Verslag van een (Engelstalige) cursist
Today was lesson 3 of our cooking class and the topic was fish. I think I said it would be meat, but I was mistaken, which was very apparent by the looks of crates full of various fish species when we walked in this morning. We learned so much today that it is hard to remember all of it! That’s probably also the biggest problem with this course; loads and loads of information which one has to use otherwise it’s going to fade away.
So today we first received some explanation about the various sorts of fish; which is which and how to recognise fresh fish. Differences between wild fish and farmed fish, flat and round fish etc. Then Rob showed us (only once) how to fillet a round fish and how to do a flat one. Not sure if flat and round are the correct terms, but I’m sure you know what I mean… It all looks so easy when Rob does it, but wait until you have a knife in your hand and you need to do it yourself..!
I started with the flat one, which went relatively OK for the first time ever and next came the round one (a mackerel). You have to forgive me if I don’t write down the names of the fish that we filleted or cleaned because…well, I keep forgetting which fish is which…. 🙂
Once we cut the filets off the fish and checked them to see if we didn’t miss any parts, we scraped the leftovers of the bones which we would use later to make quenelles. Heads were separated from the bones and discarded, and the bones were used to make a broth (don’t cook for longer then roughly 20 minutes or they’ll become bitter. Also do not use any insides of a fish with a black colour as they make a broth taste bitter too).
Next we prepared the filets in various ways: baking, smoking, frying…, we didn’t bother boiling them, but then, I don’t like boiled fish anyway.
Tom kept cleaning various types of fish as he is going to Norway on a fishing trip and wants to make sure that he has the necessary skills to fillet a fish in the wild (well, not sure if you can call a camp site “in the wild”) for dinner that day…
We removed the scales of some and removed their insides. I did a dorade; which is actually funny as that was the very first fish I ate when I started to realise that fish is not so bad after all.
My parents never ate fish when I was young, so I simply never learned how to eat fish. For some reason the first fishes I tasted were terrible and tasted ‘fishy’, so I came to believe that all fish would taste fishy and I decided I did not like fish. Years ago though, Tom and I were on a holiday in Greece and they were grilling freshly caught dorades on the barbecue. Needless to say it smelled absolutely delicious and I decided to be brave and just give it a try one more time.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fish was not at all fishy and actually quite good! Over the next years I slowly started trying more fish; usually in good restaurants and more often I started to like it. And now I actually really love fish…. funny how it goes isn’t it? I’m still not very fond of all them bones, but I guess that’s just part of what fishes are, but other than that I love most types of fish.
What else did we do? We also prepared a seabass in the oven in a salt crust (made with eggwhite and lots of seasalt) and I also did a dorade the same way. Surprisingly easy and very very tasty. I did mess up the fish a bit when cleaning it after it was cooked. Stripped the skin, OK, but when I wanted to remove the flesh I think I missed a part so some bones were left (and of course Tom had to be the one to get a piece of the bone… haha…). Very very tasty!
From all of the leftovers that were scraped from the bones we made quenelles which were poached in broth of some kind (I was doing something else so I only caught half of it but Tom was standing near so he knows…
That’s the good part of being together during a course like this!). Rob also showed us how to make a sauce Hollandaise as well as a Beurre Blanc
He also showed us how to clean calamari. And -very important- how a well prepared squid should taste!! I think we have all had our share of rubbery squid rings right? The ones which are hard to eat because they are so badly done. I tasted the above squid and I can safely say that it was delicious with just some salt and not much else…
I probably missed half of the stuff we did today as it was so much. Tom and I will be writing most of it down tomorrow together so we won’t forget.
Tomorrow I’m going to attempt to remake the photo in Lara Ferroni’s challenge, which you can also find on Flickr in the group SLW: Photo remakes, plus I’ll be baking the recipe that I’ve been holding on to for a while from Foodjunkie; Chocolate nougatine with hazelnuts.