Episode-1380- All About Cooking Fish

Today we complete our fishing series with a show on cooking fish.  Fish is dish best served well, “not ruined”.  If I were asked what are the two things that most often ruin fish I would say the following.  Over cooking fresh water fish and often bothering to cook some salt water fish at all.  Now don’t get me wrong I cook plenty of salt water fish, but some of it is best simply sashimi or ceviche!

Today I will go over some of my favorite ways to prepare and use fish.  The good news is you can do all of this even if you are not a fisherman with fresh fish from the market.  The key with fish is when done it should flake, not be mushy, you simply most not be afraid that you will “under cook it” this indeed is the most common way fish is ruined.

Join Me Today to Discuss…

  • Some basic rules
    • Don’t overcook
    • Never eat raw or citrus cooked fresh water fish
    • Learn to clean fish and consider buying them whole
    • Learn to use what others throw away
    • Be creative and use recipes as a guide, not law
  • Some of my favorite ways to cook and eat fish
    • Shore lunch style fish fry
    • Almost paleo style fish fry
    • Catfish Steaks (works for salmon too, it is where I got the idea)
    • Plank Cooked Fish (salmon, catfish, tilapia, and many others work)
    • Two types of “fish chowder”
      • Simple Shore Lunch Style
      • Gourmet Cook Style
    • Make it fish stew, omit the corn and milk, add tomato paste
    • Cerviche – Some important thoughts
    • Sashimi – yes you can do this wrong or use an not so good fish for it
    • Fish on the half shell – great for camping
    • Sumac and dill infused fish
    • Fish for fish tacos
    • Smoked catfish – people will fight over this!
  • Final thoughts again don’t be a recipe Nazi!

Resources for today’s show…

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33 Responses to Episode-1380- All About Cooking Fish

  1. I took a bunch of children fishing. We were successful, but, after a Fish fry batter cookout, the children gave me a look and asked what were we eating? Fish!, I said. They looked up and almost in unison, said: ” Everyone knows, FISH are Square!”

  2. Brother, I consider myself Paleo, but a few times a month I eat home made Pizza with organic flour…make it your self with organic sauce and cheese and you’ll be amazed how much better it is than that crap you get delivered!

    • Modern Survival

      Heck why not “sour” the dough and at least make with Westin Price Friendly?

    • Thanks Jack you are the best!

    • Please tell us your sourdough recipe…the webber grill looked to thick for me…you know I’m a East Texas man and have not idea who Westin Price is other then hearing that woman on your show and we know how that went

      • Modern Survival

        Sourdough is just bread of some sort that has been “soured” by wild yeasts. This happened naturally in the days of old when if you wanted bread to rise you had to wait for nature to do it because you could not just go down and get a packet from the store. You basically make up some bread dough and wait for it to rise (more than that and I will give you a link with details in a minute). For the dough to rise takes days because wild yeasts have to colonize the dough. Now these guys are not all nice and refined and pure so they provide that sour taste.

        In the old days one had to do this, you then made new dough and took some of the old and mixed it in. Now the active wild yeasts will get going fast and you can make bread in one day. Since the starter is added to fresh dough it won’t be “that sour to taste” and the longer you let it go the more sour it will get, if you cooked the whole starter it would be VERY sour. When people used to make a ton of bread at home they would put a big starter into a batch let it rise then just take back out of the big batch the same amount they put in and use it again the next day and so on.

        Here is the thing, this isn’t just some yuppy trend thing. That active wild yeast does things “bread yeast” can’t, including the following…

        Pre-digesting starches, making the bread more easily digestible. lowering insulin response/improving glucose tolerance, protecting Vitamin B1 from the damage of the heat of baking, breaking down gluten, which may result in a bread that gluten-sensitive people can eat, activating phytase to hydrolyze (dissolve) the phytates, thus freeing up minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium, copper and phosphorus.

        This was your great grandmothers bread and bread for all of humanity until VERY recently. All those serfs in the middle ages that ate so much bread with out modern disease, ATE THIS. Basically wheat itself contains multiple toxins. The action of souring bread is effectively a fermentation of the bread. Rather than a fast acting yeast that just puts air in it like we use for most bread today. The yeasts actually feed on the dough enough to break it down some, to pre digest it for us and buffer or eliminate many of the toxics effects of wheat.

        Westin Price was a Doctor that traveled the world investigating indigenous cultures. Awesome guy and he discovered that almost all cultures with adequate food supply were healthier then we are from teeth to heart and everything in between. Some lived almost fully on meat and some used grains in small amounts and some in pretty large amounts. All ate fermented foods, lots of fats and no simple refined sugars. All that used grains either soaked them or fermented them or both.

        As for Sally Fallon I learned so much about her since that time that I now consider her to be a hack and a dishonest thief. The real organization that actually has the rights to Dr. Price’s work and was set up by his family is the Price Pottenger Foundation, WHO FIRED HER! She then set up the Westin A Price Foundation on K Street by the way. She has no blessing or sanctioning by the estate, conservatory or family of Dr. Price.

        Anyway may be I should do a show on Price?

        So here is some info on making a sourdough starter, every recipe for real sourdough will call for this. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2012/04/05/creating-your-own-sourdough-starter-the-path-to-great-bread/

        Here is what I do to make sourdough pizza crust

        1 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
        1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
        1-3 Tbs water (add it as needed to get the right consistency, the starter provides most of the moisture)
        2 Tbs olive oil
        3/4 tsp. salt

        I have to make a starter a few days before each batch because I don’t keep it on hand, we just don’t bake enough to warrant that.

      • Modern Survival

        Oh and I agree that was way too thick for my tastes!

  3. I love experimental cooking, gonna borrow some of your tips. Best fish dish I’ve ever had is garlic crusted red snapper. My best catfish recipe is planked on box elder, pear or sugarberry wood then basted w honey, feijoa, cayenne and sorghum molasses then rolled in crushed pecan. I’ve read quite a bit of warnings lately even on saltwater fish for anisakiasis but doesn’t seem to be a huge ordeal, IMHO.

  4. TrekFanDan

    Jack,
    Great show, you’re right, now I’m hungry.

    Salmon Sushi (Nigiri) is my absolute favorite food.
    Escolar is my second , … btw, all of the scare articles on Escolar only apply when too much is eaten. 4 peices per sitting will not cause problems.

    It’s my understanding that Sushi restaurants still freeze all the the raw fish somewhere below zero degrees – for a certain amount of time, and thaw before serving. (FDA)
    I’ve often wondered if it would be safe to freeze “fresh water fish” according to the sushi temperature guidelines and eat it raw… it should be safe, but I’m too chicken to try it.

  5. Have you fried fish in lard?

  6. trekker111

    Felt the need to share 2 of my favorite fish recipes, and neither could be simpler.

    fish filet – salt and pepper, then baste with greek vinegarette salad dressing, bake at 400 until flaky. I usually use tilapia for this, but bass, bluegill, and perch are all good.

    The other is for shark steaks. salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice, then pan fry in real butter in cast iron. I usually use Atlantic Sharpnose or Bonnetheads for this. Jack didn’t touch much on shark, but the number one tip for eating your catch, and improving it’s table fare quality is to gut it immediately, and get it on ice. The bigger they are, the more important it is.

  7. Been looking forward to this show. I’ll be fishing with my kids this July 4th weekend and plan on fresh fish for dinner.

  8. Great show! I listened yesterday while driving 7 hours home, I was STARVING when it was done and now Im cooking some fish tonight, got some really good ideas from you, THANKS.

    P.S. I really look forward to more teaching from Jack.

  9. Jack you probably have never tried making fish paddy’s from white fish but it works just fine. Most of the time we think of this as being made from tuna, salmon or other canned fish. This is called croquettes I believe.

    Anyway this is a great thing to do with small fish or bony fish. You pressure cook them for a bit, then take them out and the meat is actually not soft and mushy like I would have thought. (though you may want to dedicate a pressure cooker just for fish as the metal seems to absorb fish smells). The flesh is easily separated from the bones and of course thin small sharp bones are cooked soft so that there is no worries in eating them.

    I’ve taken the fish meat after this a simply fried it in butter salt and pepper and it came out fine that way. Or you can make paddy’s by mashing it in a bowl with egg and flower or crackers or oat meal or whatever just as you might for meat loaf. You can add chopped onion and other things if you like. Then make paddy’s. Fry in oil in a skillet. The paddy’s can be frozen and you can bread them also if you want after they thaw a little.

    Also when breading fish or anything you can make an egg wash, egg and water whipped up. Dip the meat in the egg wash, then into the flower/meal. Or flower, then egg wash and then bread crumbs or whatever.

    • Modern Survival

      My grandmother made it with a lot of fish we brought home. The PA Dutch used to make those with suckers and creek whitefish and basically any fish other than a trout that came out of a creek. They used almost everything.

      They’d gut the fish and toss it in to a grinder, grind bones, head, eyes and all. Pressure can the results and make fish cakes from it. They were actually pretty good.

  10. Damn you Jack!

    If there was ever a show I was sure I could skip because I had no interest, this would be one of them. I couldn’t. You just have a knack for making any subject interesting. Seriously. Oh, and you are not nearly old enough to be able to talk about so many stinking subjects so well. I have to say this show is far more interesting than any radio show I’ve ever listened to…not even close!

  11. Jack,

    Any type of fish in particular for the shore style lunch fried fish? Northern Pike? Catfish? or does it work with anything?

    Also…. renewing my fishing license tomorrow so that I can catch something to try these recipes with 🙂

    Karim

    • Modern Survival

      It is good with any fish that is good fried, period.

      The place where it is from it is almost always walleye, perch, pickerel and pike. People laugh at me when I say pickerel then I show them the picture of me at 14 with a chain pickerel held by the gills, head is about where my chin is, tail is touching the dock. I was about 5’6″ at the time, plenty of people would have been happy with a pike of that size.

      But I have done it with cats, flounder, tilapia, sand bass, bluegills, it is all very very good. About the only thing I would not do it with are fish like tuna, salmon, mahi, etc, fish you’d never fry anyway.

      • I’d believe u, little lake in east Texas was thick with monster pickerel. Brought some to the home pond when I was a teen and would catch em every so often over about 5 year period

        • Ya know, they stocked lake Nocona w muskies and pike back in the 60’s but it didn’t work out. We have walleye and smallmouth every once in a while in Moss Lake

      • Tried it with Walleye yesterday. My wife, who does not like fish…. ate every last bite on her plate.

  12. Great show! One of my favorites in lingcod braised in butter and lemon. Soo tasty, and I am sure this would work with any salt water whitefish. Thanks for the idea for chowder. I will be bringing fixings for a pot when we go to salmon camp in a month!

    • Also one good thing to add to the chowder is bacon cut in to small bits and fried, along with some bacon grease. Jack’s chowder was pretty much just like my fish chowder. I think he mentioned parsley flakes too. Chowder is basically creamy onion potato soup. You can add other things like corn, carrots, celery, fish, clams, etc. The meat is pretty much white meats like fish. I’m not sure if I’ve ever ate chicken chowder using white chicken meat or not but it might work. I think there might be chowders that add tomato juice and then maybe a read meat, not sure but like Manhattan clam chowder. I never really liked Manhattan clam chowder.

      • Modern Survival

        I used to make chicken corn chowder from older birds at my grandparents homestead. My grandmother tried to chase me out of “her kitchen” the first time I did it. I told her it was my chicken, I killed it and I was tired of chicken soup and to let me try something. She snorted and said something I am sure was off color in Ukrainian but did let me be. I used fresh corn from the garden, her canned potatoes from the cellar and everyone loved it. Small bird so it was not just the white meat but it was damn good. Stock was made from carrots, celery, onion and the bird including the feet (cleaned of course).

        As an aside my grandmother always hated the stores because they “ripped you off and didn’t give you the feet”. She didn’t like to eat them, she insisted that you needed them for good chicken stock though. Turns out she is right it is both the gelatin and something else I can’t remember what the second one is called but both really improve the stock.

  13. Matthew N Gooseneck, GA

    Jack after five years you still surprise me at how much you know about stuff.
    Maybe a future show on the Ukraine?

  14. Caught about 20 lbs of catfish on 5th. Look forward to some grilled steaks. Would like to smoke some.

  15. Does it take 24 hour brine and 2 to 3 hours to smoke fish?

    • Modern Survival

      Ive never done 24 hours of brining unless I am going to almost a fish jerky type of cure for long term storage with out a fridge.

  16. Does anyone used the fish frames to make fish stock? I can’t believe I have thrown away the head fins and bones all these years when it could be made into an amazing fish stock