need a sharper knife

October 22, 2006

Stumbled upon some South Australian hiramasa kingfish at my regular fish monger at the Central Market yesterday. Picked up a fair-sized, clear-eyed, whole piece without really knowing what i planned to do with it. Stuck it into the fridge once I got back home – hoping to indulge in the sweet, succulent meat that very evening.

Browsed the web for possible recipes later that afternoon. An abbreviated search brought me to the conclusion that actually cooking it was bordering on sacrilegious. It dawned on me that i would have to fillet the fish myself – something I had never done. Worse yet, i did not own a suitable implement to properly carve it up. Stalling for time, I took a short walk to the corner Asian grocer to pick-up a lemon and some wasabi.

Given i had already purchased the key, missing ingredients, there was no other alternative but to give filleting a go. It was a bit more labrorious than I had thought – perhaps because i was a virgin to this and that i utilised a paring knife not specifically deisned for the task at hand. The quality of the cuts left me a bit anxious but in the end provided more options for me to “articulate the theme ingredient.”

The resulting menu was:

  • Sashimi – from one fillet cut in bite-sized chunks,
  • Seared – from the other half, ligthly pan-fried with a bit of tumeric (instead of grilled as intended),
  • Carpaccio – made from meat shaved off the bones with some Australian made virgin olive oil, and
  • Crispy skins – bit of flesh seasoned in some flour and cooked til crispy.

Grudgingly i disposed of the head and the rest of the fish bones. Had considered using these to flavour some kind of stock – but did not have any great confidence in producing anything other than a pot of some fishy, boiled water. Next time…

After much effort and suspense, i have to say that the end-products were not half-bad given i had not prepared these dishes before. And since my wife and her sister-in-law did not regurgitate their meals, i was pretty pleased with the outcome. As much as i would like to take credit for how great everything tasted, it was more a testament to the superb quality of the fish and the supporting ingredients.

After this experience, i will keep my eyes peeled for the heavenly kingfish. Have read up a bit on the correct way to fillet a fish and now all that remains is for me to invest in a surgical grade blade – you know, like you see late at night on all those infomercials.

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