Elsie Hogfat

Lagom Food. Lagom Philosophy.

Elsie’s Food Log: D’entrecasteaux Fish

D’entrecasteaux Fish*  Arripis truttaceus is a local fish that is very common, but most people dislike it, for various reasons.  There is a bit of dark flesh that people distrust, and even the white flesh is shot through with a little silver and is strong and hearty.

So, it is a challenging fish in those ways, and working with a fish like this is a quick and simple demonstration of how commodified and remote from the earth and sea that this culture has become.  Even here, in this remote village that Lentilla has chosen for the very reason that it is not totally alienated from the natural world, and the people here are not completely incapable of meaningful interaction with the natural world.

To use a fish like this easily, it’s best to have a workspace outside, where the filleting and scaling can take place.  It’s easier to cook a fish like this outside too, in coals like we would use on the beaches of Luciola.  We would make a Cay Marie;  that is a hole in the sand filled with coals, and we would bake wild sweet potato and fish in there, wrapped in the fresh new green leaves of  the yellow-flowering hibiscus that grew just above high tide line.

In a kitchen like Lentilla’s the sink is too small for such a beautiful big fish.  Her knives aren’t up to the job.  They are very good at opening plastic wrapped fillets… yes, but when it comes to dealing with a freshly caught fish of decent size like this one…  well, we managed.

Now she is complaining about the fishy smell, and fusspotting about with some kind of orange scented room freshener.   At least I can agree that room freshener is a sensible use for oranges

But of course it smells of fish!  What else should fish smell like?

* I refuse to call this fish “Salmon”.  What an absurd name for it.  It is nothing like lax.


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