Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to Process 101 lbs of Fish Meat
by Robin

First thing we like to do is keep all the species separated. I use every big bowl I own if need be. Ice is great. Continuously remove excess water as it melts.

We also tend to remove almost every appliance & knick-knack from the countertops. This makes sanitization easier afterwards.

Ok, so Jack grabs a bowl and we begin our work. (Cobia shoulders shown)

He trims bloody parts, removes bones, determines how to best cut the pieces (i.e. steaks, medallions, nuggets). We keep a scrap bowl for disregarded scraps. We used to bag this and give a little each day to our dog, before he passed.

Always have a sharp filet knife & sharpener handy.

After the fish is trimmed, one of us will rinse it clean and give a quick inspection. From the sink, we move it right to another board.

Here are our usually spices that we choose from to season. Not all the fish get the same spices, but we keep everything handy.
Lime juice is in the spray bottle. Everything gets spritz'd & usually garlic powdered.

Here you can see Jack seasoning the grouper.

While he is seasoning, I am making vacuum-packed bags, approx 1 sq ft.
Keep a sharpie handy for labeling all the meats with species and date of catch.
Vacuum & seal.
Sometimes, we'll put the # of pieces in the bag or if it is seasoned specifically for a purpose (i.e. fish tacos).
Then we move onto the next chunk of meat.

After we're done w/ everything and we've frozen back whatever we want to save or have labelled to give to friends, we sanitize the counters twice w/ clorox clean-up. Lots of paper towels. Most the pots, boards & knives get put into the dishwasher and extras get hand-washed.

We have a metal bar of soap that takes the fish smell off our hands. It was a gift so I don't know where she got it but it does work. I have no idea of the chemistry behind it but would love to know how it works.
Soon, we're starving for lunch and my youngest's desire is always for fried fish nuggets. He got grouper here. Warsaw tends to be course, so it's usually seasoned more than some other species.
Jack and I have picked out our mahi steaks and seasoned appropriately.

After they are seared & cooked thoroughly, Jack's secret is to put a tsp of Smart Balance on top for more flavor & it mixes w/ all the juices on the plate.

May everyone be blessed with this much fish in one day's catch.
Jack, our eldest and friend Bill are going offshore again tomorrow. I'd love to go but I'm healing a tender back. My baby and I will go out and stock up on staples to have with our next fish dinner.
Happy Fishing!

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