An impromptu culinary adventure with my girl Maria led me to a little Filipino grocery store in the heart of Koreatown. Fish for dinner sounded great … and the best place to find it is at an Asian grocery store with zillions of fish on ice lined tables.
After exploring the insane selections, we opted for a salmon head and a rock crab. According to a little Filipino lady, its best to pick a female crab, which bottoms are round, compared the diamond shape of a male. When I asked her why she responded “Women are better in general, so I assume women crabs taste better”
The entire ride home, we heard the rock crab struggling to get out of its paper bag. As soon as we got home, the water was boiling and crab was ready to face its inevitable demise. Maria had never seen a live crab cooked … and was anxious about the results. Sky assured her the screeching sounds was air being released. We boiled the crab with some old bay seasoning and white vinegar … about 15 minutes until it floats to the top of the pot. The crab finished … I tore out its guts … and sipped it in garlic butter. Delicious!
The salmon head was a different story ….. something totally new and different! I soaked a cedar plank, then put the entire salmon head on it. I made a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and sesame oil to drizzle on, then baked in the oven (on the cedar plank) for about 20 minutes. When it is finished … voila! You have a sexy baked fish head to pull apart. The best part is the cheek and collar, which has the richest and most delectable flavor ever. Being that salmon collar has the most incredible flavor imaginable, I served it with a simple white rice and a cucumber salad.
That night, we ate all the goodies from the salmon head, and I packaged up the rest … because a pile of skin and bones is a terrible thing to waste. The next day I boiled everything in a small pot of water, for about 30 minutes. Once it was thourghouly dissolved, I drained all the fish bits until I had a clear broth. With this broth, I added some fresh garlic, scallions, ginger and rice noodles. Best. Soup. Ever! And 2 meals with a $1.79 fish head is a bargain!