Monday, April 16, 2012

Lesson 4: Prepping Seafood

I didn’t expect to actually enjoy prepping seafood but I did. We started out with sole, a flat fish with thick leathery skin that you can just pull off in one piece. Skinless, what is left is the white flesh, which we filleted by running our knives just clear of the fins, from end to end, with a slight downward angle. To make sure you get most of the flesh, allow your blade to run through the bone with every stroke. Continue until you come up against the backbone.Peel the filet back and run the knife over the lateral line, and continue until the flesh on one side has been filleted. Each side makes two pieces. Cut off the brown parts and just use the white flesh.

After the sole, we worked on a red mullet. The process is almost the same except we kept the skin and removed the sporadic scales with our knives. The red mullet makes a smaller fillet and has more bones in the belly area, which we removed using kitchen tweezers.

We also cleaned out and prepared shrimps, by taking out the head, peeling the shells off and fishing the intestines from its back using a toothpick. It was the first time I’ve seen the toothpick technique.

Last came the squid. We pulled out the head and set it aside. We worked on the body by cleaning out all the fat and gunk inside. We removed the “pen”, a clear film that runs along its torso. We also pulled out the skin to reveal the white flesh. Then we sliced the squid into rings. As for the head, we removed the bulb that contained the sharp beak, and the innards attached to it. Then we sliced the head into two. The ink sac can be found in the innards.

When done, we breaded the squid and shrimps by dipping them in flour then beaten eggs then panko breadcrumbs. We took turns in the deep fryer (make sure it’s hot enough so that the flesh is sealed, keeping its moisture instead of turning greasy).

Chef Kyla prepared a wonderful green dressing made of mayonnaise that she made by hand and blanched-and-squeezed fresh herbs, which she mixed together in the blender.

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