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Soup of the Day 20120330

Well, I gave up standard fish a few years ago because of the terrible collapse of fisheries that we seem to be generating. One of the impetuses/impetii? for this was reading Cod by Kurlanski.

But lately, I've been reading Four Fish by Greenberg, which is more or less the child, in spirit of Cod, and both interesting and staggeringly thought-provoking. I hadn't been paying attention to fish offerings in the supermarket, and the book brought home the whys and wherefores of what we see there.

I have a lot of problems with farmed Salmon, which I won't get into here, but suffice to say that, as Four Fish points out, there couldn't be a worse choice for domestication from either a practical or ecological viewpoint. Best intentions being what they are...

In it, there is a somewhat tempered endorsement of Barramundi, since they are a perciform fish like Bass, and therefore have the clean flesh and the easy boning, plus the texture and flavour that people crave. I remember being fed grilled "Loup de Mer" (Mediterranean sea bass) as a child, and to me the quintessential grilled fish is that. All my attempts to grill fish point back to that experience.

But who would have thought that a vegetarian fish, raised in brackish, not salt, inland anoxic water (all the qualities that would make it a GOOD contender for domestication) would be any good? (one name for it now, by the way, is Asian Sea Bass, which is a complete piece of poppycock rebranding) Well, I put it to the test and bought a pound filet of Barramundi from our Supermarket and made a standard, no-hard-work soup out of it (it was skinned and boned already, so not a contender for grilling IMNHO).

Asian Shallots, coconut milk, yellow curry paste, water, salt, golden mountain soya, lemon balm (to substitute for lemon grass).

Very impressed both with the flavour and the texture. And the boning was perfect. Far better than I can manage, when I have to bone a fish!