Welcome back to Chef in the Kitchen, a recurring Eater photo feature where we boldly go where few diners have gone before — into Portland restaurant kitchens — to get a sneak peek of the chef du jour hard at work.
"I moved to this coast to have access to fresh seafood," says Christopher Thompson, chef and co-owner of the nearly seven-year-old SE Italian spot Iorio. "The fact that we know the waters in which it's caught and the manner in which it was caught — to be able to ask my fish purveyor for small amounts of a very special fish they sustainably caught that day, is amazing." For his grilled albacore dish, Thompson butchers a whole tuna, pulling the loins away from the spine by making cuts from the head to tail (and saving scrap meat by scraping it from inside the bone).
After portioning the tuna, Thompson oils and seasons the fish with a chili rub, grilling it for two minutes per side (pro tip: "If cooking with dry heat, use a marinade or oil to constantly keep applying moisture, so you don't dry out the fish"). In its current incarnation on the Iorio menu, Thompson serves the albacore with heirloom tomatoes, Hood River cherries, grilled fingerling potatoes, ruby red sweet corn, fried sage, and garlic chips. "I wanted this dish to be gluten free — a huge trend with our diners," Thompson says.
· Iorio [Official site]
· All Previous Iorio Coverage [Eater PDX]