Talking trash ... fish
Chefs champion former cast-offs Dogfish, drum, sea robin — embrace the idea that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and sample some so-called “trash fish.”
“I like the term underloved fish,” said Patrick Byrne, proprietor of General Warren in Malvern. “Another great term to use for trash fish is fisherman’s dinner or fisherman’s lunch.”
And what better time to try these often overlooked fish than National Seafood Month?
“Sometimes we say rough fish because it’s not appealing or appetizing. No one wants to eat trash,” explained executive chef Chiwishi Joy Abney, an instructor at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne. “A lot of them are scavengers, so they’re really looked down upon.”
Growing up, her grandmother made delicious fried porgy.
“We’re kind of pressured by what is popular,” Abney said. “I think it’s our job as cooks to really offer some insight and variety to the plate.”
“Chefs today are so much more creative and thinking outside the box,” agreed Byrne. “Drum fish used to be a bait.”
As a young chef, he remembers restaurants discovering fluke, “a thick flounder” that was “as cheap as can be.”
“Everything cycles,” Byrne noted. “History repeats itself on every level, and that includes food.”
One way to translate the trend at home: Use lesser-known fish in an autumn seafood stew, featuring spiced carrot puree.
Experiment with different fish in a simple, colorful autumn seafood stew. “You can get this from the refrigerator to the table in about an hour,” says Josh Smith, executive chef at General Warren in Malvern.
Registered dietitian-nutritionist Emma Fogt prepares fish for a class at the Wayne Art Center.