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Jun 21, 2008 09:47 AM

Undercooked fish

Just wondering if most people prefer to eat fish not cooked through. Lately I've been to 3 different restaurants (non-Japanese) where the waiter says that the chef suggests that the salmon, swordfish or halibut steak be served rare.

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  1. Rare or raw? I eat raw fish only when quality is reasonably assured. I like my cooked fish to be palpably moist yet easily flaked with a fork.

    1. Barely cooked through, please. I usually ask for medium-well.

      Rare halibut? Eew.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jlbwendt

        One more 90's food fashion ready to bite the dust. Remember real fish flavour, hot, steaming and flaking while still moist? That takes talent and experience at the grill, unlike insipid charred but rare efforts.

        1. re: jayt90

          +1. Cooked or in sushi (cooked or raw), just make up your mind.

      2. I like to eat fish like tuna undercooked (eg. seared with rare insides). But fish like salmon and swordfish, I prefer it to be slightly underdone, but not underdone to the point there's some resistance and chewiness.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Miss Needle

          Salmon makes for great sushi and sashimi. But I'm talking about Canada, where we get it fresh from both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

          1. re: mrbozo

            Only in Canada, eh! I haven't seen wild Atlantic salmon in Canada for years, and the small amount of farmed Atlantic, from the east coast, is to be avoided, according to Monterey Sea Watch.

            1. re: jayt90

              Come with me to Qu├ębec (some still consider it to be part of Canada: mainly for the food and the cachet of having a vestigial relationship with a unique culture, I suspect) and we'll savour Atlantic salmon.

        2. I would definitely not be okay with undercooked salmon, swordfish, or halibut as all three are types of fish that are prone to parasites. The general rule for cooking these types of fish is that the flesh should be cooked until it is opaque and flakey. Tuna is an exception to this rule because while it may host parasites, they are the kind that do not find the human body a comfortable abode. Therefore, rare or raw tuna presents less of a risk.

          It worries me that so many restaurants/chefs don't seem to be up on their food safety guidelines.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Low Country Jon

            More salmon sushi/sashimi for me. Love it. Keep spreading the word.

            1. re: mrbozo

              Glad to. My uncle used to live in Alaska and though he loved to fish, he refused to eat the salmon after his experiences cutting into fresh-caught specimens and finding them crawling with worms. Northwest Pacific salmon suffer infestation at such a high rate they should all be considered suspect. In the US at least, "Atlantic salmon" usually refers to farm-raised fish, so they are arguably safer, depending upon the practices of the partiuclar farmer.

              As has been widely discussed on these boards, sashimi should be safe *if* the restaurant or fish supplier is following the proper method of freezing the fish first at the appropriate temperature/for the appropriate period of time. I'm not sure how prevalent the practice is in reality, however.

              1. re: Low Country Jon

                Pardon me while I don't gag, but I've enjoyed much salmon sushi and sashimi in Vancouver and Toronto so far this year. Am I playing Manchurean roulette? Perhaps. But I am far from being alone. Long live the true north strong and free!

                1. re: mrbozo

                  No apology necessary. People, even denizens of the "true north," are free to eat whatever they want, but I do think they should be knowledgable of the risks, even if they seem slight to some, so they can make informed decisions rather than letting restaurants/chefs make the decisions for them.

            2. re: Low Country Jon

              I would say a lot of the salmon in restaurants has been previously frozen.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                If you're eating at a sushi restaurant, they generally have the knowledge for serving raw fish. I love salmon sashimi, but I'm not eating parasite-prone fish unless I know that the chef and restaurant know what they are doing.

                Personally, I'm not a fan of partially cooked fish. I love sashimi, and I love fish, but unless it's done extremely well there's something offputting about fish that's nicely cooked on the outside and cold in the middle.

            3. Is anyone else being served white fish medium rare or rare? This year I had cod and grouper served medium rare, and I really disliked both. The edges were fine, nice and moist and flaky, but the thick center was gummy and just weird. The grouper was just last weekend at Frasca in Boulder which is very well regarded. I asked about it and they said all of their fish is cooked to medium rare, but they'd be happy to cook mine longer. Tuna, sure, but grouper??? Yuck.

              So is this the way it is now? Am I going to have to ask about the cooking any time I order fish now?

              5 Replies
              1. re: christy319

                Gotta say I cringe at the idea of undercooking grouper. It just doesn't taste right and IMO suggests that the chef/cook has issues with properly cooking a rather delicate fish. And I say that as someone who also loves a good rare tuna.

                1. re: beachmouse

                  I was served grouper that was rare in the middle at MIchael's Genuine in Miami. It was nasty. Unlike some fish that is soft when rare, grouper is tough and chewy.

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    If you're a professional chef at a high end restaurant in Florida, there really is little excuse for not understanding how to properly cook what's essentially the state's favorite fish.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        Glad to hear others agree. I posted that quite a while ago but I still remember how gross that grouper was. And from Frasca!