I have heard that all wild fish taste different – they are gamey – a quality I am slowly learning to appreciate. By living in a city, I hardly get to eat anything that is both non-commercial and wild. Hence, an invitation to savor a wild-caught bounty from Hudson River was a rare opportunity.
The allure of fishing lies somewhat due to the fact that it is a quiet and enduring pursuit of unknown – we don’t know if a trout or mackerel or anything at all would be our meal as the result. The wild-caught fish I was getting for dinner was trout. I’ve heard that the rainbow trout are the best tasting freshwater fish in the United States. But do they taste different than their store-bought counterparts?
My chef’s mom used to steam-bake the whole fish. We stuck with the method, stuffing the fish with a mixture of sautéed garlic, crushed almonds, mayonnaise, some knickknack spices, freshly grounded back peppers, and sea salt. Trout were topped with sliced lemons, then carefully wrapped in stapled wax paper pouch, and cooked for approximately thirty minutes at three hundred fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooked trout retained its delicate flavor. Other additions acted more like a side condiment, optional to use, not necessary. Wild trout seemed to have a superior flavor, better texture, as well as lively color than their mass “hatchery” produced cousins. A better flavor may be due to romantic notion or really because the wild ones eat fresh natural diet while the stocked ones are largely fed on fish pellets.
The experience of eating wild food reminded me where our food really comes from. Most people in this world grow, fish, hunt, or at least cook their food from scratch. On contrary, most of us struggle with even properly nuking a frozen box of entrée from Trader’s Joe. We import higher percentage of seafood than oil in this country. Are we eating too much easy fish?
At the end of the meal, my chef asked me playfully how much these wild fish fetch in a DC restaurant? I didn’t answer, but quietly thought the experience of eating non-commercial wild-caught fish is far valuable than market price of fish.
Posted in: Cooking |