Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oh Moi God!

One of the last lines for me to cross in the kitchen has been cooking whole fish, if for no other reason than knowing juvenile-humored me might giggle through the delicate if unfortunately named operation de-boning, lose control of the knife, and cut myself in a fit of silly sniggering. That could only get worse when confronted with Polydactylus sexfilis on my cutting board. Luckily, I hadn't met the fish in Latin until just now, for the wonderful worker at Kanaloa was just willing to introduce me to moi as a special, snapper-like fish from Hawaii. That's moi as in oy, not moi as in bwaah (and yes, I just tried to make a Raving Rabbids joke, a wii little joke, you might say). The worker at the fish shop told us she was from Hawaii herself and was amazed they had the fish in, and was taking some home for herself.

Once we saw them, beautifully silver and spotted, and were told the store could scale and gut them, we could not take a couple home.

Sure enough, I had remembered seeing a gorgeous whole fish recipe in one of our cookbooks, and off I went in search of that. Should have figured it would be in Gordon Hammersley's Bistro Cooking at Home, one of our favorites (which includes our go-to roast chicken recipe and our go-to braised short ribs recipe). We tinkered a bit with it--subbing in fresh shiitakes for the dried--but otherwise, his snapper became our moi. Nothing like cooking with a sauce rich in Chinese five-spice to make the house itself seem edible. But then there were sugar snap peas and bok choi and ginger and garlic and scallion and red pepper and finally fish after baking that looked like this:

It tasted better, though. It was easy to pull the succulent white flesh from the bone, after eating through one side then pulling out the skeleton, almost whole, and then devour the second half. It's easy to see why it was long the favored fish of Hawaiian royalty.



Blogger CLD said...


6:13 AM  
Blogger Smitty said...

3 things strike me.

1) I must have that fish recipe.

2) I must have that short rib recipe.

3) I must have that roasted chicken recipe.

Maybe what I "must have" is that cook book.

Also, in regards to your comment on my blog:

Of your list, I loved Catch 22. I read it in my high school AP Lit class, and have since read it multiple times. I really enjoy it. Shakespeare is obvious, and believe it or not, I have read that Faulkner book (I sometimes struggle with his writing). Of your list...what one would you most highly recommend of those I haven't read? Just curious. As you have helped me expand my musical horizons, so I ask you for literary expansion as well!

6:41 AM  
Blogger Queen Whackamole said...


(fwap fwap fwap fwap)

wv: revela=person who wins at wii

9:14 AM  
Blogger George said...

The Queen is mean.

Yes, Smitty, get that cookbook--still in print if Amazon can be trusted. We make tons of its recipes regularly. And I left a response about the books on your blog so won't repeat myself here.

9:58 AM  
Blogger ahab said...

What's wrong with the way the fish looks? It looks delicious.

I don't cook much whole fish either. I love it out, though.

(Oh, I'll note here what I've been meaning to tell you about our Paris trip. I fully intended to try your cassoulet place, but we never got west of Musee D'Orsay. Next time.)

11:37 AM  
Blogger ahab said...

Do you think it'll still be there in ten years?!

11:39 AM  

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