On December 16, the Aquarium partnered with Fleet Landing Restaurant and Bar to host a delicious four-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Drew Hedlund.  Courses encompassed sustainable choices of seafood including Lady’s Island Oysters, lionfish and hog snapper.  Each course was paired with a delicious vino blanco and dessert with a rich, delectable port.

Duo of Single Lady’s Island Oysters- Cold with Watermelon Radish Mignonette, Crispy Fried with Leek Fondue and Pancetta

Frank Roberts, farmed and harvested the oysters and was in attendance to discuss his farming production.  In the pristine waters of Beaufort, Frank grows single lady oysters mid-water column, so pluff mud does not accumulate or sit in the oyster.  No habitat is lost or disturbed when harvested, and the oysters actually help to keep the water clean.

Lionfish Fritto Misto with Meyer Lemon Aioli

White and flaky on the inside and golden crispy brown on the outside, the lionfish was a hit with diners.  Accompanying the meaty fish were a few lightly fried sweet potato strips.  Lionfish are native to the Indian and South Pacific Oceans and have become invasive in both the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans.  They have no natural predators in these foreign waters, reproduce at incredibly high rates, and are incredibly voracious predators.  These traits make lionfish an incredibly sustainable fish and an excellent choice by Chef Hedlund.

Pan-Seared Hog Snapper with White Grapefruit Salsa and Roasted Corn Pudding

This meaty underutilized whitefish left diners wanting for more.  The grapefruit salsa was bright and refreshing on top of the hog snapper (which is technically a wrasse).  Chef Hedlund was smart in his decision to serve hog snapper as the fishery for it is not well established, which means that fishing pressure is not heavy on this species.  In addition, fishing for hog snapper allows for some relief on other fisheries that we are more accustomed to consuming.

Carolina Gold Rice Pudding with Bourbon Rice Crispy Tuile 

A fantastic delight to wrap up the evening!


Shelley Dearhart

Photo: Sustainable Seafood Initiative Program Coordinator Shelley Dearhart and Fleet Landing’s Executive Chef Drew Hedlund