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Oct 28, 2011 11:17 AM

east coast fishes

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:

blowfish (weird lil chicken wing looking pieces)

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  1. Try this site for starters Monkfish is easy and tasty

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

      Skate -

      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 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...

                Here's their seafood browse page where you can search for the status of any fish with full description...

                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.