Canadian Seafood, from Ocean to Plate: Yervana Adventure Food Series
Welcome to the Yervana Adventure Food Series, where we show you how to cook, eat, and enjoy the best foods in Canada this summer – from the backcountry, to the lake, to the forest, and beyond! This week, we’re talking about Canadian seafood! Read on to learn more.
Image: Yervana Team Member Gabe with his catch of the day!
Prawns, Crabs and more on Vancouver Island!
We’d heard amazing things about the seafood on Vancouver Island, and knew we had to check it out for ourselves. That’s why we headed out on a prawning and fishing boat to see what we could catch in the waters out of Sidney, BC.
The day started as Yervana Local Captain Ron expertly steered us out of the harbour, and out into open water. A charismatic fishing captain with a wealth of stories to tell, we were blown away by both his knowledge, and life experience! We lowered traps down between 150-250 feet, looking for prawns and crabs. We left them for a couple of hours. In the meantime, we tried to catch some halibut but unfortunately didn’t have much luck. We caught a massive dogfish instead.
However, we had better luck when we pulled our traps up later in the day to find many spot prawns and Dungeness crab! After a full day on the water learning how to fish from a true living legend, we headed home with a healthy supply of Canadian seafood. We were ready to cook up a feast!
Spot prawns are known for their delicate, sweet flavour. BC spot prawns in particular are a favourite in Japan and other parts of Asia. Some liken the taste to a combination of the best lobster, and fresh-churned butter. Spot prawns are recognized for their reddish brown colour, which turns bright pink when cooked, and defining white spots on their tail. They’re harvested with great care to ensure they stay sustainable for years to come, and as such are quite expensive. That is, unless you hop on a fishing boat like Captain Ron’s and do it yourself!
There are a plethora of ways you can cook and eat spot prawns – think, eating them raw like sashimi, boiling and serving with butter or a dipping sauce, or in a Thai curry. In most cases, they’re best cooked quickly (1-2 minutes per side) so as to not overcook.
We decided to make garlic and white wine prawns with linguine. There isn’t much that goes better with prawns than plenty of garlic and olive oil, and we definitely helped ourselves to seconds (and thirds)!
A Canadian seafood standout, Dungeness crab is prized by chefs across the world for its sweet, tender meat. It’s the most common crab in the western Pacific, and is one of the tastiest. It can be caught during winter and up until July, and is considered the most sustainable choice when buying crab because there are many of them (though you should always purchase from or fish with a licensed fishing professional). However, you should always make sure you follow crab harvesting regulations, such as only keeping male crabs, and making sure they’re the right size to be kept!
It’s perfect for traditional crab recipes such as dips, crab cakes, and salads. It’s usually prepared by boiling or steaming. We decided to go with a traditional crab boil, and ate our crab with a simple lemon butter sauce (just melted butter, with lemon juice and garlic)! It was the perfect way to wrap up a successful day at sea.
Salmon on the Lower Mainland
Located just one hour east of Vancouver, the Fraser River is the Mecca of salmon and sturgeon fishing in Chilliwack. There, you can take in the breathtaking beauty of the Cascade and Coastal Mountains while you fish for an abundance of sturgeon, steelhead, Chum, bull trout, Chinook, Coho, and pink salmon. Sturgeon and sockeye salmon caught on the Fraser River should be released according to ethical fishing practices. However, some varieties of salmon can be taken home in within recreational fishing limits. Your guide will let you know what you can keep!
Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. It’s loaded with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease inflammation and support brain health. It’s also rich in vitamin B-12. Moreover, it’s delicious!
We recommend leaning into our Canadian roots with maple glazed salmon, baked to perfection in the oven in winter, and on the barbecue in summer. We’re also partial to an oven-baked salmon with lemon, garlic, and seasonal vegetables. Yum!
Trout in the Rocky Mountains
Whether you spend a day on the water perfecting your angling skills, or learning the art of fly fishing, the Rockies will guarantee a scenic, unforgettable experience. When fishing on lakes and rivers in BC and Alberta, you can expect to reel in trout and pike! If you happen to catch a rainbow trout or bull trout, you’ll be in for a delicious dinner.
For a milder fish such as trout, we recommend grilling to impart a little more flavour. If you’re looking to impress, you can even grill the whole fish!
Know Before You Go
Have you been fishing yet this summer? Head out with an experienced local guide to find the best spots, learn about the local environment, and fish in a way that’s sustainable and regulated!
There will be different permits needed and fishing limits depending on where you’re going and what you’re fishing. These limits can also change depending on the season and environmental factors. Be sure to do your research before you go, as most guides do not provide fishing licenses. Don’t know where to start? Check out our guide to fishing in British Columbia!
Go fish! Check out the adventures below!