Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish

Actually it is One fish, Ten fish, Black fish, Gray fish.

Last week my husband went deep sea fishing up the Northern California coast. I’ve always thought it would be great fun to have a whole pile of fish to play around with, and I got my wish. Alas, no salmon! But he did catch his limit (10) of these plain-looking, tasty blackish-grayish fish. He brought home 8 of them already filleted, but left 2 of them whole, for barbequing.

It is sort of amazing how much of a fish is its head. And you can’t cheat and cut a little higher on the neck to add a little more meat on the carcass. There’s a bony thing right behind the gills that you have to go past to cut. You can angle it up a little, but not much. So there is this great big fish head with a little wad of meat still on it right behind the brain. The thrifty part of me was screaming “Fish soup!” But the practical part of me was looking at all the fish meat I had on the counter and, thankfully, beat that idea down.

I stashed the bag of fillets in the ‘fridge and concentrated on the carcasses. I got the briquettes started and then sliced the bodies in thick steaks. I ended up with 5 pieces, and coated them with lemon pepper. I decided that now would be a good time to try out those split apple wood pieces that have been drying, so I laid a couple on the coals for smoke.

After a few minutes on the hot part of the coals, I moved them off to the side to cook more slowly and indirectly. I guess they took about a half hour. Very successful! They were tender, moist, smoky and delicious. The apple wood makes a nice mild smoke flavor.

My next try was breaded and fried for breakfast the next morning. They were very good too, moist and flavorful. The only issue was that we have become unused to breaded and fried things, so there was a lot of *burp!* excuse me!

That evening (you are witnessing fish-immersion here) I tried some fillets out in my Camerons stove top smoker. It did so well with some salmon previously, but these ended up dry to my tastes. Could be because I left them in too long, or because the salmon had more fat… But the family thought they were fine.

The last 3 fillets went back out to the barbeque the next evening. To keep them from falling apart, I laid them on a bed of sliced bacon. So you know they will be good! I thought my husband might be getting weary of fish by now, so I grilled up some lamb steaks for him. And what the heck? I laid bacon over them too! (Bacon is very good in the barbeque!)

This morning I had the last of the fish leftovers for breakfast.
I guess I’ve had enough of fish for now, but I’ll be looking at recipes for the next time!

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