Cooking class lesson 3: fish
Today was lesson 3 of our cooking class and the topic was fish. I think I said it would be meat, but I was mistaken, which was very apparent by the looks of crates full of various fish species when we walked in this morning. We learned so much today that it is hard to remember all of it! That is probably also the biggest problem with this course; loads and loads of information and you have to keep using it otherwise.. it’s going to fade away.
So today we first received some explanation on the various types of fish; which is which and how do you recognize a fresh fish. Difference between wild fish and farmed fish, the flat and the round fish etc. Then Rob showed us (only once) how to filet a round fish and how to do a flat one. Not sure if flat and round are the correct terms, but I’m sure you know what I mean…
It all looks so easy when Rob does it, but wait untill you have that knife in your hand and you need to do it yourself..!
I started with the flat one, which went relatively ok for the first time ever and next came the round one. (a mackerel) You have to forgive me if I don’t write down the names of the fish that we filet or cleaned because… well, I keep forgetting which fish is which…. 🙂
Once we cut the filets of the fish, checked them a bit to see if we didn’t miss any parts, we scraped the leftovers of the herringbones which we would use later to make quenelles. Heads went separate from the bones. Heads tossed out, bones were used to make fishbroth. (don’t cook for longer then roughly 20 minutes or they will become bitter. Also do not use any insides of a fish with a black inside as that is also bitter)
Next we prepared the filets in the various methods that you have; baking, smoking, frying… I don’t think we looked at cooking, but then again; I don’t like cooked fish.
Also why you need to add a little flour to the fish (so it doesn’t stick to the pan and gets a nice brown and crusty finish. Tom kept cleaning various types of fish as he is going to Norway on a fishing trip and want to make sure that he has the necessary skills to filet a fish in the wild (well, not sure if you can call a camping “in the wild”) for dinner that day…
We removed the scales of a fish and cleaned them of their insides. I did a dorade; which is actually funny as that was the very first fish I ate when I started realizing that fish is not so bad.
My parents never ate fish when I was young, so I simply never learned how to eat fish. For some reason the first fishes I tasted were completely terrible and tasted ‘fishy’, so I came to believe that all fish would taste fishy and I decided I did not like fish. Years ago though, Tom and I were on a holiday in Greece and they were grilling freshly caught dorades on the barbecue. Needless to say it smelled absolutely delicious and I decided to be brave and just try it one more time.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fish was not at all fishy and actually quite good! Over the next years I slowly started trying more fish; usually in good restaurants and more often then not I did like the fish. And now I actually really love fish…. funny how that goes isn’t it? I’m still not very fond of all the herringbones in the fish, but I guess that is just a part of what fishes are, but other then that I love most types of fish.
What else did we do? We also prepared one seabass in the oven under a saltcrust (made with eggwhite and lots of seasalt) and I also did a dorade the same way. Surprisingly easy and very very tasty. I did mess up the fish a bit when cleaning it after it was cooked. Stripped the skin ok, but when I wanted to remove the flesh I think I missed a part so some herringbones were left (and ofcourse Tom had to be the one to get a piece of the bone… haha…) Very very tasty!
Of all the leftovers of the fish that were scraped from the bones we made quenelles which were poached in broth of some kind
of broth I think (I was doing something else so heard only half but Tom was standing by so he knows… That is the good part of being together during a course like this!) and Rob also showed us how to make a sauce Hollandaise as well as beurre blanc (I think that was the name..)
He also showed us how to clean a calamari. And – not unimportant – how a well prepared squid should taste!! I think we have all had our share of rubbery squid-rings right? The ones which are soooo hard to eat because they are very badly done. I tasted the above squid and I can safely say that it was delicious with just some salt and not much else…
I think I probably missed half the stuff that we did today as it was so much. Tom and I will be writing most of it down tomorrow together so we don’t forget.
Tomorrow I am going to attempt to remake the photo in Lara Ferroni’s challenge, which you can also find on Flickr in the group SLW: Photo remakes, plus I will be baking the recipe that I have been holding on to for a while from Foodjunkie, Chocolate nougatine with hazelnuts.