Store Fresh, Eat With Glee

By: Sheng, August 14, 2012 | 0 COMMENTS

Waking up to the soft chiming sounds from my mobile phone, I washed up and quickly prepared myself for the day’s fishing. My fishing buddies and I were travelling to this hot fishing spot, just next to the Senoko fishery port drain. This fishing spot has been featured in local fishing websites and forums due to its variety of fish.

After a light breakfast with my fishing buddies, we travelled in a friend’s minivan and arrive at the spot with the cool morning air rustling through my hair. Unpacking my fishing gear, I tie my fish bait with a knot and cast my new fishing rod to start off this fishing excursion. Along the way, we challenged each other in jest to catch the most fish.

Sure enough, my rod caught onto something after around one hour and was shaking vigorously. I immediately spin my fishing reel in a steady and fast manner to see the curious predator. As my rod start to bend considerably, my mind was completely focused. I was certain of a wonderful catch at the end of the line, trying to get off the hook. Unlike my previous experiences, this promised to be an exciting encounter.

At a glance, a barramundi, popularly known as ‘Kim Bak Lor’, was fighting and popping out of the water surface. After intensive reeling, I manage to subdue the fish and place it in the ice box. This is what makes fishing so appealing to anglers: the unpredictability of the catch and the battle of wits between the fish and the angler.

Four fishes were my bounty, but I chose to keep just one for consumption and released the other three to fight another day. As the sun began to set, we called it a day and hopped onto the minivan back home.

I am really particular about the importance of fish freshness, so I am sharing some storage and cleaning pointers here for amateur anglers to deal with their catches.

Storage

I like to highlight that fresh fish will accumulate slime and affect the overall taste if it is not stored properly. Ensuring the freshness of the fish is not an impossible task, and not necessarily tedious. For short term storage amounting to about 2 days, I would use a kitchen towel and lightly press on the fish to ensure any remaining water is cleared. After storing the fish within a tight lid container, it must be transferred to the refrigerator or insulated ice box containing ice to keep it away from any contact with melted ice water.

For a time frame of 1-2 months, wrap the fish with a layer of aluminium and clear film wrap, to insulate the fish from exposure to the freezer air. Do not simply dump the fish in the freezer as this will spoil the fish.

Cleaning

This is a vital step, as fish scales have an unpleasant texture, and affect the taste of the end product.

To make sure you have a clean fish for consumption, it’s important to learn how to scale, fillet and skin the fish. One additional tip: To ensure I have an easier way of working with the fish and hygiene, a clean work table, a bucket for unwanted fish parts and a container to store the masterpiece are essential.  A pair of fillet gloves, such as the SureCatch Maxguard glove below will help in preventing accidental cuts during filleting.


Scaling

This is a tedious but essential process to making your catch edible. (Good news, it does not require any professional knowledge or tools.) Use one hand to support the fish head and the other to rummage thoroughly with a fish scaler or spoon from tail to head in a straight line manner on a flat surface. All these are carried out by submerging the fish inside cold tap water of the sink. This will ensure the scales flow into the trapper for easy disposal and minimal mess.

Try using the SureCatch fish scaler as shown below.

Link of an excellent visual demonstration by expert Hawaiian chef, Mr Bruce Marnie as below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnBsnRPtNDg

Filleting

Filleting is simply extracting the meat by getting rid of the fish bones, which spares the effort of the exhausting scaling. Highly recommended for use is the SureCatch Blade Master fillet knife, with its thin and sharp blade to slice through fishes effortlessly for quality cuts.  Follow these steps below:

  • After placing the fish on the worktable, cut the fish behind its gills and pectoral fin but not through the backbone.
  • Turn the knife and slice through the ribs towards the tails with the backbone as a guide.
  • Repeat for the other side.
  • Place the knife close to the ribs and remove the rib section of each fillet.
  • Position the skin side of the fish down, and insert the knife  1-2 cm from the tail.
  • Maintain a tight grasp on the fish and put your knife between the skin and meat at a comfortable angle.
  • Exert minimal pressure and maintain a sawing motion for cutting against the skin.
  • Lastly, remove each fillet and wash with cold water for preparation of cooking.
Link of an excellent visual demonstration by expert Hawaiian chef, Mr Bruce Marnie as below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-jW9Msg6J0&feature=relmfu

Skinning

I will recommend this as it can improve the taste of fish. Sharp knives must be used to effectively separate the flesh from the skin. A brief outlook of the steps as below:

  • Place the fish fillet on the worktable with the skin side facing downwards. Insert and cut through the fish tail.
  • Position your knife so that it is almost flat against the worktable and the sharp edge is directing at the fish head.
  • By the tight tugging of the fish skin and the knife’s sharp edge tilted slightly downwards, create and maintain a sawing motion to slice between the skin and fillet. A nicely skinned fillet is awarded for your efforts.
Link of an excellent visual demonstration by Miss Luuvu Hoang below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKledhPdfxk&feature=related

 

 

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