Fish are food, not friends

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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby JamishT » Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:30 am

So the Amish don't really do seafood (for practical reasons, not religious), and as a result, though my parents had been shunned for close to a decade before I was born, I didn't grow up on it. I mean, we did have two large ponds on our property stocked with bass, sunfish, and bluegill, which taste okay. I've had walleye and catfish, but I didn't really like them. I haaaate tuna. But I enjoy squid (in the form of calamari), shrimp, salmon, and crispy fish filets from those bags sold in the frozen section at Wal-Mart (because they're delicious, I don't care how redneck it makes me sound). I have yet to have lobster, crawfish, prawns, and pretty much any other fish...
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby Matthew Notch » Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:17 am

Sellers, I'm surprised you didn't like shark. Mako shark was one of my favorite fish experiences. I've never had its equal.

In Kansas you can only imagine how tough it is to get good fish. The places that specialize in preparing it usually have it flown in daily after having been flash frozen already. That said, I can do swordfish anytime, anyplace, son. That skein of red fat that runs through a swordfish steak is heavenly. Halibut is another favorite, though the price is outrageous here. Probably my favorite fish ever is mahi mahi, which is best eaten with some sort of peppery seasoning. Blackening mahi mahi is one of the best things you can do for any food. When the wife and I hauled some aircraft parts down to Fort Lauderdale in Florida, we stopped at a place right by the beach in Deerfield and I had the best fish of all time, blackened mahi with grilled squash and jasmine rice. Fish is a great dinner when you are feeling like something a little more unadorned.

If we're just going all marine creatures, then yes, crab cakes are fabulous, as are the crab arancini I made for the restaurant across from the wine bar. I don't go as nuts for shrimp as some people do, but put them on a skewer and grill them with something garlicky and salty, and I'm down for whateva. I think using butter and lemon with any sort of seafood is overrated and should only be allowed when you're not a very imaginative cook. I also think salmon is MASSIVELY overrated; I've had maybe two good salmon dishes in my lifetime, and one of them I made, and even then it was more okay than delicious.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby cmsellers » Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:41 am

@JamishT:
Have you had fresh tuna steaks? They're a far cry from frozen tuna steaks, and a world of difference from the canned stuff. (Of course you'd probably have to be a bit closer to the coast to obtain them fresh, and I find frozen tuna to be definitely disappointing.)

Matthew Notch wrote:Sellers, I'm surprised you didn't like shark. Mako shark was one of my favorite fish experiences. I've never had its equal.

I have no clue what it was. It was just labeled as "shark." Whatever it was was tough and rubbery though. But it was cheap, so I tried cooking it about four different ways (broiling, baking, grilling, and frying) before I gave up on it.

I was surprised that being inland is such a problem for you and Maple, since one of the best seafood restaurants I've been to is in Vermont. Then I realized that Vermont isn't actually any more inland than I am: about two hours from the sea. As a New Englander, I forget just how big this continent is.

Still, you'd think that in Kansas they'd at least have freshwater fish. I know trout is ubiquitous and easy to raise. Catfish too, but Kansas might be too cold. (And of course there's tilapia, but tilapia is so ... tilapia. It is to fish what brined supermarket chickens are to land-meat.)

One local place where I am raised barramundi for awhile, but didn't sell enough of it and it had to close down. I loved barrimundi, but I suspect a lot of people wouldn't like it. It had a slightly dirty (that's the only way I can describe it) taste, like tilapia sometimes has, only all the time and a lot more so. It had an excellent texture though, and with the right seasoning, was amazing. I think I liked it better than catfish, but I haven't had it in so long that I'm not sure.

I just realized that I've never lived more than two and a half hours away from the sea, and never less than an hour and a half. That seems like a good distance. Far enough inland so as nut to deal with tourists and the crying seagulls, close enough that I can always get good seafood. Austin will continue this trend, being about two and a half hours from Houston and an hour and a half from the Gulf of Mexico, so the trend and hopefully the excellent selection of seafood will continue.

For those of you poor suckers stuck too far inland to get marine fish fresh, I'd recommend checking out the selection of frozen fish at Trader Joe's (and if you don't have a Trader Joe's, then all I can say is "you poor, unfortunate bastards"). I personally think that their mahi mahi, Dover sole, and Chinook/King and Sockeye salmon all stand up to the freezing and re-thawing really well, and being at Trader Joe's are surprisingly affordable. None of them are quite as good as fresh fish, sadly, which is why I don't buy fish at TJ's anymore, except the occasional salmon. (On the east coast, Pacific salmon usually get frozen first anyways.)
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby JamishT » Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:58 am

I have not tried a fresh tuna steak (ugh, putting steak and tuna right next to each other just looks wrong), but I would if given the opportunity. I don't really see that happening in Kansas City, though. On the plus side, I work next door to a Trader Joe's, so maybe I'll get some fish from there sometime!
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby Tesseracts » Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:43 am

Living near the coast of Massachusetts, I have plenty of access to horrible sea monsters. A while ago I said "fuck you" to my vegetarianism and tried to get used to eating fish because I decided I needed more protein. I couldn't get used to it. My Dad started eating fish for the same reason, and he stopped when he realized the habit of eating fish makes him smell like a god damn fish.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby CarrieVS » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:32 am

sunglasses wrote: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.


I'm a picky eater too, largely texture but also certain tastes, appearance or 'grossness', and anything that irritates the mouth such as chili (even mild) and an enzyme in pineapple that tries to digest you back, or just physically hot food when other people are eating stuff out of the same pan with no problem. I'll eat things I just don't enjoy but there's many things I either simply cannot swallow, or if I eat them I will vomit, or that I can't eat without physical pain.

I was way worse as a toddler - I had a list of foods I would eat that could be counted on one hand. Which oddly included bananas, which as long as I can remember I haven't been able to eat without vomiting - when I was younger I couldn't even tolerate smelling them.

I read the link and the descriptions are spot on, and I can tick off all but one of the symptoms of the over-responsivity type and half for sensory craving. It's well-known you can't diagnose yourself from Wikipedia but that is absolutely me. (It's also yet another thing that often occurs alongside or as part of autism - so far I have or am quite sure I have every condition or trait that I know of which tends to occur alongside autism, with the exception of maleness.)
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby Rebo » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:03 pm

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



Guilty as charged. If I have learned one thing throughout the years it is this:

Never ask a fish head to call you on the telephone, he won't do it, fish heads can't talk.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby Cordslash » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:50 pm

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



Guilty as charged. If I have learned one thing throughout the years it is this:

Never ask a fish head to call you on the telephone, he won't do it, fish heads can't talk.


GODDAMMIT REBO!

What, someone had to say it.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby FieldMarshalFry » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:30 pm

very, very good, one pound fish
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby LaChaise » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:09 pm

I LOVE fish. All of them, in all their forms. Same for shellfish. I think I actually like fish more than meat, on average.
I don't really have any favorites, although eel, fresh tuna, salmon, shrimp and mussels are pretty high in the list. Unfortunately, my roommate's dad used to be a fish merchant, so he grew up eating enough fish to disgust him for a lifetime and I don't have many occasions to cook any. :(

Fun fact: it seems really weird to see you all talking about catfish. In France, we consider it garbage. When I went fishing with my uncles as a kid, we always kept pikes, trouts and eels, but threw the catfish back in. Unlike the others, catfish almost always tastes like mud in our rivers and you can't really find any commercially. It might actually taste awesome without the muddy taste, but that's the only kind I've ever eaten.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby sunglasses » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:44 pm

Catfish is a Southern dish here. And yeah, that muddy taste. -_-
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby cmsellers » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:11 pm

I've never noticed a muddy taste to catfish.

However since La Chaise is talking about wild-caught catfish, I googled, and found these two articles:

http://www.cookingfishmonger.com/which-is-better-farm-raised-or-wild-caught-catfish.html
http://community.tasteofhome.com/community_forums/f/30/p/700141/5967430.aspx

In short, a compound called geosmin makes some fish taste muddy. Farmed catfish are fed food lacking in geosmin and if you dislike the flavor you can use acid such as lemon, vinegar, or buttermilk to break it down.

I've only had wild-caught catfish once, and don't remember a muddy flavor, but I have had the flavor in the barramundi which used to be farmed around where I am (the muddy taste likely explains why the place that sold it went out of business), and less strongly in some tilapia.

Most recipes for barramundi unsurprisingly called for lemon. Since I don't really like lemon on fish, I did without it and grew to actually like the muddy flavor. Apparently people who eat wild-caught catfish also often acquire a taste for the muddy flavor, and since Pennsylvania is not a catfish-farming state, I bet that the restaurants where Sunny is cater to that particular taste.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby sunglasses » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:41 pm

cmsellers wrote:Apparently people who eat wild-caught catfish also often acquire a taste for the muddy flavor, and since Pennsylvania is not a catfish-farming state, I bet that the restaurants where Sunny is cater to that particular taste.


Restaurants?! You mean people serve those bottom feeders in restaurants? Nah, I just had family fry 'em up before.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby ghijkmnop » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:09 pm

Lemon Pepper and Old Bay Seasoning does well on a fried Catfish.
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Re: Fish are food, not friends

Postby FieldMarshalFry » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:14 pm

sunglasses wrote: fry 'em up before.

you called?
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