Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Butterfish, A Tricky Fish

Once I realized that my dream of a myriad of soft shell crabs was thwarted, I decided that I'd still get some other kind of treat from the sea. I noticed some white steak-ish fish with the label 'Butterfish (escolar).' And knew that I liked butterfish/escolar from sushi joints and a particularly memorable Modo Mio meal. I asked for a small steak, which ended up weighing a little less than half a pound. The day after my lunch of crabs, I got down to the business of rubbing truffle olive oil over the fish as well as a coating of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Then I grilled it. I ate about half of what was seen here and I gotta tell you, each bite was straight off the chain delicious. It's referred to as butter fish because of the way its flesh not-quite-literally melts in your mouth. It's got a really great mouth feel and overall flavor profile, and the slight hint of truffle really complemented it (if I do say so myself).
The one thing I didn't know about butterfish/escolar, which I only know now because I decided to do a little more research, is this: butterfish has the potential to be quite unpleasant and embarrassing. Now, for the record, I didn't experience any of what the article mentions. I experienced the joy of a fish well cooked. I think this was because I ate about a 6 oz portion or smaller, which is what they say you can safely consume without the awful side effects. I routinely eat things with at least small risks attached: oysters, tar tar, sushi, etc, so I think I would have taken the chance even if I had known beforehand. But before my research I had dreams of demonstrating my awesome fish cooking prowess for friends. I imagined them ooohing and ahhhhing. I imagined them gripping tables out of joy and amazement at the magic happening in their mouths. I was practically giving myself an award for exposing friends to such a delectable and not as well known treat. But after learning that I might be sending them home to get uncomfortable. Well. The fish was off the table. I have adventurous friends, but I think most would be weirded out if I said "Here, have this delicious fish. I am giving you a very small portion to ensure you don't suffer from anal leakage." I think most folks would just pass. Then I would be hurt because they didn't trust me not to get them sick (but not really, I would understand but I'd be sad). All to say that if you aren't a squeamish eater, or have a sensitive set of organs, and know what six ounces or less looks like, I'd still suggest you check out the butterfish. But I'd be curious to know whether you'd unleash it on others?

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