Friday, March 11, 2011

On a scale of 1 to 10, this fish was a 5

Rajesh Dangi,Bangalore, Rohu Fish Scales, HAL ...Image via Wikipedia
Cleaning fish scales at home isn't easy or neat.

You can imagine my surprise as I prepared dinner Thursday night when I unwrapped a whole fish I had brought home from Costco and found out the scales had never been removed.

The fresh, wild-caught snapper from Brazil was only $6.99 a pound. It had been gutted, but not scaled, then placed on a tray under plastic wrap. The label said nothing about the scales.

I had already cut into three pieces before I realized I had to clean it. I used a chef's knife, and the scales flew everywhere. Later, my son complained I didn't do a very good job, and left scales on his tail section.

Uncooked bulgur wheatImage via Wikipedia
Uncooked bulgur wheat.

I cooked the fish with stewed tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, Meyer lemon and Italian seasonings, and served it with bulgur wheat and a salad. Under the skin, it was meaty and delicious.

This morning, I returned to Costco's Hackensack store with the label and got a refund of my $11.11. I also suggested in writing that in the future, the label tell customers they have to scale whole fish.

What's the logic of gutting the whole fish and trimming the tail, but leaving the scales intact?

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  1. I think you're overlooking the fact that in some countries, the scales of a fish are considered a delicacy. In Italy, for instance, they even have an opera house named La Scala, where patrons gather between acts of La Traviata and eat slices of pizza with unscaled anchovies. Considering Hackensack's large population of Italian descent, it's likely that the scales were intentionally left on. On the other hand, leaving the scales on, seriously now, phooey.

  2. You forgot the famous pasta dish from Milan called angry lobster with snapper scales. Talk about al dente.


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