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Source of "trash" fish for bouillabaisse

suepea Dec 4, 2011 03:40 PM

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

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    9lives Dec 4, 2011 03:48 PM

    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
      opinionatedchef Dec 4, 2011 04:44 PM

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

    2. StriperGuy Dec 4, 2011 05:16 PM

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

      18 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy
        LStaff Dec 4, 2011 05:36 PM

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

        1. re: LStaff
          ipsofatso Dec 4, 2011 06:16 PM

          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
            emannths Dec 5, 2011 05:23 AM

            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
              hotoynoodle Feb 2, 2013 02:43 PM

              it's "pollock". ahem.

              +20 on asian markets.

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

            2. re: ipsofatso
              cods Dec 13, 2011 09:16 AM

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

            3. re: LStaff
              StriperGuy Dec 5, 2011 06:40 AM

              Re: Tilapia, AGREED, blech.

            4. re: StriperGuy
              suepea Dec 4, 2011 06:26 PM

              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
                9lives Dec 4, 2011 07:19 PM

                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 $1.lb 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
                  teezeetoo Dec 4, 2011 07:27 PM

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

                  1. re: teezeetoo
                    9lives Dec 4, 2011 07:32 PM

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

                  2. re: 9lives
                    suepea Dec 5, 2011 06:16 AM

                    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 - http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/...

                    1. re: suepea
                      emannths Dec 5, 2011 07:30 AM

                      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
                        opinionatedchef Dec 9, 2011 10:45 AM

                        superb advice, esp. the texture suggestions.

                    2. re: 9lives
                      KWagle Dec 9, 2011 03:32 AM

                      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
                      yumyum Dec 4, 2011 08:32 PM

                      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
                        dulce de leche Dec 5, 2011 07:33 AM

                        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
                          yumyum Dec 5, 2011 07:45 AM

                          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
                      suepea Feb 2, 2013 01:09 PM


                      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.

                    5. ipsofatso Feb 2, 2013 02:12 PM


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