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Sustainable Spiny Dogfish w/White Wine Truffle Sauce & Minty Mango Ginger Relish

I’ve always been a fan of fish. Most fish, anyway. I don’t eat shellfish or bottom feeders due to religious beliefs and shy away from them. But, I do love looking at them and even cooking a variety of “untouchables” for my friends and clients.

Of the fish I do eat, I’m always on the hunt for something new to try out. I grew up camping in tents just about every weekend. One of our family “must-do” activities during our weekends was fishing. It was such a big deal that we each had our own rods, would reel in our catch and eventually would scale our yummy findings. However, and a big fat however—I used to be mortified of lake water! Hahaha! When I was 7 or so, I slipped off a mossy rock and fell into 4″ of polluted water and  lost all common sense and coyness. I screamed louder than a missing child’s mother and violently cried while my parents laughed (as they yanked me back to safe landing).  Imagine that. Me, the one that now parasails 700 ft up in the air above clear blue waters and loves everything unknown below me.

The most adventerous encounter with raging waters was a few years back while traveling in Mexico with my family. We chartered a catamaran and went for a deep sea fishing excursion. Well, in between throwing my line and sunbathing (b/c every girl has to even out those bikini lines), my sister and I decided to dip into the brisk water. But it wasn’t any kind of dipping. Picture this: we laid on our stomachs at the very end of the mesh platform, anchored our feet in between the frame and dunk half of our bodies into the ocean; all while the boat sped into massive open space. That lasted for about one full minute until the sailor screamed “SHARK!!!!”

S*&@! Sis and I nearly broke our lower backs trying to pull up against gravity… Yeah, not the smartest thing to do when we were advised the ocean had plenty of human eaters out there. But hey, we were looking for a thrill and we got it!

That incident didn’t freak me out, though the potential risk of a shark taking bite of my limbs, let a lone my head put things in perspective. Don’t give them guys reason to like you! And, thank God I grew out of my childhood fear of falling into water. I’d be no good today if I still were. I love being in the water and every chance I get, I enjoy fishing and becoming one with earth’s most natural element.

I also have become much more conscious about where my food comes from and how its raised, farmed, caught, treated and how it affects our environment. We have to treat it well because after all, our air gives us life. Without a healthy environment we can not be healthy people. I won’t bore you with my philosophy, but my appreciation has been underscored as I read more and more about sustainable living practices in Cuba. It only makes sense.

So, with this month’s 5 Star Makeover round-up theme of sustainable fish, I had no qualms with picking a fish that has scared most of us. Jaws, anyone? Yeah, that kind of shark.

Truthfully, I probably would have chosen a more popular fish to keep with the topic. But, I wanted to try something I’d never eaten. According to the resources Lazaro (co-host of 5 Star Makeover) shared in his themed recipe, not all shark is sustainable. In fact, of the three varieties, Spiny Dogfish, the one I chose to work with, is classified as a “good alternative”. Not the best, but it worked. Unfortunately, and  news to me, shark is heavily caught and moreso accidentally because they get mixed in with other intended target. Additionally, because of their slow maturity and meager reproduction rate there is a high shortage level. Generally speaking,  most shark is recommended to be avoided with halibut being a suitable substitute.

It took me some time to find the exact species of shark (caught in British Columbia) that would be sustainable and satisfy the theme. Most shark sold in local farmers’ markets are American caught and are the ones that fall into the “avoid” category. When I found mine, I was lucky to have steak cut options. But at this point, I was completely clueless on what to do with it. If I considered that halibut was a good substitute, I erred on the side that something fresh and minty would work. I also wanted to balance it with something robust and earthy.

I did a simple lemon and garlic marinade and panfried it.

I went to my quickly depleting stash of black truffles to make a white wine truffle sauce the fish would sit on. I could have eaten that alone. I’m still having an affair with my truffles if you haven’t noticed! 🙂 I sautéed a few  purple potatoes to give the dish some added color contrast. They naturally paired well with the mushroom sauce.  The mango ginger relish, splashed with some Riesling topped off the dish very nicely.  Ultimately, the shark was very meaty,  much like halibut but no where near as tasty.

No wonder it was only $6/lb.

I was satisfied with my composed meal (as I just had it for lunch today!), but I’d play around with it a bit more next time. I’m thinking that instead of mango, I could use buttery carrots. But I’m from the caribbean and this girl here loves her some mango! But that’s another story for another day.

Of note, shark has been listed on the EDF’s health advisory list due it’s high level of mercury. I loved this, but I wouldn’t run to the market to buy it if I were on a fish diet. There are many more sustainable options which are easily accessible, but I did want to try shark. At least once!

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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  • 1lb. spiny dogfish shark (steak cut)
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp. truffles, minced
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, julienne
  • 1/3 cup mango, cubed
  • 1 tbsp. mint, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 4 small purple potatoes, sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pinch of truffle salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • splash of a good Riesling


For Fish:

Rinse and pat dry fish. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and garlic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat canola oil in large non-stick skillet. Panfry fish on both sides for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove fish and cut  steak in half or quarters around  bone and along grain. Cover and set aside.

For Truffle Sauce:

On low-medium heat, sauté truffles in 1 tbsp. butter for 3-4 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Whisk in cream. Bring to light boil. Add nutmeg and stir.  Stir in wine and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

For Potatoes:

In small 8″ non-stick or stainless steel skillet, panfry potatoes in remaining buter and sprinkle truffle salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until potatoes are slightly tender.

For Minty Mango Relish:

Combine mango, mint, ginger and Riesling in small bowl.

To plate, ladle 2-3 tablespoons on serving dish. Place 1/4 of fish in middle of plate on top of sauce. Place potatoes around dish. Top fish with mango relish. Garnish plate with fresh mint leaves.

Serves 2-4, depending on how you cut fish.

90 thoughts on “Sustainable Spiny Dogfish w/White Wine Truffle Sauce & Minty Mango Ginger Relish

  1. I’d love to taste that fish and eat such a wonderful dish! Really flavprful looking…

    Your plate is so pretty-



  2. On our visit to Tahiti, in addition to mahi we also ate shark, in fact it was our main course for our meal to celebrate our engagement. This was more than 10 years ago, definitely before I was aware of sustainability issues, so I’m not sure whether the shark we had was considered even a good alternative, though maybe it still was at that time in that particular location, don’t know.

    I love your preparation, the white wine truffle sauce sounds fabulous and the addition of mango relish is very refreshing.

  3. Hola Bren ! how are you? I love the Recipe very well presented and colors are awesome. I can taste the Truffle…mmmmmm !the sauce smooth. The potatoes are a great compliment.

    I also love the new look of the sight.It’s been awhile since I visited…Cuidao

  4. I’m loving the idea of mango and truffle… really an exotic pairing. The dish looks so fresh and good as things with an island inspiration often do. I do love shark and swordfish but haven’t had it in ever so long. I’m hoping that better husbandry and practices with our oceans bring them all back so they can be enjoyed once more… and no more shark fins…. one of the most destructive products on the planet. Thanks for a less destructive alternative!

  5. Rosa: it was so good. I could have continued scooping up the truffle sauce.

    5 Star Foodie: My dad tells me he used to eat a lot of shark when my family lived in Cuba, but my mother never cooked it growing up. We stuck to the more popular fishes. I did enjoy it but it wouldn’t be to go-to fish!

    ChefMED: Wow, stranger. Thanks for coming by. Good to see you here. the truffle was awesome as you know.

    Chris: Thanks!

    Deana: me, too! I wasn’t sure how well it’d work, but the balance was so great and I was lucky to select some wonderful mangoes at the market. I like swordfish but hadn’t done shark so it was interesting for sure. Very meaty and steak like. And you’re right–no more shark fins. I failed to mention that issue of it in the post but I hope people are aware of the concerns. Thanks for brining it up in your comment.

  6. Hi Bren – you are certainly an adventuress! No surprise you prepared such a daring dish! Look at those colors and textures!
    P.S. I am jealous of your gorgeous green platter…

  7. Tastes like chicken? I’ve never had shark either, but have heard it tastes like chicken.. :)…I’m with you- I could eat truffle sauce all day. I bought my very first truffle when I was in Paris at christmas, and it was incredible. I still have to do a truffle post…I love the combination of truffle with mango- I think that would taste good with all sorts of things! Fabulous post, and way to continue being daring!

  8. Fantastic post and perfect addition to the event. Informative and well-written, job well done spreading the word on sustainable fish. The flavors just work in the dish. Amongst all of the top notch ingredients, I like the mint addition.

    Que mas te puedo decir? Thank you for being part of our cooking group and elevating it to another level.


  9. Mmmm. That fish looks incredibly meaty. It sounds like you had quite a challenge to find a shark that would qualify so you definitely get bonus points for that. And of course, what could be bad with truffles.

  10. Lori Lynn: Thanks! I think I’m adventurous, too, and thankfully it works most times…. my parents complain a bit though. They like what they know!

    Jennifer: Hmmm. good point. It does a tiny bit. It’s very meat and not very fishy. I’d try cooking it a different way next time…It’s browned here because of the way I seasoned it. It was good, though. And yes, dear, the truffle and mango/mint worked well for me. I loved it!

    Lazaro: Gracias for la invitacion denuevo. Me’ncanta compartir con mis lectores informacion que nos puedo ayudar vivir un vida mas saludable!

    Kelly: Meaty is the right word. And truffles make everything much better, right! I think I want to start my own farm!

    Debi: Thanks! I’d make it again…

    Taste of Beirut: ahhhh, thanks!

  11. Hi Bren! Sorry I’ve been so slow to check our your makeover. I had a surgery on friday. anyway, i love your presentation and the dogfish has intriuged me! I don’t think I have dogfish before and now i wonder what it tastes like. Love the truffle pairing with fish, and mango as an addition. Sounds fantastic!

  12. Great to hear all about your adventures with shark, both on and off the plate! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten shark of any kind (and am probably not likely to anytime soon) but I’ll be curious to try if the opportunity should ever arise.

  13. I loved reading your story and after all that, you still had no fear of using the sustainable dogfish. That is just amazing and your dish looks absolutely fantastic!! The truffle must have paired so well with it and mango sounds wonderful, even though I love the idea of buttery carrots as well. Great job to March’s makeover!!

  14. If the pictures, coupled with your words, of course, tell the story, that dish was really, really good! Ah, truffles; can’t get enough!! but I would have preferred Halibut or Haddock. In my younger years I had my share of shark and it is not one of my favorite fish. At any rate; great post, and yes, even with shark I will try it and know will enjoy it.

  15. Dog and Shark….seems to turn my tummy. Yet, after reading your post…I guess I could try it… prepared as you suggested and with lots of “truffle” yum sauce!! Wonderful post with a big BITE!

  16. Wow, this dish looks great…love the combination of truffle oil in the sauce and the tropical salsa…so pretty and yummie! Great pictures Bren! Have a great week 🙂

  17. Always fancy! But you gave some good information. Neither one of us has ever had shark, but something about it hasn’t seemed appealing. You definitely played around with good flavors though. You could easily convince a doubter to put a fork in.

  18. SI eso sabe como se ve claro que lo cocinare por que tiene de todo lo que me gusta pescado fresco ,la combinacion de truffles mango eso se ve delicioso .y la presentacion ni se diga tus platos son para el paladar mas excigente felicidades chef

  19. I have never had spiny dogfish – good for you for trying something brand new. But how sad about shark fishing, eh? I too have a passionate and torrid love affair with truffles and I would be licking this sauce off of the plate.

  20. There are a few good sharks to eat, Spiny dog is not one of them.

    Times would have to be pretty hard up to eat these sharks.

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