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Seven Fishes

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 December 2013 at 19:53
There is a wonderful Italian tradition. The night before Christmas is the feast of seven fishes; a multi-course meal all based on seafood.

We were invited to a feast of seven fishes one year, in which all of the guests were to bring a seafood dish. It worked out incredibly well, with a diversity of dishes that maintained the tradition, combined with a specialized pot luck dinner.

For our contribution I made:

Mushrooms Stuffed With Cod

2 lbs (approx.) Baby Bella mushrooms*
1 stick (4 oz) sweet butter, softened
1 lb cod or haddock fillets
2 medium russet potatoes
¾ cups bread crumbs, divided
¼ cup parsley, chopped
2 tbls Granna Padano, grated, plus additional for topping
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 450F.

Boil and mash potatoes. Poach cod until it flakes. Drain and flake with a fork.

Combine the fish, potatoes, ½ cup of the breadcrumbs, and balance of ingredients. If mixture is too crumbly, add another egg.

Remove stems from mushrooms. Scrape gills away. Rub mushrooms inside and out with butter. Sprinkle insides with salt and pepper.

Mound fish mixture into mushrooms.

Combine remaining breadcrumbs with additional cheese, about half and half. Dip seafood side of mushrooms into this mixture. Arrange mushrooms on a rack.

Bake until mushrooms are tender and their juices running, about 30 minutes.

*For a main meal dish, use full-sized Portobello mushroom caps.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 December 2013 at 20:45
     for my contribution...

   Here's a swordfish dish I wanted to try some time ago.  I suppose I'll post it here and have reason to give it a whirl.  The dish is linked below to the La Cucina webstie.  I'll have a picture of my dish after I make it...but until then I'll post theirs here.  It's a good website and one of the few cooking Magazines I used to actually enjoy...check it out.  In place of the bottarga I suppose I'll add some anchovy to my breadcrumb mixture...maybe a touch of bonito flake?


fried swordfish with olives and bottarga

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 1/4 cups coarse bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons Taggiasca olives, or other mild, fruity olives, pitted
  • 1/2 ounce bottarga, finely grated (2 1⁄2 tablespoons)
  • 10 whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound swordfish steak (about 1 inch thick), skin removed and discarded, fish cut into 1-inch cubes
  • About 3 cups olive oil for frying
  • Fine sea salt


Instructions

Lightly beat eggs and water in a large shallow bowl. Combine bread crumbs, olives, bottarga, parsley and pinch pepper in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Transfer crumb mixture to another large shallow bowl.
 

Dip 1 swordfish cube into egg, letting excess drip off, then roll in bread crumbs to generously coat, pressing gently to help crumbs adhere. Repeat with the same cube to create a double coating of egg and crumbs. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat with remaining cubes.
 

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 inches oil to 355°. In batches, fry cubes in the oil, turning with a slotted spoon, until golden, about 3 minutes (adjust heat as necessary to keep oil around 355°). Using slotted spoon, transfer fried cubes to paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve warm.




- See more at: http://lacucinaitalianamagazine.com/recipe/fried_swordfish_with_olives_and_bottarga#sthash.L9PpPKnw.dpuf




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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 December 2013 at 21:01
That's just moved high on my to-try list, Dan. Be sure and let us know how it works out as soon as you try it.

Seems to have a perfect blend of flavors to highlight the swordfish.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 December 2013 at 21:05
  
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

That's just moved high on my to-try list, Dan. Be sure and let us know how it works out as soon as you try it. 

Seems to have a perfect blend of flavors to highlight the swordfish.

 now we have two contributions...


   Do you have any suggestions to substitute for the bottarga?  Like I mentioned, I was thinking anchovy...and maybe a touch of bonito flakes.  Any ideas?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 December 2013 at 22:49
I don't think anything quite subs for bottarga. But of the two, the bonito flakes probably makes more sense.  

Anchovies bring a umami sense, to be sure. But flavorwise they're more of a salt element, and lack the fishiness of the bottarga. 

I wonder if dried shrimp wouldn't do as well?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 December 2013 at 23:08
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

I don't think anything quite subs for bottarga. But of the two, the bonito flakes probably makes more sense.  

Anchovies bring a umami sense, to be sure. But flavorwise they're more of a salt element, and lack the fishiness of the bottarga. 

I wonder if dried shrimp wouldn't do as well?

   I like it!  Dried shrimp and/or a little bonito flakes processed with the bread crumbs as well...I actually really like that!

  Thanks Brook! Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2013 at 00:16
Originally posted by gonefishin gonefishin wrote:

Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

I don't think anything quite subs for bottarga. But of the two, the bonito flakes probably makes more sense.
...a little bonito flakes processed with the bread crumbs

Now this is probably just semantics but...

Down here Bonito is BAIT!!!!
No human actually eats it! (Quite a few fishermen look down their noses at it as bait, but I hear it makes good berley)

Now that's not to say I couldn't use it as an ingredient.... *thinks very differently about the bait freezer at the petrol station* ... now who knew!

There are some massive differences being revealed here in this forum..... I think next winter I need to make a project of recording these somehow. 
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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 December 2013 at 00:53
One of the fish dishes my Italian ( Venetian ) Paternal Grandmother used to make is called: Mantecato alla Veneziana.

This is a simply salt cod dip prepared by soaking the salt cold in milk and prepared with day old bread crumbs, potato, pine nuts, anchovies, salt, black pepper, Evoo, herbs, and garlic.

Its consistency and texture is similar to the Greek Taramasalata which is prepared in Greece with Grey Mullet.

I had posted Margherite´s Recipe in the Italian Section when I had first joined FOTW.

We prepare this récipe every 24th December as one of the appetisers which we have with Prosecco, a Venetian, White Sparkling Wine.

Very traditional ... and divine.

Thank you all, interesting post.

Happy Holidays.





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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 December 2013 at 01:01
Dan,

Surely, lovely presentation and divine dish. Thank you for posting.

Happy Holidays.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2013 at 02:34
Anne,

Dried bonito flakes are an integral part of Japanese cooking. Dashi (the basic stock of Japan) cannot be made properly without it. 

But you're right about differences. Sometimes people fairly close to each other have strong food biases, particularly when it comes to seafood.

In Massachusettes, for instance, they love bluefish; can't get enough of it. In Maine, right next door, they won't touch the stuff, and wonder why anyone with tastebuds would put it in their mouth. 
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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 December 2013 at 07:56
Anne,

The under belly called Ventresca in Iberia is the only part of Bonito that is valued by the Basque Culinary Center, which is the Iberian Culinary Institute of high acclaim which Master Chefs providing the courses, Chef Juan M. Arzak, Chef Pedro Subijana, Chef Luis Irizar etcetra.

The rest goes into traditional stews, aboard the fishing vessels, called Marmitako, which means: MAR = THE SEA and TAKO = CHUNK OF FISH and to the canning industry.

Marmitako is one of the treasures of the Basques, and my récipe is in The Iberia Section.

Thank you for sharing your fishing culture. Interesting how different countries, use their catch of the day and which bait they select.

Happy Holidays.
Margaux.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2013 at 09:00
Originally posted by Effigy Effigy wrote:

Originally posted by gonefishin gonefishin wrote:

Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

I don't think anything quite subs for bottarga. But of the two, the bonito flakes probably makes more sense.
...a little bonito flakes processed with the bread crumbs

Now this is probably just semantics but...

Down here Bonito is BAIT!!!!
No human actually eats it! (Quite a few fishermen look down their noses at it as bait, but I hear it makes good berley)

Now that's not to say I couldn't use it as an ingredient.... *thinks very differently about the bait freezer at the petrol station* ... now who knew!

There are some massive differences being revealed here in this forum..... I think next winter I need to make a project of recording these somehow. 


 

 Wiki -
Quote  Katsuobushi (鰹節 or かつおぶし?), also known as okaka (おかか?) is the Japanese name for dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). Young bonito has a similar color and texture and is sometimes used as a cheaper substitute for skipjack tuna,


   We're talking about the same bonito...preserved/fermented and used as an ingredient.  You'll get more reading the process in the link above.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2013 at 16:53
This history of fermented fish is a long one I know.
Goes all the way back to Roman times at least, Garum.

Thanks for the head up - I always have Thai fish sauce in my fridge.

Japanese foods and culture have been slow to catch on in this part of the world - for reasons both historical and contemporary.
Many ANZACS POW's were held in shocking conditions by the Japanese in the 1940's, my own father among them. For that reason Japanese foods did not really begin to be of interest until the mid 1990's. As the old veterans fade from memory so to does resistance to Japanese culture. However there is little or no support for Shark-finning, whaling and other appalling fishing practices carried out by Japanese factory ships in our waters. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2013 at 22:54
Part of the problem is the diversity of names given fishes, even without adding in geographical differences.

For instance, there are seven species of bonito---which actually are in the sardine family, along with the tunas, albacores, and mackerals.

This is important because those names are also used for the bonitos. Skipjack tuna, for instance, often used to produce flakes, is also known as Arctic Bonito. And the bonito used for flakes, often called Skipjack Mackeral, may of may not be the same species. 

Bonito flakes, themselves, are not always produced the same way. The basic approach is to smoke-dry the fish, then grate it into flakes. Fermenting and then drying is an alternative. Obviously, you'll get different flavor profiles, which, in turn, effects the dashi---as does the type of seaweed used. 

Making stock is considered a high art form among Japanese culinarians, and, many times, a dish is judged strictly on the quality of the dashi used with it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2013 at 23:01
I always have Thai fish sauce in my fridge

Anne, if you really want to step into an on-going battle, just bring up fish sauce among afficionadoes of Asian food. Those people can argue the merits of one country over another, and of different qualities of fish sauce within a country stronger, longer, and louder even than wine freaks. 

There are differences in flavor, saltiness, and umami sense among fish sauces, though. I usually keep both Thai and Vietnamese versions on hand for that reason. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2013 at 23:53
Hands up!
I have no desire for that discussion on Christmas Eve! I am not that stupid.
As you all well know I am not a food professional, I just like wholesome food and ingredients and the best nutrition I can give my family.
Quite frankly you won this battle that way a sledge hammer kills a mosquito.

I am not uneducated or stupid, and there is much in life for me still to learn. It has been fun learning from this forum, but perhaps my humble musings are not sufficiently erudite for you. I wish you and yours all the best for the festive season.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 December 2013 at 03:27
I tried to make a Caesar salad dressing by subbing fish sauce for the anchovies I normally use. It DID NOT work out. It's a valuable ingredient here none-the-less and is always at hand.

I don't think there is a way that cod fish can be made that I don't like. A recent favorite is to just poach thick cod pieces in water that has sugar and salt added, then broiling the fish with butter and serving with more butter. Very easy and tasty.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 December 2013 at 14:56
Anne, bonito is common here and is looked upon with the same disdain. Actually there are two species common here but both are used for chum or bait if at all. Bluefish is looked at the same way, unless there are Southeast Asians around. They grab them!

I smoked some of each a while back, I liked them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2013 at 14:38
Originally posted by Rod Franklin Rod Franklin wrote:

 A recent favorite is to just poach thick cod pieces in water that has sugar and salt added, then broiling the fish with butter and serving with more butter. Very easy and tasty.

   Nice recipe Rod!  I love cod...it's an underrated fish if you ask me Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2013 at 17:16
Breaded Swordfish

   Swordfish breaded two ways.  One with breadcrumbs and parsley, and the other with olives processed in the breading mixture.  The breadcrumb mixture with the olives was actually a very dark plum mixture, which would account for the darker color swordfish cubes.  The olives in the breading accounted for a real nice flavor contrast to the swordfish...I thought they went nicely together.  But it was also nice to have some "plain" breaded cubes as well.








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