Lesson 8: Fish fabrication, fish stock & soup

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I knew that there would be days in culinary school that I would not enjoy so much....... today was one of those days.  I felt a little anxious today knowing that I would have to filet a fish and probably take out the fish guts and get a little dirty, but I was also sorta excited to learn what to do with a whole fish.  I rarely cook fish, since I just started liking fish about a year ago... so I knew today would be an interesting experience.

The day started out with a paper cut and  a little cut on my knuckle from sharpening my knife.. plus I had a band-aid on my thumb from a cut I got over the weekend that keeps opening up.  All of the band-aids on my fingers did not make cutting up a fish that much easier.  We spent the first hour and a half of class chopping veggies and herbs for our stock and soup.  Then Chef lectured us about fish and stocks and demonstrated how to fabricate sole.  We each took a whole sole and got ready to cut out 4 filet's, take out the guts, clean out all the blood and reserve the bones and head for the fish stock.  I was doing okay with my gross, slimy fish until it came down to taking the guts out.  Let's just say it was a messy experience.  At one point, me and another girl were over the sink trying to get all the guts out, but they just weren't coming out!!!  I felt so nauseous with the overwhelming smell of fish.. I was not a happy camper. Here's a picture of the whole sole.. My hands were yucky the rest of the time so I couldn't get pictures of the other fish.

The next fish we filleted was the bass.. This one was a little easier because it was already gutted.  Then we filleted a mackerel.  This fish was very soft and buttery.  It's a sushi-grade fish so students were trying it raw with a little lemon juice.  I would have tried it if I didn't feel so sick.  Taking the filet's out of this fish was pretty easy, but taking the skin off was more difficult. Because of its buttery texture, it kept falling apart as I tried to slice off the thin layer of skin.

Finally we cleaned up our stations and learned how the fish stock was made.  Chef let a white mirepoix sweat in a large stock pot, then added chicken stock, white wine, a bouquet de garni, and the fish bones.  We strained the stock and added some of it to the our fish soup.  Our fish soup contained a ton of veggies that we chopped up in the beginning of class and fresh herbs. Here's a picture of the soup simmering (without the fish added).

We added the fish pieces at the very end (a mixture of sole and bass).  It was a delicious soup, but I just loaded up on bread today since I still wasn't feeling too good.  I brought a large container home with me though!  On the train ride home I definitely felt like I smelled like fish! AAAnd of course I was smushed in the middle of a 3 seater during the whole ride home.  I felt bad for the 2 guys sitting next to me.. They were probably wondering where the fishy smell was coming from.. ME :(

I had sauteed swish chard with beans when I came home which made me happy!  And I took a nice long shower so I no longer smell like fish :)

Tomorrow's another interesting day... shellfish!


Jen Zick said...

Shellfish would be my least favorite day...obviously...! I think I may even have to skip a day of reading your posts!

La Bella Cucina said...

if you had a taste of the shellfish soup we made today, it would kill you... i did think of you when my teacher asked "is anyone allergic to shellfish??" i knew that you would have to skip this day!

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