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Escolar, good fish or bad fish?

post #1 of 36
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We recently had a food critic write about a fish that we find very popular in our restaurant. The fish is Escolar and it is a by-catch of the Tuna. Some call it White Tuna and I have heard it named Oil Fish, but that was a name given in the Far East. Her view of the fish has people running for the toilet even before tasting it.
I was wondering what if any experience anyone has had, positive or negative, response to serving this fish. Our customers think it is the best fish they have ever eaten. My wife on the other hand cannot eat it as the oil content is too much for her. If people are not used to a certain cooking technic, they will have various issues from trying new cuisines. we use much olive oil in our cooking and this has the same effect on people that eat Escolar when they are used to eating Shrimp.
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Grouse
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post #2 of 36
Hi Cucina, and welcome to Chef Talk. You'll find plenty of other culinary enthusiasts- pros and amateurs alike- to answer your question. However, I'm moving your post to the Cooking Questions forum, as that's where more people will be likely to see it.

Good luck! Please enjoy visiting and posting in our forums, and don't miss a look at our archives.
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post #3 of 36
Hey there Cucina!! One of the chefs I used to work under loved Escolar. We used to serve it quite often and never had a complaint about it. From what I understand, it is not the oiliness of the fish that causes problems, it is the fact that it contains a high amount of histamines. It does cause issue with people who have a low tolerance of histamines, but again, in all the time we served it, I have never heard of anyone having a problem. About 2-2 1/2 years ago, a Chicago newspaper ran an article about Escolar, talking about both the pros and cons of the fish, but we didn't run Escolar for awhile after that. We just didn't want all the attention to influence our guests perception of it. After the hype wore down we were running it again, and people loved it!
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post #4 of 36
An excellent fish. Extremely easy to prepare and very satisfying to consume (allergy issues aside; something I've never directly been aware of happening).

My only complaint is that away from larger cities, it is not always available.
Bob Sherwood
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post #5 of 36
There was some discussion a while back about Escolar. Check out...
http://www.cheftalkcafe.com/forums/s...hlight=escolar

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post #6 of 36
I love escolar.
I think for it to send you to the toilet you have to eat heaps of the stuff.
I only recently heard about this phenomenon, never had trouble with it myself.
I don't even find it too oily, but obviously you wouldn't deep fry it. It's great with acid based dressings and it can stand up to a bit of crispy pancetta and red wine sauce.
post #7 of 36
The biggest problem is finding a reputable source for Escolar. It's not properly regulated in the southern waters off of South America where the main catch is aquired. Many times a cousin of Escolar with even higher oil content is sold as the real deal. Peopl have been made sick from eating it and at least one person , in Texas I beleive died.

I ate it and had no problem then my head waiter ate it and was sick all night.

I leave it alone.

Jon
post #8 of 36
what would you say would be the best way to cook escolar?, it is said that light oils displace heavy oils like the cerous esters that escolars contain, I guess grilling it with a little olive oil could do the job?, any experiences in how to cook it?, the main issue is to make sure we have Black Escolar in our hands, and not oilfish
post #9 of 36
The nick-name for this fish is he Ex-lax fish. It's oil are not digestable by the human body. It is banned for sale in Japan, and in 1977 was banned by the USDA who since 1990 reversed itself. Why on menues? It is cheap . Tilepia was fish if choice when it was cheap now it has caught on and gone up. Who knows what they will sell next.?:chef:
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post #10 of 36
Ed, I can´t consume it, for I had a Gasrtic Bypass and would get into trouble, my wife has no gallbladder, so Escolar is banned from my house, however, I do know that you shouldn't eat more than 6 oz t a time, and that the best way to eat it would be grilled. I do buy my fish directly from the wholesale market, and as a fisherman and biologist, have sufficient experience to identify the exact species I am buying, in order not to buy oilfish, the problem is that my clients want to buy Escolar, and I really have to look for fresh fish, in order not to get specimens with aged serous esters, so I am looking for recipes which I could give to my clients, with a previous warn, what would be your best choice to do?, grill?

Best Regards

Eduardo
post #11 of 36
GRILL as you say or alternate in order, overhead broil, poach these 3 methods willo reduce fat and oil content . Somewhere in these archives I wrote a lengthy article on fish its called ''fish fish'' see if you can find it is mostly science related .Regards EJB

If you cant find give me e mail and I'll send it.:chef:
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post #12 of 36
I will look for it, thanks a lot for your time, one last question, after the fish is done, would you drain any excess liquid or juice?
post #13 of 36
If serving right away Yes if holding a while let it sit in cooking juices so as not to let it get to dry. Serve with a squeeze of warm lemon juice on top . Why squeeze cold lemon juice on hot fish?
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post #14 of 36
please tell me why, does it have something to do with acid dissolving grease?, or lemmon sealing the meat?

Best Regards
post #15 of 36
Citrus of any kind kills grease( thats why they use in detergents.) It also brings out flavour and is a recognized replacement for salt in many diets.
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post #16 of 36
Ed, I can't thank you enough, you have been of great help.

If I can be of any help, please don't hessitate to let me know

Best Regards
post #17 of 36

Escolar fish GOOD

I am not a chef in any way, just a lover of great foods. I recently had the priviledge of eating Escolsar sushimi. If this is an oily fish is never tasted it. If this is as they nickname ex-lax fish, I never experienced that. What I can say is that I found it to be a better fish that the yellowtail tune I ate alongside it. I have to say Escolar=good:thumb:
post #18 of 36
doing some research, I found out that small portions shoudn't cause any problems, portions less than 4 oz are recomended, the issue of having a 12 oz steak would make me think twice. I posted in a page I have, the only way of knowing if you will be a victim, or a satisfied consumer, would only be trying it, and I would strongly recomend small portions

Best Regards
post #19 of 36
Escolar is not a bad fish after all. How about marinating it with lime? Then Grilled it. Would it be good? I think so.
post #20 of 36
Hello Nichole, Ed Buchanan told me that lemon or lime could do the job, and grilling would perhaps be the best way, getting rid of excess grease, however I would think that it would be best to use lime after grilling, for as the same as in Ceviche, if you use it before cooking the meat, you kind of seal the meat on the outside, making it more difficult for the excess cerous fats to drain. This I deduct as a Biologist. I would also stick to less than 4 oz portions.

Best Regards

Eduardo
post #21 of 36

Escolar - Time to clear its name

There are in fact two different species of Escolar. In the fishing industry they are known as SMOOTH SKIN (Lepidocybium Flavobrunneum) and ROUGH SKIN (Ruvettus Pretiosus) Escolar, the later (Rough Skin) being the much cheaper yet problematic fish causing the purgative problems mentioned in so many other posts. It is such a pity these two different fish species have been lumped together as it is an amazing eating as well as environmentally sustainable fish to consume. That being said, I urge people to give this fish a try. Firstly, it is not necessary to even eat more than 5oz of the fish due to how rich and filling this fish is. It has the same satiate quality of lobster, and believe it or not when you order a 8oz lobster tail you are only getting around 5oz's of actual lobster meat. Yet you are satisfied correct. Secondly, eating too much of anything is going to cause you problems .... I honestly believe this fish has earned a bad reputation for an unjust reason based around greed through suppliers trying to make a few extra pennies by purchasing the cheaper version, the Rough Skin. However, be sure to ask your purveyor what specie of Escolar they are serving and how was it processed. A good seafood processor would ensure too DEEP-SKIN the Escolar as this would remove the high oil content muscle tissue between the skin and flesh, drastically reducing the purgative issues mentioned above. The fish supplied by us is all Sashimi grade, 5oz portion controlled that has been DEEP SKINNED. We have been selling this fish into the US for the past 6 months with nothing but absolute rave reviews AND no cases of running to the bathroom or stained pants!!! Again, next time you are in a restaurant order the Chilean sea bass and note the size of the portion. You are likely to get nothing over 6 ounces. Eat too much of this fish will also result in you running to the toilet. SMOOTH SKIN Escolar is a great fish and should be heralded as such. Be sure to always consume the right specie ... any good chef should know this, and if they don't they will soon! It is also Environmentally sustainable due to the population doubling times, so using this fish essentially is preventing the extinction of so many other species.
post #22 of 36

"Escolar" also known as "Oil Fish" is a type of snake mackerel family. They do have wax content that's not easily digested by human but is very good eating fish. Certainly they are not cheap fish. Escolars that are caught from Equador or any of the south american countries are the common species sold to US market. Escolar is a equatorial fish that are caught any where in the world between tropic of cancer and tropic of capricorn. They are also served in sushi bar often sold as "ono" or "white tuna." Both are misleading names. Although all of them are consumable, only female species of smooth skinned escolar is truely edible without digestion problem since smooth skinned female escolars have lower level of wax content. These females are caught in open water in depth below 1100 meter. They are not a by catch. Many of Asian fishing vessel seek out for this speicie purposely. They are quite expensive, too. They are imported to US at rate of USD$5.50 per pound in average and sold to the restaurant at a higher price unlike tilapia which runs around $1.50-1.80 per pound range.  

post #23 of 36

It's been challenging to source domestic escolar, the only type that is "recommended" by Casson Trenor in his book Sustainable Sushi.  Escolar is caught using long lines where there is significant bycatch, such as turtles and shark.  The Japanese distributors who carry escolar are notorious for changing up the sources of their seafood, as sustainability is never an issue for them.  I will be taking escolar off of our upcoming menu, despite the fact that it is popular.  My rule of thumb is that I will never use a fish if I don't know how it's caught/farmed or where it's from?  That it can cause temporary gastric challenges, only motivates me more to give it the axe.

post #24 of 36

Hi..!!

Acutally i think escolar is sold as butterfish a bunch. Never made me poop myself. and it's definitely what they use at sushi places if you've ever ordered the "white tuna".

post #25 of 36

Escolar isn't bad, it's just misunderstood.

 

I have cooked and eaten Escolar many times.  I also researched the crap out of it (sorry, couldn't help myself), and I don't think cooking techniques will make much of a difference.  The best thing you can do is not eat a lot of it.  Conventional wisdom indicates the best thing you can do is limit the amount you eat in one sitting to less than six ounces.  Of course, not only do you have to worry about keriorrhea (from the latin: flow of wax), but you also have to worry about Escolar getting confused with other fish.  

 

If you think buying Escolar has some issues, try combining it with the overloaded term White Tuna.  Here is a hint, some times it's Escolar, some times it's not.  

post #26 of 36

In most cases Chilean Sea Bass is not Sea Bass and is not from Chili. It is now considered an endangered species. You could be getting anything. A good way to check if in fact it is sea bass is check bone structure . Real sea bass has a unique structure and the bones curve making it very difficult to clean. I have seen Cobia and Wahoo passed off as sea bass both are good, but they are not sea bass. Thats like passing off Amberjack as Maui-Maui or Dolphin

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #27 of 36

Hi,

I understand your concern about the Escolar review, there is however a certain truth in what the critic wrote with regards to the running to the toilet remark you made.

I suggest you look up Escolar on the Wikipedia website and your questions are answered.

 

Regards

Marinus

post #28 of 36

Hi there. I, too, recently fell in love again with the buttery, succulent Escolar, but inevitably, a certain friend of mine who insists that life mustn't become too good sent me an article about the so called "ex-lax" fish. According to this article, they can't metabolize wax esters found in their natural diet which are similar to mineral or castor oil and like-wise negatively affect human digestive tracts. Here's the article:

 

http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/ingredients-seafood/use-caution-when-eating-escolar-066602

 

But, anyway, I never had any trouble, nor was there any commentary from our clientel who wouldn't hesitate to give us a call the next day had they run into any "issues". But supposedly the fish is also laden with mercury in general so I don't know. Maybe it's simply a delicious fish that shouldn't be eaten in great quantities. Ah, the ole moderation trick.

post #29 of 36

We recently tried this for the first time at a restaurant in Washington Crossing PA.  The restaurant was called Franciscos on the Deleware.  The food was fantastic and this fish was so different and so good that I have been looking diligently for more info and recipes since Saturday.  Our dish was called Hawaiian Butter fish and it was pistachio encrusted and pan seared then finished in the oven.  Tasted a lot like a mild tuna steak but very juicy.  I cook a lot at home and would definately reccommend this restaurant and this dish.  Did not feel sick at all and fish was VERY fresh.  A real treat from my honey for Valentine's day.

Suzanne

post #30 of 36

I had Escolar this evening in a restaurant call Brio Tuscan Grill. Had never heard of Escolar and decided to try it. I asked the server what it was and she replied. "White Tuna". So I gave it a shot. It was delicious but after I got home it really did get to me. So I Googled it and was quite surprised at my findings. I  cook with quite a bit of olive oil and have never had an experiece quite like this except for a bad case of food poisoning in New England.

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