Some people thought I was crazy, signing up to receive 4-6 pounds of whole fish every week for nine weeks. I might be, only time will tell. But my first fish was a delicious resounding success, and I'm looking forward to next week's fish already.
Whole fish means the whole kit and caboodle, except the guts. Which is nice. When I signed up I thought they came with guts too. I am by no means an expert at cutting fish, but by the end of this experience I hope to be better.
For my first attempt it wasn't too bad, two filets, two cheeks, two pieces of cod belly and a tongue. Along with a ton of bones to make stock. I have to say this Cape Anne
never disappoints, this fish was swimming that morning and smelled like the ocean. A total joy to work with.
And there it is (those two pieces actually on the newspaper still have skin) all my bits and pieces.
The first filet went into fried fish and grits with a spinach salad. the second filet was pan seared and put on quinoa 'risotto' made with fish stock. The bones went into stock, for the risotto and for a big bowl of noodle soup.
The soup is seasoned with cilantro and lime, and in it went the two pieces of fish belly and the lovely tender cheeks, a few quickly cooked maitake mushrooms and a heaping pile of yam noodles. It was during this meal I learned that cod tongues have a bone - who knew?
Possibly my favorite meal of the week.
We got three filling meals out of one fish, at 22$ per week for the CSF that's 3.66$ each per meal. Which I think is a totally reasonable amount to spend on locally caught, sustainably caught super fresh fish - don't you?
Thanks to twitter, I was able to get some advice from Jamie Bissonette
the Chef at both Coppa
, and Toro
about how to cook some of the shrimp I got through my CSF.
His advice - "fry them in their shells until crispy. Toss with nauc chum, mint and cilantro. So simple. Soooo good"I took his recommendation in spirit (because I had no nauc chum, mint or cilantro in the house) and tossed them in some arrowroot flour seasoned heavily with salt and pepper and deep fried them.My first step was to soak them in cold water, changing the water every 10-20 minutes. After five or six changes
of water I set the shrimp on a paper towel to dry.
Next I heavily seasoned some arrowroot flour with a lot of salt and cracked black pepper. Then I heated some vegetable oil over medium high heat and cooked the flour coated shrimp in small batches.
I fried four shrimp at a time, but I used a pretty small pot.
I was finishing a soup for dinner as well, so I held these shrimp in a 375 degree oven until I was ready to serve.
Fried Northern shrimp tossed with scallions.
A big dish of shrimp in the center of the table, and a few shrimp on top of each bowl of soup as a garnish.
Shrimp and fish stock, seasoned with lemongrass and ginger with fried shrimp cabbage and soba noodles.
Pull off the head to suck on (or eat whole!) then pop the whole tail in your mouth. I've talked about eating shrimp tails
before, and these really sealed it for me. Shrimp tails are absolutely delicious.Thanks for the great advice Jamie!
Thanks to Kumiko Mitarai
I've had a craving for onigiri
. And my leftover shrimp and rice from dinner will make four perfect little onigiri. First I had to shell the shrimp - the shells I saved to throw in the fish stock I've got planned for later.
Tiny little shrimp tails.
To make the filling for my onigiri I coarsely chopped the shrimp, then added a spoonfull of mayo and a big squirt of sriracha.
Shrimp, mayo, sriracha.
Next I simply filled my onigiri, sprinkled them with toasted sesame seeds and wrapped them with nori.
Wrapped in plastic these keep well in the fridge for a few days, but are much better at room temperature. These little guys will not be sitting in the fridge at all.
Through my CSF I ordered one share of northern shrimp
, which is way more shrimp than you could possibly imagine when you're standing in a parking lot at 530 on a Monday night.
And yet, when you toss what feels like a little less than half of them in sriracha and mirin then cook them over high heat, licking your lips the entire time, and finally sit down to dinner the truth about these shrimp begins to unfold. Once you pull off their heads, they are actually very tiny.
Quickly cooked northern shrimp.
The largest ones were the size of my index finger (with their heads still on) and the smallest ones were half the size of my pinky. The taste was delicate and sweet, and even though it was dinner you had to work for (not unlike artichokes) I would definitely get them again.This was dinner for two (with a bowl of rice and some wilted spinach) and there were about a cup and a half of whole shrimp leftover. As well as a bowl of rice. Thanks to SeriousEats
, I've had a real hankering for some onigiri
- I'm thinking lunch tomorrow.
Community Supported Agriculture has been around for a few years, it's an excellent way to support small farms as well as eating local. Those of us who live on the coast also have access to community supported fishing (or CSF). The community supported fishing
that we participate in offers whole fish shares as well as fillets. And although scaling, and sometimes gutting fish may not be everyone's idea of a great time on a Monday night, the quality of fish is awesome (and way cheaper if you get the whole fish share) and the practice with a knife is worth the time (at least that's what I keep telling myself).So far I've gotten pollock, haddock and monkfish. This week it was redfish, along with a special share of Northern shrimp that I ordered a few weeks ago.
These are a smaller variety of fish, so these guys came with guts and all. The fisherman process the larger fish varieties so they come gutted (and the monkfish came headless), these were the first small fish we've received so it was the first time I've had to gut anything with this share.
The three smallest fish I scaled, gutted and filleted. Some of the fillet's I put in a marinade for later this week and the heads and bodies I saved for stock.
Heads, tails and fillets.
I sautéed onion, celery, carrot, garlic and ginger in butter until tender then placed some shrimp bodies on top (leftover from last night's dinner) followed by the fish heads.
Followed by the fish bodies.
Tails on heads.
I covered all of it with a kettle of boiling water and then simmered for one and a half hours with a few peppercorns and a bay leaf. Be sure to skim often, I ended up straining it twice through two different sized strainers.
Strained out shrimp and fish.
Dinner tonight will be some of the fillet's poached in the stock, I haven't decided whether to add tomatoes and some of my whole shrimp for a European fish stew kind of thing, or to simmer some lemongrass in the stock and add soba noodles shrimp, veggies and a few dumplings for a totally different meal.