16 through 18 in Monterey, Calif.

Each year, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Cooking for Solutions event brings together celebrated chefs from across the country to highlight fine food and wine, while discovering ways to preserve the oceans.

Renowned chefs, including Chef Briana Sammut of Beach House Restaurant at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, Calif.; former private chef to Oprah Chef Art Smith; Food Network Canada Star Chef John Ash; and Hawaii-based Kai Lanai Restaurant chef/owner and television personality Chef Sam Choy will be representing the Gulf of Mexico States by preparing fresh Gulf shrimp, provided by Cox’s Wholesale Seafood and Wood’s Fisheries. Both distributors’ shrimp are traceable via Gulf Seafood Trace, a program that allows consumers and retailers to discover their seafood’s story from boat to plate, ensuring that the species is sustainably managed.

Gulf Seafood Continues Support Of Monterey Bay Aquarium Cooking For SolutionsAttendees can find Gulf shrimp at the Meet the Chefs reception on May 14, Sustainable Foods Institute 2014 Luncheon and Cooking for Solutions Gala on May 16, A Street Food Extravaganza on May 17, as well as DIY: Grilled Pizza with John Ash and DIY: Pupus and Poke with Sam Choy on May 18.

The Coalition’s continued support of Cooking for Solutions each year is rooted in the Gulf of Mexico’s commitment to maintaining a sustained ecosystem for generations to come. This year, among many sustainability practices already in place, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission launched GulfFINFO, an all-inclusive website for everything consumers and chefs need to be confident that Gulf seafood is harvested from sustainable fisheries.

“With FINFO launching just earlier this year, this is an exciting time to be at Cooking for Solutions to share insight, information and appreciation about sustaining the wonderful resource of Gulf seafood for the future,” said Joanne McNeely Zaritsky, marketing director for the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition. “Both home and professional chefs already know and love Gulf seafood for its exceptional flavor and quality, and now FINFO offers a new resource to communicate the sustainability of Gulf seafood.”

Gulf Seafood Continues Support Of Monterey Bay Aquarium Cooking For SolutionsFINFO is a compilation of the complex and potentially-confusing data from the Gulf of Mexico’s responsibly-managed fisheries, synthesized into easy-to-understand answers about the source of your seafood.

Gulf of Mexico fisheries and organizations are constantly researching and monitoring seafood stocks to remain a leader in sustainability practices. Many of the Gulf States have received exemplary scores and designation for their enforcement groups. Gulf Coast seafood has been an integral part of our culture for decades, and the seafood community is dedicated to responsible fishing for future generations.

To extend the opportunity to enjoy succulent, sustainability-raised Gulf seafood at home, Chef John Ash is sharing his Grilled Gulf Shrimp Pizza recipe that he is preparing at the DIY workshop at Cooking for Solutions (recipe below).

Gulf Seafood Continues Support Of Monterey Bay Aquarium Cooking For SolutionsGrilled Gulf Shrimp Pizza
Provided to the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition by Chef John Ash
Ingredients for Dough

  • 1 envelope (2½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons table salt (or 3 teaspoons kosher salt)
  • ½ cup finely-ground corn meal or whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 – 4½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Toppings

  • 1 pound peeled and deveined Gulf shrimp (21 – 25, depending on size)
  • Prepared pizza dough divided into six portions
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil for brushing and drizzling
  • 2 cups loosely packed shredded Sonoma Jack cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced
  • 3 cups canned and crushed tomatoes in puree, preferably with basil
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped basil leaves
  • Big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for each pizza
  1. Gulf Seafood Continues Support Of Monterey Bay Aquarium Cooking For SolutionsSlice the shrimp in half lengthwise.  Blanc for 1 minute in simmering salted water.  Drain and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking.  Drain again and set aside.  The shrimp will be just barely cooked at this point.
  2. Prepare a two-level (one side cooler than the other) charcoal fire, setting the grill rack 4 inches or so above the coals.  Alternately, you can use a gas grill with one side hotter than the other. With a lightly floured work surface and rolling pin, roll the dough portion into 10 inch or so free-form circles as thinly as you can, about ¼-inch thick.  Don’t worry about the shape, as even thickness is the goal. Place them on a sheet pan divided by parchment or waxed paper.
  3. When the coals are evenly lit and medium hot, brush the dough with olive oil and place it oiled side down onto the hot part of the grill.  Within a minute or so the dough will puff and bubble, the underside will stiffen and grill marks will appear.
  4. Using tongs or a spatula check to see that it is not burning.  If so, move it to the cooler part of the grill.  Flip the crust over, onto the cooler part of the grill and quickly brush the grilled surface lightly with olive oil.  Spread a thin layer of the tomatoes on the dough and then quickly top with a bit of each of the cheeses, shrimp and basil.  Remember that you don’t need or want to cover the entire surface of the pizza.
  5. Gulf Seafood Continues Support Of Monterey Bay Aquarium Cooking For SolutionsImmediately put the hood down and cook for another minute or two or until the cheeses are melted.  Move pizza to a cutting board and cut into wedges and serve immediately. Cook remaining pizzas in the same manner.

Chef’s note:  When you have topped the pizzas if after a couple of minutes the cheese has not melted and bubbling a bit, either the coals were not hot enough or you have used too much cheese and toppings.  A longer time on the grill will only dry out the pizza and toughen it.  The ideal crust should be both chewy and crisp.  This is why a good 2-level fire is so important.

  1. To make the pizza dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook stir the yeast into the warm water with sugar.  After 5 minutes it should begin to bubble, then stir in the salt, corn meal and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Add the flour, stirring at low speed until the dough forms a rough ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes.  You may need to add a little flour or water here.  Let the dough rest in the bowl for 15 minutes.  It should be fairly soft.
  2. Remove from the bowl and divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.  Gently round each piece into a ball and brush or rub with a little olive oil.  Place each into a zippered plastic storage bag and drizzle remaining olive oil (1 teaspoon or so) over each ball and seal the bags closed.  Let the balls sit for at least 30 minutes.  You can also refrigerate them overnight at this point and roll out and make pizzas the next day.  Sitting overnight actually gives you a better flavor in the dough.
  3. Gulf Seafood Continues Support Of Monterey Bay Aquarium Cooking For SolutionsIf you’ve refrigerated them, plan to take them out of the refrigerator at least 1 hour before you plan to make the pizzas.  Alternately you can freeze the dough for up to 3 months.  Again, plan to let the dough thaw and come to room temperature before using.

Makes six 10-inch pizzas

About Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition
The Coalition provides a framework for the seafood community to coordinate marketing efforts among the Gulf States with emphasis on working with tourism boards, restaurants, retailers and chefs.  The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. is coordinating the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition through funding provided by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481).  For more information, please visit and follow the Coalition on Facebook at Gulf Coast Seafood and Twitter at @eatgulfseafood.

About Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.
The Foundation is a private, regional nonprofit research organization with a general membership and Board of Trustees representing a wide spectrum of the commercial fishing industry throughout the southeast U.S.   Through the Foundation, the commercial seafood and fishing industry can collectively identify industry needs, and address those needs through appropriate research and other activities.  Representing the nine-state region from Virginia to Texas, the Foundation has sponsored more than 600 fisheries related research projects. For more information, please visit