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What is the Best Tasting Fish?


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In your opinion, of course. Also, this is distinct from what your favorite fish may be.

I recently came across a fish I'd never heard of before: Sanma or Pike Mackerel. Apparently, it's a Japanese delicacy, only fished once a year and is a herald of Fall. I found it at the Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley, and asked the guys behind the counter (super knowledgeable) about how to prepare it. Their response: salt, a little neutral oil, and grill over hot wood fire--finish with lemon. Guys. Best.Fish.I've.Ever.Had.

So, that's my vote. Anyone else?

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With all due respect, it feels like a meaningless question. It depends on the setting, the cuisine, the preparation, even one's state of mind.

It's like asking what the best tasting vegetable or fruit is. There is no single answer.

At any moment it could be otoro sashimi from one of my favorite sushi counters, soft-shell lobster fresh off the boat on the island in Maine I visit every summer, Mersea oysters at Sweetings or grilled turbot at a number of London restaurants.

Herring in Copenhagen prepared in a myriad of different ways.

All the smoked fish at Russ & Daughters.

Caviar at Petrossian.

Or... rainbow trout fished & gutted by my pal on a lake in Wyoming and then quickly cooked in his dad's Aga with a tiny bit of lemon and butter, just 30 .

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Well, I am going to take that he asked "what is your favourite fish" in which case I have to admit I have a liking for oily white fleshed fish, like Cod or Patagonian Toothfish (Chilean Sea Bass for North Americans). Patagonian toothfish was almost unheard of in Australia until the 1990's, when there was a diplomatic incident between Australia and Argentina. An Argentinian trawler was found fishing in our waters, and the Australian navy chased them halfway around the world before catching them and towing the boat back to Australia. (You see, that's about the only thing our navy is good for. They probably couldn't even fight off an armed rowboat from Fiji). The boat and the catch were confiscated and the crew deported. It was all over the papers, and suddenly the markets were flooded with Patagonian toothfish from the catch. Most of us tried it out of curiosity, and from then I was hooked.

I agree that "what is the best fish" has no answer, given that even the same fish may not taste the same in different countries or continents. For example, there are about 10 (maybe more?) species of salmon and they taste different, so you can't just say "I like salmon". Remember, this is an international forum :)

Edited by Keith_W (log)
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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Striped bass. Tom Colicchio's Think Like a Chef has a dead simple recipe that rocks. Salmon would be too easy a choice; I have some lightly brined salmon on a bed of basil in a cazuela in my yard oven, slow over apple smoke, for dinner with neighbors tonight. It's also good.

Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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Whichever fish just came off the grill and got wrapped in a warm corn tortilla with some shredded cabbage, cilantro, and my favorite habanero salsa (charred habs, toasted garlic, Seville orange juice and salt) is the best tasting fish at that moment. The problem being, I haven't found many (any?) fish that don't taste good in that situation... so it's hard to call one of them THE best.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Cooked: flathead (an Australian variety) altho' I am very fond also of rock ling, snapper, gummy shark and sardines. All for different reasons. I think the meatiness of snapper is quite a thing. The sweetness of flathead and gummy shark is wonderful. The sardines have a fishy-meatiness and come in an ideal compact form.

Cured/processed: high quality anchovies or sardines.

Raw: salmon, tuna, kingfish. Flavour plus texture in the case of the former.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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We have a discussion on Australian fish here. But I agree it is all about freshness and how well it is cooked. We usually get butterfish, flounder, and maybe hake these days. Whiting and flathead are nice if we can get them.

On the other side of the world I have a fondness for halibut and plaice. For freshwater N. American fish you can't beat pickerel/walleye.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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The best tasting fish is the one I'm eating. I'll admit a fondness for some rather odd fish, as well - particularly Carachama, which most people know as Plecostomus and keep as pets. They're very nice steamed in canna leaves with a bit of garlic and palm hearts.....

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I find the difference between fish more textural but certainly there are taste differences between varieties. One thing for certain freshness is a big factor<br /><br />I'm not sure I could easily describe the difference in flavor between snapper and grouper, both very different fish but the texture between them is remarkable

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I recently came across a fish I'd never heard of before: Sanma or Pike Mackerel. Apparently, it's a Japanese delicacy, only fished once a year and is a herald of Fall. I found it at the Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley, and asked the guys behind the counter (super knowledgeable) about how to prepare it. Their response: salt, a little neutral oil, and grill over hot wood fire--finish with lemon. Guys. Best.Fish.I've.Ever.Had.

I agree with other that it might be difficult to answer your question, but I can answer it in a somewhat different way. The best tasting fish I ever had was some fresh caught Copper River salmon up in Alaska which we grilled wrapped in cedar paper over a nice, hot fire - my fish was cooked rare-ish and was OUTSTANDING!

It's been a while since I've been to the Tokyo Fish Market. Thanks for your post and the reminder. Tokyo Fish and Monterey Fish are the two best places in the area to get fish ...<ahhh>

 ... Shel


 

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The best tasting fish is the one I'm eating. I'll admit a fondness for some rather odd fish, as well - particularly Carachama, which most people know as Plecostomus and keep as pets. They're very nice steamed in canna leaves with a bit of garlic and palm hearts.....

Hahaha!! Someone I knew would faint at the very notion. Cook and eat a blue-eyed pleco? Like the one she kept and which she swore winked at you and followed your movements around? Heh.

Although I presume you mean the related ones, not the blue-eyed pleco. :-)

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Whatever fresh fish I'm having at the moment, as others have said.

Nevertheless, I do sort-of miss some that I haven't had in a while - "Soon Hock" (Marbled Goby), Garoupa, "Hak Chong" (Black Pomfret), etc. Whether that constitutes their being my "best tasting fish" is debatable and probably untrue.

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OK... not weighing in on fish preferences, but I am interested to hear that pike mackerel impressed you so much. I tried it once, and found it annoyingly riddled with little bones, and an unexciting fishy oily mackerel sort of thing. Maybe I went too overboard with a soy/vinegar marinade to de-fishy it...

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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The best tasting fish is always the one that requires the least added to it to make the final dish.

If you can simply cook it gently in butter or olive oil, adding only salt and lemon and it is exquisitely tasty then you have the best tasting fish.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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