Monday, August 29, 2011

Fish Box #1A: Sablefish

The fish of the fortnight was Sablefish! It came with this note about where the fish came from which was interesting: "Sablefish is also known as Black Cod and is brought to us by local fisherman, Don Pemberton, of the F/V Stacy Joanne. To learn more about Don, you can read his bio on the Faces of California Fishing site here." They also recommended a Miso recipe in case you were stuck and not sure what to do with it, but Jerome and I had other ideas. There was enough fish for two meals, so we decided to try two totally different methods and flavours. Jerome took the lead on the first recipe going for an asian style preparation. 

This is how we received the fish, nicely packaged and labelled and brought home in our little cooler. 

It was really beautiful fish. The bones were still in and the skin on, but we left them to remove when we were eating them. The fillets were cut really nicely, and in pretty even portions so we didn't have to worry about them cooking unevenly. We rinsed and patted the fish dry. 

Being the sous-chef, I was instructed to julien the green onions and a whole bunch of ginger. As well as being in charge of cooking the green beans. 

Meanwhile, Jerome was making a marinade from soy sauce, hoisin, black bean paste, sesame oil and green chilies. As well as a homemade 5 spice powder (cinnamon, cloves, star anise, sichuan pepper and fennel).

We poured the marinade over the fish, topping it with the ginger. Just before this we had to plan ahead an figure out how to build our own steamer since we don't have one. We marinated the fish on the plate that would be used for steaming for about 15 minutes. 

Here is our custom steamer. We took our large saucepan, and placed two chopsticks in it. Then we filled it with enough water to not quite cover the chopsticks and brought it to a boil. Once it was ready we placed the  conveniently sized plate on the chopsticks and voila!

We steamed it for about 5-8 minutes until it flaked beautifully when we poked it. 

The final step which Jerome had seen in a youtube video which I can't find was to top it off with green onions then heat up some oil until very hot, and drizzle a tiny bit of the oil on top of everything. It makes this crazy sizzling noise which apparently is the key and it sort of flash cooks the onions where it hits and finishes everything off. 

We were both really impressed and happy with how it turned out. We were apprehensive at first never having cooked this type of fish, and not wanting to ruin it, but  not to worry, it was stellar! The flavours, though strong, didn't overpower the fish, and it was so flaky and moist. 

Stay tuned for part B where I try my hand at baked lemon butter sablefish!  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture Programs

We were lucky enough to have the chance to sign up for two programs through Jerome's work that will be providing us with fresh fish and meat. The first one is a pilot program with Google and The Half Moon Bay (HMB) Fisherman’s AssociationYou can read all about the project here. In essence, we get fresh, sustainably caught, in-season fish fillets every two weeks, which is pretty cool. We don't often cook fish, although we both like it very much. Now we have no excuses!

The second Community Supported Agriculture program we joined is a meat partnership with Google and Marin Sun Farms where we'll get a certain amount of meat once a month in various cuts. The first few months will be grass fed beef and then it will branch off into a variety of other meats including: Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Pork, Turkey, Duck and potentially even Goat. There is also an egg option where you can get free range, organic eggs, but we haven't opted for that part yet, as we don't eat eggs to often.

It seems like a pretty cool set of programs. There is a small green grocer right next to our house, so we should be able to get most of our groceries there now that we won't need to be buying meat as often which will save lots of time and aggravation as we both detest grocery shopping in the big stores.

With our first Fish Box, we received a small insulated cooler and ice packs that we are to bring back for each pickup. We can even exchange unfrozen ice packs for new ones if we've forgotten to freeze them ahead of time. It's kind of nice that they have everything organized for us. Jerome just has to go to a specific place at work between certain hours on the given day, and his package is all labelled and ready for him to pick up and have his name crossed off the list.

At this point we've had our first fish shipment and our first meat shipment, and have documented our fun which will follow shortly.