Man Bites Shark: Summer Thriller "Open Water" Inspires Award-Winning Cookbook Author and Chef to Skewer Shark

Share Article

As the hit Sundance movie "Open Water" chronicling the plight of a scuba-diving couple abandoned in shark-infested waters opens nationally this month, the thriller is likely to prompt the same terror of sharks seen upon the 1975 release of Steven Spielberg's "Jaws." However, award-winning cookbook author and chef Andrew Dornenburg asserts that it's possible to overcome a fear of sharks: by biting one first.

As the summer thriller “Open Water” about a scuba-diving couple accidentally abandoned in shark-infested waters opens nationally this month, the indie film (based on a true story) is likely to prompt the same terror of sharks seen nearly 30 years ago with the release of the blockbuster “Jaws.” But award-winning author Andrew Dornenburg asserts that it’s possible to develop a love of shark by taking a delicious bite of one first.

The best-selling author of five culinary books and a former firefighter who’s cooked everything from wild bear to prairie oysters, Dornenburg has several tips for conquering shark in the kitchen:

  •     Despite shark’s reputation as a killer, it’s actually a healthy white meat that is naturally low in fat as well as economical.
  •     The taste of shark can be compared to swordfish, in that it has a meaty, steaky texture with a delicate, slightly sweet flavor.
  •     Shark is typically sold in steaks. Cut out any dark-colored pieces, which taste bitter. The steaks can be cooked whole, or cut into cubes and skewered.
  •     Coat shark in lemon juice or soak in milk for 30 minutes before cooking to neutralize any slight odor.
  •     Shark is best served grilled, which makes it ideal to enjoy during the summer barbecue season. It can handle a bit of seasoning (including bold flavors such as bacon, basil, garlic or lemon), and can be substituted in most swordfish recipes.
  •     Most important: Do not overcook shark, because the meat will become dry. Cook shark just until its meat turns opaque.

Dornenburg is available for interviews and on-air cooking demonstrations. He has cooked professionally at top restaurants in New York City (Judson Grill, March) and Boston (Biba, East Coast Grill) and currently runs his own catering company which has fed everyone from actress Shirley MacLaine to Naked Angels Theater Company (whose members include Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Marisa Tomei). Previous media appearances include “Today,” CNBC, CNN, Oxygen, PBS, and local television shows across North America.

Dornenburg has been called half of “the brightest young author team on the culinary scene today” on NPR, and his books include Becoming a Chef (the 1996 James Beard Award winner out in a 2003 revised edition marking its 100,000th copy in print), Culinary Artistry, Dining Out, and Chef’s Night Out. His latest, The New American Chef, was a Finalist for the 2004 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Cookbook Award. His Web site has attracted more than 10,000 subscribers across North America and around the world to his free monthly e-Newsletter.

Grilled Skewers of Pesto-Rubbed Shark Wrapped with Bacon

Serves 4

4 shark steaks, about 1/2 lb. per serving

4 T. prepared pesto (Italian basil sauce)

8 strips bacon, cut in half

1. Prepare the grill, so that the grill is about 6-8 inches above the coals. Soak wooden skewers (about 6-8 inches long) in water.

2. Trim away any dark-colored parts from the shark steaks. If there is any slight odor, soak steaks in milk for 20-30 minutes.

3. Cut each shark steak into four two-ounce chunks. Lightly salt and pepper shark. Coat each chunk of shark with pesto.

4. Wrap one-half slice of bacon around each chunk, and place four chunks onto each skewer.

5. Place shark skewers on grill. Grill until shark is opaque and bacon is golden brown. (If bacon browns too quickly, lift grill slightly higher to prevent burning.)

Serve shark skewers with a seasonal vegetable, and rice or creamy polenta.

Contact Information:

Karen Page


# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Karen Page
Visit website