FILE UNDER F FOR FISH – COOKING WHAT YOU CATCH

As noted elsewhere, the first lesson of blogging is that organisation is the key. Having discovered that, I am resolved to break up all my scrapbook-type posts and file them in some sort of decipherable order. And that’s why, for now, this is here …

FILE UNDER F FOR FISH RECIPES

This to be added to later, but meanwhile, I kept some advice from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Guardian, 2008, on eating coarse fish …

Many people believe freshwater fish will taste muddy. Fish from free-flowing waters don’t tend to suffer from this problem, although those from still waters can. The only antidote is to cleanse the fish through a de-mudification programme of 3-4 days in a spring-fed tank.

Perch are a beautiful fish, green scaled with black stripes down their flanks, an impressive spiked dorsal fin and a ferocious pack-hunter mentality. Perch have firm white flesh similar to bass. To cook, simply de-scale, fillet, toss in seasoned flour and pan fry with lemon juice: a recipe the French refer to as filet de perche.

The chub is deemed to be an inedible fish, Izaak Walton referred to it as being “full of forked bones, the flesh is not firm, but short and tasteless”. And I could not agree more. That is, if you cook it. It was my friend Tom (The Hungry Cyclist) that first suggested giving chub the ceviche treatment and it worked a treat.

If any freshwater species is guilty of tasting muddy, then it is the carp. Due to increasing pressure on our saltwater stocks and adoration from Eastern Europeans in the UK, consumption of this fish is beginning to rise for the first since the middle ages. Again, the flesh is firm and meaty and stands up to a variety of different ways of cooking, although baking is the best method. The first certified organic farmed carp are now available from Jimmie & Penny Hepburn of Devon-based Aquavision. Their method to rid these fish of any hint of mud is to transfer them into natural spring fed tanks a week before harvest.

(Penny Hepburn’s recipe …
For stuffing, chop spring onions, red pepper, lemon zest and grated ginger. Add the stuffing to the cleaned body. Splash on olive oil, butter and a teaspoon of coconut cream. Wrap and bake (20 mins for a kilo). Head and tail make good stock. Pieces of carp enliven leek and potato soup.)

The sinister pike is another excellent eating fish.
They possess a substantial number of Y-shaped bones along the fillet. Once removed they have a mild taste which is quite pleasant, and I recommend referring to Larousse for recipes such as pike quenelles and pike au beurre blanc.

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