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Fish and other seafood


Adam Balic
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This reminds me as Passover approaches that there is a recipe for gefilte fish stuffed back into the skin and prepared like this in Aunt Babette's famously non-Kosher Jewish cookbook (not that it would have to be non-Kosher, but the "progressive" Jewish-American view of the day was that the Kosher laws should reflect modern scientific views about the cleanliness of food and shouldn't conflict with an upwardly mobile lifestyle that might involve oysters, shrimp, and lobster).

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This reminds me as Passover approaches that there is a recipe for gefilte fish stuffed back into the skin and prepared like this in Aunt Babette's famously non-Kosher Jewish cookbook.

Isn't "gefilte" simply Yiddish for stuffed? So any stuffed fish is, indeed, gefilte fish?

(Gefüllt in German, from whence a lot of Yiddish derives, like אָנגעפילט.)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Isn't "gefilte" simply Yiddish for stuffed? So any stuffed fish is, indeed, gefilte fish?

(Gefüllt in German, from whence a lot of Yiddish derives, like אָנגעפילט.)

Yes, but I doubt that there are very many people who have had gefilte fish in, say, the last 80 or so years who envision it as stuffed into anything. Most commonly the ground fish (with a filler like matzo meal and a binder like egg and a few other ingredients) is just formed into balls and served that way or sometimes sliced from a loaf.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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... I've got uni envy. If I want urchin, I pretty much have to harvest it myself, or go to a good local Japanese restaurant

You know, an Akita bijin (a beauty from Akita) told me "you haven't tasted uni till you've had it at the beach, just scooped out of the freshly-dived shell". As you probably know, uni sold through the food distribution system is 'brined' in an alum solution to help the pieces retain shape and integrity, and I'm told it affects the flavour. So I have uni envy too. Maybe we all have uni envy, as Freud wouldn't have said over his gefilte fish.

And that's a handsome English knife.

Thanks for saying so :smile: So much for the picture of garlic - the shiny blade caught me out on exposure. The knife has always appealed to my eye, that's for sure. And they work, too - for a moment there I thought I was in Goodfellas.

I read recently that the maker, "Taylor's Eye Witness" missed the designer's input after his death. They've had a design consultancy in and have new ranges, some of which leave me wondering. At least they haven't yet reached the stage of giving up on the old designs.

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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You can translate bafun uni if you like :smile:

...I've never seen anything labelled other than 'uni'.

OK, bafun = horse dung. What a nice term for something so cherished!

I know. That is a problem. Probably dealers don't want to tell ordinary consumers about all those different species.

Why not consider purchasing really good, alum-free uni like this:

uni in seawater

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Why not consider purchasing really good, alum-free uni like this:

uni in seawater

I guess uni envy will always be with us. Thanks for the tip :smile:

Edit to add: another idea, in Tokyo at least, is to pick up fresh whole uni at Tsukiji. I did that once and took them to a party along with a fat kurodai, which I prepared meuniere style. Then a Chinese lady insisted on going home with the rest of my jar of painstakingly-rendered ghee :shock:

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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  • 1 month later...

Oil Spill Seafood Stew

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I was making one of my Iberian-style squid, cod and shrimp stews this week and decided to trap the ink and add it to the pot, inadvertently creating a homage to our brethren along the Gulf of Mexico.

While simmering, pools of the stuff on the surface reminded me of an oil slick.

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As usual, the addition of squid ink made this batch particularly delicious.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 8 months later...

This thread needs a refresh, luckily I've been getting some good seafood down the market the past week. Last week they had this wonderful looking fish, Brown Spotted Garoupa all the way from Sri Lanka. I filleted it into strips and deep fried the whole lot. It was lovely eating, I made a sweet dipping sauce and a refreshing green mango salad:

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This morning for the first time in ages they had fresh sea urchins so I snaffled a couple and had them spread on sourdough toast donated by fellow gulletter nickloman, cheers Nick, glad you enjoyed our early morning trip!

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Another rarity this morning was the freshest Mackerel I'd ever seen in this city. I can't even remember the last time I bought fresh Mackerel, certainly we are talking many years and I do look out for them too. Freshly grilled mackerel is one of my wife's favourites and this one didn't disappoint. It's just a reminder that something so tasty is also so inexpensive, you don't really need to spend so much money on lobsters or turbot or even sea urchins. Beautiful fish with shimmering iridescent skin. Inspired by a Paul Ainsworth dish; Grilled Mackerel, Sweetcorn & Brown Shrimp Salsa and Potato Salad:

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Yup I hard fried the head and skeleton first and I had a good nibble on the cheeks afterwards. The nuggets of fish were lightly seasoned and dusted with cornflour and can take a good frying too. I would normally steam this kind of fish but this was a delicious alternative.

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That mackerel looks identical to the ones I get in my bay. And that Garoupa is exquisitely reticulted, never heard of them.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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  • 2 months later...

A lot of baby polpo has landed at my favorite fishmonger here in Portland, Maine

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Simmered these with a cork for 45mins, then seared them at high heat in olive oil, added kosher salt.

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I have been thinking about octopus for some time and those look perfect johnnyd. How do you clean/prep them? I see them in the Asian and the fish markets but have hesitated.

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These were fresh not frozen. I see mostly cleaned octopus in the Asian market freezers.

I bought four - probably 4 to 5 inches across. The counter guys said to make an incision from leg to tip of the head and scrape out the insides, making sure you find the beak. I made a complete and utter hash out of the first one - severing ink sac and whatever encased the gross brown stuff - a big mess (good thing they were small).

I was smarter with each one after - most importantly: don't cut through the beast, just in enough to be able to unfold the head cavity, leaving guts intact which you can then scrape off (you'll see you can pull it all off eventually). Eyes and beak next. The first pic above is actually an inside-out polpo.

Drop into boiling water and reduce to simmer - the polpo will shrink to half-size. I chilled them for a couple days then seared them in a hot pan w/EVOO, only because I didn't have the grill going at that moment, my first choice.

They were so small they ended up super crispy - drizzled EVOO, lemon and S&P and that was lunch today with a salad and poached egg.

I'd call myself ready to take on the big boys now so I can slap it on the grill as a course in a Greek-style meal.

ETA: Make sure to flush out any dirt in the suction cups

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

Writing in the The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, two jointly-owned newspapers serving Hancock County, Maine, Stephen Rappaport reports that the price for elvers (baby eels) hit $1,000 a pound this week.

Known as "glass eels," the buyers ship them off to China and Taiwan where they are raised in ponds to market size, then shipped to Japan and other markets. There are about 2,200 to 2,2400 elvers to a pound.

In Maine the elver season this year began March 22 and ends May 31.

Just a decade ago the average price per pound was $24, though last year it was about $185. There's been a gold rush for elvers before in Maine: in 1995, 16,600 pounds were netted, while only 1,300 were nabbed the previous year.

Speculation in Asia may account for the price. Here's a link to a recipe article in the Taipei Times.

Edited by rlibkind (log)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I helped a pal with his elver weirs one late night in '95. The price was about $400/lb. There was a lot of shooting and yelling in the dark at one point so I thought best to decline the invitation for another go at it.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 4 weeks later...

Maine's elver season saw a jump in violations due to a spike in prices.

Little Eels - Big Bucks

Rusty Blake said he has never seen prices so high in the 41 years he's been in the elver business. Blake, owner of Northeast Eel and Elver Co. in West Forks, said the season started out around $200 a pound and reached $1,200 by the end.

Blake believes the prices this year were a fluke resulting from a shortage due to a moratorium on exports from European Union nations and a poor harvest in Asia.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 5 months later...

Eels!! Loads of them at the market last week in the run-up to Xmas, big fat silver eels for £25 per kilo. Not cheap but in a fit of madness I bought a fairly big one for just under 20 quid. It's madness because I really don't like dealing with them; slimy, slippery, snakelike creatures that refuse to die. I left this one in a briney solution for about an hour, and it jumped out of the pot and tried to slither away. It gave my wife such a shock when she stepped into the kitchen!!

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So I made a much stronger saturated salt solution and tied the lid down on the pot to make sure it wouldn't escape. After half an hour the salt did it's job, not only did it kill the eel but it also removed most of the slime. Although it was definitely dead it nonetheless twitched madly as I gutted it. I gave it a rub down with a little coarse sea salt and left it to cure for a few hours. To get it ready for the smoker in the morning I dried it off and left it overnight for the pellicle to form. It was hot smoked over oak for an hour at around 90-100C:

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Was it worth it? You bet, eel hot off the smoker is the best smoked food ever. EVER!

Tonight I lightly fried some eel chunks and served it with a tangy crispy goats cheese börek, a spiky fresh goats cheese & horseradish cream, beetroot, radish and rocket:

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Ready smoked eel are so expensive to buy, at £12.75 for a measly 200g pack it's almost a luxury item. So now i've gotten over my initial reticence about handling them, i'll smoke more than one of them at a time. That'll make it even more worth while!

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  • 4 months later...

Elvers price tops $2000/pound in Maine.nearly double last Year's price. Only a few seasons ago it was less than $100. Article from Bangor Daily News:

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/09/business/passamaquoddy-tribe-issues-225-elver-licenses-as-prices-top-2000-per-pound/

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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  • 3 weeks later...

Octopus, the local market have finally got some decent octopodi. Big meaty ones from warmer waters with two rows of suckers on each arm. They taste much better than the smaller ones with only one row of suckers. You have clean them carefully, use some coarse salt and scrub out all the grime in the suckers. Turn the head inside out to empty all the organs contained inside and pop the beak out. It's pretty nasty the first time you have to do it but remember that it's worse when they're live...

There are lot of techniques for getting your octopus tender; bashing it, massaging it, putting cork in the water - i've tried all those. Nowadays I just pressure cook them for 30mins in some salted water with some bay leaf and onion. I let the octopus cool before searing the tentacles on a hotplate with some olive oil, lemon, garlic and parsley. I save the rest of the tentacles in the freezer, ready for the hotplate at anytime. Great little tapa:

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Edited by Prawncrackers (log)
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Magnificent. I love octopus, and they occasionally hit my market. Pressure cooker sounds like a perfect tool - thanks!

Edit to add:

This is one of 6 babies I cleaned, simmered w/cork and broiled back in February - it's 3" accross

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Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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