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Old 12-29-2006, 02:58 PM   #1
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Fish -- how can you like it?!

So I understand a ton of people love fish, and I really don't understand it!

My first run-in with fish was very little eating frozen battered fish sticks. Yuck. I can still remember the fishy taste as I am typing this.

The closest I have come to enjoying it is fresh dungeness crab from the pier, sauteed (whole shell) in olive oil and garlic, cracked, and served with clarified butter/little bit of honey dipping sauce. I also like quickly butterflied shrimp sauteed in butter -- only had it twice, never cooked myself.I have heard to get in to the fishy spirit I need to have something like Talapia or Swordfish.

I think this is the last area of my pallet that needs to be developed, as I feel I am missing out on a whole world of food.

So, what would you suggest for me to start with?

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Old 12-29-2006, 03:10 PM   #2
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Mild white fish that is fresh. Some of your higher-fat fish can have a strong taste when heated (like salmon).

Usually here in north-east, I tell so-called fish-haters to visit a good chip-house that serves big pieces of battered Cod or Haddock (nothing like that Gortons junk!).

Being on the westcoast in Petaluma, I'd recommend that you spend some time experimenting in SanFran. Head down for a couple days with the goal of "experiencing the fish"! Seeing that everything is so close together there, try a bunch of different cuisines! Try some cali cuisine too, like Fish Tacos which are milking the trendy plates for all they're worth (but they're good!).
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:18 PM   #3
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There are so many different types of fish that all taste so different. Saying you don't like fish is like saying you don't like music. Maybe you don't like classical music, but hip hop may be more your style.

Those fish sticks you ate as a kid are as much fish as a burger from McDonalds could be called a hamburger.

Like Nick suggested, starting with a mild white fish is usually the easiest for those who do not like fish. The flavor is very subtle, unlike something like swordfish or salmon which have much more powerful flavors.

Another thing to think about...have you considered raw fish? If not, you should really try it. The flavor is completely different from cooked and it is amazing. If you go the raw route then i suggest going to a good sushi restaurant and trying some tuna and salmon to start with. Raw tuna has a very fresh taste. think of drinking a perfect glass of water on a hot summer day. Raw salmon is sweet and amazing.
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:24 PM   #4
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Ah I have had some Maguro Nigiri (Tuna) and it was OK. The oily aftertaste wasn't so exciting, however. I saw Alton make a seared tuna with sesame seeds, that looked REALLY good but canned Tuna makes me want to vomit (seriously, gagging and all) so I am afraid to try it.

Nick, when I go to the city (which is usually about 1/week) I go to a lot of delicious restaurants, but Seafood is the last thing on my mind. I can't think of a way which it sounds good to me at all, maybe cooked in a pouch?
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:24 PM   #5
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You could also try getting started with shellfish as you like some of it already. Expand your shellfish horizons first by trying different shellfish and different recipes.

As far as fin fish are concerned, a mild and sweet fish such as haddock is a good place to start - better than tilapia in my opinion.

Save swordfish and salmon for later.

...and when you're ready, try bluefish.
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:24 PM   #6
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stinemates - you will be surprised at what you do eventually end up liking. BUT, if you end up not liking fish then you gave it your best shot! You can try something like this but scale it down. My son doesn't like cilantro but he agrees that the amount called for needs to be in there. He did NOT like it without - said it lacked brightness, which is exactly what cilantro adds to it.

Oddly enough raw fish has less of a fishy taste than cooked. If you find someplace that serves ahi tuna tacos with something like a pineapple salsa I think you might like them - I just don't know exactly what you do like i.e., pineapple, onion, etc.

I like Nicholas' suggestion of fish and chips! If you try this also sprinkle with some malt vinegar.

Tilapia, cod are always good starters - they can be bland if not salted and peppered properly. Some places around here serve what's called Salt and Pepper Cod, or Catfish. Excellent and very mild.

Or make a risotto topped with some quickly sauteed shrimp since you know you like shrimp already. Scallops are also good with a risotto. I usually flavor my risotto with lemon and parm - which is basic.

I would say try the SF world-famous ciopinno but I don't know if that has the propensity to be fishy to a fish-hater

If you like Greek seasonings you can always cook your tilapia, turn over, cook a bit then top with feta, black olives or kalamata olives, thinly sliced onions, oregano, and of course salt and pepper both sides. Stick this under broiler for a second to finish cooking and heat the cheese.
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:34 PM   #7
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I have cooked cioppino with Shark, Oysters, Mussles, and another white fish I forget, in my italian cooking class I took last semester. I didnt end up trying it because the smell really grossed me out (smells are very important to me in cooking, as I am sure it is to most of us)

I have also had fried catfish (just remembered) and it wasn't terrible, but not memorable.

Oh! And I just remembered. Long long ago my grandfather made deep fried abalone, I had a bite and remembered REALLY enjoying it, but haven't tried it since.

Thanks for the tips :)
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:41 PM   #8
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Then you have your answer. You should go for some more abalone.

Cioppino is not a dish that I would recommend to start with for the reason you found out.

The fish and chips idea is a good one. It will be similar to the fried catfish, but hopefully a better experience.

Broiled haddock with some butter and lemon might be another good thing to try.
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Old 12-29-2006, 04:17 PM   #9
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I think fried flounder or fried cod would be about as mild as you can get. Catfish can still be a little "flavourful"

The key is to salt and pepper the pieces WELL for about 30 minutes before you dredge them. This will impart some flavor into the chunks of fish. IMHO of course!
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Old 12-29-2006, 04:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stinemates
So I understand a ton of people love fish, and I really don't understand it!

My first run-in with fish was very little eating frozen battered fish sticks. Yuck. I can still remember the fishy taste as I am typing this.

The closest I have come to enjoying it is fresh dungeness crab from the pier, sauteed (whole shell) in olive oil and garlic, cracked, and served with clarified butter/little bit of honey dipping sauce. I also like quickly butterflied shrimp sauteed in butter -- only had it twice, never cooked myself.I have heard to get in to the fishy spirit I need to have something like Talapia or Swordfish.

I think this is the last area of my pallet that needs to be developed, as I feel I am missing out on a whole world of food.

So, what would you suggest for me to start with?
The 'fish' you describe that you like is actually shellfish - shrimp, crab, lobster, etc. Fishsticks is not like eating fresh fish. Try salmon, flounder, trout, halibut, etc. Many people just don't like fish, & try to disguise the taste with heavy sauces, breadcrumbs, cheese, etc. Fish may not be for you -- but give it a try with very little seasoning i.e. lemon juice, dill or rosemary and butter.
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Old 12-29-2006, 04:23 PM   #11
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I've found that if fish smells/tastes "fishy" at all, it's just not fresh. My husband even refused to eat some expensive ahi after tasting it because he thought it was too fishy.

I prefer firmer fishes - salmon, tuna, halibut, swordfish. Do you like canned tuna?
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Old 12-29-2006, 04:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sararwelch
Do you like canned tuna?
I bet I can answer that!!!
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Old 12-29-2006, 04:31 PM   #13
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Find a good seafood restaurant. If you are anywhere near the water, go there, there's bound to be plenty of places. Then, talk. Get the chef to come out if you have to...but talk. The very idea of having a 'virgin' palate will excite any chef.

Tell them what your experience is, and what you like in the way of seasoning and herbs.

Cod or flounder will be a good place to start. Monkfish is magnificent. If you like shrimp and crab, you'll probably like lobster. You'd probably like calamari, too.
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Old 12-29-2006, 04:38 PM   #14
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Fresh Cod, Haddock,Tilapia, Flounder...broiled, fried, baked, etc. is what I would recommend....

In time you will find a favorite.....

If it swims...I love it!!!!!!
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Old 12-29-2006, 05:43 PM   #15
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I just got back from the market and I decided I would start off my cooking adventure with seafood SLOW. I got some fresh Tiger Shrimp and I will be sauteeing them in clarified butter and garlic for tonights appetizer.

I didnt find any Haddock, maybe it's not very common around here. I did see Cod, however, so maybe next time I will get some of that!

Thanks so much for all of the tips!
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:30 PM   #16
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Cod & Haddock are big east coast fish - I'm not sure about their availability (and freshness) out west.

Sadly, even most grocery stores carry fish that isn't quite fresh. Ask the person at the counter when the fish was actually caught (not when they received it). If they can't answer that, then go somewhere else. Smell the raw fish... if it smells like "fish", then go somewhere else. Fish should smell like clean water with a hint of ocean breeze (not briny/fishy).

The more simple a dish, the more difficult it is to pull it off with perfection, as there is less pizaz to cover up any mistakes. Find a reference or benchmark by eating some fish dishes in good restaurants.

I love sushi made with fish, but many people are put off by the texture of raw fish. I usually start people with "Unagi" (oddly enough, a fatty and strong flavored Eel, but cooked/dressed in a way that many newcomers enjoy) and spicy tuna rolls (cubes of tuna dressed in a spicy mayo). For their first piece of raw fish, I usually tell people to try Tuna and Yellowtail (different from yellowfin).

By the way, I absolutely despise canned tuna as well. Smells like catfood to me!
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:51 PM   #17
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Silly question but here goes...Have you tried eating at the Tides in Badoga Bay? My sis and bro. in law have a place in Bodaga Bay but since I don't care for fish I can't tell you how good it is there.
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Old 12-29-2006, 07:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stinemates
I just got back from the market and I decided I would start off my cooking adventure with seafood SLOW. I got some fresh Tiger Shrimp and I will be sauteeing them in clarified butter and garlic for tonights appetizer.

I didnt find any Haddock, maybe it's not very common around here. I did see Cod, however, so maybe next time I will get some of that!

Thanks so much for all of the tips!
Remember that lemon helps "de-fish" fish Or lime - I LOVE lime over lemon most of the time.
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Old 12-29-2006, 07:47 PM   #19
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Actually, even though both cod (& flounder) are considered east coast fish, the winter months are definitely considered their "season", so now is the best time to buy them regardless of where you live.

Uncle Bob said it best - stick with "white" fish like cod, haddock, flounder, tilapia - heck, even trout. Swordfish, shark, & tuna are also mild & good, & take very very well to marinades & broiling/grilling. Try different recipes & methods.

BUT - THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT OF ALL????? The fish should be FRESH!!! Fresh fish should not smell offensively "fishy". There will probably be a light fish/briney scent, but it definitely should not be offensive.
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Old 12-29-2006, 07:58 PM   #20
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That was my first attempt at home, garnished with basil and a hint of lime juice. It was a little crunchy, but made the house smell good. I am about to get started on the rest of dinner. We'll see!
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