Friday, July 27, 2012

Pump Up the Bass

Evening all, Shaun here with my final blog post, reporting to you from my couch with a belly full of striped bass and acoutrements. How did we get there? Well let's recount the steps, shall we? First off, Professor Berman purchased a 17 lb striped bass this morning from the market after a harrowing near catch of his own. Like an honorable recreational angler though, he elected to follow protocols and throw back the fish that was a just a few inches short of the 28 in minimums for striped bass. In the Fuller Building test kitchen we got a first-hand demonstration of how to turn the striped bass into a myriad of delicious and edible options. Here is our friend (I elected not to name him as it just makes him more difficult to eat later) in the whole . . .

From here, Professor Berman elected not to scale the fish as he was going to remove the skin from all the filets. Personally, that's the way that I have always eaten my fish. Amin (apologies if I misspelled his name) asked why Americans preferred their fish this way and Professor Berman explained that it really is just personal taste and to this I can agree. Not sure why, but fish skin is just not something that I dig. While the fish was still in its full-bodied glory, we got a chance to see/touch the slimy protective layer, feel the scales for ourselves and check out the gills and the unique mouth that sucks in its prey before using its mouth plates to dismantle the food. Next, Professor Berman made the first incision just behind the head and over the backbone, sliding the knife along to carefully avoid cutting any internal organs while removing the filet for us to enjoy.

The trickiest part was near the end of the fish, cutting through the tail while trying to avoid its ass. I know from experience, it's a tricky (but important) cut). Once through, it is just a matter of slicing the filet off from the rest of the body, one slow cut at a time, back and forth. Once the first side is complete, it is time to remove the filet from the other side until you have two beautiful filets like so . . .

Once we got here, Professor Berman went through the rest of the fish, taking out some of the other useful pieces along the body. We used most of these to make some sashimi and some incredible looking ceviche. The sashimi was some of the best I have ever had, though I did not get a chance to try the ceviche as I have an intense dislike of cilantro. I did take a pic though . . .

Once the hors d'ouevres were complete, we each got a chance to take home a filet of our own for testing purposes.

It was a good chunk of fish and while it was not enough to feed an entire family, it was plenty to feed me and really, that's the person I am most concerned with feeding anyway. I elected to make some fish tacos with the fish. On Professor Berman's instructions, I cooked the fish just briefly on each side and it did not take long at all. I threw it in some hard shells with some tomoatoes, lettuce and a little cheese and here is the finished product. Not a bad dinner if I do say so myself, which I just did.

My hat's off to Professor Berman for introducing us all to such a great/delicious fish. I sincerely hope that the species does indeed rebound next year and the year after, just leaping onto Professor Berman's boat. Thanks to all for a terrific class. Until we meet again, my fellow harbor enthusiasts.

-Shaun Bossio

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