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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gas Pipe Tuna, Striped Bass and Let's Go Fishing

Hey Fish Friends,

I had dinner with friends a week or two ago and one of them told me a story about buying beautiful tuna at a local grocery store.  She said the tuna looked fabulous but when she got home and cooked it, it smelled and tasted rotten!  How could this be?

Another friend at the table said, "The first question is why are you buying fish somewhere besides Kathleen's?"  hehehe .  Apparently friend #1 was in a hurry that day and she was already at the grocery store and the tuna looked great and it was cheap!

What's the deal with the tuna?  It was probably gassed.  A lot of tuna processors gas their tuna in a chamber filled with carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide locks the hemoglobins in the fish so that it retains its beautiful color even after is frozen.  And carbon monoxide will enhance the color of tuna so that off-colored looks gorgeously pink/red.

This is called "smoked" tuna as though it is the same thing as "smoked" salmon.  It's not.

In fact, a knowledgeable seafood retailer executive used the term "tailpipe tuna" to describe the process.  Not very appetizing, eh?

Why is gassed tuna so bad?  What's the first thing you do when you are choosing fish from my seafood case?  You LOOK at it!  With gassed tuna, you can not tell the condition of that fish by its looks  because no matter how old it is, it looks mouthwatering.  Additionally, gassed tuna can take an inferior tuna and make it appear to be sushi quality.  This is fraud.

At Kathleen's Catch, we sometimes have tuna in the freezer.  It's not a great seller because it doesn't look beautiful.  It's still delicious, but it is brown.  And that's what ungassed frozen tuna looks like.  Brown.  Not iridescent red.

Your best bet is to buy from someone you trust.  That'd be me.

Last Night's Dinner
Last night's dinner at my house was one of my favorite meals - Striped Bass, on sale this week at Kathleen's Catch.  I just love this fish because when it is cooked, the meat is absolutely snowy white. (Okay - no snow references.  Instead, it is as white as a magnolia blossom.)  

I make a reduction of equal parts red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar - boiling it on the stove until it is the consistency of maple syrup.  

While that's happening, I hydrate a package of the incredible dried mushroom mix we sell.  I'm telling you, this mix makes it look like you spent the day scouring specialty food stores.  Fry them in some hot olive oil with garlic and shallots and toss in some pine nuts and peeled grapes.  YES, peeled grapes!

A prepackaged wild rice dish sauteed with some toasted pecans, chopped carrots and celery and maybe even some of the aforementioned mushrooms comes together in a hurry.

Skin the fish (of course we will do it for you if you ask) and cook in hot oil about 4 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fish.  (10 minutes total per inch of thickness at the thickest part).

It sounds like a lot of work but it's really not.  While that reduction is working, the rest of the meal goes together pretty quickly.  Well, except for peeling the grapes.

Fishing in the Northeast
Feel like doing some fishing but you worry because you can't swim?  Want to get out on the ocean but you have trouble with seasickness?  Get yourself up to Maine and hop aboard a lobsterman's boat. No seasickness or falling overboard - just a pleasant, worry-free day on the water.

Not a lot of fishing going on up north these days...



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