Fish are food, not friends

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Fish are food, not friends

Postby cmsellers » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:07 pm

The title to this thread references the fact that my school had a very active animal rightist community, and one of the least obnoxious things they did was stick PETA stickers on everything. One of these stickers said "fish are friends, not food." Naturally I dispute this, because even pet fish aren't really cuddly, let alone proper friends. On the other hand, fish definitely are food, and are delicious.

I'm thinking about this because I had halibut for the first time in years, and I had forgotten how amazing it is. Usually when I have fish I have something that I like and is cheap. In Turkey that was sea bream, in the US it's bluefish and catfish. (I didn't eat much fish in Korea because I had a bad experience with seafood in Korea early on.)

I find it hard to rank my favorite fish, because freshness plays such a role, as does price. So does preparation for that matter. (After I had fried catfish in New Orleans, it was almost a year before I could enjoy catfish I cooked myself again, since I simply cannot do as good a job of it as they do in Louisiana.)

Still, I'd have to say that my favorite fish is eel. And yes, I know that it's horribly unsustainable and I really shouldn't eat it eve, but it's so damn delicious. (And also it's mostly Japan's fault that the eel is endangered anyways. If nobody in America ate eel, it would likely still be endangered as long as we exported baby eels to Japan. Or so I rationalize it any rate.)

Any rate, I really haven't had a fish that I didn't like, except for shark, though some are clearly better than others. Flatfish (sole, flounder, sanddabs, and halibut) and catfish are awesome, especially fried. When it comes to saltwater non-flatfish, I only really love bluefish and Pacific salmon (except for coho). I also really liked Orange roughy, but then I learned how unsustainable it is, and unlike eel, I don't like it enough to keep eating it anyways.

I like tuna and mahi too, but in supermarkets they're usually previously frozen, and it tells (salmon is too, but most Pacific salmon seems to survive freezing pretty well). I like mackerel, but it's a pain to prepare (you can never get it in fillets; I think you're supposed to cook it whole), and I don't like it enough to wait. I also like sea bream, but I've never seen it for sale in the US.

I'm not a huge fan of New England's most famous catch: cod and haddock, but I love having them in fish and chips.

How about you guys? Who here enjoys fish? (Not seafood in general, just bony fish and sharks.) [edit: that clearly didn't work]
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Last edited by cmsellers on Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby sunglasses » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:16 pm


I don't really like fish.

Occasionally I'll eat tilapia, halibut, flounder, or cod. Once in a blue moon salmon.

I used to eat orange roughy but then I found out just how unsustainable it is to eat them so I stopped.

Oh, I want to note that I will eat the hell out of a good fried fish when the opportunity comes about. Unless it's catfish.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby Rebo » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:16 pm

Some of my best friends are fish.


I'm lonely.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby ghijkmnop » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:22 pm

I live in Maine, and I loathe all seafood-- but I can put out a Lobster/Clam bake that kicks total ass.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby CarrieVS » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:23 pm

I'm a vegetablist these days and I miss fish. Especially prawns.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby Deathclaw_Puncher » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:37 pm

This may come as a shock to many of you, but I don't exactly care much for fish outside of sushi. I'm more inclined towards the non piscine seafoods such as shellfish, crustaceans and molluscs.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby Marcuse » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:41 pm



I mostly find fish to be a bit gross. I prefer more meaty fish wherever possible, but mostly I avoid fish. It just has such a strong flavour of the sea and it's common to cook it extremely lightly whenever I've been to a place that does fish as its thing, so I find the whole experience unpleasant.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby sunglasses » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:59 pm

Rebo wrote:Some of my best friends are fish.


I'm lonely.


He's not kidding, guys. I mean, he has the song below looped to play in his car and his house.

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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby cmsellers » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:12 pm

Whelp, I tried to exclude shellfish because I don't eat any meat that didn't come from a vertebrate, but that clearly didn't work. Also, It seems like pretty much everybody here eats shellfish but not actual fish.

Any rate...

@sunglasses: Is it possible that you've only had catfish old? My mother used to think she hated both catfish and bluefish. She tried some of my bluefish one time at Legal Seafoods, and concluded that she likes bluefish when it was fresh. However no matter how fresh, I could not persuade her to try catfish.

One day, a friend of hers (also a coworker of hers, and father of a friend of my brother's; I live in a small town) came over to fix something or other, and I was making catfish for the Spanish exchange student. I had an extra piece of catfish, and when the friend exclaimed he loved catfish, I put it on for her friend. Well, the friend and the exchange student were raving about it, and the friend pressured her into trying a piece (hooray for peer pressure). She also agreed it was very good.

I still couldn't get her to try the fried catfish down in New Orleans (which puts my blackened catfish to shame), because she was convinced that if it's even a day old it's inedible. I'm thinking that maybe there's just something about catfish that some people don't like, but before you say you don't like it, you should try it fresh.

@Marcuse: Same question, but for all fish.
The only fish I think of as tasting "fishy" when fresh are haddock and cod, and even then it's not too strong. However restaurants are notorious for getting in fresh fish only once or twice a week.

Ericthebearjew wrote:This may come as a shock to many of you, but I don't exactly care much for fish outside of sushi. I'm more inclined towards the non piscine seafoods such as shellfish, crustaceans and molluscs.

You don't eat salmon but you do eat shellfish?
I'm starting to suspect that you may be neither a bear, nor a Jew. In fact, now I'm wondering if you're even really an Eric.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby Anglerphobe » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:19 pm

I love fish, but I eat it rarely at the moment because I will only eat it fresh. I grew up on the Cornish coast and spent most of the first two years of my life on a boat in the Scilly Isles; that life makes the greatest fish snobs. I won't buy it from inland supermarkets, because I grew up eating fish that were happily swimming earlier in the day.

The fish I eat most are herring and pilchard. They were always abundant if you were fishing for yourself (which we often were) and cheap to buy if you were not, and herring in particular has a gorgeous flavour if you know how to cook it.
The best fish around the UK though is Dover sole. Eating a well cooked Dover sole is like eating Morgan Freeman's voice. It's mild and smooth and delicately sweet. Absolutely delicious. I can clearly remember bringing up my first one as a kid; I may have been a skinny eight year old boy but I could have sworn I was seven feet tall when we were eating my sole that evening.

I think my favourite fish is wahoo. I first experienced it in Ghana, and even my exacting (snobbish) preferences were bowled over by this fish. It's got a beautifully delicate flavour. With proper preparation of the fish and some appreciation of how to "showcase" its flavour in a dish, it's unbeatable in my view.

Fresh salmon is a wondrous thing, but it's hard to come by good quality stuff. I have caught wild salmon before and it was well worth the fairly arduous process. People who smoke that fish should be hanged.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby SilverMaple » Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:22 am

I guess I'm of the opposite opinion of most of you guys, because I think shellfish are gross (although shrimp are pretty good) but regular fish is amazeballs. Almost any kind of fish. If I could eat it every day, I would.

The fact that it's impossible to get fresh fish here, aside from pickerel (apparently known as walleye outside of Canada), is pretty high up on my long list of reasons I hate living on the Prairies. Pan-fried pickerel is really good, but when your options are that or catfish (and since it tends to come from the Red River, which is chock-full of every sort of waste imaginable, I don't eat catfish), it gets boring pretty fast.

My favourite kind of fish would have to be salmon, which is awesome when grilled with a sauce I make (with soy sauce, sugar or maple syrup, sherry, ginger and garlic). My parents mostly buy the farmed salmon, though, which isn't great. Other than that, I actually really like haddock, and use it in most recipes that call for white fish.

I haven't travelled a whole lot, so I can't say I've had fresh fish very often, but I did have very fresh flounder when I was in Florida (as in, the boat pulled up to the restaurant right before they cooked it), which was great, but I don't recall any details other than that.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby sunglasses » Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:14 am

SilverMaple wrote:I guess I'm of the opposite opinion of most of you guys, because I think shellfish are gross (although shrimp are pretty good)


See, I dislike most shellfish and especially shrimp. I do like crab legs and crab cakes. I'll eat scallops but prefer bay scallops over sea scallops.

@sellers, that might be it, I just remember having catfish as a child and hating it. It had an odd flavor and I didn't care for it. Then again I was a very picky eater as a child and vomited from eating salami as I was panicking over the "black dots" I saw in it. But I am also a very, very texture driven eater. If the texture is wrong I cannot eat it. I'll take one bite and then try to find a napkin to spit it out in. No matter how hungry I am. It's a neurological issue called Sensory Processing Disorder. It's not as bad now as it was when I was a child, mind you, but some textures I still can't stand. Like, I cannot swallow them.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby NathanLoiselle » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:00 am

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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby cmsellers » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:08 am

SilverMaple wrote:I guess I'm of the opposite opinion of most of you guys, because I think shellfish are gross (although shrimp are pretty good) but regular fish is amazeballs. Almost any kind of fish. If I could eat it every day, I would.

Nope, I'm that way too (although I hate the taste of shrimp as well as that "word" you used to describe regular fish). I actually did formerly eat it every day, however my mother constantly complained that I made the house smell and the broiler pan dirty. So I started eating larger quantities of pork instead, and now she gets on my case about how unhealthy pork is.

Fortunately, I should be living on my own again soon enough. Although I don't actually know what places in Austin are good for fish. In my native area, there are two places that sell fresh fish which is consistently good. One is a local supermarket with one location; the other is Whole Foods, with fish that generally cost about thrice as much as the neighborhood grocery (twice as much when there's a sale on).

SilverMaple wrote:The fact that it's impossible to get fresh fish here, aside from pickerel (apparently known as walleye outside of Canada), is pretty high up on my long list of reasons I hate living on the Prairies. Pan-fried pickerel is really good, but when your options are that or catfish (and since it tends to come from the Red River, which is chock-full of every sort of waste imaginable, I don't eat catfish), it gets boring pretty fast.

I really wouldn't worry about the Red River catfish; I imagine Canada has strict food guidelines it likely comes from the upper reaches. And I envy you that you can get truly fresh and local catfish. In the Northeast, catfish mostly comes from South America. I wonder if the fact that Louisiana is a big catfish-farming state and the fish I got there was probably super-fresh played a role in how much better it was there.

@sunglasses:
I'm still a very picky eater, however there are only four things I really dislike on account of their flavor: shrimp, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, and onions. And the last two I've learned to tolerate in small quantities on account of Turkish cooking. Everything else I dislike, I dislike on account of texture. (Well, except alcohol, which I hate on account of the burniness, not sure of that counts as taste, texture, both, or neither.) My texture-aversion unfortunately includes good things, like most greens, but it also includes bad things like soda and pasta.

It also means that I'm really weird about how stuff mixes, and won't eat things some things which are composed entirely of things I would eat on their own. And it means I'll eat, for example: grilled zucchini but not winter squash, and sweet potato fries but not candied yams. (And no, it's not about the fat in the latter case; you should see how much butter my father's side of the family puts on anything mashed.)
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby sunglasses » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:24 am

candied yams are slimy as fuck. the sweet potato fries are 100x better. I approve.
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