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Rick Moonen

Thu, 06/05/2008 - 15:47
Submitted by admin_rg
Rick Moonen
RM Seafood Las Vegas

Sunday, September 14 3:20PM—4:5PM

Sustainable Seafood: The Future of Our Ocean Main Stage Presentation


An advocate for sustainable fishing and seafood, Chef Rick Moonen is known for his passion for conservation, as pursued through his Las Vegas restaurants and his work with the Seafood Choices Alliance, Seaweb, and more.

The native New Yorker graduated first in his class from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1978. He apprenticed at L’Hostellerie Bressane in Hillsdale, New York, with Chef Jean Morel before joining the team at La Cote Basque. This experience was followed by two years at Le Cirque working with the legendary Alain Sailhac. Moonen left New York for a brief stint in the Key West resort area, returning to the city a short time later to accept a position with Alain Sailhac at the famed Le Cirque. Moonen then worked as a chef at Le Relais, the Century Café, and Chelsea Central before accepting the executive chef position at The Water Club in 1988. He commanded the popular seafood restaurant for six years, eventually taking an offer of executive chef and restaurant partner at Oceana, where he would receive countless accolades, including 3 stars from The New York Times. His next step was Molyvos, a Greek fish house, and the first Greek restaurant to receive 3 stars from The New York Times. In the fall of 2002, Moonen realized his long-time dream of opening his own New York restaurant – two in fact, rm and Branzini – with partners Matthew and Richard Harriton. In 2005 he moved rm to the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

When not behind the stove, Moonen can be found throughout the country educating about the dangers of over fishing and ocean conservation. Moonen has testified for environmental and sustainable policy issues in Washington, DC and New York. He is a founding member of the Seafood Choices Alliances, which named him “Seafood Champion” in 2006, as well as an active member of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Seaweb, and a chef’s advisory board member of Ecofish. He also has served as a spokesperson for American caviar, a more environmentally sound alternative to the Caspian Sea varieties, and he is often quoted for his expertise with various indigenous and exotic fish. His first cookbook, Fish Without a Doubt was released earlier this year.


Sablefish au Frisée
Chef Rick Moonen of RM Seafood – Las Vegas, NV
Adapted by

Yield: 4 Servings


Smoked Sablefish:
• 2 cups water
• ½ cup sliced shallots
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons coarse salt
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
• 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and cracked
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 1 1-pound piece skinless sablefish fillet
• Cherry wood chips
• Vegetable oil

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large onion, quartered and sliced very thinly
• ¾ pound creamer or red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and sliced very thinly
• ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
• ½ cup chicken stock

• 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
• 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
• Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
• 1/3 cup olive oil

To Assemble and Serve:
• 1 large head frisée (substitute: chicory or curly endive)
• 1-2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
• ½ pound smoked sablefish, sliced
• 4 large eggs, poached


For the Smoked Sablefish:
Mix the water, shallots, garlic, salt, sugar, dill, coriander, and lemon zest in a bowl, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve (if possible, let the marinade sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours). Put the sablefish in a small non-reactive container and pour in the marinade – the fish should be completely covered. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours. Prepare a grill. Soak a few handfuls of cherry chips in water while the coals heat. Remove the sturgeon from the marinade and pat dry. Brush it all over with vegetable oil. When the coals are hot, bank them in one half of the grill. Open the vent(s) in the bottom of the grill. Put the chips on the glowing coals, set the grate over the coals, and set the fish on the cool side of the grate (not over the coals). Put the cover on the grill, vents closed to trap the smoke, and smoke the sablefish for 12 minutes. The fish should be opaque throughout when it is done. Let the fish cool, wrap it snugly in plastic, and refrigerate overnight

For the Potatoes:
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add oil and onion. Sauté and stir for 2 minutes, until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the potatoes and thyme, and season with salt and white pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, but being careful not to break up the potatoes. Spread the potatoes out evenly in the pan and pour in the chicken stock; the potatoes should be barely covered. Reduce the heat so the stock simmers; cover the pan and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

For the Vinaigrette:
Whisk together the mustard and vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the oil in a steady stream to make an emulsion.

To Assemble and Serve:
Shave any dark green parts of frisée leaves with a chef’s knife. Separate tender pale leaves, wash well, and spin dry. Toss the frisée with the tarragon and all but 4 teaspoons of the vinaigrette. Place a 4 inch diameter ring mold in the center of four large plates. Arrange the smoked sable around the outside of the mold. Divide the warm potatoes between the ring molds and lightly press down. Top the potatoes with the dressed frisée and one egg per plate. Remove the mold to retain the shape of the center salad. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette on the outer rim of the plate.

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