August 8, 2010

At the fish boil.

Traditional, Lake Superior style.

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26 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

Is this whitefish? How was it? Yummy or meh?

Fred4Pres said...

I assume the message of the picked over plastic lunch patters is yummy.

Bob_R said...

I never did a real fish boil while I was up there. Had the basic theme at restaurants once or twice, but not the real deal. I expect it could be good if the fish was still twitchin when it went into the pot. If not, a little more doctoring is in order.

EDH said...

"At the fish boil."

Being from New England, my first thought when read that was of a fish with a pustule, and about as appetizing.

;)

Irene said...

There's an old saying at our house: "'Fish boil' is 'boiled fish'."

Beth said...

Y'all boil your fish? I need to understand this.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, they boil the fish. Seems absurd, but there is so much fish in the pot that it doesn't come out water-logged. More like steamed. You ladle melted butter on it, so I don't really see the point. Why not fry the fish? We have fish fries in Wisconsin too, but fish boil is something I wanted to sample. I think it's mainly just a very efficient way to cook your fish and potatoes (and onions) over a fire) when you have large quantities.

Ann Althouse said...

The fish is whitefish, caught in Lake Superior that morning of the day of the boil.

Palladian said...

Cooking a large quantity of fish in water like that probably quickly turns the water into a rich fish stock which in turn makes all the fish taste better. Similar to a bouillabaisse, though that doesn't boil, rather simmers.

Ann Althouse said...

"a rich fish stock which in turn makes all the fish taste better"

Yes, that makes sense. Similar to the idea of pot roast/boiled beef.

Ann Althouse said...

"a rich fish stock which in turn makes all the fish taste better"

Yes, that makes sense. Similar to the idea of pot roast/boiled beef.

Penny said...

OK, well Palladian made this all better for me. Infused fresh fish taste, with a heaping load of browned butter to dip it in.

That last part was my own Pennsylvania Dutch heritage addition.

We called it "Poor Man's Lobster".

Fred4Pres said...

The boil part does not sound appealing, but when you start thinking of it like steaming or stock, it sounds better.

Of course, what really matters is taste.

Penny said...

To continue that Poor Man's Lobster story...

It was only well into adulthood that I realized that browned butter can make ANYTHING taste like a rich man's dish.

Heck, there was even "Poor Man's Cabbage"!

Fred4Pres said...

I have boiled rockfish in Alaska, come to think of it. We did it in beer and it is slightly like lobster. Butter or olive oil with garlic helps.

Although boiling spot prawns, mussels, and crab is better.

Penny said...

Unfortunately...I got only enough to watch a few poor men die from all that browned butter.

They died licking their lips. :P

Beth said...

I thought of bouillabaisse - is the water seasoned? Stocked with some onions, lemons, bay?

For some reason, crab, clam, crawfish, and shrimp boils sound right; fish boil, less so. The steaming image is better; I can see that being appetizing.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

Fred4Pres said: "The boil part does not sound appealing, but when you start thinking of it like steaming or stock, it sounds better."

Come to think of it, most so-called "boiled" dishes and "boiled" dinners aren't actually boiled. Take Pot au Feu for instance: it's cheap cuts of beef simmered for a long time in a very rich stock. But I never break a boil on mine. Like everything "boiled", it's brought up to almost-boiling, a simmer, and kept at that point for a long time. Boiling things at a rolling boil, beyond 215º F, just produces tough meat. And some things I don't even "simmer": when I make stock, I keep it at 195-200º F, which is just at the point that bubbles slowly rise to the surface and break, for many hours. This produces a clear and very rich stock. Boiling produces a murky and (to my taste) sour stock. I don't "boil" hard-boiled eggs either, rather I "coddle" them for 17 minutes in water that's brought up to 215º and then taken off heat.

Penny said: "It was only well into adulthood that I realized that browned butter can make ANYTHING taste like a rich man's dish."

The secret to perfect madeleines de Commercy is the addition of browned butter. A lovely taste.

Fred4Pres said: "I have boiled rockfish in Alaska, come to think of it"

Rockfish makes a wonderful fish stock. So many "throw it back" fish make the best stock.

Penny said...

Talking about the goodness of browned butter without sharing exactly how to make some...well...just not right.

Put a large quantity of butter in a pan and melt. When it starts "spitting", pay close attention, but continue to keep the heat on.

Magically, and soon enough, things calm down and the color slowly changes from yellow to amber.

This is the hard part. Leave it on for ten seconds after that. It browns and begins to smell "nutty".

If you've never tasted it before...

You're welcome!

Fred4Pres said...

I did not boil the rock fish completely. I fileted it and threw those in. They puffed up like lobster in texture.

I love Singapore fishhead soup. That is usually made with a snapper/onaga head. Here is the Vancouver recipe with Ling Cod. Ling cod is a wonderful eating fish, so I am sure it would be great for fish head soup.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Does a Superior style fish boil differ from a Door County style fish boil? I always thought the best part of a Door County fish boil was the cherry pie dessert.

k*thy said...

Bushman, they are one in the same. Think of it as the Great Lakes’ (Wisconsin/Scandinavian fishing village)answer to the New England clambake.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Thanks K*thy!

chuck b. said...

Would that be a podium the boiler is on?

former law student said...

I expect it could be good if the fish was still twitchin when it went into the pot.

With really fresh fish I wait for the rigor mortis to pass before cooking.