Fish in the hands of a skilled cook can become an inexhaustible source of gustatory pleasures.
– Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste (1825)
Using salt to draw out the moisture in fish is a technique of preservation that almost every civilisation in human history has employed. The Mesopotamians did it, and passed their techniques on to the ancient Greeks and Romans (who gave us our word cure, from the Latin curare, meaning “to take care of”). First Nations people along both coasts have used salting as their primary mode of preservation along with smoking and sun-drying. It’s the same story with the Portuguese, Irish, Scots and especially the Scandinavians throughout most of their respective histories. Read More
It’s amazing how much edible stuff you can squeeze out of one fish head! I’ve got the cheeks, a bowl full of meat scraped from behind the mantle and a big pot full of shimmering fish stock. It’s getting darn cold outside, so I’m going simple, rustic and warming by combining all these fishy bits into a hearty Westcoast Halibut Chowder. Read More
I returned home from work the night after Halloween to find a severed head in my fridge.
It was arranged on a plate next to the celery, eyes bulging, mouth agog with still-glistening tongue half protruding the way I’d imagine a strangulation victim’s would. It wasn’t a person’s head of course; it belonged to a fish, a really big fish… But it was still kind of a shock.
While I was at the restaurant, Crystal’s sister had stopped by with a present from the clan in Ucluelet. Uncle Chuck had landed a huge Halibut and (because he’s awesome!) shipped it over to us, packed in ice. Lisa had spent the afternoon processing the beast and once it was down to nothing but guts ‘n gills she figured I’d take care of the rest. She was absolutely right! It’s just the kind of weird stuff I love doing on a weekend. Read More
Andrew and Nikki, our awesome neighbours across the street were kind enough to slip me a big chunk of sockeye from their last fishing trip with only the promise to “do something good with it” in return. I love my neighbourhood!
The next day was surprisingly warm and clear so I caught up on the last of the garden maintenance – Pull those last two carrots, rake the lawn, hit the gutters – and started plotting dinner a little early. I’d collected a couple big armfuls of fennel stalks, some fresh and some dried from last year (they make great garden staves!) and I wanted to cook with ‘em. My mind was already set on grilling outdoors; I just needed a plan of attack. Read More