Mountain Anchovy Project

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Mountain Anchovy Project

Postby Dogfish » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:09 pm

A few weeks ago Griselle put up a post about making a sort of anchovy antipasti, and someone from Colorado mentioned doing the same thing with minnows for a sort of "mountain anchovy".

I followed Vagrey's recipe he'd posted for Griselle to the "T" using "mountain anchovies" and it was...

Horrible.

The fine skin and musky-sweet oceanic flavour of good anchovies does not seem to exist with these freshwater minnows. I used spot-tailed shiners, white sucker minnows, and a red-sided shiner. Instead of what I'd expected, what I got was an earthy and tough beast with no complexity. Any fishy flavour was old and boot-ish. This isn't the product of the water because I've cooked fish from this water and, although dirty, when cold the fish are sweet. I think the sea just creates a better type of flavor.

All in all, I'd have to call it a failure. However, I did find out that the vinegar and salt makes short work of even thick fish bones.
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Postby grisell » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:20 pm

Sorry to hear that. We don't have those fishes here, so I know nothing about them. You will probably never get a sea flavour from freshwater fish.

Anyway, my first try with marinated anchovies went well (all of it is long gone), but there was room for adjustments and improvements in the recipe, which is why I didn't continue on that thread.

I do have a new batch going on right now, so I'll be back with reports if it goes well.
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Postby salumi512 » Tue May 01, 2012 5:24 am

I don't understand why this was expected to succeed, even though I have my doubts about Grisell's bait fish as well.

Would you expect to get the same taste from beluga caviar and large mouth bass roe? They are completely different species of fish.

I do hope Grisell finds some good fish to get his idea going.
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Postby grisell » Tue May 01, 2012 8:35 am

salumi512 wrote:I don't understand why this was expected to succeed, even though I have my doubts about Grisell's bait fish as well.
[---]
I do hope Grisell finds some good fish to get his idea going.


Now I don't understand. :? I do use real European anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus), fresh frozen, obviously directly after catch. That is exactly the fish used for salted or marinated (Spanish boquerones) anchovies. What better fish is there? What do you suggest?

PS It is not sold as bait. It is sold as food. What I meant in the earlier thread was that many people here use it as bait because of the low price and its size.
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Postby salumi512 » Tue May 01, 2012 1:25 pm

There was some confusion for responding to two people in one post. But, your bait fish still haven't shown themselves to be adept at anything other than catching real fish :wink:
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Postby Dogfish » Tue May 01, 2012 2:51 pm

I'll take the bait :D

The reason why I was expecting success was because bait is in the eye of the beholder. Consecutively, fish that are typically labelled or have been labelled "bait" in North America, including shellfish.

-- Octopus/squid
-- Anchovy/herring/pilchard/smelt/oolichan/sardine
-- Lobster
-- Oyster
-- Chum and pink salmon
-- All carp
-- Any of the minnow family including suckers, pikeminnow, etc
-- Many people will not eat pike, goldeye, burbot/cusk, or catfish

Why I expected it to succeed is because I've eaten every one of the about minus lobster (which I've actually never eaten) to good and great effect if dealt with properly. I figured, for instance, that the vinegar would pickle the fish as per usual, and in a vinegar pickle, sucker is good; I didn't count on the tough skin brought on by the salt. Vagrey's recipe is a good one, but the fish weren't suited. Now you could say "I could have told you that." and you would have been correct, but I bet you couldn't have told me WHY the fish wasn't suited.

I get the concept of real fish. I've caught most of the species in western Canada salt and fresh except for catfish and halibut. I've eaten everything from the tiny herring to 35 lb spring salmon. I've eaten it raw, cooked, and pickled; cooked like the Natives do over a fire sans any seasoning, roasted, boiled, smoked, marinated, whatever. When a person sticks with big fish, it's like eating nothing but hotdogs. Big fish are easy and agreeable. And in truth, this has been the first honest disagreeable failure I've ever run into with cooking or prepping fish except for stuff I mucked up as a kid.

There's certainly a difference between caviar and bass roe, but that's part of the fun. Herring roe is crunchy, salmon roe are soft and oily.

It's like where you're at where half the people, so I've heard, won't eat wild pigs, or like hunters who don't hang their game. There's no point in sticking with the status quo unless the status quo exists for a good reason.
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Postby vagreys » Tue May 01, 2012 7:35 pm

The only preservation of fresh water minnows and such that I've heard of has been Asian, and in those treatments were dried and sometimes smoked. More commonly, small fish like that are used to produce salted, fermented fish sauces. Do you have any references or evidence of preserved freshwater minnows in North America? I've be very interested.
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Postby Dogfish » Tue May 01, 2012 7:58 pm

Nothing that I've heard of except for fresh eating and oolichan processing in British Columbia/Alaska for oil, and I think they'd dry them and use them as food and for light ('candlefish'). I'd bet that the coastlines of the world are the only ones with sources of salt, and that there being no trade really with the New World, there was never any means of salting and preserving and therefore no traditional methods called for salting.
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Postby vagreys » Tue May 01, 2012 10:13 pm

Dogfish wrote:...I'd bet that the coastlines of the world are the only ones with sources of salt, and that there being no trade really with the New World, there was never any means of salting and preserving and therefore no traditional methods called for salting.

Hardly. Mined salt has been a source for use and trade since the earliest human cultures. Salt deposits abound wherever seas have existed in earth's history. Where there are salt deposits, there are salt mines.
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Postby salumi512 » Tue May 01, 2012 10:54 pm

Dogfish wrote:The reason why I was expecting success was because bait is in the eye of the beholder.


I applaud your experimentation. My comment was to why one would expect a recipe for an ocean species to work for a fresh water species and then post that it sucked.

I do look forward to Grissel getting his recipe working, since it is known to work with that species. Once he cleans them of course :wink:
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Postby Dogfish » Tue May 01, 2012 11:42 pm

vagreys wrote:
Dogfish wrote:...I'd bet that the coastlines of the world are the only ones with sources of salt, and that there being no trade really with the New World, there was never any means of salting and preserving and therefore no traditional methods called for salting.

Hardly. Mined salt has been a source for use and trade since the earliest human cultures. Salt deposits abound wherever seas have existed in earth's history. Where there are salt deposits, there are salt mines.


My thought was that any North American trade in salt before the horse would have been extremely small, and without any significant boat-building efforts by First Nations prior to the fur trade, the reach would be very small, even smaller than in the Old World, and therefore prohibitively expensive, even more so than in the Old World (where "salary" was a measure of trade in salt; soldiers got their "salary" and were "worth their salt").
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Postby Dogfish » Tue May 01, 2012 11:44 pm

salumi512 wrote:
Dogfish wrote:The reason why I was expecting success was because bait is in the eye of the beholder.


I applaud your experimentation. My comment was to why one would expect a recipe for an ocean species to work for a fresh water species and then post that it sucked.

I do look forward to Grissel getting his recipe working, since it is known to work with that species. Once he cleans them of course :wink:


DiggingDogFarm posted on Grisell's anchovy project "Why wouldn't minnows work?" and I thought, why wouldn't they work?
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Postby salumi512 » Tue May 01, 2012 11:58 pm

Dogfish wrote:I thought, why wouldn't they work?


Ok. If I post a recipe for Blue Point Oysters, I don't recommend that you try to substitute with Mountain Oysters.

Might not get the same result :roll:
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Postby Dogfish » Wed May 02, 2012 12:00 am

I may just have the balls to do it... :D
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Postby salumi512 » Wed May 02, 2012 12:12 am

You Canucks have a special kind of humor. I like it :D
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