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.