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From Tank to Table: Preparing A Whole Fish!

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Here at E. Bites we pride ourselves in the ability to bring you lots of different kinds of foods, ways of cooking and styles of money saving. A criticism of our show that we occasionally hear is that we don't support the local, seasonal food movement.

Well that's silly, because of course we do!

We encourage you to get the best you can afford, when you can afford it, although we know that isn't always easy (trust me, I had $22 in my bank account before payday last Friday, I know it isn't easy). We whole-heartedly believe that we should all just do the best we can, and when supporting local farmers is affordable and doable - then absolutely go for it!

So, just to prove that there are ways to affordably join the local food movement, we present you today's episode. You wanted it, so we found a way to do it, E. Bites style!

The awesomeness of this SUPERSIZED episode is derived from 3 main facts:

  1. It's the very last one we shot in Kitchen studio 1.0. Drink it in folks, because after today, it's officially gone!
  2. The episode is co-hosted by our friend Fa-Tai from Budding Taste adventure tours. Fa-Tai is a fellow Obie and an expert on farm to table. We absolutely LOVED having him on our show because he's a total doll, and because he taught us to KILL!! Which brings me to...
  3. In today's SUPERSIZED feature I, Allie Schwartz, full fledged city girl, learn to kill my own food. Talk about Fish out of water!! HAHAHAHAH

But like I always say - If I can do it, so can you! And man did I do it! But did I faint? Cry? Gag? You'll have to watch and find out! And I have to say, this is one of my favorite episodes of all time. Watch and see, I think you'll feel the same...

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A few notes: I can't stress how easy this recipe really is, and how amazing the fish tasted. Scaling and gutting the fish might seem hard if you have no concept of how to do it, but if you watch the video, read the instructions in the recipe, and just try, you'll see that it's actually no big deal. And you save a good bit of money doing it yourself. Plus you've learned a survival skill for after the world ends. BIG WIN!

HOWEVER - if you aren't interested in ending a fish's life in your own home, or if you don't have access to fresh sea food, then by all means, buy already prepared, filleted white fish at the store. You can still cook it up the same way, no big deal. You'll have it super easy: no bones, no guts, no fins or scales, and you'll still end up with a tasty dish!

OK - I hope you enjoy, and I'd LOVE to hear feedback from this ep. If you want more stuff like this, let us know! Don't like it? You can tell us that, too. We can handle it.

Chinese Style Tilapia

INGREDIENTS (for 2 fish)

-2 2lb whole Tilapia or other white fish scaled, gutted and de-finned (watch video and/or read below for instruction, or buy prepared).

-6 or 7 scallions, chopped

-3 to 4 Tbsp ginger, sliced into slivers

-1 cup soy sauce

-2 Tbsp sugar

-3/4 Tbsp salt kosher salt

-4 Tbsp olive oil

-1 Tbsp black pepper

****note: If you're buying live fish, you want a lively one with clear eyes. You also want to use gloves for most of the preparation****


-If you're preparing fish at home: line sink with newspaper. Place fish inside plastic bag and give it a good whack or 2 on the head with a rolling pin.

-Preheat oven to 450.

to scale

-Once fish is lifeless, remove fish from bag and place it flat on the newspaper with it's head facing away from you (tail closest to you).

-The scales run from head to tail, so you want to de-scale in the opposite direction. Place your hand and your knife at the tale of the fish. Press firmly and get your knife at a 45 degree angle. Scrape the scales off the fish by applying pressure to the knife and pushing it away from you toward the fish's head. The scales will begin to pop off. Make sure to get all the scales off both sides of the fish as well as around it's fins and on it's underbelly (watch video for more details). It doesn't have to be perfect, but the more thorough you are, the better.

to gut

-Once scaled, Turn the fish belly up. You'll see a small hole towards the fishes bottom (near the tail). Place you knife inside that hole and cut upward, toward the head, stopping where the fins meet. Put your hand (preferably gloved) inside the fishes cavity and pull the guts out. Once the fish is empty, rinse it clean.

-Using scissors, cut off the fishes fins. Set the fish aside for now. Immediately throw out the scales, newspaper and guts.

-chop scallions and ginger and set aside.

-In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, salt, olive oil and pepper. Mix and set aside.

-Roll out 2 large sheets of foil on a baking sheet, one on top of the other. Place fish flat on top. Put 1/4 of the ginger and scallions inside the fish's cavity. Pull up side of the foil on either side the fish. Twist ends to create a small boat or package for fish to sit in (see video for visual). Spoon 1/2 the sauce over the fish and place another 1/4 of the scallions and ginger on top of the fish. Close the foil so the fish is enclosed inside the packet. Repeat for the 2nd fish.

-Place both foil packets on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.

TO SERVE: Open one packet and dig in!

TO SERVE: Don't open the packet you won't be eating. Save in the fridge and reheat it for later in the week

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