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east coast fishes

  • j

After moving from the mountains to about a mile from the water, I'm seeing all sorts of interesting fresh fishes.

any good recipes for:

monkfish
blowfish (weird lil chicken wing looking pieces)
skate

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  1. Try this site for starters Monkfish is easy and tasty http://www.noreast.com/recipies/index...

    1. Monkfish - wrap in Parma ham (or similar) and roast.

      Skate - http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/ska...

      1. Blowfish is actually a great substitute for frog's legs. Nice firm lumps of meat that separate from the bone. Skate can be good, if a bit soft...it separates into little strands rather than flakes. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the skate looks good, even smells good, then reeks of ammonia when its cooked.

        8 Replies
        1. re: EricMM

          I think skate is one of the more under-used fish in Canada/US. EricMM, you're right about the ammonia. To avoid, you have to get the freshest skate possible, which is sometimes tricky or even impossible to know. Skate, to me, is the epitome of "perishable".
          I love the texture of skate. First, have the fish guy skin it, or buy it skinned. I like to sprinkle with Old Bay and grill. Flip it a few times until done. The lobster-like flesh will pull away from the cartiledge beautifully.
          I also like to pickle. Using a cleaver, chop the skate into bite-size pieces (leave attached to cartiledge). Dredge in seasoned flour (I like to add tumeric for color), fry until crisp, put in jar of 1/2 white vinegar/1/2 water, into fridge for a couple of days, eat.

          1. re: porker

            One of the problems with skate is that it actually has a published reputation of being better when its actually a few days old. I figured out the reason for that one day when my son and I kept 2 skates that we caught, and ate them fresh that day. When really fresh, the are very firm, even chewy. People expect skate to be soft and flaky...well, shreddy really, since these are really fins rather than body meat. Skate is a real pain to clean, and I'll never do it again. The barndoor skate, which is the largest, is seriously overfished. However, the smaller skate species are definitely very abundant. I have certainly caught far more of them than I've ever wanted to while using bait. Except for the one time I kept them, I always release them....and all other fisherman I see also release them. As for the smell, yes, a fishy smell can come from being cleaned under bad circumstances, like on the same table that bait was cut on. But its not really a factor with skate, because the wings are cut off, and usually skinned and filleted in the store. Regardless, the smell we are talking about is not fishy...its ammonia, as if you were washing the floor. That only comes from old fish, when the amino acids have started to break down into ammonia.

            1. re: EricMM

              Jacques Pepin cleaned and cooked skate on his new Essentials 'Fins' episode. The video may be available on the KQED website.

          2. re: EricMM

            Add me to those who urge care about freshness of skate. I enjoyed skate several times until once when I let it sit two days in the fridge, and the resulting ammonia smell was extreme.

            Perhaps because I did not understand what was going on, I ended up taking several bites and whiffs before tossing it. My senses were so overwhelmed that I literally have not dared to try it again for a year or two now. Very unlike me, because I know it's not exactly rational.

            I'll add that monkfish is quite good. It retains its shape and firm texture very well in moist preparations, and I think it's at its best in things like a soupy or saucy provencal dish. It's flavor is rather bland, so season accordingly.

            1. re: Bada Bing

              there are 2 issues about the smell. if improperly cleaned on the boat, like bluefish, the skate will smell and taste bad no matter how fresh it is. if the fisherman succeeds there, yes, less than fresh fish will smell off and shouldn't be purchased or served.

              the texture of skate can be challenging and i can't imagine buying it frozen - ever.

              eta: many varieties of skate are indeed now overfished.

            2. re: EricMM

              do you cook the blowfish super fast? does it get tough? can it be stewed?

              1. re: j8715

                Coat blowfish with the kind of topping you'd use for any fish fry (we use egg/milk/panko but you could use just water/flour, etc)...fry them for three minutes or so per side or until the crust turns brown (medium high heat.) Good with tartar sauce or just lemon spritz. When really fish, the meat is glistening white and pretty sweet. Fishermen call it "chicken of the sea." Important: buy it skinned since the skin is very hard to get off....

                1. re: j8715

                  I have frequently used blowfish in mixed seafood stews. The trick is to add it at the last minute or so. It cooks very quickly. Its kind of like mini-monkfish.

              2. Before I buy any fish I'm not familiar with I check the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch lists to see if the fish is on their Best Choises or Avoid list. You probably don't want to hear this but Skate is currently on their Avoid list and has been for a few years. Here's a link to the lists for the Northeast but you can choose which area you're in from the drop down menu...
                http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                Here's their seafood browse page where you can search for the status of any fish with full description...
                http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                Although I've had skate in restaurants in the past I no longer order it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gio

                  Monkfish is on the avoid list, as well.

                  1. The second episode of Jacques Pepin's new PBS series, Essential Pepin, features a skate dish. It is airing this weekend in the Boston area. He also shows how to trim and skin it. Episodes can be watched online via the KQED-TV website.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: greygarious

                      son of a bitch i was even home and had planned to watch this. . . forgot. i am a big fan or jacque pepin

                    2. I love skate... first time I had it was in a French restaurant in SF... instantly fell in love. I like to pan fry mine with butter and capers...

                      http://www.thefoodpirates.com/2011/06...

                      That's the recipe that I use.

                      Like many said, freshness is a huge issue. Make sure you trust your fish monger!!!

                      1. skate is perhaps my fav fish. the silkiness of it is so amazing. i am so interested to read here that a CH grills it; i thought it would fall part on a grill.....

                        I do 5 things w/ it typically:

                        -- sautee fully on one side, turn over for a few minutes and pour some Salsa verde or Tomatillo sauce over it ; simmer til done.(opt- add some ground almonds and pumpkin seeds to the sauce) Squeeze lime over.

                        -- Mexican Fish Soup from Diana Kennedy (Regional Cooking of Mexico?)

                        -- dip in milk. coat both sides w/ 1 part seasoned flour mixed w/ 1 part chopped pecans; sautee in butter. serve w/ lemon.

                        -- coat both sides w/ seasoned flour; sautee fully in butter w/ garlic; remove from pan; deglaze skillet w/ some white wine or dry vermouth, cook down a bit, add defrosted frozen artichoke hearts til hot, spritz w/ lemon juice and pour over fish.

                        -- dip each side in milk and then in seasoned flour or batter. fry in olive oil. serve w/ good quality Romesco sauce and lemon :

                        Jim Becker’s ROMESCO SAUCE

                        2 Red bell peppers roasted, peeled and seeded

                        2 ancho chiles, softened in hot water*; stems removed ,and seeded

                        2 plum tomatoes, roasted until slightly blackened

                        1 head of garlic roasted (many recipes for this)

                        2 small red onions roasted and peeled

                        3 T hazelnuts toasted

                        3 T Skinless Almonds Toasted

                        1 Slice toasted bread

                        1 T Hot Spanish pimenton (La Verde brand preferred)

                        1/8 C Sherry Vinegar

                        3/4 C Olive Oil

                        salt and freshly ground pepper

                        In food processor grind almonds and hazelnuts; add everything else except oil, and pulse to a coarse consistency. Cut off the top of the roasted garlic and squeeze the pulp into the mixture. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until the mixture makes a chunky paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

                        * Use hot water. Boiling water may cause bitterness.

                        *For a few years, Boston was most fortunate to have Becker's Spanish restaurant, Rauxa.

                        He served this romesco with batter fried seafood. I have never had a better romesco.

                        Skate is not a mainstream(uh oh, pun - ishment) fish here in boston but fortunately our local Portuguese fish markets carry it. lucky you! let us know what works for you.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          this thing with the artichokes sounds pretty awesome.

                        2. the thing about avoiding these fish. . .

                          skate is certainly by-catch (ie they are dead if bought or not). does avoiding by-catch make a difference? i don't know.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: j8715

                            By-catch is by-catch. Its not the target species, but its just as dead. If there is no market for by-catch seafood, its dumped off the deck, feeding only seagulls and crabs. So really, in theory, eating by-catch species is not supporting its fishery, its just making use of something that otherwise goes to waste. Of course, that is in theory. If by-catch fish become popular enough, they can then become target species. That's what happened with monkfish, squid, blackfish, whelks. The oyster toadfish, strictly a by catch in traps (and therefore alive and releaseable) has totally disappeared from my summer area on the North Fork in the past ten years, since it became popular in Asian live markets. On the other hand, better techniques of obtaining target species can reduce by catch, and efforts to control fishing of target species will also benefit by-catch species.

                            1. re: EricMM

                              oh i am semi-regretting expanding on this.

                              we have a totally screwed up society with a pittance of vacation time (seriously look how much french and fins get), a computer controlled "economy", racism and nicholas cage movies and to top it all off we manage to turn food into a chore, chemistry or a morality play. . .

                              In my mind the real problem is the big factory fishing ships. If fishing were restricted to small boats less could be caught and that would be that. Yet we let our selves be blamed for the mistakes for the folks at the top. Our greedy stomachs and that monkfish we eat once or twice a year.

                              now i almost hope the thread gets locked.

                              1. re: j8715

                                If they dont have monkfish or skate, buy chilean sea bass or Patagonian toothfish.

                          2. This is my absolute favorite monkfish recipe, roasted with saffron tomato sauce. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                            1. For Blowfish just use your favorite breading and pan fry for a few minutes. I'm assuming you don't have to clean the whole fish ? The skin is tough but if you cut through the body just behind the head, then turn the fish inside out you can pull the meat out. Then trim the fins and tail and you are ready.