To continue with my reflection on food, I thought I would give you a snapshot of one of my adventurous culinary undertakings.
The other week, we decided we wanted seafood for dinner. Coincidentally, I had the opportunity to go to Restaurant Depot and pick out some good seafood– salmon filet, mussels, and most delightfully, a whole Black Sea bass. I was quite excited to get home and make dinner, inspired both by my dinner at Hansa and my recent reading material.
I started with the sea bass. What I didn’t realize upon purchasing it was that it was, indeed, a whole fish. Fully intact. Not just head and tail and skin on– scales and innards included. Surprise!!
Now luckily, I am not squeamish. And even luckier, I’d actually cleaned a fish before. And luckiest of all, I had access to the greatest of all resources: THE INTERNET. I probably could have called my dad to come over as he was the one who showed me how to clean a fish many moons ago, but alas, I am stubborn and prideful and wanted to do it myself.
I started with de-scaling since I wanted to salt bake instead of filleting. How is this done? Well, still not sure if it was done right, but the video said to use a spoon– but it might not have been the best method since they were cleaning bluegill and not sea bass. Unfortunately, this method is messy; there were scales flying every which way, sticking to my face and my coffee pot and landing on the floor. The good news is we replaced the counters shortly after, so most of those scales should be gone; however, I believe we will still be finding fish scales for at least a few months. Magnificent!
Once the scales were removed, I had to remove the insides. Definitely not as gross as it sounds since they’re pretty self-contained, though trying to remove the air bladder was not easy. I’ll spare you most of the details (and don’t worry, no pictures of that!).
After that came the easy part: the salt casing! I used a modified Emeril recipe and coated the meat of the fish in salt mixed with lemon juice, then stuck it in the oven for a nice slow bake. Thankfully, after all of the messing around, the fish was absolutely delectable. Paired with the mussels in a buttery white wine sauce along with homemade bread and sauteed spinach, the meal was almost as good as Hansa’s. Will definitely try this again.