Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Years ago, just to piss-off a food purist who had joined our group when we decided to go have sushi (I didn't invite the shmendrik, someone else did), I told the staff at the restaurant to "deep fry that sucker". And, being Chinese and running a cheap sushi dive in the bowels of the industrial hinterlands of San Jose, that is what they did. When 'Whitey' wants it dumped in the fryolator, we will do that for 'Whitey'.

We'll even ask him if he wants the avocado and crab roll battered first.

That person never "volunteered" to join us again.
We enjoyed dining there many more times.

Most people are not food purists.

Fetishists, yes, definitely.

As well as food-phobic.

With that in mind, I offer the following list of six aquatic creatures that are extraordinarily good to eat, as well as very healthy, secure in the knowledge that most white people in the United States are so darned scared of fish that they will do nothing with the knowledge, except perhaps deepfry something and serve it with tartar sauce.

"Hey Mom, lookit, we're eating fish!"

Six healthy aquatic beasts.

In order:

1. Mackerel.
2. Tuna.
3. Salmon.
4. Oysters.
5. Sardines.
6. Herring.

[SOURCE: Telegraaf - De zes gezondste vissoorten.]

They are nutritious and delicious. I will not offer any recipes. Either you already know what to do with these, OR you don't, and encouraging you will deplete the supply available to the rest of us.
Nobody wants that.
Just keep buying canned tuna.
It's good for you.

It's a pity that eel, mussels, and crab didn't make the list. But who knows what the seventh and beyond are, maybe they did. I think the reason why the list ended at six is because of herring.
Which is the very nicest fish in the world.

Start with mackerel. End with herring.
That's beauty right there.

For more on those two items, see here:
Mackerel is not herring.

Further to herring, permit me to quote from a blogpost written several years ago which, for some odd reason, pulls in nothing but perverted readers living in places like Russia and Abu Dhabi. Those people aren't my favourite demographic, so I will carefully omit all terms that might excite them. Especially late at night.


Edible herring is green. Meaning so lightly cured as to be by American standards raw, by Midwestern standards unidentifiable, and by Dutch standards food for the soul.

Or as you might know it, a 'matje'.

Matje means a herring caught in mid to late summer, from Middle Dutch ‘maagdje’ (little virgin), modern Dutch demotic ‘maatje’ – in reference to their not having spawned yet. The reason matjes are prized is because in summer they will have recovered from winter (during which they do not eat) and have stored up fat, often having a fat content of over twenty percent, and are in consequence tasty and toothsome.

In the Netherlands (and to a far lesser extent Germany and Scandinavia) the favoured treatment is removal of the gills, throat, and internal organs, with the exception of the alvlees klier (pancreas), whose enzymes will help ‘cure’ the fish. Immediately upon gutting it is lightly salted and packed in a cold place to ripen. The more salt is used, the longer it can be ripened.

According to Dutch food laws, it must be frozen (quick-freezing is best, as it keeps the flesh firm) for two days before being sold to the consumer, so as to kill the herring nematode. Hence those tasty fillets which you purchase from Van Altena’s spotlessly clean stand in front of the Rijks Museum will be completely safe – the more so because the merchant in question is well-known for the care with which he treats his fish, thawing them properly and keeping them chilled, nicely trimming and cleaning the fillets, and even chopping the onions precisely for the right flavour. Mr. Van Altena is an artist. A national treasure.

[Note: Piet Van Altena no longer sells herring in front of the Rijks Museum. He requested another water line to his stand in order to maintain his reputation for absolute cleanliness. 
A reasonable request, which was summarily refused. So he packed up and retired. 
Screw you, Amsterdam.]

In the the country districts away from the coast, the preference is for a saltier herring – probably because in the olden days only those held up well when transported. Traditionally the herring sellers would board the trains with buckets of herring to be sold out in the hinterlands, at the consumer’s doorstep. The delicacy beloved in Amsterdam would have been long spoiled by the time it was eaten under those circumstances.

The method used by the Dutch and Flemish for herring was discovered by Willem Beukelszoon Van Biervliet in 1380. Leaving the pancreas in ensures a fish which is tastier and keeps longer – in summer the pancreas produces a surfeit of enzymes which assist in the conversion of food to fat. And the fat gives the fish its divine flavour.

[Originally posted on Thursday, June 29, 2006.]

A shot of chilled Dutch gin ('Genever') is a marvelous addition to your herring feast. As indeed it is to any fine seafood meal.
But lacking that, ice-cold vodka.

Herring for breakfast.

I could do that.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


e-kvetcher said...

Try to deep fry this sucker!

Ari said...

This article on Soylent meal replacement shakes -- consumed by San Franciscan programmers -- will simultaneously amuse and horrify: http://nyti.ms/1FQjxL9

The back of the hill said...


That is one ugly fish. What is it, anf how does one cook it?

The back of the hill said...


They need to come out with a version that tastes just like chicken.

I still wouldn't consume it myself. But I would egg other people on.

The back of the hill said...


I had braised meatballs and mustard greens for dinner. Total prep and eat time: 40 minutes.

I could have put it in a blender. But that would have ruined the wonderful textural effect.

e-kvetcher said...

It's a Monkfish (also called Sea-Devil for obvious reasons). How to cook Monkfish

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