Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Seafood Adventure

I don't eat seafood.  Neither does Mr Frillypants.  And so,  by extension,  nor do any of our kids.  Well,  except for Fish'n'Chips (with a capital f and c) which I can't really count because,  let's face it,  it's a battered, deep-fried piece of tasteless shark with lots of salt.  Not exactly meeting the Omega 3 criteria, eh?  On the very few occasions I've actually walked into a fish shop, with my nose wrinkled, I've piked it (no pun intended) and gone for the flake.  Well,  that's just Fish'n'Chips,  isn't it.  I may as well go to the local shop and pay someone else to spray oil all over their kitchen.  Much easier.

So, this week I finally ventured into the local seafood shop,  situated, oddly enough, at the local airport.  When I think about it,  it actually does make perfect sense to process the day's catch right there at the airport,  but initially it had that 'Eww,  Avgas flavoured fish!" feeling. 

I told the woman behind the counter that this was the first time I'd bought fish (I'm not counting flake, remember) and cooked it and needed some help.  She was very helpful in recommending 2 there that were 'mild' in flavour: Whiting and...  darned if I can remember it!  The Whiting was quite small and I ended up getting 3 pieces and the other one was a diamond shaped piece about palm sized.  It had a smooth silver side and flesh side, while the whiting was all flesh.

Our conversation went something like:
Me: I really need fish that hasn't been frozen,  it has to be fre...
Her:  Oh, you can freeze any piece here...
Me:  No... I don't want to freeze it,  but I have a daughter who is very sensitive to food chemicals and storing and freezing the fish increases those chemicals...
Her:  None of it's frozen.
Me:  Oh,  ....really?  Great.  Oh...  how about the calamari?  Is that not frozen?  It says it's from New Zealand.
Her:  Oh.  That's frozen.
Me:  *sigh*  thinking 'Why am I always having this conversation?  Is it fresh? Yes... Is this bit fresh? No.'  *My brain hurts*
Her: Oh, so you wouldn't want processed meat then.
Me:  Errrr...no.  Errr... processed???
Her:  The calamari's processed..
Me:  Really?  (confused)  How's it processed?
Her:  Well, it's all bleached and stuff.  It doesn't look like that.  If you want real calamari from here, you can get it,  but it costs about $35 a kilo.  And you have to clean it yourself. 
Me:  *gob smacked*  thinking 'Oh my God!!! They bleach it??? That sounds like reclaimed meat for chicken nuggets.  Ewww'

So I learned something new.  Calamari is bleached.

If you are having a low chemical diet,  you'll probably be interested to know that we can have FRESH:
White fish (Bream, Whiting, Perch, Snapper, Flathead...)
Crab
Lobster
Calamari
Sea scallops
Natural oysters
Mussels

No prawns as they are soaked in a sulphite preservative on the boat and other crustaceans may be in there as well if in the same catch.

Freshness is the key.  Caught, bought, cooked and eaten in one day.  Wow,  aren't I lucky I live by the sea??!?!

I'd count myself even luckier if I actually enjoyed fish!

How'd we go?  Well,  I cooked the fish in the oven for about 10 minutes, after crumbing it in my own fresh breadcrumbs.  I served it with homemade wedges (yeah, they're not 'chips').  I ate the whiting and it reminded me of 'Fish Fingers'.  A little bit 'fishy', but okay with a stack of lemon juice.  Before I got to it,  Mr Frillypants had already said the other piece of fish was 'Not for me.' and pushed his plate away.  Ms D had done something similar and Ms JR was just flat out refusing to touch any of it.  But,  Ms C just sat there very quietly and scoffed the lot.  Ate every little bit... even the silver skin that the rest of us had peeled of while doing some more nose wrinkling.

It was a bit surreal actually.

So,  our first seafood adventure was a bit of a failure,  but something we need to persevere with.   I need to go back,  find out what we had and see if there's not anything even more mild,  without resorting to eating the plastic bags.

Any ideas?  How do you cook fish in your house?  Which fish? 

3 comments:

  1. I had gone off fish for a year after having a few very nasty reactions. Now I realise it was the amines in the not so fresh fish that did the deed because I've started eating fish again with no reactions.

    Very fresh white fish that is still on the bone is lovely dipped in flour and pan fried in oil. It shouldn't have a strong fishy flavour. If it does then it's not fresh enough. I also love salmon. It's quick and easy to cook and very good for you.

    If you only buy fillets chances are it won't be very fresh and you can't really tell without checking out the eyes. Having a good sniff to see how it smells is also essential.

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  3. Niki, I live by the coast so I do think the fish *should* be fresh. The fish we got that day was not smelly at all, so I was feeling quite optimistic. Filleting doesn't take much effort for those who know how.... but that's not me!! I remember that it was the bones that made me hate fish as a little girl, when Dad caught Whiting at Aireys Inlet. (Well, that's my memory of it anyway. I wonder if he really did catch them?? lol)

    I haven't tried fish again after this adventure so am feeling a bit disappointed in myself. I really do want to do this, but not Flake everytime!!! I feel like it's the fishy equivalent of a white bread honey sandwich. No nutritional value at all. Maybe I'm wrong??

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