Grouper catch and cook in Jordan

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Here is Mark in Amman, Jordan, reporting his catch with micro jigging and the cooking.

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I finally used the Ike Jime tools that you supplied for me and it is amazing how clean the fillets come out….yesterday I caught some Lyretail Grouper on those killer Micro-flip jigs (unbelievable how effective they are).

Was quite pleased with myself that I finally managed to do the wire thing right, but am annoyed with myself, as I did not read your article on preparation for aging before I went fishing, so last night when I arrived back home I filleted the fish and wrapped it in the Pichitto and put it in the fridge….  I will only reach home from work tonight, so the fillets will be in the sheets for close on 20 hours which may dry them out too much 🙁

I am a useless cook and my wife is in South Africa on vacation, so I don’t want to screw up the fish after all that effort; will the grouper fillets be ok to leave in the fridge for another 2 days , and what is the best way to cook, I like fish pan fried or grilled with some lemon?

 

This is the first message he sent me.

So I replied;

Hi Mark.

Groupers can age for 5 to 7 days if you leave the skin on. Also the head and bone makes great soup, so I usually just remove scales, guts and gills, and wrap it with paper towel and saran wrap over it.

Pichitto is not really a bad thing for aging. Moisture and oxygen are the minus factors for aging. Pichitto takes out the moisture, and sucks onto the fish to seal it. So it’s really a good method to preserve food.
You worry about drying out. That is one thing to consider. Especially with groupers. Groupers are not watery or oily. Their delicate texture is best untouched.
But you used pichitto already, now it’s best to leave it in pichitto. I don’t think pichitto sucks out moisture all the way. The surface will be dry, but inside is harder to dry. When I make jamon serrano, I want to suck out moisture from inside the pork meat, and I need to change pichitto everyday, still, inside cannot be all dry. When one pichitto sheet sucks in certain amount of liquid, it can’t absorb anymore. Probably because, as pichitto sheet absorbs moisture, osmotic pressure will be lower and absorbing power will be lower.

Still, the surface of your fish will be dry. So I recommend to steam the fish. And the fish may have lost the delicate texture, so I recommend to finish with oil. Oil makes the taste mild and compensate the texture.

One good way is Chinese steamed fish. Put chopped ginger, green onions and some herb on steamed fish, sitting on the serving plate. Sprinkle some soy sauce over it. Then pour hot smoking sesame oil over the whole thing. It will crackle. It’s supposed to.

Good luck!

 

And here’s his second message a few days later.

The fish turned out to be excellent…like seriously unbelievably good!

Prep fillets and remove skin – Lyretail Grouper aged in the fridge for 4 days:

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Prepare a steaming bed on a plate – Green Onion, Ginger and Coriander:

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Improvised steamer, add 2″ of water to the pot, place 3 shot glasses – the glasses flipped over as soon as the water started to boil so I flipped them upright and filled them with water. Bring to a boil, place plate on top of shot glasses,  cover and boil. When it is boiling, uncover and wipe the inside of the cover clean of any condensation from time to time to prevent it from dripping on the fish:

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Season with salt, pepper, caynne pepper, white wine and place on bed ready for steaming:

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Steam for 7 minutes on medium heat, remove fillets from steam bed and discard the green onion, ginger, coriander and fish juice:

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Place steamed fish on serving plate, add garnish ( sesame oil, corriander, chili, salt, pepper, sugar, soy sauce which was warmed for 30 sec in the microwave), then super heat cooking oil in a pan with green onions and ginger and pour over garnish and fish:

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Seriously some of the best fish I have ever had…and I cooked it, which no one will ever believe!!

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That looks really good!  Congratulations.

Who said you are a useless cook???   You did a beautiful job!

 

So aging has gone great in Pichitto wrap without drying out, huh?   Now you know how to do Ike-Jime, how to prepare aging, how Pichitto sheet works, and how to cook Chinese steamed fish!  That was a lot of lessons and you pulled it off nicely!  Way to go!

 

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