Thursday, August 16, 2018

Learning to cook!

Tuesday we were able to get a chance to see how to prepare flounder! We got to watch an amazing chief, by the name of Basil, prepare two flounders right in front of us! One of them, he decided to filet and pan fry, while the other he wanted to just cook whole! Lemme tell you, if you were in that kitchen and smelled that, your stomach would be roaring to eat it in no time. When I say this, I mean it. When I left my house, I had just eaten, but as soon as these flounder hit the oil, my stomach was rumbling for food. Looking at the uncooked fish, you would never have known just how good that fish was going to be! My only wish was that we had a bit of rice to go along with all of it.

Final look of the filets
The first step Basil did was to filet the smaller of the two flounder. He showed us how to correctly filet one because they are very weird due to being a flat fish and not having the same amount of meat on each side. The first thing you do is to cut right at the shoulder... "Wait, fish have shoulders?" is what you must be asking yourself right now, but no, the shoulder refers to the part right next to the head of a fish where the gills and meat interact. So, a nice cut there, and then made a nice neat slice down to the tail. At this moment, both him and Bruce reminded us about the importance of a sharp knife when doing this. As we watched, Basil told us to listen to the knife scraping along the bones. If you ever dragged a stick or bottle along a metal fence while passing it, that is exactly how it sounds. The next part was to skin the filets, and he did this by cutting a small piece at one side of the filet and sliding his knife along the skin under the meat, and separating them. Moving those aside, he got rid of the guts and gills from the rack, the bones, head and tail, and threw it into a pot of water to make a fish stock.

Final look of the Whole Fish!
The second, and larger fish was going to be cooked whole. For this, Basil cut into the fish and sliced it open in order to remove all the guts. What a sound that made! But my did that fish look tasty then! Open stomach, guts falling out, and a nasty liquid that was probably from the stomach. At that point, I think everybody was hungry from the anticipation. Basil asked us if we wanted to keep the head on or not when we cooked it. Everybody said no, but for me, I think it would have been kinda cool for it to happen, but unfortunately, I was alone in that thought, so we cut the head off. After that, Basil cut the tail and fins off just so we didn't have to worry about them in the food. The final part was to scale and wash the fish.

For the spices on the fillets, we salted and peppered them, and "derging," which is just putting the fish into flour, and then pan frying them. For the whole fish, he cut slits into the fish so it would cook faster, and put lemons, parsley and thyme into the stomach cavity to give it some more flavoring, but again, salted and peppered. For the whole fish, we started with pan frying to get a nice color and texture on both sides of the fish. but once it had good coloring, Basil placed it into his oven, which was not working 100% but got the job done, and let it sit in there for the remainder of the time until the fillet were done cooking.

Just too GOOD!!!
Wanting more fish now...

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