Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Seafood, Day 2

I have two new characters to introduce:
Sutra, and Army.
Sutra: an 18-year-old originally from Miami, now living up here with his uncle. So named because we have recently discovered that he openly reads from the Kama Sutra before class. Yesterday he walked away, and someone found it on the table, and opened to the bookmarked page – fellatio. Life-like drawing and everything. Of a penis. And a tongue. Look, I don’t have a problem with someone reading up on this. Hell, go ahead, learn more and educate yourself. But before class? And then he comes back and says nonchalantly that he reads it on the El. How creeped out would you be if you realized the guy next to you was reading the Kama Sutra like it was a novel?
Army: This guy definitely rubs me the wrong way. I’ve been debating if I should mention him, but since lately he and I get into spats on an almost daily basis, it might be time to bring him up. I don’t know if he has PTSD, or he just really thinks he is that much more important than the rest of us, or he hates women or everyone, but he irritates me and several other people. Nemo was trying to shove his dishes at me for me to wash them, and I kept saying to him it wasn’t my job because I was on tables, and Army mutters ‘well, I’m on floors but we all have to do our part.’ Which probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s the way he says it, and the fact that Nemo and I were joking around, and this conversation was totally none of Army’s business and he should have kept his thoughts to himself. I mean, why didn’t he tell Nemo to wash his own dishes instead of criticizing me? Army also told me last week to “chill out” when he was the one speaking completely rudely toward me. Another classmate had to walk in-between us to keep me from going at him. He seems to have two moods only: snappy and whiny.
Last night we did trout and salmon. We had to filet two trout and share the salmon in pairs. I almost sliced through my hand. Let me set the scene: the tail end was toward my left, the direction I was cutting toward. I got to the middle of the fish and I was struggling to get my knife to cut through the pin bones so I’m gripping above the tail to pull it taut but it’s still not working – which was a good thing, because I realized that had the knife suddenly started cut through, I would have sliced right through my palm. As Chef says, that would have been Bad. Luckily, I had enough thought process to move my hand. The first one I left too much meat on the vertebrae, but the second one I listened more closely to Chef’s directions, and cut closer along the head before making the 90 degree turn along the vertebrae. That worked a lot better, and I left a lot less on the bone. I seem to be getting through fish a lot faster than I was with other proteins, so I finish ahead of everyone at my table except T. I don’t know why it is faster for me, but I just don’t find it as hard. I did pretty well on my salmon half, and I was pleased with it.
Then we cooked a piece of trout filet. Just salt and pepper on the trout, clarified butter in the pan, brown the skinless side (for presentation), then cook through on the skin side. Remove from the pan, then brown unsalted butter and lemon until it bubbles. Pour over the fish on the plate and serve to Chef. Mine was just slightly overdone, but I’ve never cooked real fish before, so I was pretty proud. I really liked how it tasted. I’ve never truly liked fish before, but this was really good.

Lessons learned:
Butter bubbles. And makes a cool frothy sauce.
When buying fish, you should look for clear eyes (except pike), pink/red gill color, smells fresh and clean, not slimy (except trout), firm, and scales not falling off (if left on). Most likely, if you’re buying at a counter, they’ll filet it for you, but you can also get it drawn (eviscerated), dressed (eviscerated, no scales, and no head), steaks, or traunches.

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