When I lived in Paris I always seemed to be afraid of a the fish monger. The stout ‘fish lady’ with her large gumboots would often grumbled as you walked past and interrupted her afternoon ritual of hosing away the little bits of seafood that escaped away with the melted ice. Le Poissonnier on my street had prime position on the corner of Rue Lepic and it always hosted the finest array for fresh seafood and some very ugly fish. I would regularly indulge in scallops and pan fry them in some delicious beurre sans salt (naturally) and then add a splash of white white. Delicious! Although I loved the scallops, fresh shucked oysters and fillets of fish, I regrettable never ventured into buying whole fish. Probably because I didn’t know how to say ‘can you gut this for me?’
Now I find myself living in Brisbane which some might think is the polar opposite to the culinary oasis of Paris. Although I don’t have a local fish monger on my street, I do have a brother who is more than a keen fisherman. And a few weeks ago he taught me how to fillet a fish. What surprised me about the fish was that it did not smell at all ‘fishy’, whilst I had heard this before, I always find that the fish you buy seems to have a slight ‘fish’ smell. This fish was less than 12 hours old and the only smell that ventured from the body was of the sea. To fillet the fish was not easy, we even ended up snapping a knife! But, what I loved about learning this new skill was the delicacy involved.
I would never normally order Cod when dining, and my memory of eating this fish is of a grey, marbled flesh with a dull flavour. Obviously I had not been eating fresh from the sea fish! This Cod was pan fried, sweet and packed with flavour. To add to the mix I also did a little Cod ceviche and cooked the fish in lime juice. The fish cooked both ways was a successful midweek adventure and a surprise that Cod could be so tasty.
Now that I can fillet a fish all I need is someone to buy me an airfare back to Paris so I can find the stout fish lady and order un poisson s’il vous plait!!