the underbelly

Gutting a Fish
December 19, 2008, 6:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

After celebrating my new status as a master of journalism, I left New York and headed to the home state of California for a holiday break and to mentally prepare for returning to the City where I will enter the “real world” heavily under employed. For the last few days I’ve been sitting with cats in large leather chairs, catching up on my “Top Gear” and classic “Iron Chef,” drinking with my parents, eating, and cooking.

The latest dinner? A grilled whole Branzini – it’s a Greek fish. When the fishmonger asked me if I wanted them to remove the head, I balked. That’s the best part! Plus this guy had teeth, which are fun to play with. But they didn’t ask me if I wanted them to gut the fish. I didn’t really think about it until I got home and unwrapped the little guy.

I’d never gutted a fish before so I did what any good Sterling does – I looked it up in The Joy of Cooking. But the instructions weren’t so helpful. Take the fish. Cut the fish’s belly open. Remove guts. So I just went at it.

Fish have a lot of a stuff inside of them. And a lot of it would rather stay inside the fish than come out. It was a bit of a battle and ended with me, wrist deep in branzini guts, wrenching out the poor kid’s heart. You don’t really think of fish as having hearts. They do. And they burst if you poke at them hard enough.

Don’t think this experience put me off the fish in any way. I stuffed him full of garlic, thyme and fennel tops and then grilled him until his skin was crisp and his eyes went opaque. Yum. Served with a fennel and mushroom salad, rice pilaf, and a good Chardonnay (the family’s winery, Iron Horse), it was a tasty meal that briefly took my mind off of my current employment status. That said, my hands will never be clean enough. They still vaguely smell like fish guts.


1 Comment so far
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sounds deliciously stinky.

Comment by Resalin

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