20 December 2011

Day 65: Taking Fish By the Guts

Fabricating fish is, technically, a simpler process than fabricating chicken. However, two things make me never want to buy fish whole, no matter how much more economical it might be: scales and guts.

Scaling – descaling? – a fish is, again technically, pretty easy. Hold fish, sweep from back to front with knife, scales fly off. Therein lies the sticky, smelly rub. The scales fly everywhere. It's like an explosion of whatever fish scales are made of. They have amazing range and even better stickiness. I was scratching an itch several hours after the fact only to realize I had a single fish scale dried to my forearm.

Oh yeah, there are also the scales on top and bottom. The ones right next to the dorsal and pectoral fins, which have spiny protrusions that provide structure and can also poke right through your skin.

The other issue is the guts, which tend to stick to each other. There is only the matter of not slicing them open and unleashing whatever nasty stomach contents or green glandular fluids inhabit them.

Other than that, pretty easy. Score behind the fins, knife open the belly, yank and pull guts, follow the bones to fillet. Or you could simply buy fish in many of its fabricated market forms, which we also learned about.

Fun fact: a fish with its head, tail, scales, and guts removed is referred to as a "dressed" fish, in spite of the fact that it is most certainly as undressed as a fish can be before it officially becomes a steak or fillet.

Thank you, Internet.

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