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Fish Questions?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hello All!
I am a fishmonger in the Greater Seattle area and am running out of new and exciting ways to prepare fresh fish. My customers come to me for this information and, well, I have known most of my customers for a few years now, and I am looking for something new for them. Most of my customers are foodies and need entire recipes written out for them, but if I give them some ingredients and a cooking method they are really happy. They generally give me feedback after they try it and let me know what they did differently. I love the feedback!

Let me know what you have. I am excited to see what you all have to offer.
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
http://dontfearfish.blogspot.com
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Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
http://dontfearfish.blogspot.com
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post #2 of 13
I have a question regarding smoking fish. Let's say I have a freshly caught shark. If I want to smoke it, which end do I put in my mouth and which end do I light? They're not as obvious as cigars.


Heh being goofy:crazy: I do appreciate this thread and I have a serious question. . . is smell the best test for how fresh fish is? How do you know if it's fresh enough for poke or any other raw preparation? Is there much difference between fresh-frozen and fresh?

I grew up in India and I find the Indian and Pakistani fish curry spices excellent, though I usually use those spices less so that people who aren't used to it can still taste the fish. Even a light sprinkling of fish curry masala adds a really nice flavor.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
LOL! Always use the tail end in the mouth, not as bony! hahaha

Yes. Smell is vary hard to mask. If it does not smell like the ocean with a hint of fish, then walk on by. You will know if someone is trying to mask the smell of old fish. It will simply not smell natural. Fish has an amnonia smell to it when it starts to turn. You simply cannot mask that without chemicals. And you will know the difference between chemical and natural smells. The other thing you can do is check the gills if they are present. They should be bright red. And, they should not be slimy at all. The gills are the first thing to turn bad.
The epitome is this: Always ask your fishmonger to let you smell the fish. If it looks bad, it is. For Ahi, it should be dark red without any brown on it at all. Most fishmongers slice their fish into steaks to display in their cases. That is NOT a good practice. If you are lucky enough to have a fishmonger who keeps his loins whole, ask for the center cut if he/she will do it for you. Fish is graded at the processing level. It is graded 1 -2 3 and other. Sashimi/Sushi grade is considered to be a 1 or even better, a 1+. You will pay top dollar for that. You monger better know what he/she is selling. And don't be affraid to ask for proof! All premium grade fish comes with documentation. Even if it is simply on their receiving invoices.
Fresh-Frozen or Fresh? This is a battle that will rage for ages. Some believe that Fresh Frozen preserves the freshness. Some feel that it takes the moisture out of the fish. And there are others who will tell you that they freeze it to cover poor handling. All of which can be true. And again, there are some fishers/processors out there who actually want to keep your business and baby their fish from the minute they hit the deck of the boat. As for Fresh? Who's definition do you want to use? Some believe that Fresh swordfish is what shows up at your fish stand that day, when in reality, it has been covered in ice on a boat for 2 -3 weeks before coming into port. To me, yes, that is still fresh as long as it has been handled right. Each fish has a definite "Fresh" cycle. In other words, each species has it's own expiration date. For some it is just a few days. For others, it could be as long as 3 weeks.
I hope this kinda answered your questions. As you can see, there is never one simple answer when it comes to fish.

That was fun! Thanks for the questions.
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
http://dontfearfish.blogspot.com
Reply
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
http://dontfearfish.blogspot.com
Reply
post #4 of 13
TYVM fishmonger. I will keep those guidelines in mind. Fresh fish is a passion of mine. It's a . . how should I say it . . . most gorgeous and classy food!

I also think that most people who don't like fish have probably never tasted it really fresh. Either that or had a bad taste of fish too far gone and don't like any reminder of it. There is a world of difference between fresh fish and old fish.
post #5 of 13
I know your customers do a lot of grilling. You might suggest brining for a few hour first. Properly brined fish handles grilling temperatures much better and makes the fish a little more forgiving in terms of not drying out as easily.

Basic brine:

Bring 1 quart of water to the boil, add 1/2 cup of table salt (not kosher!), and 3/4 cup sugar. Stir until dissolved and remove from heat. Cut four lemons into quarters, squeeze the juice into the brine, and add the rinds. Allow to cool to room temperature, then add enough ice to chill -- about a pint.

Place the fish steaks or fillets in a non-reactive pan and cover them with brine. Reserve the remaining brine for another time. Cover the pan and refrigerate for between two and four hours. Remove the fish from the brine, rinse it briefly in fresh water, and dry with a paper towel. Put a rack in a pan, the fish on the rack, and return, uncovered, to finish drying -- about an hour.

When the fish is fully dry it will be slightly sticky and have a slightly hazy appearance. This is called a "pellicle" and is a good thing. Season without using oil or other moisture. The pellicle will hold the dry seasonings to the fish. Grill or smoke as usual. If grilling, use a very clean and very well oiled grate.

An alternative your customers are sure to love is to substitute commercial limeade or lemonade for the water, sugar and citrus. BYO salt.

Feel free to print this out and give it to your customers. Don't forget to add my name -- Boar D. Laze.

Is this the sort of thing you mean?
BDL
post #6 of 13
check out David Pasternack, he's at "Esca" in NYC.

the man is a marvel of the sea.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yes. BDL, this is exactly what I am looking for. Thank for the permission and of course credit will always be given where it is due. I will let you know how it works out for me. Or course I am going to try it myself first.
Yeti - We are so much more fortunate than most people who don't live in the Northwest. If it is salmon, Steelhead, trout, Halibut, Rock fish, Snapper, Black cod, cod, and Albacore Tuna, it is a safe bet that it is fresher than anywhere else in the U.S..
m-brown - David Pasternack is so far out of my league. His book, "The young man and the Sea" is one of the best sellers of my bookshelves. He is definitely a master of my finned friends. Yeti - you should really check out this cook book for some inspiring ideas.

Keep the ideas coming!
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
http://dontfearfish.blogspot.com
Reply
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
http://dontfearfish.blogspot.com
Reply
post #8 of 13
Most people are unfamiliar with the idea of seafood sausages. So that could be an eye opener for your customers.

Basic approach is to grind a combination of finned- and shell-fishes to a puree, with appropriate spices. Roll a portion of this mixture in cling film to form a sausage link. Gently poach. You can, obviously, ring all sorts of changes on this idea, merely by changing the seafood selection and the herbs/spices used.

A really fun alternative is something Cat Cora thought up. She makes seafood "corndogs" by piping the mixture directly into poaching liquid. These are then put on skewers, dipped in cornmeal batter, and deep fried. I do the same thing, except I drop the mixture into the liquid with a small disher, and make seafood lollipops.

Fish braids make an exciting presentation. Again, just the basic approach: Cut two different colored fish (f'rinstance, salmon and haddock) into equal sized strips about six inches long. Braid them together. Then cook by poaching, broiling, baking, whatever.

Something we don't see much anymore is the classic fish steak. Not the chunks sold as steaks nowadays, but cross-cut slices that include the belly flaps as well as the loin and ribs. If you offer that cut it might be unfamiliar, and thus "new" to your customers.

The best presentation of steaks does require a little work. What you have to do is remove the spine and other bones. Then carefully cut the skin away from the belly flaps, as if you were filetting them. One flap of flesh gets tuned into the middle (i.e., filling the gap left by the spine), the other twisted around it, and the skin flaps wrapped around the whole thing. Tieing it with kitchen twine sometimes helps retain the round shape.

Fish turbans always impress people. To make them, start with thin strips of filet, about 1 1/2" wide. Make a batch of duxelle. In a buttered ramikin or pudding cup, spiril the filet strip. Fill the balance with duxelle. Bake until the fish is done. Unmold. Sprinkle with paprika.

Hope this helps.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 13
At my place we take a firm fleshed fish, do a criss-cross grill mark, covet it with shaved almonds then pop it in the oven at about 450 for 8-10 min depending on thickness. It is served up on sauted spinich with a butter sauce.
Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
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Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
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post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh my! KYH and Dirk, those are exactly what my customers are looking for. I have a customer who swears by his fish sausage. He has made some for me and my family, but I have not tried to duplicate it myself. They are wonderful! And the fish-on-a-stick concept is something that I must try as well.
I do prepare and sell a ton of the trussed salmon steaks. They are kind of a pain, but they fetch a premium and the customers go ga-ga over them. When I have some tail scraps from my fresh Black Cod, I will roll the belly flap around a chunk of that. Makes for an interesting combo. The extremely high fat content in the black cod mixed with the belly meat of the salmon is a combo made in heaven!
These are incredible ideas that I am sure my customers will appreciate!

Keep em coming! I love this. What a perfect place to gather genuin interest and ideas. Thank you so much.
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
http://dontfearfish.blogspot.com
Reply
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
http://dontfearfish.blogspot.com
Reply
post #11 of 13
How about a fish roulade? Basically thin, skinless fillets rolled up like jelly rolls, with stuffings like a red bell pepper and mushroom saute, or chopped shrimp and green onion, or maybe just herbed butter with some big sea scallops as a core to wrap the fish around. Rolled up tight, wrapped in plastic or parchment then refrigerated overnight might help keep the shape, though I imagine the rolls would tend to unwind if sliced and grilled. Broiled on a baking sheet might be a better cooking method.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #12 of 13
Another approach - ceviche. Chunks of fish "cooked" in a citrus juice marinade, often with onions, chilis, tomato, cilantro, etc. With finely chopped fish, shrimp, scallops, whatever, it makes a good salsa; with big chunks of fish a nice, cool taco filling, or piled on a bed of greens for a refreshing salad on hot summer nights.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
teamfat, thanks for the suggestions. I sell a (we call it Rolled Sole) rolled dover sole fillet around a Dungeness Crab/cream cheese/bread crumb stuffing. Another one that sells like crazy. I always tell my customers to bake it in parchment. Furthermore, I make my own ceviche marinade and sell that, too. It sells well with the Mahimahi.

Thanks again for the ideas.
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
http://dontfearfish.blogspot.com
Reply
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
http://dontfearfish.blogspot.com
Reply
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