During Portland’s Harvest on the Harbor festival, chefs from four of the city’s best restaurants will cook up original recipes using fish and shellfish that thrive in the Atlantic.

While Maine has long been revered for its fresh, tasty lobster, local fishermen and chefs are vying for a new set of seafood to bask in the culinary spotlight.

Over the past year, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute has been working closely with some of the region’s top fishermen and chefs to identify fish and shellfish species that thrive in the Atlantic waters but have been underutilized in northeastern US cuisine. By creating demand for these sustainable species, like northern shrimp, Atlantic mackerel, whiting, Atlantic pollock and red fish, fishermen hope to preserve the seafood that has historically been overfished, such as flounder, cod and halibut.

During Portland’s annual Harvest on the Harbor, 20 October through 22 October, seafood chefs from four of the city’s best restaurants will aim to show the world just how tasty these sustainable species can be in the Ultimate Seafood Splash, a series of recipe demonstrations using the new catches. For example, Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich from Sea Glass will tackle whiting by pan-searing the fish, (which is less flaky than cod so it develops a nicer crust when seared) and serving it alongside local cauliflower and citrus quinoa. All of the original recipes will also be paired with wine.  

In addition to the Ultimate Seafood Splash, the food-focused festival will also feature trolley sampling tours, a marketplace of Maine-made eats and drinks, and competitions for the best Maine lobster chef and the best farm to table chef.

If you can’t make it to the harvest, each of the four Ultimate Seafood Splash chefs will continue to highlight culinary spins on the new seafood at their restaurants. Here’s what each does best:

  • Fore Street: this early farm-to-table venture uses wood fires to bring out the best in local flavours.
  • Havana South: locally sourced meat and seafood marries well with Latin-inspired spices and styles.
  • The Salt Exchange: rotating local art provides a conversation piece while guests nibble on seasonal small plates.
  • Sea Glass: ocean views and upscale presentation enhance the simple ingredient-focused menu.