Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wild salmon


Feeling full of pep after my gym session (I go every other day and am one month in...only about halfway through my workout do I stop resenting the fact that I am there), I stopped on my walk home and bought this slab of wild salmon as a treat. A treat because it is expensive, but I don't like the idea of farm-raised fish unless it is organic, and that is sometimes hard to come by. Then I picked up some oranges, which turned out to be the pretty Cara Cara ones, pink inside, and loads of lemons.


I pressed the citrus using the old fashioned method, and reduced the juice with ginger to form the basis of the sauce, which I later poured over the just-cooked fish in its hot pan. And the fish I seasoned only with soy, prior to searing skin side down and then sliding into a 400'F/200'C oven for a few minutes.

It was mouthmeltingly good.


Funny that eating fish has become a treat. It's a problematic resource.

- For two sites that help you determine how sustainable your fish-for-supper might be, visit the Sustainable Fish side bar at 66 Square Feet (the Food) -

16 comments:

  1. the lamb stew below with ancho chili, and this fish dish delish.. oh see, my mind has melted.

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  2. Tell me about it. I eat fish about once every 2 months, as a treat (when I can find sustainably harvested/SASSI green listed). It breaks my heart. I am supremely jealous of your salmon! It is a total favourite of mine, and haven't eaten a slab of salmon for longer than I can remember.
    Sigh. Savour vs. Save? (musings from Rupert).

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    1. One of my finest 'savour' moments was about year ago when a friend cooked perfect kabeljou for us. Every delicious bite was a guilty one.

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  3. Funny you post this today, because I realized last night we hadn't had fish in forever so I spent a good chunk of the evening researching the best (health wise and sustainability wise) salmon to buy, and it was tough going! I ended up ordering Verlasso (http://www.verlasso.com) from FreshDirect, but I still feel a little iffy about it...

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    1. J - indeed. It ain't even funny how hard it is to eat the right fish. Apart from fish farm pollution of the environment, and the hormones farmed fish are fed, there's the major sustainability issue of wild-caught fish and shellfish. We have stopped eating blue fin tuna, never eat sword fish, Chilean sea bass, or red snapper, have stopped eating cod, and try to buy freshfreshfresh mackerel or local bluefish in season.

      I've just depressed myself.

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  4. Sigh... I just slap my salmon in the oven for 15 minutes... No searing or whatever... Guess that's why I'll never be a cook.

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    1. That's basically what I did, apart from the 'sauce.' We needed a ginger injection. It beats the blahs.

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  5. I never know how to cook fish anyway so I'm sitting out this round.

    Unless someone wants to take me out for sushi.

    Can we still eat sushi?

    xo j.

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    1. But you are the bouillabaisse queen? When in doubt, stick it in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes.

      Sushi. If we avoid tuna. And snapper. And shrimp. And probably a whole lot of other stuff. And I love the tuna :(

      There are always regional exceptions.

      But eating fish is far harder to eat responsibly, surprisingly, than eating sustainably-raised meat, even if it is healthier (the fish).

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  6. Nice work on the sustainable links. Getting sustainable seafood really is getting harder and requires some care. Don't know how many of your readers are from Southern Africa, but SASSI have a great website with search facility: http://www.wwfsassi.co.za

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    1. Thanks, Donovan! I didn't know about their site.

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    2. ...and the fishy business is confusing,too. On SASSI kabeljou (kob, Argyrosomus hololepidotus, or is it Argyrosomus inodorus?) is on the green list. I was under the impression that it was threatened, and some other sources support that.

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    3. I should also have mentioned the incredibly useful SASSI SMS line (South Africa 0794998795)- just text them a fish name (any variant) and you will get an immediate SMS response listing proper ID, and fishery sources and green/orange/red status of each. This gets around some of the diatribe below, although for some reason that service is not easy to find on their site or well known.

      You're right, it is surprisingly difficult. I think they've made the website/paper list a little too complex, but there's no way to get around that sustainability and therefore the colour coding used, must apply to each unique combination of fish and fishery, so a species can be green and orange and red depending on where it comes from. Beware when doing homework that their search engine is a little clunky, putting in 'cob' doesn't give as complete set of results as e.g. 'Kabeljou'.

      Dusky cob (Argyrosomus japonicus) is the species most commonly sold as cob in the Cape, and it's probably the most confusing of all, with four different fisheries listed. However, the only green / sustainable option is land-farmed, and most sellers will be able to tell you if this is the source since they will have gone to some trouble to get it.

      Since very few suppliers and even fewer restaurants can tell you what fishery the fish came from, deciding on some choices can be even harder, and we tend to stick to safe bets like yellowtail.

      Another huge challenges is even properly identifying the fish. Almost every restaurant DNA tested here and globally suggests that in places more than half fish sold is not what the restaurateur says it is...

      The only way this will change is if people start asking hard questions about fish type and source, no matter how frustrating it is in the beginning.

      Also beware that we've discovered several restaurants giving the right fish ID and claiming the fish is SASSI green, but a quick check show's that it's actually red list.

      It's not hopeless though, people's behaviour is changing, so keep spreading the good word.

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  7. I made this for dinner tonight Marie. Delish ! I added just a tough of soy sauce & a teeny bit of brown sugar to the citrus/ginger sauce. Served the salmon with a stir fry of baby bok choy, snow peas & carrot with a drizzle of sesame oil at the end. Two thumbs up from the Prince - I love your recipes and so look forward to many books to come. xo Susan & gang

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    1. How lovely. You are clever, too - I also added a bit of sugar to the citrus :-)

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