A Fish Cook

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Have some potato soup on this freezing night to warm you up. Taste a potato again for the first time and let me tell you what it is you need to know about fish. For the next time you go shopping.

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Cookbooks will generally classify fish in three ways. First, is the fish from salt-water or fresh water, the ocean or a river or lake, say. Is it a mako shark or a pike?
Second, is the fish oily or non-oily. Oily fish include the likes of anchovies, salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout and herrings. Examples of non-oily fish are hake, pollock and monkfish.

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And thirdly, is the fish flat or round. Flatfish species include sole, flounder, dab, turbot and halibut. Species of round fish are cod, bass and grouper. And let’s not at all forget shellfish.

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Dinner thus far: Coarsely pureed potato soup with little chunks. Because it is frigid outside, I added some Allepo pepper for some warmth. The pepper is named after a town in Syria. Next up were some skillet seared sea scallops seasoned with rosemary, chili flakes and chunks of sea salt. Once roasted, all they need is some lemon juice and olive oil.

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There is another method of classification that the books do not really get into and that is economics.

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Economics. Fish is expensive. Personally, I do not want to buy fish that has been flown in no matter how good it is. No New Zealand green lip mussels, no Chilean sea-bass, no squid from China. No jet-fresh sardines from Europe.

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If it is true to say that are costly fish which might even be called “luxury fish”, there are plenty of others that will give the simple home cook brilliant opportunities for first-class dishes.

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Another way to classify fish…….do you really need it or can you get by. Sometimes, I get in the mood for fish, go to buy and it looks like, well………I walk on by. And do without.

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My attitude and philosophy is buy the absolute freshest fish you can. And treat it simply. Simple cooking is perhaps the highest form of sophistication and will never go out of style or vogue.

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Simple cooking is that moment when you are being served at a restaurant, the calmness that envelopes the table. Actually, that serenity is brought on by the fore knowledge of the impending cliff of your dinner tab.

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Tonight’s supper was all New England seafood. For the sole fillets I made the breadcrumbs from scratch and seasoned them with salt, black pepper, chili pepper flakes, oregano, parsley, garlic and lemon zest. The lemon probably has a high carbon foot-print. No Scurvy here. My vegetable sides were sauteed kale and Macomber turnips. Macomber turnips are a big local favorite here in Massachussets. They are originally  from the town of Westport, Mass and named after the Macomber brothers.Thank you for looking at my cooking efforts.

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