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Ordering From Your Local Fishmonger?

by Kristina
(Jacksonville FL)

Hello - I am new to cooking whole fish, and just learning my way around the local fishmonger shop. I had purchased pre-cleaned whole trout from the local grocery last fall, and had wonderful success with grilling it my first time at whole fish. Since I've tried two more times with what I believe to be fresher fish from my local fishmonger, but both times I was disappointed with the results. Both times I've asked the fishmonger to clean the fish, but it is becoming apparent to me I am not asking for the correct type of cleaning. Both times I've gotten home, and the fish was indeed scaled and gutted, but still had full bones/vertebra. I'm a relatively experienced cook and comfortable with a knife (though not so much with fish, and attempted to debone the fish myself...disaster.
My question is, how do I ask my fishmonger to clean my fish including deboning while leaving the skin and tail (and possibly head?) on? My fishmonger is a very busy and noisy place, and I don't want to hold the mad rush up...please help!
Thank you,
Kristina

Answer
Hi Kristina

Just tell them you want your fish cleaned and deboned.

Cooking the fish with the bone-in adds some extra flavor to the fish. Most fish after being cooked are really easy to debone before you serve them.

Thanks for visiting the cookingfishmonger
Frank

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Bones and flavour
by: Keith Robinson

I don't have taste buds sensitive enough to detect any difference, but if it is true I suspect the bones do not "add" any flavour at all, they merely hinder it being lost. Food loses its flavoursome juices at the surface, so we wish to minimise this. Animals have natural barriers, the skin on the outside and the membrane of the ribs and abdominal cavity.
If you remove the ribs, you take the membrane away and juices can be lost through the exposed flesh.
All is not lost if you catch those juices in a stuffing of something that absorbs water, like couscous or rice.
Cooking with skin on is generally a good thing - the skin and the thin layer of fat underneath keep the juices in and baste the flesh.
If the skin is removed, one can cook the fish in a tinfoil packet. This allows flavourings items like garlic and lemon to infuse into the fish without the skin barrier.
So, de-boning and de-skinning removes flavour barriers, but you can counter this by making your own barriers and catching what juices do leave the fish.

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