It took me a while to get around to going to Harbor Fish in Portland...which is apparently the only decent place to get fish in town…yes i know NOW that is is practically world famous. I just figured there would be more selection at ALL the stores, and alas there isn’t. Nearly all the fish stores i have visited sell dressed fillets, scallops and lobster that’s basically it. The only time i see fish with a head on it is the odd trout. The biggest thing keeping me away is the street, it’s very narrow..VERY NARROW.
I figured out the trick for the truck, if I can get DOWN the street to the end and turn around I can WAIT until the coast is clear to leave. Parking that’s another matter. Apparently mid week midday is quiet enough to take the chance… come warm tourist filled weather who the hell knows?
Once I actually got there I found the herring I have been looking for…..and a lot of other fish with their heads on…. I didn’t understand it, Maine used to be FAMOUS for sardines….Atlantic Herring canned and labeled sardines…but the only thing they are used for now is baiting the traps for lobsters. But I am not going to complain at 1.99 a pound, i bought 16 of the little bastards, beheaded and cleaned them and packed them two by two for the freezer. I can try to get down that street again when these are gone.
One of my goals is to ‘eat more fish’ – and I have been diligently trying to warm up to Canned Sardines…now i LOVE canned kippers, but the texture of canned sardines is putting me off. I’m fine with them all mashed up and spread on things, but whole and slimy out of the can isn’t doing a thing for me. But when i have had fresh ones broiled I’m quite fond of. Since I never do anything by HALVES, I have discovered an entire world of canned fish…and there are probably more than a hundred different brands of canned sardines..hell walmart has at least a dozen. But no longer are any of them canned in Maine or the US for that matter. There’s a couple out of Canada and other cold water countries which are quite tasty…but who am I kidding? I can’t tell good from bad, yet.
So right now I am reading canned fish recipes, especially Canned Sardine recipes – which seem to be plentiful. Before the US stopped fishing and canning sardines…they were a major part of the American diet. American’s didn’t mind the Fishiness, it was before our diets were so filled with salt, so getting the natural ingredients from all canned fish ( fresh ocean fish had to be transported so, most of the US got their fish canned) was just another flavor profile in their diet. Sardines weren’t gross, they were considered delectable…and Americans also needed to get more of their vitamins and nutrients from canned oily fish so they were encouraged to eat it in every sort of dish. from breakfast, entrees and snacks. I don’t see myself EVER eating them from the can but you never know.
I wish I had remembered that I did want to try Stargazy pie before I beheaded all the little buggers. It’s an old cornish dish where you tuck them up to their necks with pastry before you bake them. Yes there was a time when that grossed me out too…but you get old your taste buds change…you need to eat the Omega 3 fatty acids in the fish or you die…so fish heads ain’t so gross these days.