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Old 03-25-2008, 07:27 PM   #1
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Whitefish

I was at a sushi resteraunt with my grandfather today and we had a plethora of sushi and shashimi. We had california rolls, smoked eel, squid stuffed with salmon, and alot more. One of the platters had WhiteFish.

Ive never heard of Whitefish before, call me uninformed. We had it raw, but I would be curious of how to cook it and/or prepare it raw.

Has anyone here had it? I thought it was delightful.

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Old 03-28-2008, 10:20 AM   #2
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Whitefish is a freshwater fish from the Great Lakes. When I worked in Michigan, we would get in a cold-smoked whitefish product. It was similar to Lox, but the fish doesn't have as much fat as salmon does, so it's drier. We would flake the fish, and mix it with wasabi, and stuff it into toasted phyllo cups for appetizers.

Most "natives" that I talked to considered whitefish to be a "trash-fish", and wouldn't touch it.

Goodweed could probably give you more ideas for using it, as it's caught from his general area.
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Old 03-28-2008, 10:25 AM   #3
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I am not sure if it is the same thing, but growing up we always had white fish and white fish salad for breakfast on our bagels. It was the most delicious stuff ever. I still get white fish salad every once in a while. You can find it in the super market by where they sell lox usually. When I go to NY/NJ to visit family and friends we usually have whitefish for breakfast.
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Old 03-28-2008, 10:46 AM   #4
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I am not sure if it is the same thing, but growing up we always had white fish and white fish salad for breakfast on our bagels. It was the most delicious stuff ever. I still get white fish salad every once in a while. You can find it in the super market by where they sell lox usually. When I go to NY/NJ to visit family and friends we usually have whitefish for breakfast.
I grew up w whitefish for breakfast/brunch w bagels, cream cheese, onions, lox, jelley donuts, etc. Bought it at a corner store on the lower east side of Manhattan. As I recall, the fish were golden in color. As a kid (from memory again), liked the fish, but hated picking out the little bones.
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Old 03-28-2008, 10:50 AM   #5
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Yes the fish skin is a deep golden color and very oily. Those little bones are a pain in the butt though, that is for sure Amy.
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Old 03-28-2008, 10:59 AM   #6
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When I was in college, we went to NYC for a weekend and stayed at a friend's house. His mom served us creamed white fish for breakfast. I wasn't ready for it back then. The idea of fish for breakfast didn't work for me.
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Old 03-28-2008, 11:40 AM   #7
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Whitefish is a commonly caught fish around these parts. It's much like the freshwater herring, also common around here. It is a fairly mild flavored fish and is served in many of our local restaurants, usually as a deep-fried, batter-coated fillet. In fillet form, it's a pretty good fish.

Like carp, whitefish is shunned because it has so many bones. We have some truly great freshwater fish in these parts, such as wild speckled trout, walleye, muskellunge, small mouth bass, and both yellow and jumbo perch. Then there are the various salmon and trout that are caught. We have lake trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, coasters, and speckled trout, along with splake and steelheads. We have coho, chinook, king, and pink salmon. With all of these, whitefish, though a perfectly good fish, just isn't preffered. It isn't a seriously fighting game fish, and so isn't as fun to catch. It doesn't have the legendary status of the trout and salmon families. And in the spring, we have the small but tasty smelt. But there is nothing really wrong with it. We're just spoiled. And I'm sure I'm forgetting some other great fish.

Carp are not indigenous to the great lakes and were brought here by European settlers who thought of it as gourmet fair. Compared to the native species around here, it is a trash fish. Again, there is nothing really wrong with carp. It's eaten all over Europe. Oh, and we also have channel cats, and bullheads that are pretty tasty.

I would hesitate to eat any freshwater fish raw as they often contain parasites such as tape worm, or organisms that can make you seriously ill. I have never heard of eating whitefish raw. Smoked, poached, pan-fried, baked, broiled, grilled, deep-fried, planked are all great ways to cook whitefish. It is sometimes found in soups, or creamed as well.

Hope this helps.

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Old 03-28-2008, 11:52 AM   #8
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from what i've had, the whitefish served as sushi is not the same thing as freshwater whitefish.

sushi whitefish is really just a white fish; commonly fluke, red snapper, or striped bass.


as far as freshwater whitefish goes: whole smoked whitefish is my fave, followed by it as a salad on bagels with raw onions and radishes.

just avoid the ones from coney island...
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Old 03-28-2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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Yes the fish skin is a deep golden color and very oily. Those little bones are a pain in the butt though, that is for sure Amy.
So my memory is still intact. I also recall those little eyes looking up at me. Did like the fish though. My mom liked pickled herring, but I would never touch the stuff.
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:27 PM   #10
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Whitefish is a freshwater fish from the Great Lakes. When I worked in Michigan, we would get in a cold-smoked whitefish product. It was similar to Lox, but the fish doesn't have as much fat as salmon does, so it's drier. We would flake the fish, and mix it with wasabi, and stuff it into toasted phyllo cups for appetizers.

Most "natives" that I talked to considered whitefish to be a "trash-fish", and wouldn't touch it.

Goodweed could probably give you more ideas for using it, as it's caught from his general area.
I have NO idea where you heard that, Allen. Lake Superior whitefish is no way a trash fish, and is sought after in the area for its delicate flavor and lightness. It is the number 1 food I always want when I go back to Chicago. In fact, I love it so much that last fall I paid $17.95 per pound to have some overnighted to me. I have never seen in available on the East Coast except in Kosher fish markets around Passover as it is one of the favored fish for Gefilte Fish.

I prepare it simply broiled with a bit of lemon and fresh, light herbs like chervil, or sometimes sauteed in lemon butter.
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:29 PM   #11
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When I was in college, we went to NYC for a weekend and stayed at a friend's house. His mom served us creamed white fish for breakfast. I wasn't ready for it back then. The idea of fish for breakfast didn't work for me.
It funny Andy. growing up we had whitefish, herring, lox, sable, and others I am sure on a regular basis. When I was in my early teens we took a trip to the Catskills and for breakfast my dad asked if they had any kippers. I had never heard of those so asked what they were. When I was told they were fish I though that was the weirdest thing in the world. Who would eat fish for breakfast. Somehow my mind did not make the connection that I had been eating other fishes for breakfast for my whole life.
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:12 AM   #12
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I have NO idea where you heard that, Allen. Lake Superior whitefish is no way a trash fish, and is sought after in the area for its delicate flavor and lightness. It is the number 1 food I always want when I go back to Chicago. In fact, I love it so much that last fall I paid $17.95 per pound to have some overnighted to me. I have never seen in available on the East Coast except in Kosher fish markets around Passover as it is one of the favored fish for Gefilte Fish.

I prepare it simply broiled with a bit of lemon and fresh, light herbs like chervil, or sometimes sauteed in lemon butter.
One of the other cooks I worked with at the time. Of course, this was in Jackson, MI, and most folks that went fishing were after bluegill, bass, lake perch, etc.

I liked the smoked whitefish. I haven't heard of it being prepared any other way, as I'm not from New England, and haven't visited there. I guess I need to search out some of the recipes in this thread for future reference.
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:41 AM   #13
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I think alot of fish found in the Great Lakes have a bad reputation because the lakes used to be rather dirty for a long time. Depending on what part of which lake you're at, they still can be rather dirty. I wouldn't recommend fishing near Gary,IN, for example as that's where all the mills are, and I'm sure a lot of toxic runoff gets into the lake.

I do eat freshwater fish, though never would do it raw.
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Old 03-30-2008, 01:53 PM   #14
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Like BT said, the whitefish you had raw was more than likely not the same freshwater whitefish for the reasons GW stated, unless it was farmed raised and given a special parasite free diet. It was probably snapper, which is usually the generic fish used and deemed "whitefish". Other fish like sea bass, halibut, etc. are called by their Japanese names (suzuki, hirame, etc.).
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:46 PM   #15
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I think alot of fish found in the Great Lakes have a bad reputation because the lakes used to be rather dirty for a long time. Depending on what part of which lake you're at, they still can be rather dirty. I wouldn't recommend fishing near Gary,IN, for example as that's where all the mills are, and I'm sure a lot of toxic runoff gets into the lake.

I do eat freshwater fish, though never would do it raw.
Lake Superior is nowhere near Gary, IN. The whitefish come from way up top of Wisconsin, as far as I know. They are not listed as dangerous to eat, and in fact, have a very clean, "pure" taste. Like I said, last fall I paid $44 (total order) to have $18 worth of whitefish sent to me from Chicago, because I was so hungry for them.

For me, smoked whitefish, tho I love it too, is an entirely different product.
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:56 PM   #16
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I prepare it simply broiled with a bit of lemon and fresh, light herbs like chervil, or sometimes sauteed in lemon butter.

oh man, that sounds good. thanks chef june. chervil is an under-used and under-rated herb, imo. i remember finding a stray chervil plant growing a few weeks after i had harvested a "spicy" mesculun mix in my garden. i wasn't sure what it was, but after tasting it (it looked edible, and it was in my garden ) i was amazed. i snacked on it like "good-n-plenty" all summer as i tended the garden.


allen, many of the great lakes fish species are considered trash fish, mostly from being raised on a diet of rubber worms and spinners from goodweed's tacklebox.
same goes for the birds in the trees on the shoreline...
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:02 AM   #17
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Okay, I spent my teens working in my parents' tiny little restaurant in an even tinier little town in Upper Michigan and I can tell you there were days we SOLD OUT of fresh whitefish caught and delivered several times/week by local fisheries. It's by no means a trash fish, and the ice cold waters of Lake Superior aren't anything like the polluted Erie or mill towns on Lake Michigan. Most people did enjoy it battered and fried, but I always liked it simply drizzed with EVOO or butter, S&P and popped under the broiler in the disposable but highly effective pie tin! The tourists LOVED it, and it was second only to our pasties with gravy. I remember there was another smaller variety in the same family, but I cannot remember what they were called, but if they ran out of whitefish, they'd send those and we'd use them on smaller entrees like fish & chips or a sandwich special. Yummy!

GW, you forgot Brook Trout ... Hemingway's writings were about the Fox River in Seney.
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:07 AM   #18
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gw feeds them "well", too.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:12 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the help. I now feel the need to seek out some real whitefish. Next time I go to that resteraunt I'll have to talk to the chef and see what it really is. Trouble is they don't really speak english, so I'll have to brush up on my japanese (I really can speak it a bit).
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:39 AM   #20
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BT, I beg your pardon. Only the fattest, juiciest nightcrawlers, from either my Grandpa's backyard, after soaking with a hose for a half hour or so, or from the Riverside Cemetary, all handpicked at night, go on my hooks, especially when I'm after brookies or stream living rainbows. And for the record, brook trout can mean speckled, brown, or rainbow trout. But usually, when someone refers to brook trout, they are talking easter speckled trout. And when you're talking about the finest fish on the planet, they come from the streams (brooks) spilling into the most pristine body of water on the planet - Lake Superior.

And just so I'm not accused of highjacking the thread, whitefish are not considered a trash fish. Now those guppies that BT tries to feed ya, from that aquarium in his home, those are trash fish.

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