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This week Kevin Butler taught at the test kitchen at Stanford University. We hope he bought a sweatshirt or coffee mug so he can name drop at the fishing docks, "When I was teaching at Stanford..." Seriously, it was a great class.
He taught students how to choose a whole fish: make sure the flesh springs right back when pressed with a finger. He then showed how to fillet a California halibut. That came with a lesson on the halibut's unique characteristics, like the fact that it begins its life as a normal-looking fish larva with an eye on each side of its head. But in about 13 days one eye starts roving, migrating around the head to take its place next to the other eye. It then becomes a flatfish, laying on the bottom with both eyes on top.
He also taught how to cook and clean a Dungeness crab, and use the "crab butter" from the shell for a butter-tarragon sauce. He demonstrated how to make shrimp scampi with local ridgeback prawns, how to cook sanddabs after dredging in egg and flour, and how to prepare a Provençal sauce for the halibut.
Many students had "Ah-ha!" moments when working with and tasting such fresh seafood. And a few seemed to want internships commercial fishing with Kevin. Their parents might not be happy. But as Kevin said, "You go out fishing with me, you'll definitely stay in school."