• Contact
  • Tag Archives: fish

    More Food Porn: Fried Fish Combo

    Not seen, because it was hidden beneath the halibut, were the oysters and prawns.

    Quick question: which is more oily? Fried fish, or politicians? I’m betting on the latter.


    What makes an “Organic” Fish?

    The New York Times hands down an article detailing the difficulties in defining what constitutes an “Organic” Fish. From the article:

    The issue comes down largely to what a fish eats, and whether the fish can be fed an organic diet. There is broad agreement that the organic label is no problem for fish that are primarily vegetarians, like catfish and tilapia, because organic feed is available (though expensive).

    Fish that are carnivores — salmon, for instance — are a different matter because they eat other fish, which cannot now be labeled organic.

    Actually, the issue is far larger than “What does a fish eat?” The basic ideals behind the organic movement included several basic premises.

    • Produce food that allows for future sustainability for the product being raised.
    • Produce food in a manner that leaves as small of an imprint upon the environment as possible.
    • If animals are involved, treat them in a manner which is respectful and is as close to their natural environment as is practical.

    To be sure, I’ve oversimplified the premises, and they have since been evolved and codified to a point where these standards can be applied on a larger scale, but I think the basic points are there.

    Now when applying the above to typical farm animals such as cows, chickens and pigs, these ideals can work in concert with one another. It is not a stretch to think of raising cattle and yet still be true to the concepts listed above.

    But these ideals contradict one another when you apply them to an animal less domesticated than your average cow. Salmon is a great example of this. It could be argued that an interest of an individual salmon is best served if that fish was allowed to be wild. However, for sustainability of the species as a whole, it may be best for the fish if salmon farms were allow to propagate as long as they were run in such a way that it did not adversely affect various eco-systems (always an iffy proposition where fish farms are concerned).

    In other words, the basic ideals of the organic movement would seem to be at odds with one another, at least where raising fish is concerned.

    I know this would never happen, because greed has now become a variable in what defines ‘organic’, but perhaps it would be best if there were types of food where an ‘organic’ label would simply be inappropriate to use. To me, the idea of ‘organic fish’ is equal to ‘organic venison’. The problem is that no one can tell whether either ‘organic fish’ or ‘organic venison’ is a contradiction or a redundancy.

    Thanks Jack

    tags technorati : Organic Organic Food Seafood Salmon


    Tuna Noodle Casserole

    As you can tell from the picture, the previously requested recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole (referred to as ‘TNC’ from here on out) was completed and eaten in all of it’s glory. Here are some of the thoughts I had:

    1. Cream of Mushroom Soup is a losing proposition. There’s a better way to get a creamy texture without resorting to the Campbells soup travesty.
    2. When it comes to TNC, I am a snob. As I was making the dish, I kept thinking that I was lowering my food standards. This is kind of unfair in my opinion, as I believe that there is a good recipe in here, hiding somewhere amongst the crushed potato chips and frozen peas.
    3. No matter how you dress it up, if you use canned tuna in the recipe, it’s gonna taste kinda less than you’d expect.

    Overall, it was well received by the Birthday Girl. the TNC didn’t look as she remembered it, but tasted almost exactly as she recalled.

    Many thanks to Chris, Jennifer, Lisa, Stacey, Zazzy, Lorrie, Rebecca, Steve, Jessica, Yana, Maureen, Diana and
    Sally. They all offered some hint or insight that I used. I didn’t use one specific recipe, but took bits I liked from everyone. The results were pleasantly mediocre, which in my snobbish opinion, is as good as a TNC can get.
    Noodles

    • 16 oz. wide egg noodle
    • 3 cans Tuna

    Sauce

    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 8 oz. fresh button mushrooms, sliced
    • 4 Tablespoons butter
    • 4 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
    • 20 0z. Whole Milk
    • 6 oz Montery Jack cheese, shredded
    • 2 cups frozen peas

    Topping

    • 4oz. Parmesan Cheese, shredded
    • 8 oz. Potato Chips, slightly crushed

    Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Cook Noodles as per instructions on package. When done, drain, and rinse with cold water. Place in a glass bowl and combine with the tuna fish. Pour noodles in a 3-Quart glass baking dish and set aside in the refrigerator.

    Place a medium skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Place in the olive oil and onions, and cooking until the onions juuust start to look translucent. It’s at this point that you should ad the mushrooms. Cook the onions and mushrooms until the onions start to turn brown or the mushrooms lose their “raw” look, whichever comes later. Remove from heat and set aside.

    In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium/medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until you have a roux. Whisk in the milk, 4 oz. at a time, ensuring the milk is fully incorporated before adding any more. This will create a thinner Béchamel Sauce (If you want an even thinner sauce, add more milk, 2 oz. at a time). To the sauce, add the shredded Jack cheese and allow to melt thoroughly. To this cheese sauce add the frozen peas and onions/mushroom mixture.

    Pour cheese sauce over noodles in the baking dish. Stir in, if you wish, or simply allow to sauce to seep into the noodles. Top with the Parmesan cheese and crushed potato chips.

    Cover baking dish with Aluminum foil. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to set for 10 minutes more.

    Serves 8-12

    Technorati Tags: Food, Recipes, Tuna Noodle Casserole


    Wild Washington Troll-Caught Marbled Salmon

    I recently found myself in the interesting position of attending my first food publicity event. I’ve never been to one before, one where I get to mingle with the hoi paloi of the Seattle food scene. As I am not a good mingler, I found myself with a glass of cabernet and several files about Washington Trolled Chinook Salmon – the purpose of the event.

    Up here in the Pacific Northwest, and probably throughout the country, we wait with baited breath for Copper River Salmon, based out of Alaska. Tourists, when they get to Seattle, look forward to sitting down at a restaurant to be served the famous fish. Salmon is a big deal up here, and the fact that Alaskan Salmon gets the fair amount of press, while Washington Salmon gets little or none…well, let’s just say that more press equals more money. Hence, the event.

    There are several reasons why Washington Salmon market hasn’t had the luck that the Alaskan market has, most of it due to issues in the past. Quality was a major issue, an issue that has most certainly been addressed. Keep it cold and keep it clean is the mantra that has been heard throughout Neah Bay. The better the fish, the more money that the fishermen will get for their catch.

    If the Washington Marbled Chinook that I had at this event (cooked under the direction of Lark’s Jonathan Sundstrom), then Washington Salmon is on the upswing. And yes, the Salmon is marbled, with both red and white flesh within.

    It’s this marbling that’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it makes the salmon ‘regionally distinct’. That means that this kind of fish can’t be found anywhere else in the world. It also helps that it tastes pretty damn good.

    The curse is due to the fact the it’s odd look makes distributors and market buyers hesitant to put it under the glass and lights. But if you want proof where the Chinook is going, several restaurants in the Seattle area are now using it on their menu (some calling it Washington Salmon, others not) and there’s a rumor going around that some restaurants in Chicago are also in on the secret.

    And, to make me smile even more, the salmon is fished by the Washington Trollers Association and the Makah tribe. Or to put it into other terms, these folks are artisinal, and they are using sustainable practices in the catching of the fish. What’s not to love?

    Many thanks to Amy Grondin of the Pacific Marine Conservation Council, who invited me to the event and for talking with me about the salmon. I have no problem in recommending this fish to anyone. If anyone in the Seattle area is interested, you can find the Marbled Salmon at the Ballard Farmer’s Market, Ray’s Boathouse Cafe and Catering, and the 35th St. Bistro.

    tags technorati : Salmon Washington Salmon Chinook


    Baked Sea Bass in Herbed Salt Crust

    This recipe was a great success in my opinion. One of the greater problems in baking fish is in ensuring that the fish does not dry out whilst baking in the oven. This recipe solves the dilema quite nicely with the crust preventing moisture from the fish from escaping, and instead using it to bake the fish thoroughly.

    You’ll note that the fish was cooked in its entirity, from head to tail. This reminds me of the time Tara and I were eating out at a local Chinese restaurant where we were celebrating Chinese New Year.

    A Gentleman was seated to our south, and had ordered some sort of fish dish. This initiated a series of events which included a member of the wait staff going to the front of the restaurant and picking out a fish from one of the several aquariums they had located in the lobby.

    The fish was taken to the back where it was gutted, and then deep fried. It was brought out and placed in front of the man. He stared at it for about five minutes before calling on one of the wait staff.

    “I can’t eat this”, he said. “I didn’t know it came with the head. I can’t eat it with a head”.

    Me? I have no problem in cooking a whole fish. I’m wondering how much this problem affects the general populace of the United States.

    • 1 2 lb. sea bass (cleaned, leaving head and tail intact)
    • 4 tbl plus 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
    • 1/4 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 slice Lemon
    • 1 slice onion
    • 3 1/2 cup Kosher salt, (about 1 1/4 pounds)
    • 1 1/2 cup All-purpose flour
    • 1 cup Warm water plus additional if necessary

    Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F.

    Rinse sea bass under cold water and pat dry inside and out. Sprinkle cavity of bass with 2 sprigs of rosemary, along with a slice of onion and lemon, and pepper generously.

    In a bowl, whisk together the kosher salt and flour along with 4 Tablespoons of rosemary. Stir in 1 cup warm water plus additional as necessary to form a paste.

    Place the bass in an oiled baking pan. Coat top of bass completely with half of salt mixture, patting it on, and turn bass over. Coat other side in same manner, ensuring the fish is completely coated (although you can get away with not coating the tail).

    Place bass in middle of oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then crack salt crust with a sharp knife or hammer and remove top crust, discarding it. Place whole fish on a serving dish.

    To serve, remove sections of the fish with a serving fork. If done correctly, the spine of the fish should nearly fall out and the fish head should also fall off with no problems.

    DO NOT eat the crust, unless you have water handy.

    Serves 4

    Technorati Tags: Food, Recipes, Fish, Baked Fish


    Things I didn’t know: Sardines

    Here’s another new feature here at the Hedonist. In the course of reading and research I often find little facts that I hadn’t known about before. Figuring some of you might find them interesting, I thought I’d share them with you. Look for more of “Things I didn’t know” in the future.

    Today’s TIDK is about sardines…kind of.

    Y’see, there’s no such animal as a sardine. The word sardine is a generic name for a number of different small fish. The type of fish depends on the region of the world where the fish is canned. Sardines found America in supermarkets are likely sprats, round herrings or a young European pilchard if the sardines are imported. They aren’t called Sardines until they are in the can.

    A lot of this has to do with how fish are named. There is no universal body overseeing what fishes are named what. A fish called Patagonian Toothfish in one part of the world may be called Chilean Sea Bass in another part. The same behavior occurs with Sardines.

    UPDATE: Brett Rightfully admonishes me for not doing my homework, or at the very least, be able to clarify my points better.

    Indeed, there are such things as sardines. What I should have said is that there is no one specific species which is commonly recognized as the “sardine”, canned or otherwise. As Brett pointed out, the Codex Alimentarius, produced by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish international food standards, defines what are canned sardines, states (pdf) that 21 varieties of fish can be called sardines, with only one allowed to be called “sardine” without the use of a qualifier (that being Sardina pilchardus).

    See, I told you I didn’t know this stuff.

    Technorati Tags: Food, Fish, Sardines


    Brodetto

    brodetto

    Brodetto is fish stew. There’s no simple way to dress that one up. Either you like fish, or you don’t. If you do, This is a decent recipe. If you don’t like fish, you’ll end up crying, alone, scared that others are having more fun than you.

    And they are, because they are enjoying brodetto.

    This recipe calls for pieces and bite sized morsels of fish, but if you were in Italy, you’d make the brodetto with the entire fish, head and all. You’d also cook it for hours on end instead of the 60-some minutes it took to create this dish in my tiny studio apartment kitchen. That was an easy choice for me to make, for as much as I like my fish (stewed or otherwise), I don’t believe I need my place smelling like the stew for the next three weeks.

    Also, I replaced the fish with similar products I can find on the West Coast. So, no flounder, but halibut worked out well.

    Onto the the recipe:

    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 2 yellow onions, sliced
    • 1 shallot, minced
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (canned works really well)
    • 3 cups dry white wine (I used a sweeter resiling, but a Pinot Grigio would be preferable)
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 lb monkfish, cut into larger than average bite sized morsels
    • 1 lb halibut, cut into larger than average bite sized morsels
    • 1 lb cod, cut into larger than average bite sized morsels
    • 1 lb Jumbo Shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1 lb mussels
    • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    • Chopped Italian Parsley

    Pour olive oil in a stock pot over medium high heat. Just as it starts to smoke, add onions and shallots. Cook until translucent and juuuust starting to brown. Lower the heat to medium and add garlic. Cook until you can smell the garlic aroma.

    Pour the tomatoes in with the onion and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the white wine and sugar and allow to cook for ten more minutes.

    Place the fish in the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 7 minutes. Place the mussels in a steamer and place over the stew. Cover well, steaming the mussels for an additional ten minutes.

    Ladle stew into a serving bowl, placing a few of the cooked mussels on top. Sprinkle parseley on top of all and serve with bread.

    Serves 8