Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Yamasho Brass Fish Scaler. Jason from PA was kind enough to ask for a recommendation for a fish scaler. This is the one I recommend hands down.
It really comes down to something simple by the way, if you want to know about preparing fish, turn to Japan. Just how much fish do the Japaneses consume, well by some estimates about one in every ten fish consumed in the world, is consumed in Japan. Yea you read that right, Japan is about 1.6% of total global population but they consume 10% of the worlds fish.
So the Japanese know just a bit about consuming and hence preparing fish. This scaler is a perfect blend of simplicity, functionality and value. It comes in at just under 10 bucks with free shipping and 4.8 out of 5 stars with well over 100 reviews.
Gaming the Amazon review system has become something of a hobby for companies selling there, so of course I checked fakespot on this item, The Product itself gets an A Grade on Fakespot, while the company itself, Yamasho also gets an A Grade. Additionally the third party seller who is actually shipping the item, Japan Tokyo Shop has 100% positive feedback on Amazon for the last 12 months.
In addition to the fact that it just freaking works, the other thing I love about this scaler is the look and feel. It is flatly a quality tool that feels right in the hand. To really make it great rub a bit of stain into the unfinished handle and seal it with some wax or oil. You then have a tool that looks like it has been around for a century and frankly the form of the tool itself is likely older than that.
To make scaling most effective (read that not messy) fill a sink or a tub with water and scale under water, this will keep scales from flying all around and making a mess. Which it will do otherwise. If you are scaling on the side of a lake, no big deal but if you are doing it in your kitchen, trust me and use the water trick.
In America we seem to have become obsessed with skinless and boneless EVERYTHING, we really need to get away from that, but especially with fish. Japanese and many other Asian cultures seem to mostly prefer to cook fish on the bone, with the skin, because they simply know it gives better flavor, and man if you crisp the skin, you won’t even miss that deep fried breading we also seem obsessed coating everything with.
Here is a VERY simple recipie for seared fish, it works well with any fish but it is outstanding with smaller pan fish like bluegill and perch. To prepare the fish, scale it, then gut it, you can leave the head on, or cut it off the choice is yours. Then take a very sharp knife and score into the skin on both sides three to for small cuts, try to only cut as much into the flesh as necessary.
Now make a rub, here is what you need for it. Scale up or down based on how much you need.
- 2 Tbs Korean Fermented Chili Paste (Gochujang) – Link
- 1 Tbs Ginger Paste (or minced fresh ginger) – Link
- 1 Tbs Lemon Grass Paste – Link – (Check the produce section of your grocery on this one and save money)
- 1 Tbs Garlic Paste – Link
- 1 Tbs Your Choice of Oil – (I like peanut oil for this)
- 1 Tbs Fish Sauce – (This is my favorite brand, I won’t buy anything else) – Link
- Black Pepper (a few grinds – I prefer pure Tellicherry) – Link
Mix the wet ingredients, don’t sweat the quantity too much, to tell the truth I do it by eye. Rub the fish inside and out with this oil paste until fully coated and let it sit for a few hours in the fridge, for best results rub your fish in the morning before you go to work and cook it that night for dinner.
Cook the fish in hot oil, a cast iron skillet or a carbon steel pan is best. Cook until the fish flakes easy and the skin is crisp. The scoring marks will expand and let the oil inside. I like enough oil that about 30% of the thickness of the fish is in the oil. But go by eye. Serve this with stir fry vegetables and a bit of rice. You can thin the left over paste with some saki and soy sauce and add it to the veggies right at the end, this is called reinforcing the flavors. Garnish with thinly sliced chili peppers, cilantro, Thai basil and green onions. Sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds for a nice effect.
The best part? The fins! The tail fins and dorsal (part without bones) are like little crispy fish potato chips! The dorsal fin will pull right out and the meat will come off the bones so easy you will wonder why you ever bother filleting fish at all. You won’t have much waste either, the bones will look like an old cartoon of Tom the cat getting fish bones out of the trash when you are done.
This makes eating smaller fish like perch and pan fish a lot more practical than filleting them as well. So check out the Yamasho Brass Fish Scaler today and hit that little pond down the road and make a meal you can’t even buy in a restaurant out of some of your local panfish.
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