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Fishing for new experiences


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Americans are extraordinarily passionate about seafood. When exploring new seafood opportunities, industry must also make a commitment to ecological responsibility. Boston chef Jasper White provided a list of his favorite fish of the moment ... his entries: Arctic char, sea bream, Atlantic wolf fish, tambaqui and tilapia. How many unfamiliar varieties of fish appear in the supermarket or on the restaurant menu? Marketers need to do more to educate us about new varieties to give us the confidence to dive in head-first. Improved processing methods will make distinctive but fragile local catches available nationwide.

What fish and other seafood have you added to your "dining repertoire" recently?

Are you intentionally trying new species to "broaden" your knowledge?

Actually cooking with new (to you)seafood items or simply trying them while dining out?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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What fish and other seafood have you added to your "dining repertoire" recently?

In the past couple of months, catfish, opeh, tilapia, octopus and pollock.

Are you intentionally trying new species to "broaden" your knowledge?

No, with the possible exception of the pollock. The catfish and opeh have become more readily available again, I've added tilapia just to have something different in a sandwich, and the octopus tentacles are for snacking. I've been re-reading Andreas Viestad's cookbook and decided to give pollock a go.

Actually cooking with new (to you)seafood items or simply trying them while dining out?

Nothing's really that new, but the only one that I've ordered while dining out was the catfish (Mesquite had cornmeal-fried catfish fingers).

Edited by wattacetti (log)
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I've been eating and enjoying sea bream for years, ever since I first tasted it grilled at a local inexpensive Greek restaurant. In Philadelphia, however, it's called Porgy. Bream is the European nomenclature for this fish. It's relatively inexpensive, abundant and, most important, delicious with a delicate, sweet flavor. Can be grilled, pan fried, broiled (and probably baked, though I haven't tried it that way).

As for what I've added "lately", about a year ago I tried fresh herring (sardines) for the first time. That's another good one which I've kept buying and consuming. And after not having tilapia for years, I've reintroduced it to my home menus.

I'm always on the lookout for new fish to cook at home, particularly local and/or seasonal varieties which can be (1) less expensive and (2) fresher and tastier than out-of-season and/or long-distance fish (except for some frozen varieties).

Sable (a.k.a. "black cod") is another fish I got to try this past year during a visit to Alaska; however, fresh sable is only occasionally available in Philadelphia and expensive.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Americans are extraordinarily passionate about seafood. When exploring new seafood opportunities, industry must also make a commitment to ecological responsibility. Boston chef Jasper White provided a list of his favorite fish of the moment ... his entries: Arctic char, sea bream, Atlantic wolf fish, tambaqui and tilapia. How many unfamiliar varieties of fish appear in the supermarket or on the restaurant menu? Marketers need to do more to educate us about new varieties to give us the confidence to dive in head-first. Improved processing methods will make distinctive but fragile local catches available nationwide.

What fish and other seafood have you added to your "dining repertoire" recently?

Are you intentionally trying new species to "broaden" your knowledge?

Actually cooking with new (to you)seafood items or simply trying them while dining out?

I tend to look for tried and true, wild and fresh. There isn't a lot of new fish in that category.

But what is wolf fish? Or Tambaqui?

Both char and tilapia are farmed, and in fact tilapia is an African mud lake fish that happens to do well in commercial farms.

New varieties can soon be over fished, as has happened to Chilean Sea Bass and Orange Roughy.

I recently saw fresh halibut that resembled fluke or lemon sole, in size and taste. But it sold well.

I wonder if Jasper White is trying a little too hard to provide unusual names on the menu...

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Atlantic wolf fish sounds like sea bass, which is called loup de mer (wolf of the sea) in some parts of France. If this is the case, it is on the protection list and should only be line caught (under EU regulations, I think). Most restaurants here serve farmed sea bass, which is not near as good as the wild variety

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Bream is the European nomenclature for this fish. It's relatively inexpensive, abundant and, most important, delicious with a delicate, sweet flavor. Can be grilled, pan fried, broiled (and probably baked, though I haven't tried it that way).

It France, it is called Dorade or Dorade Royale. And yes, it is excellent baked as well.

Atlantic wolf fish sounds like sea bass, which is called loup de mer (wolf of the sea) in some parts of France.  If this is the case, it is on the protection list and should only be line caught (under EU regulations, I think).  Most restaurants here serve farmed sea bass, which is not near as good as the wild variety

And called Branzino in Italy (and many U.S. markets).

Personally, I have been eating more Maine Shrimp when in season, as it works well in a number of tapas recipes. Among fish, I am buying more Black Cod and more Monkfish. Starting to buy skate more as well.

Edited by mikeycook (log)

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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Seafood seems to go in cycles for me. Years ago I lived in Houston and made boiled shrimp twice a week. Several years later I found out about broiling scallops and those became a once every 7-12 day meal. During this whole time the only actual fish I made was Mrs Pauls (is that fish??:)

Today I broil tuna salmon and trout. We have fresh fish twice a week. Nothing too exotic, but delicious.

Ken

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But what is wolf fish? Or Tambaqui?

Tambaqui is a Brazilian fish which lives in the Amazon River ... it is very large and meaty .. when I taught my students about fish, I bought a National Geographic videotape on unusual fish and one of them was the Tambaqui ... it leaps out of the water during high season (for the Amazon) to bite large nuts off lowhanging foliage .. and when the natives catch them and sell them, they split the fish open and count the undigested nuts .. it becomes a contest! :laugh:

This is such an unusual event that, even as I relate it here, I am laughing .. who knew that I would ever have the opportunity to discuss Tambaqui outside a classroom? :laugh:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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But what is wolf fish? Or Tambaqui?

Tambaqui is a Brazilian fish which lives in the Amazon River ... it is very large and meaty .. when I taught my students about fish, I bought a National Geographic videotape on unusual fish and one of them was the Tambaqui ... it leaps out of the water during high season (for the Amazon) to bite large nuts off lowhanging foliage .. and when the natives catch them and sell them, they split the fish open and count the undigested nuts .. it becomes a contest! :laugh:

This is such an unusual event that, even as I relate it here, I am laughing .. who knew that I would ever have the opportunity to discuss Tambaqui outside a classroom? :laugh:

Good topic. Particularly interesting for me because I am a huge Jasper White fan (Cooking from New England and Lobster at Home are two excellent cookbooks for seafood). Definitely one of the more underrated chefs around. Doesn't exactly meet the guidelines of the topic, but he definitely helped me overcome my bias about only having lobster boiled with drawn butter or baked stuffed and over the last few years I have tried a number of great lobster recipes that surpass my love of the simple boiled lobster.

Edited by mikeycook (log)

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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This thread has been very informative. I'm surprised that nobody 'carped' when I mentioned that Arctic Char was farmed. Maybe that is the norm now, but it used to be shipped or flown from northern Canada, very expensive and very seasonal.

There is another northern species I have had a few times, but not lately: Grayling. A salmonid in land locked lakes in northern Canada. Very little of it is sold commercially, but it is prized by fly-in fishing parties.

Another great tasting northern fish is Pickerel, or Wall-eye, and it is apparently farmed now, but somewhat flabby compared to wild.

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Atlantic wolf fish sounds like sea bass, which is called loup de mer (wolf of the sea) in some parts of France.  If this is the case, it is on the protection list and should only be line caught (under EU regulations, I think).  Most restaurants here serve farmed sea bass, which is not near as good as the wild variety

Corinna - I think that the fish refered to will be This fish Anarhichas lupus, which is common in the North Atlantic (Scotland, rather then Egland and Wales). It is a type of giant blenny, and eats crabs and lobsters etc. Good flavour and a firm boneless fillet. In older cookbooks it is called "Sea cat".

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Atlantic wolf fish sounds like sea bass, which is called loup de mer (wolf of the sea) in some parts of France.  If this is the case, it is on the protection list and should only be line caught (under EU regulations, I think).  Most restaurants here serve farmed sea bass, which is not near as good as the wild variety

Corinna - I think that the fish refered to will be This fish Anarhichas lupus, which is common in the North Atlantic (Scotland, rather then Egland and Wales). It is a type of giant blenny, and eats crabs and lobsters etc. Good flavour and a firm boneless fillet. In older cookbooks it is called "Sea cat".

Thanks Adam... wow, he's fierce looking, but I like the sound of his diet. Have you had the chance to try some yourself?

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Interesting.

Wolf fish are found here along the coast of Maine, but I don't see it for sale.

When I was diving for sea urchins, the talk was about how wolf fish dens were identifiable by the piles of crab, lobster and urchin shells in front of a small underwater cave at a depth of 35 feet or so. They were to be avoided at all costs since they lunge out of their caves and clamp on to a diver's arm and do not let go. Check out those teeth in Adams link!

"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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Not surprisingly, I always learn something new on eG. I had no idea that porgy's were also known as sea bream. I grew up eating this fish and it has always been very popular in this area. Same goes for croakers. However, there's a fish I had years ago that I haven't seen but would like to eat again. It was called steelhead, but was renamed salmon trout, and it's delicious. I suspect that it was renamed to increase the sale price. Anyone see this on menus or at your local fish monger?

Edited to change porgies to croakers.

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Not surprisingly, I always learn something new on eG.  I had no idea that porgy's were also known as sea bream.  I grew up eating this fish and it has always been very popular in this area.  Same goes for porgies.  However, there's a fish I had years ago that I haven't seen but would like to eat again.  It was called steelhead, but was renamed salmon trout, and it's delicious.  I suspect that it was renamed to increase the sale price.  Anyone see this on menus or at your local fish monger?

"Sea Bream" is a generic name and doesn't really identify a species, just a type of fish. It works in the UK as nearly all of them sold are Gilthead bream Sparus aurata, which are related to but not the same as porgys

Steelheads are the natural ocean going form of the Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. The European Brown trout Salmo trutta can do a similar thing and are called "Sea Trout", "Salmon trout" or "Selwin". In Australia rainbow trout that are raised in sea water pens and undergo some of the body changes similar to a natural Steelhead are called "Ocean trout". I wonder if your "salmon trout" also come from a similar aquacultual practice, rather then being "Steelheads"?

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Atlantic wolf fish sounds like sea bass, which is called loup de mer (wolf of the sea) in some parts of France.  If this is the case, it is on the protection list and should only be line caught (under EU regulations, I think).  Most restaurants here serve farmed sea bass, which is not near as good as the wild variety

Corinna - I think that the fish refered to will be This fish Anarhichas lupus, which is common in the North Atlantic (Scotland, rather then Egland and Wales). It is a type of giant blenny, and eats crabs and lobsters etc. Good flavour and a firm boneless fillet. In older cookbooks it is called "Sea cat".

Thanks Adam... wow, he's fierce looking, but I like the sound of his diet. Have you had the chance to try some yourself?

I've just remembered that "bar" is the other word for sea bass in France. From what I remember, "loup de mer" is mostly used in the med, so it figures that it's quite different from the "Atlantic sea bass" or "sea cat".

Would love to see a good close-up of its head!

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Not surprisingly, I always learn something new on eG.  I had no idea that porgy's were also known as sea bream.  I grew up eating this fish and it has always been very popular in this area.  Same goes for porgies.  However, there's a fish I had years ago that I haven't seen but would like to eat again.  It was called steelhead, but was renamed salmon trout, and it's delicious.  I suspect that it was renamed to increase the sale price.  Anyone see this on menus or at your local fish monger?

"Sea Bream" is a generic name and doesn't really identify a species, just a type of fish. It works in the UK as nearly all of them sold are Gilthead bream Sparus aurata, which are related to but not the same as porgys

Steelheads are the natural ocean going form of the Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. The European Brown trout Salmo trutta can do a similar thing and are called "Sea Trout", "Salmon trout" or "Selwin". In Australia rainbow trout that are raised in sea water pens and undergo some of the body changes similar to a natural Steelhead are called "Ocean trout". I wonder if your "salmon trout" also come from a similar aquacultual practice, rather then being "Steelheads"?

Thanks Adam for the clarification. The name steelhead was on various restaurant menus at the time. Sometimes I know that restaurants play fast and loose with exact terms, i.e., calling a fish "Dover Sole" when it's really something very different. It seemed to be everywhere--this was during the mid-90s in our area--then gone. Also, when I mentioned porgies for a second time I actually meant to say croakers were another fish very popular in our area. Oops. Showing my ignorance, but when you say "body changes" what do you mean? I have no insights as to the origin of the fish.

BTW, I truly enjoy your posts on all things fish and shellfish. The pictures are stunning and your commentary always brings the various locales to life for me.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Flake. It's the fishmonger's euphemism for shark. Meaty, firm white fish. (Be careful to trim off rough bits of sharkskin.) Good in a loosely-Mediterranean tomato/orange/garlic fish soup garnished with croutes and red pepper rouille. We also had it in a dish similar to a Thai curry on Christmas, but that's another story. :)

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divalasvegas-

This

site shows some of the differences. Basically there is a change in size and the body form is altered to suit the salt water enviroment, plus there are many superficial changes like colouration etc. I haven't eaten steelhead, but I imagine that the flavour profiles are very different also.

Fish common names a problematic in general, but the "Dover Sole" is doubly so in the USA. The offical species (as determined by the FDA) in the USA known as "Dover Sole" is Microstomus pacificus, which is a west coast species for flounder, not a true sole at all. European dover sole Solea solea are imported and I have been told that this is what is sold at any restaurant worth its name. People selling the American species under the name of Dover Sole are not doing anything wrong or illegal (quite the opposite), but the is is that the European Dover sole is one of the greatest eating fish in the world, where as the American species is not. So the reputation of one (2nd or even 10th hand) sells the other. I have been told that Wholefoods sells the American species (from the appearance of the fillets) and I am sure that when people buy this fish and prepare it that must wonder what the fuss is about. Unfortunate really, but this is a specific case and it is difficult to know how to sort it out so that the consumer is aware of what they are getting, unless scientific names are listed on the lable and I can't see this happening.

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divalasvegas-

This

site shows some of the differences. Basically there is a change in size and the body form is altered to suit the salt water enviroment, plus there are many superficial changes like colouration etc. I haven't eaten steelhead, but I imagine that the flavour profiles are very different also.

Fish common names a problematic in general, but the "Dover Sole" is doubly so in the USA. The offical species (as determined by the FDA) in the USA known as "Dover Sole" is Microstomus pacificus, which is a west coast species for flounder, not a true sole at all. European dover sole Solea solea are imported and I have been told that this is what is sold at any restaurant worth its name. People selling the American species under the name of Dover Sole are  not doing anything wrong or illegal (quite the opposite), but the is is that the European Dover sole is one of the greatest eating fish in the world, where as the American species is not. So the reputation of one (2nd or even 10th hand) sells the other. I have been told that Wholefoods sells the American species (from the appearance of the fillets) and I am sure that when people buy this fish and prepare it that must wonder what the fuss is about. Unfortunate really, but this is a specific case and it is difficult to know how to sort it out so that the consumer is aware of what they are getting, unless scientific names are listed on the lable and I can't see this happening.

Thanks Adam. I appreciate your explanations and depth of knowledge on all things fish/seafood. Thanks for the link re: steelhead. It really is delicious, especially grilled or broiled. I hope you get a chance to taste it. From the information provided in the link, it sounds like fishing for this ferocious beastie is an adventure within itself.

About the Dover Sole, unfortunate indeed since I have heard those who've actually eaten the real thing rave about it. While not illegal or wrong to refer to USA Dover Sole as such on menus, since many restaurant dishes are often listed on the menu in excrutiating detail as to each component, method of cooking, source of ingredients, etc. (I'm not saying that this is a bad thing) perhaps just the addition of "U.S." on the menu would at least let diners know exactly what they're getting. However, I can understand why this probably would not happen since "Dover Sole" would command a greater price than "U.S. Dover Sole."

Returning to the original intent of this thread, I think that I have already started on my "Fishing for New Experiences" in the sense that I'm learning more and more about new species of fish as well as different methods of preparation provided in threads on eG such as yours on various fish and shellfish as well as others.

One fish I've always been intrigued by is Opah. Just from the description I've read about this fish I'd love to try it. It is native to Australia. Here's a link with some information about this fish:

Opah Facts

I had read that this fish had four or five different tastes/textures of flesh depending on which part of the body was eaten. Ever since then, I've wanted to try it. Has anyone out there eaten this fish?

Also, I'd like to learn how to properly cook crayfish/crawfish at home. I tried this once many years ago and they weren't very good. I purchased them live at the DC Wharf and steamed them as I would steam blue crabs, but the end result was awful.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I have seen Moon-fish for sale now and agian in Melbourne, but they are not common at all (being by- or accidental catch). I can't remember having eaten it though.

In regards to crayfish/crawfish/yabbies etc. I think that freshness is the key, I would only ever buy them alive. Different types have different amounts of tail meat and they taste differs from species to species, but the cooking is pretty much the same. Boil briefly is water/stock/wine, peel the tails and eat. You can make excellent sauces from the heads and shells, but I haven't worked out how to keep the quality of the tail meat intact while doing this. So when you have these guys, the choice is tail meat or use them to make a sauce.

In the UK sandwich shops sell red clawed/signal crafish meat imported from China frozen or otherwise preserved. This is flavourless and doesn't really do justice to the flavour of the beasts.

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divalasvegas-

Fish common names a problematic in general, but the "Dover Sole" is doubly so in the USA. The offical species (as determined by the FDA) in the USA known as "Dover Sole" is Microstomus pacificus, which is a west coast species for flounder, not a true sole at all.

and it's true nature is best revealed by its common fisherman's nickname: "slime sole".

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