“If you took nori away from us, we would just be floundering,” says Mike Wiley, chef and co-owner at Eventide Oyster Bar in downtown Portland, Maine. He smiles, a half-quirk that lifts one side of his face, before barreling on. “Nori is a huge part of what we do—especially our nori vinaigrette. We serve dash constantly in one form or another. Seaweed makes its way into many of our broths. We also use seaweed sheets almost like a hot dog casing to hold together various parts of fish—we poach it and it tightens up as it cooks and hydrates. We joke a lot about taking really nice local meat and vegetables and making it taste like gas station food. But we do that because we want that acidity, and a ton of salt and fat and richness.”
After clocking long shifts at Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine, chef Mike Wiley needs a gratifying meal, fast. “It’s a quick and dirty little fried fish sandwich,” he said of this week’s Slow Food Fast contribution, known at the restaurant as the Mike. “I eat it regularly.”
“I’ve only been to a handful of real clambakes in my life,” said Mike Wiley, co-chef and co-owner of three restaurants in Portland, Maine. “I mean the kind by the ocean, cooked with fresh seaweed and seawater. But I’ve tested countless clambake recipes at our restaurants.”
Cod has a mild, firm flesh that lends itself to a wide range of preparations. But Maine chef Mike Wiley is especially partial to poaching the fillets in olive oil. “The green, grassy oil perfumes the fish,” he said, “and the texture this technique achieves is remarkably luscious and light.”
As the days grow colder, scallops are the silver lining: The lower the water temperature, the plumper and sweeter they get. Mike Wiley, co-chef and co-owner of Eventide Oyster Co., Hugo’s and the Honey Paw in Portland, Maine, will be serving them liberally from here on in.
By Sarah Karnasiewicz
Indeed, it seems the most successful practitioners of the new New England cuisine are slavish neither to trends nor tradition, but blend the imaginative approach of the artist with the work-hard, work-smart attitude of the yeoman. For Mike Wiley, co-chef and co-owner of Hugo's and Eventide Oyster Co. in the Old Port of Portland, Maine, that means gathering black locust blossoms to serve with crudo in June, sea beans in late summer, and then "putting your nose to the grindstone, preserving the hell out of the bounty of summer and resigning yourself to falling in love with celery and parsnips for a while."
By Frederick Bever
For seafood, and any food, really, Portland is a great place to visit and an even better place to live. Amongst the city waterfront’s crowd of 19th- and early 20th-century brick buildings, there’s a remarkably dense concentration of restaurants, watering holes, breweries, bakeries, coffee roasters, groceries ranging from Asian to Latin to Italian, even a mead factory. In the cobblestoned Old Port you can find the august heroes of the city’s 1990’s gustatory revolution, Fore Street and Hugo's, joined by more recent standouts...