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Fish eyes


Kent Wang
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There are fish stew that use the whole fish including the head. As a kid, I remember that getting the eye from the fish stew was something special. I don't particularly remember the taste but the texture was good. Very nice.

Fish head curry or Mae Un Tang (spicy korean fish stew) are my favorite ways to eat them these days. My favorite is Cod (head). Yum.

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I have only seen it when cooking a whole fish. I've never heard of anyone extracting a bunch of eyes and cooking them that way, though that sounds absolutely decadent. Whole fish is a common Chinese banquet dish and the eyes are usually offered to the guest of honor.

The eye is composed of a dense, bony center that is not very edible -- though some like to chew on it -- surrounded by a 2mm thick (in fish about a foot in length) layer of extremely soft, gooey "meat". It is this middle layer that is the tasty part. It is similar to the cheek meat but even softer. That layer is surrounded by a thin but inedible bone-like membrane. When you scoop out the eye from the socket you will get this entire assembly so you will have to suck carefully to extract the tasty middle part.

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Compartive anatomy lesson 101

The hard center is the lens, the hard outer coating is the sclera or tough white of the eye and the gooey would be the congealed or cooked vitreous of the eye. Kind of like eating a lychee nut I guess.

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Compartive anatomy lesson 101

The hard center is the lens, the hard outer coating is the sclera or tough white of the eye and the gooey would be the congealed or cooked vitreous of the eye.  Kind of like eating a lychee nut I guess.

No, not anything like eating lychees.

And Jim, I'm glad I'm not a maggot. :laugh:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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The taste and texture is similar to foie gras, I suppose.

The hard center is the lens, the hard outer coating is the sclera or tough white of the eye and the gooey would be the congealed or cooked vitreous of the eye.  Kind of like eating a lychee nut I guess.

What a great analogy! Also, thanks for the anatomy lesson.

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My favorite way of eating eyeballs is when the fish is all fried and crunchy and you can eat practically everything! The ahi eyeballs (man, and those can be some huge suckers) are really good with some shoyu, green onions, ginger & sugar and flash stirfried in a hot wok. Mmmmm.....

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Where does one even find ahi eyeballs? Can it be found in certain restaurants in Japan?

I wonder about the eyes of other aquatic animals like cephalapods. The Giant and Colossal Squids possess the largest eyes of any species in the animal kingdom.

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On reading these posts, I couldn't help but think of the hilarious passage in Redmond O'Hanlon's book "In Trouble Again" in which he describes his experience eating a monkey eye.

And do you remember the scene in Into the Heart of Borneo where his native guide Leon serves him a plate of what he assumes is spaghetti until he sees the strands have eyes? "Jesus! Worms!" he screams. "Yes," replies Leon. "Jesus worms. Very delicious."

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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And do you remember the scene in Into the Heart of Borneo where his native guide Leon serves him a plate of what he assumes is spaghetti until he sees the strands have eyes?  "Jesus!  Worms!" he screams.  "Yes," replies Leon.  "Jesus worms.  Very delicious."

:laugh:

Re: Mae Un Tang (spicy korean fish stew), Kent, where can I find a recipe for this? I was addicted to the version at this local Japanese/Korean spot in Pasadena (Fuji? I think so), but since moving to Nashville none of the limited amount of Korean restaurants serve it. I am dying for it (though the first time I ordered it I got the ubiquitous "You no like." Yes, I like. "Much spicy, have head." "Yes. Please, feed me the spicy heads. I like). It has been nearly twenty years. Sigh.

I never ate the eye. Hmmn. I have some excellent international markets with good fish head availability (the only decent seafood to be found this far inland). I do like the crunchy shrimp eyeballs of ama ebi though.

Oh, for entire live shrimp thrown on the grill like those at Coriya (a wonderful Monterey Park restaurant- I wonder if it still exists?) Sucking heads. The awful crawdad heads here are a poor substitute. Brains, I can get behind.

I am getting very nostalgic.

Edited by suseyblue (log)
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