June 10 marks the beginning of our eighth annual Oceanic Dinner event, which our trusted co-conspirator Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish Company says is looking very good for all our fishery sources (except local salmon). Our Oceanic Dinners are the most spectacular of our special events. We will serve some sixty species of sea beings and plants, all absolutely fresh, harvested sustainably, and prepared deliciously, skillfully, imaginatively, and respectfully.

[We’ve been taping footage about fisheries and fishermen, the dinners, and the fish themselves for years, and, with our new website, finally have a venue for showing that compelling material. Watch video of Tom Worthington and Chef Canales discussing the menu with Oliveto staff in preparation for the 2005 dinners and see a partial menu for this year’s dinners.]

edited by Dallas Mark

Of special note: Chef Paul Canales just returned from a trip to Japan, where he traveled with Japanese chefs. He got to experience Japan’s two great fish markets and participate in discussions on Japanese principles and concepts of cookery. “The similarities between Italian and Japanese cooking are remarkable,” he says. The foods are “right of this moment, without scores of ingredients.” It is no surprise that after Japanese food, Italian is the favorite in Japan.

Some dishes at this year’s Oceanic Dinners will incorporate those values (and Japanese fish butchery techniques), making them Italianate–like black cod poached in, instead of miso broth, vinsanto sauce. “Not fusion, but inspiration.”

Menu (partial)

Some new ideas for 2009: bresaola of big eye tuna with celery heart, capers, lemon zest, and Gerbino olive oil; carpaccio of local swordfish with red miso maionese, black mustard seeds, scallions, and Espelette peppers; mostaccioli with shaved tuna “bloodline” and zucchini crema; and Maine scallop, Georgia white shrimp, and Monterey Bay squid confit in Regina olive oil with Flageolet beans and green vegetables.

Favorites from past dinners will include: chilled octopus soppressata with Castelvetrano olives, celery heart, and Monte Iblei olive oil; wild nettle tagliolini with geoduck clams; pasticcio di lasagne of Dungeness crab, ragù di pesce, and Porcini mushrooms; wood-oven-roasted petrale sole with artichoke sauce, to name a few.

More than any of our other events, this paean to the oceans is a celebration of nature, of wild creatures and plants not tampered with or hybridized by Man, and living in an entirely different medium from mankind.

June 10th – June 13th