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Fabricating Fish & Seafood: A Primer

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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 February 2013 at 13:05
Brook. Nice salmon spread. Thanks for posting. I am allergic to soy; hoever it is lovely & does not need it. I wouldmake my own mayo as well ..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 February 2013 at 14:12
Great link, Dan! And it will save me the bother of creating a post.
 
Margi, you might want to substitute either fish sauce or Worcestershire to bring that hint of umami to the spread. With fish sauce you likely won't need any additional salt.
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Part 4: Fileting Fish

Worldwide, filets are probably the most common fish cut used. Certainly this is true for North America. Whether full fish sides or pieces of the loin, they all start out as filets.

I’m always amazed at the mess many people---even professional cooks---make out of fileting fish. It’s actually a simple job, that uses the same techniques whether you’re fileting a four inch bluegill or a four foot cobia. The only major exception is the pikes, which, because of their Y bones, have to be handled differently. We’ve already detailed how pikes are handled above.

To be sure, there is a radical difference between round fish and flat fish. The technique is the same, but the direction of the cuts changes. Mark has already posted a pictorial on fileting flatfish (http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/flounder-101-fresh_topic3081.html), so there’s no need repeating it. Just keep in mind the same method works for flounder, fluke, sole, hogchoker, plaice, and even halibut if you should be so lucky. The essential difference is that flatfish have four sides, as it were, versus just the two for round fish.

If you’re having trouble following his instructions (and I don’t see why you would, as they’re pretty clear) just ask and we’ll fill in any blanks.

Round fish have three types of skeletal structure. Fish like sea bass and walleye have all their bones, except the rib cage, aligned up and down in a single plane. Others, such as trout, salmon, catfish, and many salt water fish, have additional “pin” bones, which align in various directions. This will only matter when you have to remove them. The fileting process is the same.

Just as an aside, I’ve often wondered if the term “pin bone” refers to the fact they seem to pin the flesh in place. One of these days I’m going to look that up.

The third type of fish are merely described as being boney. Among these are mullet, suckers, eels, smelt and so forth. These have such a plethora of bones, often small, sharp, and running in every imaginable direction, that they are rarely, if ever, fileted, except as the first stage of further processing.

In the following directions, we’ll assume you are right handed. It doesn’t really matter, except to follow what I mean by left and right.

If you’re going to leave the skin on, first scale the fish, if necessary, and remove the fins. If the filet will be skinless, neither of those steps is necessary. If you’ve caught the fish yourself, or bought it off the boat, do not gut and gill it. That, too, is unnecessary when fileting. In fact, a whole fish actually makes the job easier. Whether right or left handed, you’ll be reversing direction anyway when you turn the fish.

Start by laying the fish in front of you with the head on your left, the tail on your right, and the back towards you. Make the first cut by angling the knife along the line of the collar, and on the tail side of it. Slice downwards, with the blade itself slightly angled towards the tail. Cut all the way down to the backbone.

Turn the blade so it lies flat along the backbone. Holding it that way, and using the backbone as a guide, use long, sawing strokes to cut the filet off the fish. When you feel the ribs, just cut right through them.

If you’re leaving the skin on, cut through the skin at the tail. Repeat on the other side.

If you’re making skinless filets there’s a much easier way than is usually shown. Most instructions have you cut the filet off the fish, then lay it, skin side down on the work surface. You then start by cutting a small slice to separate the skin and flesh at the tail end, then,  , while holding that flap down with your left thumb, slice forward, lifting the flesh away from the skin.

Other than the awkwardness of holding down the skin flap, and making the initial cut, you should wind up with a clean filet, and no waste. That is if the skin doesn’t slip out from under your thumb.

The simpler way is this. When you make your main filet cut do not cut through the skin at the tail. Instead, use that as a hinge. Flip the filet over so it lies flat to the right of the tail. Then use your knife to lift the flesh off the skin, using the weight of the fish to stabilize the filet and hold it in place.

After removing the filet, flip the fish over, and cut the filet off the other side. At that point you might want to cut the first skin flap away, because it sometimes gets in the way.

Using the tip of the filet knife, cut the rib cage away from the filet, leaving as much of the belly meat in place as possible..

Next, check for bones. Pin bones can be anywhere in the mid-section of the filet. But, in addition, you’ll often find bones, or parts of bones, along the border where the backbone had been. Just run your finger along the fish, from heat to tail, and you’ll feel them. Use your boning pliers or tweezers to remove those bones.

The easiest way to do that, particularly with fish that have pin bones, is to lay the filet, skin side down, on a round bowl. That will cause the bones to stand up straighter, and expose their tips, so you can grab them more easily.

Store-bought filets often have these bones left in, so you might want to go through this step with them.

Rinse the filets under cool, running water, dry them, and you’re good to go.

You can use the filets just as they are. But, because the belly meat is so much thinner than the loin this could lead to uneven cooking. So you might want to separate them, and use the lugs for another purpose. Same goes for the very thin part of the tail meat.

If you prefer, you can use an electric knife instead of a filet knife. Personally I’ve never been comfortable with electric knives for any purpose. But I have friends who are fileting fools with one of them. Charter boat captains find them especially appealing because of their speed, and the fact they do not need frequent sharpening.

While these basic steps work for any fish in the round, you may have to modify them slightly for some species. Trigger fish, for example, because of their tough, leathery skin, require that you first make a lengthwise cut along the fish’s back. Otherwise you won’t be able to cut through it cleaning.

Once the fish is fileted, clean away the entrails and gills, and use the bones and head to make stock.

Filets can be cooked by virtually any method you like, but they are especially good for deep frying, pan frying, grilling, and baking.

Black Bass with Port Wine

When Eric Ripart took over Le Bernardin Restaurant he almost immediately earned four stars from the New York Times, a distinction he’s held for more than twenty years---the only restaurant ever to do that. This was, for many of the early years, his signature dish. Note that the sauce is made with a double reduction. Don’t try and shortcut this step, as it doesn’t work as well if the port and vinegar are reduced at the same time.

1 cup ruby port

½ cup Sherry vinegar

1 stick butter, softened

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup vegetable oil

4 sea bass filets, about 6-ounces each (or use fresh-water black bass)

¼ cup five-spice powder

2-3 tbls peanut oil

1 ½ cups mushrooms, sliced

2 large shallots, finely chopped

1 tbls minced fresh parsley

1 tbls fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

 

Reduce the port in a heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until thick and syrupy; there should be just enough liquid to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Stir in the vinegar and boil until syrupy. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Season with salt & pepper. Set sauce aside

 

In a large skillet heat the vegetable oil over moderately high heat. Season the fish filets lightly with salt and pepper. Coat each filet on both sides with the five-spice powder. Sauté the filets in the hot pan, turning once, until crusty on the outside and opaque throughout. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.

 

In a large skillet, heat the peanut oil over moderately high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and browned. Add the shallots, parsley, ad thyme and cook until the shallots are translucent. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Arrange each filet on a bed of the mushrooms. Top with some of the sauce.

 

The lugs and thin tail sections can be used in, literally, hundreds of recipes. Such dishes usually call for cooked, flaked fish. So you may want to poach the pieces first, and then either use them immediately or freeze them for later use. This provides a nice supply, btw, for any recipe calling for leftover fish.

 

The following recipe calls for white fish. But I’ve made it with salmon, as well. It’s all good!

 

Kedgeree Covington

 

1 ½ cups cooked rice

1 ½ cups cooked and flaked white fish such as flounder, sole, or halibut

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 tbls minced onion

2 tbls butter

2 tsp curry powder, or to taste

¼ tsp Worcestershire

Cayenne, salt, and black pepper to taste

Butter

3 slightly under-ripe bananas, sliced on the bias

Home-made or store-bought chutney

 

Sweat the onion in the 2 tablespoons butter until soft. Combine it well with the rice, fish, cheese, eggs, curry powder, Worcestershire, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a buttered gratin or casserole dish and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 34-40 minutes, or until it is golden and slightly crisp on top.

 

Sauté the banana slices in butter until slightly colored.

 

Cut the Kedgeree in thick slices, and serve on a bed of the banana slices, with chutney on the side.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 February 2013 at 14:21
Brook. I have Lea & Perrins ... I truly like the tamarind and anchoy aromas .. Yes thanks. I shall go buy some Ntwegian salmon tomorrow. I shall photograh spread. I also want to prepare ur fish with fennel ... That is awesome. I can use fresh Cod or Seabass. I had called my fish monger.
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I would go with small, whole seabass rather than cod for that dish. I'm thinking, too, it might work well with branzini.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 February 2013 at 02:21
Brook. I like your fennel red snapper & shall prepare Saturday. The Salmon spread as a Tapa dip ... Thanks; shall take photos if not too busy. We have Pompei exhibition we want to see. Have nice day.
The fresh cod abundance for lent season is heaven ... And cod is extraordinairely versatile ... Seabass is lovely too. Though we do love fresh cod in season ! It is divine and has a true northern sea cleanliness ... Refreshing taste ... Neither one of us are fans of halibut or flonder or Hake ... or Plaice.
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Part 5: Special cuts and forms

 

To me there is nothing more boring than a flat piece of fish laying on a plate. The flavor of the dish might be suburb, but the eye appeal just isn’t there.

That’s one of the reasons whole fish and sushi look so appetizing. In both cases, the textural break provides food for the eye as much as the mouth.

Typical would be Dan’s take on my curried fish loin recipe, which can be seen at http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/cooking-through-historicfoodies-fish-seafprimer_topic3217.html?SID=19413411zcec8bz48d5781688f5e69028240741. He could have cooked those filets lying flat, and the taste would have been the same. But by curling them into turbans they become a feast for the eye as well.

To be sure, fabricating fish into special shapes can be time consuming. But the results are well worthwhile, particularly if you have guests you want to impress.

Keep in mind that fish work the opposite of red meat. Red meat starts out firm, then softens as it cooks. Fish start soft and become firm. Which simply means that forming it into fancy shapes becomes part of the prep work. When they’re cooked they retain the shape you formed them into.

In some cases, as we’ll see, there is more waste than usual as well. Keep that in mind, so that you buy enough for your purposes, and plan another use for the trimmings.

The cooking methods are almost irrelevant in that regard. In Dan’s case, for instance, he butter-poached the filets. But he could have just as easily baked them, broiled them, or even poached them.

Here are some of the ways you can fancy up your presentations:

Folds and turbans: I figure it only fitting to start with these, as we have such a good example. Turbans are formed simply by rolling an uneven filet, so the edges do not line up. This can be done free-standing, of course. Another way is to start with a filet eight inches long and about 1 ½ inches wide, and spiral it into a pudding cup or ramekin. I first learned that technique with a Musky recipe. The fish goes into a well-buttered pudding cup, and is topped with a duxelle-enriched white sauce. They’re baked, then unmolded and sprinkled with paprika.

     A simpler presentation, though still appealing, is to just fold a filet. Here, again, you want the two halves to be slightly off-set for greater eye appeal.

 

Roulades and pinwheels: Fish roulades (literally, roll-ups) are made like any others. Start with a filet trimmed into a rectangle. Roll it from one of the long edges. Unlike beef, fish usually do not require tying so long as you keep them seam side down.

     Although there’s nothing wrong with a plain log, roulades usually are used with a filling of some sort.

     Pinwheels are nothing more nor less than a roulade that’s been cut into slices, so the swirling filling shows. If I intend serving the fish as a pinwheel, I prefer rolling from a short edge, making a wheel with a wider diameter.

 

 Fried fingers and balls: Everybody loves deep-fried fish. But too often this means breading and frying a filet or loin section and laying it on a plate. Maybe a wedge or two of lemon is included to perk up the dish.

     A simple change can go a long way, however. Try cutting the fish into fingers, before you bread and fry them. In other words, a variation of fish sticks. These can be arranged piled up and crisscrossing, which makes them much more interesting.

     BTW, these differ from the frozen fish sticks your kids love in one important detail. As with chicken McNuggets, fish sticks are made from ground fish which is molded to shape. They start life as scraps and lesser quality fish, rather than from whole cuts.

     Fish balls are made by chopping the fish first, mixing it with other ingredients, breading, and deep frying. In addition to bringing different flavor profiles to the table, the balls can be arranged in a myriad of ways. For example, start with a puddle of sauce. Then arrange three balls in a triangle in the puddle, and top them with a fourth ball to form a pyramid. Or you can form string the breaded balls on skewers, then deep-fry the whole kebab.

     These and similar techniques are much more exciting that simply laying a flat filet on a plate.

 

Kebabs: Speaking of kebabs, they are one of the more delightful ways of preparing fish. Typically they’re made with cubes of fish, or cube-like pieces, separated by other ingredients. Nothing wrong with that. But you can up the eye appeal even more.

     As noted above, fish balls make good kebabs. Or you can take the same ground-fish mixture and mold it right onto the skewer, in the form of a finger.

     My preference is to use strips of fish that will be woven around the other ingredients. To do that, start with a strip about ½-3/4 inch wide. Push the skewer through the end of the strip, centering it as best as possible. Then add another ingredient; a square of bell pepper, perhaps, or a pearl onion or a cherry tomato. Move this down on the skewer just enough so you can catch the fish again, which is looped around the other ingredient on one side. Add another ingredient, and wrap the fish from the other side, so that the loops alternate. Continue in that manner until the whole strip has been used.

     One thing to keep in mind, when making fish kebabs, is that they cook very quickly. So you want to choose other ingredients that also cook quickly, or which have been precooked for that reason.

     An example would be to make potato balls, with a small disher or melon baller. Par boil them until just short of tender. Then skewer them and they’ll cook in the same time as the fish.

 

Butterflying: While any fish can be butterflied, this technique works best for small fish, such as sprats, smelt, and anchovies.

     Start by gut and gilling the fish, and cutting off the head. Then split the ribs on either side of the backbone. Clip the backbone, front and back---shears work best for that. Spread the fish apart, and remove the ribs and any other bones. Stand the fish upright, flesh-side down. It should stand by itself, with the tail in a vertical or almost vertical position. If not, use a toothpick to lock it in that position.

     When cooking, start with the fish flesh-side down in the pan.

     For service, arrange the fish on a serving dish, tails upright. This makes an especially nice presentation if you arrange the butterflied fish around a dipping sauce.

     Butterflying works best when pan frying or deep frying, but they can be grilled, baked, or even poached, as well.

    

 Braids: If you really want to impress guests, take the time and trouble to make fish braids. To be honest, they are a royal PITA to construct, and there can be a lot of wastage. But if you’re really looking for that Wow! factor, this is the way to go.

     Start by cutting the “cords” using either thick filets or a loin section. You want the pieces to be eight to ten inches long. First plank the fish, converting it into ribbons ¼ to 3/8 inch thick. Lay a ribbon flat, and cut it into strips the same thickness. What you now have are squared cords. You’ll need three of them for each braid.

     Lay the cords side by side. Starting in the middle, fold the left-hand cord over the middle. Then fold the right hand cord over what had been the left, but is now the middle. Continue to the end. Reverse the started braid, and complete the other side. Tuck in the ends and cook.

     Reason for braiding from the center is to keep everything neat and even.

     For the ultimate in presentation, use two different colored fish. For instance, you might use salmon and striped bass. For each braid use two cords of one color and one of the other. I like serving two of these, mixing up the colors. That is, one braid will have two whites and one red, the other will have two reds.

     Braids are usually baked or broiled.

 

 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 February 2013 at 19:38
Some great information there, Brook - thanks!
 
I've got these photos of part of the butterflying process that might be helpful, from The Hunting and Fishing Library:
 
Quote Some fish recipes for cooking larger fish call for the fish to be "butterflied." This procedure keeps the fish whole while making it boneless. To do this, use the instructions and pictures below as a guide. Start with a whole, drawn fish such as a lake trout or walleye.

Cut from inside cavity along each side of backbone to release bone from fish (Left). Do not cut through skin.

Discard bone and spread out two sides of fish so it lies flat (Right). Trim fat and discard belly meat. Remove rib bones.

 Here's another presentation fromthe same source that can be practical as well as attractive:

Quote "Butterflying" [can also refer to] to a preparation method that is a fast and appealing alternative to steaking larger, smooth-skinned fish such as large trout, salmon or catfish.

Normally, these fish are "steaked," which means that they are cut into sections through the backbone along the ribs. When butterflying them, however, you don’t cut through the heavy backbone, so your knife stays sharp. The finished cut is also easier to eat than a steak because it has no bones. Finally, butterflied fillets are more appealing because the meat is on the outside, with the skin and fat tucked away on the inside. To butterfly fillets:

Cut a (1) fillet from the fish. Remove the rib bones, but don’t skin the fillet. (2) Slice across the fillet, about an inch from the end, cutting through the meat but not the skin. (3) Make a second cut, parallel to the first and about an inch farther from the end; slice completely through both the meat and the skin. (4) Fold the piece of fish backwards along the first cut so the meat is on the outside and the skin is on the inside. Butterfly the rest of the fillet, except the tail section.

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    Thanks Brook & Tas...another great piece.  I learned a lot...thanks!
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Thanks for the pix, Ron. They always add something.
 
That second butterflying technique is something I've only seen in books. Looks good, though, providing you have a thick filet.
 
The technique reminds me of a similar method used for cutting steaks from a tenderloin. When you get down to the thinner, tapered end you cut it just as above, to form a steak equally sized to the others.
 
Butterflying larger fish is a great way to prep them for stuffing, and is certainly easier to do than cleaning them from the back, as I'd discussed earlier. It's also become the default way of commercially preparing trout. Nowadays they are primarily sold whole, or butterflied.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 February 2013 at 17:02
Originally posted by Margi Cintrano Margi Cintrano wrote:

We do not have Red Snapper in the Mediterranean


Regardless of what the label says, 94% of the time, we don't have it here, either.

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Part 6: Shellfish

It’s often been said that it was a brave man, indeed, who first ate an oyster. Maybe so. Me, I’ve always wondered how the first oyster-eater figured out how to open one without smashing the shell.

 

However it was done, shellfish have been eaten with relish since time out of mind. Virtually every culture with a seacoast enjoys them, as well as inland cultures who harvested the fresh-water analogs of clams, mussels, and so forth.

 

Generally speaking, there are two large classifications of shellfish: bivalves and univalves.

 

Bivalves are the more common table fare. As a group they are similarly constructed, having two hard shells hinged at the back. Among them are oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, and cockles. That last name can be confusing. In America, small clams are often referred to as cockles. But they actually are a different creature, and are recognized as such in Europe. Most bivalves anchor themselves to the ocean floor or other structures, with clams and scallops being the notable exceptions.

 

Univalves have only one shell, which they seal either, like abalone and limpets, by attaching themselves to hard surfaces, or, as with snails and barnacles, by a leathery flap that covers the shell opening. Although the univalves that fasten to surfaces are stationary, many are mobile. This includes snails, whelks, and conk, sea urchins, and some others.

 

Bivalves and univalves are cleaned and processed differently. So let’s look at them in order.

 

Whether you harvest them yourself or purchase them, all bivalves should be scrubbed with a stiff brush, under running water, to remove as much sand, grit, and foreign bodies as possible. In addition, the “beards” on mussels should be removed. You do this by clasping the beard with your fingers, close to the shell, and pulling sharply.

 

As you clean them, discard any whose shells remain open. Just tapping on one of the shells is enough to cause the animal to close up tightly. If the shells remain open, it’s a sign that the critter is dead.

 

With the exception of mussels, shellfish are opened by inserting the blade of an “oyster knife” between the shells and prying them apart. “Knife” is sort of a misnomer, because an oyster knife is more of a prying tool than a cutting tool. This is almost always done with oysters and scallops. The exception is when oysters are “roasted,” either on the grill or in special ovens. In that case, they are put on the heat whole.

 

Clams can be opened by prying, or heated (usually by steaming) to both open them and cook the edible part.

 

Caution should be exercised when opening bivalves because the edges of the shells are sharp, and it’s easy to cut yourself on them. In addition, especially when you’re new to “shucking” them, the knife can slip. Even though it’s dull, compared to kitchen knives, you can still get a nasty wound from one of them.

 

The easiest way of protecting yourself is with a heavy glove. Usually you only need one on your off hand, that is, the one actually holding the bivalve. The large guard on the oyster knife will protect your working hand.

 

Alternatively, some people use a towel in their off hands, wrapping it around the shells. I’ve always found that to be awkward and slow. But if you’re more comfortable that way, then that’s the method to use. Either way, please do protect yourself, because shellfish cuts are not only painful, they can be slow to heal.

 

There are two important muscles involved with bivalves. One is the muscle that forms the hinge. The other, the so-called adipose muscle, anchors the animal to one of the shells. In addition, you want to conserve the liquid found inside the shells.

 

All this affects how you separate them.

 

Oysters and scallops have cupped top shells and flattish bottom shells. So, when you are shucking them, you want to have the top shell downwards, to hold the liquid. Clams have two cupped shells, with one of them more deeply dished than the other. If possible, the deeper dish should be held downwards. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell them apart. Once you gain some experience you can tell by looking at the hinge. The top shell, at the point, has a slight overhang. This is difficult to describe, but you can’t miss it once you learn to recognize it.

 

There’s another difference in configuration to be aware of. With oysters, the bottom shell is often recessed slightly into the top shell. To open them, therefore, you insert the tip of the oyster knife in the dimple next to the valve, and pry upwards. You’ll feel resistance from the hinge muscle, but it will give way to the pressure, and the shells will separate. Discard the flat shell, and slide the edge of the knife under the oyster to loosen it from the top shell.

 

Clams and scallops, on the other hand, are opened from the front.  Insert the blade between the shells, and pry them apart. Then separate the clam from the shell, as you do with oysters. With a little practice, you can pry the shells apart and cut the clam free, all in one motion.

 

As with so many things, there are nuances. For instance, scallops have a tough, leathery muscle on the side, which should be cut away.  Clam meat is divided into legs and bellies, which have different textures so they are sometimes separated and used in different recipes. Razor clams have a dark intestine that should be cut away from the white meat and discarded. If you do a lot of shellfish shucking you’ll soon learn these nuances, and handle them automatically.

 

Why go to so much trouble? In all three cases, the shells are often used as vessels to both cook and serve the shellfish. If you’re making a dish that doesn’t require the shells, just shuck them and their liquids into a bowl.

 
Mussels, it should be noted, are not shucked. Instead they are cooked whole, and the heat coth cooks them and causes the shells to open. 
 

Size of the mollusk sometimes matters, too. This could simply be a matter of taste; for instance, for raw eating, and from chowders and similar usage, I prefer smaller oysters. The meat of larger sea scallops is sometimes divided into smaller pieces, often being sliced into two or three coins. Your filet knife is the best tool for that, as it happens. With clams, the larger the mollusk the tougher the meat can be. So, while you might use littlenecks for a pasta dish, where the whole clam is included, you’ll find that larger clams are better used in chowders and stews. When it comes to geoducks you can really run into tough meat.

 
Be leary, too, of overcooking shellfish. They do not require a lot of cooking time, and can easily toughen if you cook them too long. Mussels, for instance, should be removed from the heat as soon as they open. Whole clams the same. Shucked shellfish used in a dish are generally added late in the game, and only cooked for a few minutes.  
 

Hearty Oyster Stew

 

Classic oyster stew is made simply with the oysters, butter, and cream. That’s good, as far as it goes. But I wanted something with more body, and developed this one after a fall day tonging oysters in the Outer Banks years ago. If was just the thing after facing cold sea spray and wet hands all day.

 

2 cups shucked small to medium oysters, with their liquid

6 slices bacon

1 quart water

2 medium potatoes, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

½ red or green bell pepper, minced

Cayenne, salt, and black pepper to taste

1 cup cream

 

Cook the potatoes in the water until tender.

 

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from heat and crumble. Sauté the onions and pepper in the bacon grease. Add the potatoes and their cooking liquid to the pot and bring to a simmer.

 

Add the oysters, along with their liquid, and let poach for a minute or two to cook through. Slowly add the cream. Season with the cayenne, salt, and pepper. Bring slowly back up to simmer, but do not let it boil. Serve hot.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 04:13
When it come to shellfish...especially Quahogs like we get out here, this is my weapon of choice. 

It has a cradle to nestle the clam in while you apply pressure and work the knife into it...very effective clam "knife"

Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 05:51
Wow! That's really impressive.
 
Strange that I've never seen one before. Are they common in your part of the world?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 10:51
   Brook, do you have any advice for keeping the shellfish until you're ready to start the prep?


   shucking oysters is something I've never gotten the hang of Ouch

   Thanks, Dan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 12:38
Originally posted by gonefishin gonefishin wrote:




   Nice piece, Brook. The Curried Halibut sounds simple...and amazing.  Thanks!

   On the subject of Steaks, specifically Salmon Steaks.  I wanted to start smoking some thick salmon steaks.  I was thinking about starting very simple...and then branch out with the flavors after I get the procedure down well.  I'm thinking basic brine then smoke with alder or oak.  Starting the temp at 100f for an hour, then bumping the temp in steps...up to 180f...making the total time around 6 hours...and an internal temp of 140f.  Hmmm...maybe I'll smoke some of these and some shell on shrimp at home.  Then bring them to work for lunch and have the Gumbo Z'herbs for dinner.


   Any tips advice on smoking some salmon steaks?

(here's some pics from Calumet Fisheries, Chicago)

    

    Thanks Brook.  Thanks Tas for the pics...that's essentially how I do it.  Although I don't separate the tail piece...this may be an idea that works well.  Thanks!

Dan I think going to an internal temp of 140°F is going to over cook your salmon. I would look for 125-130° at most. I aim for 125°.
Mark R
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 12:59

Brook,

 
Just wanted to let you know, that your feature on Fish is extraordinairely informative, and well written.
 
Thank you for contributing to Fotw ... I have to re-read parts ... once it is finished ...
 
Exemplary work ...
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 18:21
Originally posted by MarkR MarkR wrote:


Dan I think going to an internal temp of 140°F is going to over cook your salmon. I would look for 125-130° at most. I aim for 125°.


  Thanks Mark!  I'll certainly keep that in mind.  Perhaps the first time I smoke these I'll buy a couple of them and stagger the internal temperature...let them all completely cool and then try them side by side.  Thanks for the suggestions!

Dan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 February 2013 at 01:28

Daikon,

 
Good morning. Have not seen you online in several months ... Hope all is going well.
 
Red Snapper: this is a North American fish variety ... Though its family is the Bream, a Mediterranean and Bay of Biscay / northern European Atlantic variety; and the name is Sea Bream, which has a slight resemblance to Red Snapper with its lovely rose silver exterior ... It is a very delicate white fish predominately used in oven baking by the Basques, for Christmas Eve. It is quite a delicacy ...
 
 
There are several types of North American Bream varieties too; Alfonsismo from Hawaii.
 
If you come across this Bream family member; buy it ! It is absolutely lovely.
 
Have lovely wkend,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 February 2013 at 04:06
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

Wow! That's really impressive.
 
Strange that I've never seen one before. Are they common in your part of the world?

Not all that common Brook...I looked long and hard when I first purchased it.

It sure is a time saver, especially if you're working with medium to large clams.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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