Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Fishmonger – Part 1

C says:

Valentine’s Day comes early for atetoomuch. J and P, of The Butcher, have started a sister business purveying seafood called (d-uh) The Fishmonger. There currently isn’t much of a physical storefront at the moment, though I understand that plans are underway to set aside a portion of the display at The Butcher’s Chip Bee Gardens store for The Fishmonger’s seafood. Because of the more perishable nature of seafood relative to meat, the current plan is to have The Fishmonger as a primarily online business. The idea is that you submit your orders from 9 am on Friday till 5 pm Tuesday, and your order is then delivered from 2 pm on Wednesday onwards. It doesn’t get much fresher than that! This ensures that the seafood is only ordered according to demand, so that it’s delivered to you the minute it arrives and there’s no wastage

On Wednesday J dropped off a dozen oysters, a bag of Tasmanian blue mussels, and Orange Roughy and Ling fillets (thanks so much, J!). Because the fish could be frozen, we decided to have the oysters and mussels on Wednesday night itself to enjoy them at their freshest, so we had an impromptu V-day dinner of freshly shucked oysters and mussels steamed with garlic, white wine, lemon and butter.

First off, can I just say that I’m mighty pleased with myself that I managed to shuck the oysters on my very first try, with no severed fingers or other casualties. Armed with theory knowledge from googling “How to shuck oysters” and my trusty paring knife, I had some trouble with the first few but I got the hang of it after a while. So yay me ;)

These oysters are apparently farmed Sydney Rock oysters, and they’re not very big but that suits me perfectly, because I find really fat oysters a bit overwhelming. We had them the classic way – raw with just a squeeze of lemon and a few drops of Tabasco sauce. Apart from one which tasted faintly metallic, the rest were great. They were fresh, sweet and milky. Random aside: if you’re shucking your own oysters, please don’t pour away the oysters’ natural juices! They’re as much a part of the oyster experience as the oyster flesh itself. The reason I’m saying this is – one day at the Carousel buffet, I saw one of the waitstaff at the oyster section shuck oysters, then RINSE them in a pail of water! Horrors!!!

A helped me clean up the mussels before we cooked them, and only had to toss out a few that were already open. We slurped up the mussels and soaked up the gravy with toasted baguette. The mussels were fabulous – really fresh, and again though they weren’t huge, the flesh was very sweet and refined. When mussels are too big I usually have a threshold before I start to feel a bit ick, but A and I polished off the entire pot without any trouble at all. I can’t take any credit for the preparation either – I literally threw them into a pot with sautéed garlic, dumped in random amounts of white wine, lemon juice and some sea salt, and hoped for the best. Again, it goes to show that if the ingredients are good, you don’t have to do much with them at all. Next time though, I’ll probably take out the mussels after they’ve opened and are cooked, then continue to reduce the sauce for a few minutes so that the gravy thickens.

So far, a definite thumbs up for the quality of the shellfish. We’ll write back once we’ve had a chance to sample the fish fillets.

A says:

I haven’t been fond of oysters since a bad experience many years ago. It’s a long and disgusting story I won’t share TMI.

Surprisingly, these oysters didn’t have the usually overwhelming oyster flavour and they went down nice and smoothly.

I found the mussels surprisingly small. I’m used to the big meaty ones. I guess they condensed the taste since they were very tasty.

So far, it’s top marks for taste but the small sizes mean it’s not for those who want quantity over quality.

The Fishmonger
Tel: 6851-6158

No comments: