Friday, November 16, 2012

Plenty of fish- not all worth eating.

So ... I'm in love with Sander's Fish Market. They have a "fish truck" that travels around the state, making frequent stops in the Concord area, including the Summer and Winter Farmers' Markets in town.

Every Friday they hang out in the parking lot of the Everette Arena, from 10am to 4pm. Talk about having a direct line to the freshest catch in the area! I placed an order for a party of 10 coming up this weekend and there it was waiting for me, tucked nicely in a fish-tub and looking stunningly fresh and friendly.

Photo taken from Wikipedia "Cod" page.

I have a lot of clients that struggle with fish. Some hate eating it- many won't venture to try it at all- while still others love it but struggle with new ways to keep fish interesting. I hear ya'. I love fish. Huge fan. Wish we ate more of it. What I tend to struggle with is knowing which fish available to me is the one worth eating.

Don't worry. There are ways to get around this mental block.

Courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium comes to the rescue. I've been preaching this Seafood Watch Guide for years. In fact, I've given a lot of the printed ones away. That was, until they came up with a phone app. The genius lies in having specific guides for different areas of the country. It really is a gem and worth keeping around if you're the food buyer in the family.

So, you have the tools. You found the fish. It's T minus 2 hours until dinner time and you don't feel like just squeezing lemon over the damn thing again.

What to do?

Well, what kind of fish is it? Cod? Hake? Perch? Salmon? Swordfish? Tuna?

Consider the texture of your fish before going further. Steak fish handles grilling and pan searing incredibly well. Their tougher textures lend themselves to a bit more abuse than their weaker counterparts.

Salmon? My favorite way to eat that stuff is straight up raw. It melts like butter in your mouth. When cooking it, I try to cook it just shy of done, to retain that fatty texture as much as possible. Slather it with mustard (dijon or heavy grain). Trust me.

White fish is as blank as an artist's untouched canvas. My personal favorite is to pair any white fish with tomatoes and white wine. Garlic, capers, olives, all of these help, too. Remember, white fish takes all of a few minutes to cook through. I like to check in five minute increments, using a fork at the center of a fillet and gently twisting in either direction. When the flesh budges and starts to flake, you're done. STOP THE COOKING PROCESS RIGHT THERE!

When in doubt, give poaching a shot. Putting a crust on fish is awesome, too. Like, ground almonds, some bread crumbs, garlic, butter, herbs, mixed to a paste. Shmear that on there and bake for a bit, broiling the top if you want it crisper.

All I ask is that you give fish a shot. It's well worth it for supporting our local fishing companies, for encouraging the preservation of native species and protection of their habitats. For the Omega 3s and the delightful variety fish can bring to your diet.

Don't be shy, cast your line and see what you catch.

I think that's a delightful metaphor for more than just eating. xo

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