Fish are friends, not food. Oops, sorry Bruce.
Imagine cooking and eating the freshest seafood you have ever tasted from 10am to 6pm?
I am SO FULL.
And I feel good inside too. Something about becoming one with the sea is strengthening and nourishing.
Today we had Max Harvey.
“DON’T CALL ME CHEF,” he said in his rough, straightforward, seaman’s voice. “I’m old school, don’t hate me.”
Max Harvey is a fisherman. He lives in Jamaica Plain. He enjoys his coffee with cream and sugar. He can fillet fish perfectly in seconds and make it look like he is cutting through butter. His face is tanned from the sun, his skin is salty, and his hands are well, what I imagine fisherman’s hands to look like. He speaks quite softly, or QUITE LOUDLY depending on the occasion or his mood. He knows a wealth of knowledge about the sea, and about fish.
While Max does not want us to call him “Chef,” he is truly a skilled chef in the kitchen; okay, perhaps he is rather “unorthodox” as he keeps telling us, but he sure knows how to make fish taste delicious.
What did we do today? More like, what did we not do?
The warm up…
Max makes us fish chowder.
- Tip: Don’t cut the fish into pieces, just let it flake apart naturally.
We shuck oysters, clams, and day-old scallops.
- Fact: Scallops live the high life in these big mansions of shells. Sometimes they let little hakes live with them. How generous.
- Fact: West coast clams literally made me homesick because they tasted like the Pacific Ocean.
We make ceviche from scallops, shrimp, Spanish mackerel (my favorite), and clams.
- Fact: Ceviche is good for about a day.
- Fact: I have not had ceviche before. I like this.
We make crudo from char, Spanish mackerel, and tuna tartare.
- Fact: I like this too.
The work out…
We make monk fish.
- Note: This is a tough little monkey to cook.
- Tip: Hot pan and hot oil or the fish will stick.
We sear tuna and cook swordfish collar.
- Note: Practice this.
We roast whole black sea bass and porgies.
- Note: Such a beautiful presentation and also a delicious way to eat fish.
We slather compound butter on filets and broil them.
- Tip: Hot oven and hot broiler. Different fish will react differently to this bake but all will be delicious.
We fry fish of all kinds – flounder, redfish, fluke, mackerel.
- Note: Flour, egg, panko, fry it up.
Chef makes us a Bluefish dish with eggs.
The sprint to the finish…
We kill a live, wriggling lobster and pan sear it with a buttery roe sauce.
- Note: The most exhilarating thing I’ve done all day.
- Fact: It continues to wriggle for most of the cooking process so just pretend it’s having a nice time.
- Tip: Not for the squeamish.
We eat more buttery lobster and do dishes.
Yes, my tummy is happy. I don’t think there was a single dish that I did not particularly enjoy. I am proud of my mini chef family today.
We really pulled it off.