I R Rational meals – Guitarfish Edition
The theme ingredient of the night was shovelnose guitarfish that I had previously caught. The menu consisted of guitarfish-fin and imitation shark fin soup, guitarfish ‘wings’ with sweet onions in a wine and chicken stock reduction, guitarfish wings with a Moroccan inspired tomato sauce, and finally panko and black and white pepper encrusted guitarfish with tomatoes walnuts and pecans.
For the Guitarfish-fin and imitation shark fin soup, the fins of the guitarfish had to first be prepared by boiling them in order to get rid of the skin as well as denticles (the small scales that make the skin feel like sand paper). After the fins are prepared, then the soup is prepared. I first sauteed minced garlic and onions, and then added sliced shitake mushrooms and woodear. After the mixture had cooked, a mixture of mushroom and chicken broth was then added and allowed to boil. Then the guitarfish fins and imitation shark fins were added, followed by hand-shredded chicken, shrimp, and scallops. In the final steps, eggs whites were added, as well as a constrach mixture to thicken the soup. One side note, recently California has banned the use and sale of sharks fin as it is an unethical as well as wasteful process. While sharkfin soup is a delicacy and is important to chinese culture, I find that the sharks fin actually has no taste, and the taste of the soup is dictated more by the quality of broth that is used. The finning process that fisherman use is such a waste as they catch the live sharks, cut the fins off and throw the live shark back into the ocean. Once thrown back, the sharks have no way of swimming which is certain death to most shark species as swimming is the only way they can get water to pass over their gills.
The next dish that was served was the guitarfish ‘wings’ in a wine and chicken stock reduction. After cleaning off the skin from the ‘wings,’ which are the dorsal and caudal fins on the fish that most people throw away, the ‘wings’ are then coated with olive oil and pepper and seared. The wine and chicken stock reduction is made by first sauteing onions and adding the wine and chicken stock, and allowing to simmer until all the alcohol and liquid to evaporate, thus infusing the flavor into the onions. Then some butter and black pepper is added to the onions which is then mixed with the cooked ‘wings.’
The 3rd dish was ‘wings’ with a Moroccan style tomato sauce. The sauce was made by sauteeing minced onions, garlic and parsley. Then chilli flakes, bay leaves, and basil was added, as well as skinned tomatoes and tomato sauce. After the mixture had simmered for a little while then salt, pepper, raisins, and wine vineager was added. This sauce was then put on top of seared ‘wings.’
The last dish consisted of panko and pepper encrusted guitarfish with nuts and tomatoes. The guitarfish meat was first placed in an egg bath, and then coated with a black and white pepper and panko mix, and then pan fried until both sides were golden and crispy. Then the guitarfish was added to sauteed onions, smashed walnuts and pecans, and tomatoes.
The guitarfish tasted like a delicate whitefish, yet did not carry the traditional fishy taste, while also having a firm yet flaky texture. Although guitarfish have cartilage instead of bones, the cartilage still needed to be removed. I believe the favorite of the night was the wings with the Moroccan inspired sauce. The raisins really made the dish, as it added an element of sweetness to the tartness of the tomatoes and vinegar. Guitarfish is something I hope to catch again so that I can cook it again! Anyways, I hope you enjoyed hearing about the food as much as we enjoyed them. Have some pictures to go along with the reading!