Today, I tried Basa, a fish I have never had before. To give it a taste test, I cooked it in one of my favurite ways to prepare fish fillets; to wit, by simply pan-frying and finishing with a light sauce of butter and lemon juice. Parsley or scallion can be added but, today, I am using some capers for a little sparkle of added piquancy. It is a very simple method and suitable for even very delicate fish such as the Basa… Continue reading “Basa Fillet in Lemon-Caper Butter”
I have, of late, been trying to include a bit more fish in my diet, even though fresh fish is not easily available in these parts much of the time. Today, however, I came across some nice cod fillets in my local store. Normally, with cod, I like the basic battered ‘English Style’ fish and chips, but starchy carbs are something I am trying to avoid and so I opted for a much simpler and lighter Chinese style dish… Continue reading “Sweet and Sour Fish”
It’s been ages since I last steamed a fish (years in fact). Today, I am steaming a whole Tilapia using a very popular Chinese method. It is quite simple but (and trust me on this one), you really want to try this recipe yourselves… Continue reading “Steamed Whole Tilapia”
Until recently, my only experience with Tilapia was as small, otherwise unidentifiable, fillets or chinks served to me in restaurants; I had never seen, much less cooked, the whole article and, when I saw some in my local store freezer I couldn’t resist.
I actually purchased the one you see above about a year ago. I originally planned to steam it, as I recall but, as sometimes happens, it was put into the freezer and then forgotten. Luckily, when it came to light during a periodic culinary ‘spring cleaning’, it seemed to have survived quite well without any signs of ‘freezer-burn’ or other decrepitude. Still, it needed to be used fairly soon and, as I was alone for the week, and had lovely weather, I decided to see how it might do on the barbecue grill… Continue reading “Grilled Tilapia”
I have quite a number of Chinese cookery books printed in China that contain recipes for a small plate preparation consisting of peanuts fried with a type of tiny white fish. I actually have all the necessary ingredients to prepare this for you sometime but, just recently, I was fortunate to come across a commercially packaged snack that I just had to try… Continue reading “Notable Nosh: Silverfish Peanuts”
When I grill or fry Salmon or Arctic Char, I usually leave the skin on and cook it so it gets nice and crispy. A few times, I have even cooked the skin separately from the rest of the fish as it makes a lovely snack but, until I found this package at Kowloon Market in Ottawa I had no idea that a commercially packaged variety was available … Continue reading “Foodstuff: Crisp Fish Skin – Un Chi Brand™”
Rollmops, for the uninitiated, are a delicacy composed of herring fillets that are rolled, usually around a gherkin or other filling, and pickled in slightly sweetened vinegar along with onions and various whole spices such as black pepper and mustard seed. They are very rich (just a few pieces are usually sufficient for a little snack) and my wife and I both love them… Continue reading “Notable Nosh: Rollmops”
Katsuobushi is a preparation of fish, specifically Skipjack Tuna, but also Bonito, that is dried, smoked and then fermented using a mold similar to that used for making soy products like soy sauce and miso. As it is a primary ingredient in the ubiquitous Japanese stock known as Dashi, it is thus one of the cornerstones of Japanese cuisine… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Katsuobushi”
Aside from the odd can for making tuna salad sandwiches, I have only ever eaten tuna raw. With this particular dish, recently sampled at the Empire Grill in Ottawa, I only just managed, barely, to break with that tradition…
In my post featuring Beef Tataki, which explains in a bit more detail the specific Japanese grilling technique in question, I mentioned that the process is sometimes applied to fish, and, as you can see, the tuna in this particular case is very nearly raw all except for a tiny margin around the edges. It is this brief grilling that allows the tuna to develop a range of flavors beyond that of the purely raw article and the Empire Grill managed, I must say to do a very nice job.
The slices of tuna, crusted with white and dark sesame seeds were served over a bed of seaweed dressed with soy and ginger. This salad, which certainly added to the visual appeal of the presentation, was very pleasant in both texture and taste, although I rather suspect that a pre-packaged seaweed was used rather than prepared from scratch. The dark sauce you can see was not mentioned in the menu description but it had a very good umami taste that makes me think that soybean paste may have been present. In any event, it worked really well with both the fish and the seaweed.
My only real criticism about this dish was that the tuna slices were ever so slightly dry. The waiter confirmed for me that the sesame seeds are pressed into the meat after grilling and I rather think that the restaurant probably prepares a large section of fish then keeps it pressed by wrapping tightly before slicing individual portions as ordered. This would make sense for restaurants to do but it does, if I am right in my guess, result in a slight diminution of the nice, soft texture of a freshly prepared piece. Still, this was really only a minor flaw and I really enjoyed the dish as a whole. I look forward very much to trying at home sometime as soon as fresh tuna appears in our local store…
I always rather think of Fish Sauce as being the south-east Asian equivalent of soy sauce as it is employed in much the same way, being ubiquitous in use as a cooking ingredient, a base for other sauces, and as a stand-alone condiment in its own right. Anybody who has ever eaten in a Vietnamese or Thai restaurant has likely consumed the sauce, even if not conscious of the fact, but, as yet, it does not appear as a regular item in many western pantries… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Fish Sauce”