Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Fish Collar from Nico Osteria From Seafood & The Menu’s collection of best-selling seafood menu items of 2018

Chicago’s Nico Osteria expanded its seafood offerings with Grilled Fish Collar, taking advantage of this lesser known, incredibly rich cut.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alex Bendek for Star Chefs

Bill Montagne, Chef de Cuisine | Nico Osteria, Chicago

One of the most popular items at Nico Osteria, an upscale Italian seafood restaurant, is the fish collar. This cut is basically the fatty meat around a fish’s clavicle or collarbone. It is a mix of meat, bone and skin that sits just behind the gills, runs on either side of the base of the fish’s head and includes pectoral fins.

The menu item was inspired by a meal he’d had at Katsu, a now-closed Japanese restaurant that featured a hamachi collar dish. “Why aren’t we doing something like this?” Montagne remembers asking himself. The dish starts with a deeply flavored glaze for the fish, in order to reinforce the umami flavors that come from the collar. It is then finished with a spice mix, grilled until crispy, and served with red onion agrodolce and charred lemons.

“We bring in incredible quality fish for our crudo program, so it really makes sense for us to serve these collars as well,” says Montagne.

From the special Sept/Oct 2018 Seafood issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read this issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.

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About The Author

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Christine Burns Rudalevige is a seasoned food writer and classically trained cook living in Brunswick, Maine. She has worked as a chef, a farmers’ market manager, and a boutique caterer. Christine founded the Family Fish Project (a website dedicated to eating seafood at home) and later worked as a lead culinary instructor at Stonewall Kitchen. The dedicated home cook and food writer has lent her voice to regional and national media outlets, from NPR to Cooking Light.