Lets talk about Fish Before this class I always dreaded the day where I would take a fish knife, and hack off a fish head, pull out its guts and then make a dainty dish of fish yumminess.
Going into the class I didn't know a great deal about fish...Who does? I know sushi tastes good and that with Sea Bass you can make a mean dish. Who knew that fish are 70% water, 10-20% protein...hrm I am not that great at math but the rest are vitamins and carbohydrates.
I was telling my close friend that I got to cook with a "round fish" and a "Flat Fish" to which she joked and said "They are not called round fish". Check out the sea food academy of MORE THAN you will ever need to know about fish.
Round fish is anything that appears rounded and have eyes on either side of its head. They swim and feed vertically. Sea bass, salmon and tuna are my favorite examples of round fish. A flat fish are those fishes that live on the bottom the water and both eyes are on one side of their body.
When I got to the super market I really have no clue how to tell if a Fish is fresh or not and so we learnt that the following things are important to note when purchasing your Nemo.
1) Shiny bright appearance 2) Bright eyes and convex eyes that fill the eye socket. If they have sunken eyes that's a no no 3) Bright colored gills that are moist and full of blood. 4) A firm stomach 5) Clean fresh order, they should smell of the ocean or river but not have a fish smell, again that's a no no .
When you get fish make sure you make an ice bath, protect the fish and set on the ice, this keeps it fresh for longer.
This is the fun part...we learnt how to "dress" a fish. That doesn't mean putting it in its sunday best, quite the opposite. This is the process to get it ready for eating.
Wash the fish
You can remove any fins with scissors and then you need to get the fish ready for a little bath. Before you take the fish to water, open the belly from its ass to its gills and remove the gills and the entire intestinal tract. (Definitely make sure you eat breakfast before doing this, I had to down 2 lamingtons and coffee before I was ready for this) Then make sure to give it a good rinse on the inside and in the gills to make sure all blood and gore is removed.
Cut the Fish
The easiest way to get at the fish to start thinking about filleting it is to cut of its head. When doing this I had a flash back to kill bill and imagined myself with a samurai sword in a yellow track suit...but alas I was in chef whites with a Chef's knife. You track around the gills and just chop the thing off through the Bone.
Next you lay the fish on a chopping board beheaded, and make a cut about 1/4 inch deep from the head to the tail and it must be along the fishes backbone under the dorsal fin. You insert the tip of the knife and use gentle force to start pealing the fillet away from the skeletal structure. You then can clean the fish up and remove all the excess fat and make sure the edges are clean cuts.
We then need to take the skin off, I learnt that you need to keep the filet near the edge of the chopping board and make an incision in the tail end, using the fish knife you hold onto the skin and cut along to the end. The first picture below is my Chef demonstrating and the second is the fish that I skinned.
In the recipes I will show you what I made with this lovely fish !! The key to all this was DO NOT be afraid of guts and gore, get yourself a good fish knife and wear an apron !!!
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Have some fish fun !