23.5.07

Advice on advice


I´ve never understood all those magazine articles and pages and pages in books about cleaning fish. It seems to me that they must be intented for boy-scout minded people who own a pleasure boat and some fish hooks.
For me, there is only one method of cleaning fish, and certainly it´s very easy. You just go to the fishmonger, tell him what fish you want and what it´s for, and the guy will very obligingly clean it for you.
I have always found this by far the best way to go about. I put my trust in the professionals, always.
So it was the other day. I asked the fishmonger for some mackerel, filleted, please, as I would be making escabeche. He looked at me searchingly, and said, well, for escabeche you´ll be wanting thick slices, surely? That´s how my wife makes it. And I said, no, I like fillets, there are too many bones, otherwise. No, no, he said, the vinegar will make the bones melt away. I hesitated, but then I reflected, here´s this guy, who´s clearly been monging fish for many years, and what do I know? I told him to go ahead and do it his way.
Now, take it from me, I know how to make escabeche. I make the best damn escabeche in the world, and just now I want to kill that person. He was wrong, dammit. The bones do not melt away.
I know you´ll tell me that fish cooked on the bone is juicier, but come on. It´s a bore to have to pick the million bones in mackerel, and frankly, escabeche is not about complication. It´s an easy summer dish, a happy-go-lucky thing to be eaten with an easy mind, not with the attitude of an archaeologist.
No way. However, it´s ok. I´ll eat the mackerel carefully, because it does taste very good, but I´ll keep all the vegetables and the escabeche liquid. I will use them to make a second batch, poaching bonito this time.
Of course I will not tell the fish guy what I´m making, as who knows what kind of strange alternative cooking his wife likes. I might come home with a bunch of bonito flakes, or a whole fish. I think I´m either going to have to beleive more in myself, or buy my fish from another stall.

9 comentarios:

xps dijo...

a mi me gusta tu salmon. no se lo que es makerel.

Lydia dijo...

Believe in yourself -- and make some escabeche your way, and bring it to your fishmonger. Let him taste it, and he will know that you know what you're talking about. And even if you don't, he should sell you what you want, the way you want it. Now, please will you share your recipe?!

bea dijo...

ahahh, this is such an entertaining post! So will you at least tell him he was wrong, and so was his wife?

Pille dijo...

I didn't eat fish for a longest time because I didn't like the bones. And when I started eating it, then I would always find a bone in a salmon fillet etc..
I can well imagine you arguing with that fishmonger in the future and sticking to your wishes :-)

lobstersquad dijo...

xps: caballa, mi darling.
lydia: sorry, I didn´t specify. It´s in the link you can see in the post, but I´ll post it again just to make sure.
bea: I think I´m going to, now that I have so much faith in myself.
pille: I know, fishbones are the worst, but mackerel is so delicious and so cheap and unendangered, I can´t help myself.

Anónimo dijo...

Lo de devolver el plato a la cocina el otro día ha despertado el tigre que hay en tí, ¿eh?

I think maybe the fishmonger didn't want to work that day or maybe he and his wife have different tastes from the rest of the people, who knows?
I want to believe he told you that for good, because all shop owners know an unsatisfied customer makes lots of missing customers.

I want to share one tip for all those who are afraid of bones in their fish: I usually prepare same escabeche as Ms. Lobstersquad but with chicken breasts instead. You can eat them hot, mild or cold. They're delicious and you can put them in a salad, like a fake Caesar Salad.

Sorry about this loooong comment, anyone.

Melissa dijo...

Ha ha, something similar has happened to me before! I mean, just because someone knows their trade of fishmongering/butchering/fruit-and-vegetable selling etc. doesn't necessarily mean they (or their spouse) are the best cook in the world, right? Oh well, at least you've confirmed the superiority of your method beyond a shadow of a doubt. I must give it a try!

Luisa dijo...

Next time, trust your gut! (Ouch. I know. I'm so bad with puns.)

neil dijo...

Ha, he sure tricked you! Lazy bastard. The only thing I know that 'melts' fish bones is my blender when I make fish soup. That's one place you never want to find one.

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