"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > Recipes & Ingredients > Fish & Seafood
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-09-2013, 12:21 AM   #1
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Galena, IL
Posts: 7,970
Getting to know your fish monger

First of all, I live in a quite small town (3500), in the Midwest, with no direct flights to either ocean. We have two grocery stores, only one of which has a butcher and a fish/seafood counter. Very, very small.

One thing this counter always has is IQF, beautiful, large, sea scallops. They've been a favorite of mine since we moved here a dozen years ago. Once a year or so, live clams. Fresh trout every few months or so. When I see the latter two, I stop and talk to the guy and discuss the food, and what I'm going to do with them. This has been a rough year for me, and I was just delighted to see the clams, which I can only get once or twice a year. I asked him for 8 of them, and watched as he expertly counted out them, and when finding an open one, thunked and, when it didn't close, trashed it (it only happened once). I complimented him on his knowledge of the clams, after discussing how long I could keep them in the fridge (it was a Friday, I planned on cooking them Saturday). No problem. Then, as he counted out my scallops for the freezer, I mentioned how I loved them.

Here is what is great. He told me that I was his favorite customer, that I consistently come over and buy what is best, am always nice, and always have good questions.

This rather surprised me, because it isn't like I buy seafood every week. I do remember at one time in conversation, mentioning that I don't know why people would buy "those" (the thawed scallops and shrimp on ice) when they could buy the IQF ones, because anyone with any sense would know they were thawed, not fresh. Take home the IQF and thaw yourself, or keep for awhile. He shrugged and agreed with me (this was several years ago).

Anyway, the compliment made my week. It is well worth your while to stop and chat when you can, and get to know the people you are buying your food from.

Claire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 11:44 AM   #2
Head Chef
 
GLC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Near Austin, Texas
Posts: 1,216
I suspect it's kind of frustrating for a knowledgeable fishmonger working in a general grocery, having few opportunities to talk with people who know enough to ask useful questions. Mine knows I like the fresh Dover sole they sometimes get a chance to stock, and he will alert me that it's on the list for the next week, so I can have some ordered and set aside.
__________________
"Kitchen duty is awarded only to those of manifest excellence..." - The Master, Dogen
GLC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 01:40 PM   #3
Master Chef
 
CharlieD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: USA,Minnesota
Posts: 9,543
I would love to have a real fish monger. It would be so nice to get some fresh fish, like cod for example, I have not had cod in years.
__________________
You are what you eat.
CharlieD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 02:04 PM   #4
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 6,345
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
I would love to have a real fish monger. It would be so nice to get some fresh fish, like cod for example, I have not had cod in years.
Charlie, have you tried Coastal Seafoods in St. Paul? They're closed today (remodeling), but I happen to know that this Friday and Saturday they'll have fresh wild Alaskan Cod on sale for $9.99/lb.

They also have salt cod in the freezer case. One of the few places in the area I've been able to find it.
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 02:24 PM   #5
Master Chef
 
CharlieD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: USA,Minnesota
Posts: 9,543
Steve, they ususally have filets, because of kashrut issues I cannot buy fish if there is no sckin wisible. Long story.
__________________
You are what you eat.
CharlieD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 03:55 PM   #6
Head Chef
 
tinlizzie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SW Florida
Posts: 2,008
Your remarks reminded me of a personal failing that I need to work on. Here I am with fresh fish available and not making use of that luxury. I need to get my priorities in order and shift some of the budget that has been going to the fats & sugars that I love so much and begin to buy local fish on a regular basis. Thanks for the poke. I even have in the garage a long fish-baking pan that's never been used.
__________________
No matter how simple it seems, it's complicated.
tinlizzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 05:53 PM   #7
Master Chef
 
CharlieD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: USA,Minnesota
Posts: 9,543
When I am in Florida I love ordering fish in restaurants it is so fresh, mmm.
__________________
You are what you eat.
CharlieD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 04:46 AM   #8
Executive Chef
 
justplainbill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Eastern Long Island, New York
Posts: 4,206
Having been involved with an organization managing a wholesale fish facility, I learned that in NY state the legal definition of 'fresh' fish is merely fish that has not been frozen.
My experience with crabs and scallops that I have harvested myself is that they do not freeze well.
I prefer cod steaks to fillets both because of taste and the predictablility of bone location. Unfortunately steaks are tougher to come by than fillets.
I see my fish monger several times a week as he drives his truck to and from the boat that he keeps near my house to his shop which is about 1 1/2 miles away. Like most good things, this will not last much longer because the man is over 75 years old. Fortunately my wife is a tad younger, so I hope she'll enjoy the bull rake that I'm looking forward to buying as a present for her
justplainbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 11:47 AM   #9
Senior Cook
 
FincaPerlitas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica, Central America
Posts: 285
Those fortunate to live near the coast or with access to reputable fishmongers who offer quality fresh seafood are among the minority. For the rest of us, selecting good quality fish and shellfish can be a challenge. I'd much rather buy IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) seafood than buy "fresh" seafood that's been shipped in and held on ice for a week or more before I buy it.
__________________
"Im going to break one of the rules of the trade here. Im going to tell you some of the secrets of improvisation. Just remember its always a good idea to follow the directions exactly the first time you try a recipe. But from then on, youre on your own." - James Beard
FincaPerlitas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 01:50 PM   #10
Master Chef
 
CharlieD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: USA,Minnesota
Posts: 9,543
What is bull rake and why are you buying it for her Bill?
__________________
You are what you eat.
CharlieD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 01:55 PM   #11
Chef Extraordinaire
 
buckytom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: My mountain
Posts: 21,539
Quote:
Originally Posted by FincaPerlitas View Post
Those fortunate to live near the coast or with access to reputable fishmongers who offer quality fresh seafood are among the minority. For the rest of us, selecting good quality fish and shellfish can be a challenge. I'd much rather buy IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) seafood than buy "fresh" seafood that's been shipped in and held on ice for a week or more before I buy it.
isn't all of costa rica near a coast?
__________________
The past is gone it's all been said.
So here's to what the future brings,
I know tomorrow you'll find better things
buckytom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 02:23 PM   #12
Head Chef
 
tinlizzie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SW Florida
Posts: 2,008
As of noon today I am the fortunate purchaser of a whole Pompano, fresh from the Gulf of Mexico. And the lady behind the counter couldn't have been nicer. She took the 1.3 lb. fish to the back to gut and behead it, then put it on ice and told me just how to cook it. So that's for supper tonight! I may have to eat early.

I have this interesting thread to thank --

Yes, Bill. What is a bull rake?
__________________
No matter how simple it seems, it's complicated.
tinlizzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 03:53 PM   #13
Executive Chef
 
justplainbill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Eastern Long Island, New York
Posts: 4,206
Bull Rake

A stainless steel rake about 16" wide with a T-bar tubular aluminum handle, adjustable in length from 9 to 14', and costing about $300.
Rake but not handle shown below.
Takes women like those from Lake Wobegon to handle such a rake.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	BullRake.jpg
Views:	174
Size:	14.1 KB
ID:	16794  
justplainbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 04:11 PM   #14
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Galena, IL
Posts: 7,970
Quote:
Originally Posted by FincaPerlitas View Post
Those fortunate to live near the coast or with access to reputable fishmongers who offer quality fresh seafood are among the minority. For the rest of us, selecting good quality fish and shellfish can be a challenge. I'd much rather buy IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) seafood than buy "fresh" seafood that's been shipped in and held on ice for a week or more before I buy it.
I'm with you. I live far from either coast, so except for fresh lake/river fish, and the occasional special delivery of life clams or lobster, IQF is the way to go.
Claire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 02:42 AM   #15
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Addie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: East Boston, MA
Posts: 22,365
Having been married to a commercial fisherman/shrimper, I live on the East Coast and have the best of the fish world. Other than day boats, I know that the majority of the seafood we buy at any local market, can be up to ten days old by the time it hits the retail market. I NEVER buy fish on a Monday. The fish is Friday's offload. It has been sitting around too long for me. I love deep sea scallops. They don't like me. I can taste the Iodine immediately. I put one in my mouth, and often have to spit it right back out. The bigger the scallop, the more Iodine.

When my husband was shrimping out of Texas, they would toss blue crabs overboard as soon as they emptied the bag of the aft deck. Sometimes he would bring home more than ten pounds of them for supper. Still alive and kicking. During my marriage to him, I had some good eating.
__________________
Illegitimi non carborundum!
I don't want my last words to be, "I wish I had spent more time doing housework"
Addie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 04:20 AM   #16
Executive Chef
 
justplainbill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Eastern Long Island, New York
Posts: 4,206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Addie View Post
Having been married to a commercial fisherman/shrimper, I live on the East Coast and have the best of the fish world. Other than day boats, I know that the majority of the seafood we buy at any local market, can be up to ten days old by the time it hits the retail market. I NEVER buy fish on a Monday. The fish is Friday's offload. It has been sitting around too long for me. I love deep sea scallops. They don't like me. I can taste the Iodine immediately. I put one in my mouth, and often have to spit it right back out. The bigger the scallop, the more Iodine.

When my husband was shrimping out of Texas, they would toss blue crabs overboard as soon as they emptied the bag of the aft deck. Sometimes he would bring home more than ten pounds of them for supper. Still alive and kicking. During my marriage to him, I had some good eating.
That's one reason why I like bay scallops. Another reason is that they're sometimes available for easy harvesting when they're blown ashore during certain winter storms.
justplainbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 01:45 PM   #17
Head Chef
 
tinlizzie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SW Florida
Posts: 2,008
The Pompano is history -- a meal last night and a seafood soup for the leftovers at lunchtime today. Now that I've broken the ice re fresh whole fish, I'll be trying a different type next time. The seller had described it as "buttery." It was good, but I think she was describing the texture rather than the flavor. I prefer a firmer-fleshed type and will probably try a red snapper next time.
__________________
No matter how simple it seems, it's complicated.
tinlizzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 06:04 PM   #18
Chef Extraordinaire
 
taxlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: near Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 24,257
Send a message via Skype™ to taxlady
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinlizzie View Post
The Pompano is history -- a meal last night and a seafood soup for the leftovers at lunchtime today. Now that I've broken the ice re fresh whole fish, I'll be trying a different type next time. The seller had described it as "buttery." It was good, but I think she was describing the texture rather than the flavor. I prefer a firmer-fleshed type and will probably try a red snapper next time.
Be sure to tell her, so she can learn what you like. Then she can make really good recommendations.
__________________
May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
Robert A. Heinlein
taxlady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 09:43 AM   #19
Head Chef
 
tinlizzie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SW Florida
Posts: 2,008
Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
Be sure to tell her, so she can learn what you like. Then she can make really good recommendations.
Good idea, tax. I'm going to try to make this a once-weekly item on my calendar and to eat more fish in general.
__________________
No matter how simple it seems, it's complicated.
tinlizzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2013, 12:01 PM   #20
Head Chef
 
tinlizzie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SW Florida
Posts: 2,008
Week No. 2 in my efforts to make Thursdays "Fish Shop Day." This morning Sam, the lady fishmonger, had some small, whole Snappers, but when I told her I'd like something firmer, said those would not fill the bill. I came home with a half pound of Tripletail filet and four fat scallops. She said I could bake the fish in foil as I did the Pompano, but we agreed that fried fish is really hard to beat. That's probably what I'll do -- roll in cornmeal & pan fry. I think I'll look in the DC seafood section as to how to do the scallops. She was telling me about a recipe for blackened fish -- said she'd bring me a sample for next time I'm in. I'm thinking it will be next Thursday.
__________________
No matter how simple it seems, it's complicated.
tinlizzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
fish

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:53 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.