Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Dec 4, 2011 03:40 PM

Source of "trash" fish for bouillabaisse

Is there a source in the Boston area for a New England version of the types of "trash" fish typically used in bouillabaisse?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. New Deal or Courthouse Seafood in E Cambridge should be able to supply the fish you need.

    The big Asian markets should also work.

    1 Reply
    1. re: 9lives

      what 9lives said. H Mart in Burlington; Super 88 in Allston. Skate is a great bouillabaisse fish; so silky.

    2. There is no such thing as "trash" fish any more.

      18 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        ....except for tilapia. Or at least it should be. ;-)

        1. re: LStaff

          not for anything but I have found great bargains at Mkt Bskt including pollack @4.99 and hake filets ($5.99) which made for great chowder fishes as they would a booyabase. Tilipia, plank style is really good. Soak a cedar plank then nail the tilapia to it and put it in hot BBQ grill, covered for 12 mins so the plank smokes and the fish cooks. Unfasten the tilapia and eat the plank.

          1. re: ipsofatso

            At the Somerville MB, pollack is often as low as $3.99/lb, and hake almost as low (though more variable). Price-wise, it's going to be the closest you'll get to "trash fish," though the quality is just fine.

            I'd call New Deal or Courthouse first though. Make sure you get a price, if you care about such things. Both places tend to sell excellent fish and charge accordingly, and I can easily see "bits-and-pieces" of fish being $8/lb or so.

            I'd also check Korean markets in the area. I'm not well-versed in Korean cuisine, but it seems like fish stews are popular. Reliable Market often has chunks of cod, monkfish, whiting, beltfish, etc, sometimes including heads, clearly destined for stew.

            1. re: emannths

              it's "pollock". ahem.

              +20 on asian markets.

              during winter, you can get very cheap fish at haymarket. buyer beware, etc.

            2. re: ipsofatso

              Nice, got a good chuckle from this "recipe".

            3. re: StriperGuy

              Well, I am sure there is such a thing as "trash fish", the problem is, the fishermen don't bring it to market -- that's why it's "trash.: Just wondering if there are any markets out there I am not aware of, like wharfs in Boston or something similar to Marseilles.

              1. re: suepea

                I'm not familiar with Marseille, but in the USA, these "trash fish" have little market value and it's not worth the fuel. and time to bring them to market. Imagine you are a coomercial fisherman who spends 8 hours to get to Georges Bank. Do you want to fill the boat with sea robins and hake that you can sell for maybe $ or scallops and cod that you can sell at a great multiple of that?

                That said, if you know your fish, which it seems you do, you could make a very good boullaibaise by hitting the big Asian markets. With a good eye, you'll find good quality whole fish' be able to make a great stock and do it without using higher priced fish like sword, tuna, cod,haddock etc. I agree with SG. There are no trash fish but I thought I knew what you meant when you used the term in your post. I go to CMart, but I live downtown and the HMarts and Super 88's aren't that convenient for me...but may be for you.

                1. re: 9lives

                  I go to Ming"s downtown or Super 88 in Brighton. very inexpensive for stock fish.

                  1. re: teezeetoo

                    All good, I just live a block from they get the bulk of my biz.

                  2. re: 9lives

                    The Asian markets are good idea. 9lives, I get that! I guess that was the point of the question, I know I am not going to see this stuff at Captain Mardens but just wondering if there was some hidden gem out there. Not that I think it will happen with me making one batch of bouillabaisse for Christmas eve, but I would love to start a trend where we Americans start demanding more of this type of fish, so that it IS worth the commercial fisherman's while. If recent news reports can be believed, pretty soon the cod are going to be off limits anyway. StriperGuy: "Trash" fish is what the people who write about authentic bouillabaisse seem to refer to the main ingredients as -

                    1. re: suepea

                      One idea might be to go to Market Basket and just buy a few of their whole fish. At the Somerville location, they've recently had porgy/scup, black bass, ocean perch, and coney (a type of grouper usually sold in the store as "strawberry snapper" or totally mismarked as mullet), all in small sizes at relatively low prices ($3/lb for the porgy and perch, $6-7/lb for the others). You'll get the heads, and since the fish are small, you can get a number of varieties without breaking the bank or having way more than you need. Get a couple chunks of monkfish or swordfish to throw in for something decidedly firm and you've got four fishes cobbled together in the same whatever-is-available philosophy as an "authentic" Frenchman might.

                      1. re: emannths

                        superb advice, esp. the texture suggestions.

                    2. re: 9lives

                      Sea Robins are one of three traditional fish used in an actual bouillabaisse, the other two being scorpionfish and conger. According to the wonderful book _Bottomfeeder_ which I highly recommend, one of these fish--I believe scorpionfish--is *required* to make a fish stew into bouillabaisse.

                    3. re: suepea

                      I second the rec for new deal. I'm sure if you told Carl you want bits and pieces to make your soup he'd hook you up.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        I've done just this--asked at New Deal for odds and ends for fish soup. Some days it's better than others, and I've had better luck earlier in the day.
                        (Which goes against my intuition. I thought there would be trimmed or too small pieces left at the end of the day.)

                        1. re: dulce de leche

                          I bet early in the day they are giving you last day's scrap fish. Still, they keep and store their fish very well so I wouldn't worry too much. I'd trust Carl, especially if I had a chance to talk to him and tell him what I had in mind. He is the real deal.

                    4. re: StriperGuy


                      Chefs Collaborative is thrilled to announce its first-ever Trash Fish Dinner going down in Cambridge, MA on March 10, 2013


                      Very important considering the sorry state of New England fishing.