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Scary, but yummy fish products

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Old 01-24-2009, 09:43 PM   #1
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Default Scary, but yummy fish products

I'm always on the lookout for lower carb foods, and hubby and I stopped at one of our local asian groceries the other day, and I made a discovery that delighted, yet frightened me - a large selection of canned and dried fish products.

I've bought "prepared squid" before (think pink, shredded jerky with a little fish smell, but not really all that fishy tasting). I really like it (but it is a bit chewy). Some brands add sugar, so I always have to check for that.

They also had smoked eel, which I've had before (it's in a sardine can, shaped tin), but usually is packed in a sweetened soy sauce (yummy, but again too high in carbs because of the added sugar).

And then I found "Smiling Fish" brand sardines and mackerel imported from Thailand in different sauces (I chose sardines in chili sauce, sardines in Kurma Curry and mackerel in green cury). The chili sauce I won't buy too often, because I didn't read the label, and it has a bit more sugar in it than I'd like. But my, these are really good, and I can't wait to try all of the other flavors, and maybe try some other scary fish products.

I have to say the can intimidated me, because instead of a flat sardine tin, they're packed in small cans about the size of a tomato paste can, with a pulltab top. The sardines are packed in tight (like sardines, I suppose) and so it's hard to get them out of the can without breaking them up. All in all, the odd can, the broken bits of fish in a thick sauce, I was a bit hesitant to try them. I'm so glad I tried them though, because they're so good (if you like sardines). And each can has 20% RDA of calcium (about the same as a carton of yogurt).

Oh and they were only 99 cents per can for nearly a 6 oz portion.
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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I picked up a few similar products at Big Lots recently thinking I would try something new and increase my Omega 3's. I will report back once I open them. I don;t mind the smell but I dread other's reactions.
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:21 PM   #3
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LOL, I know what you mean. My hubby and I have a deal, that I only eat "fish jerky" or canned fish (other than crab, salmon or tuna) when he's not in the house. Tonight he's out with the guys, so I could eat my sardines in peace.

Every once in a while, I'll break our agreement, and he razzes me about it for the rest of the day. Of course, I tease him back by pretending I'm going to kiss him with fish breath.
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:05 AM   #4
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I canned fish--sardines, trout, anchovies, herring, whatever comes in a can and smells bad--and those sound awesome. I'm definitely going to have to check out my local Asian supermarket. I would love to find smoked eel (I don't care about the carbs).
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Old 01-26-2009, 05:01 AM   #5
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Smoked oysters are probably my all-time favorite canned seafood. I love the three distinct textures of each oyster - the frilly outer edge that's chewy, the soft body that's almost a creamy texture like soft cooked liver, and the little core that's firmer like cooked fish or even almost like meat. Mmm nummy!

I definitely will probably get the smoked eel on a future trip, because I'm not dieting so low carb that I really have to worry about the little bit that would be in the seasoning, but it was justification to help me narrow down my choices.

I didn't even look too deeply into all of my options (I have a selection problem when I have too many choices).

I've been on the lookout for an asian snack mix that a friend gave me as a bit of a joke and introduction to asian markets several years ago. It was mainly small rice crackers, seasoned and decorated with various seasonings such as fish sauce, soy, nori, sesame, etc. and tiny little whole preserved fish, much tinier than your average minnow. The crazy part was the rice crackers tasted like fish, but the little fish tasted and felt like hard bits of candy.

I love jarred fish too. Haven't tried gefilte fish, that just creeps me out. It looks like mud balls to me. But I love this carp caviar spread called taramosalata. It's a greek think that's salted carp roe mixed into a cream, sour cream or mayonaisse base. Absolutely heaven.
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:33 PM   #6
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I love taramosalata too. I was actually surprised to learn that traditionally there are no creamy products mixed into it... it's actually just the caviar, bread crumbs, lemon juice, olive oil and maybe some salt or other seasonings. I've yet to try making it myself, though.
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:05 AM   #7
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What do sardines taste like? Are they really fishy? I kinda want to try them, but I am a little scared. I had anchovies once, and they were nasty. I do like seafood though. Most of it, at least.
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:00 PM   #8
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Anchovies are CRAZY salty, and I like them, but only as a seasoning, not by themselves. Even on a pizza I don't want them in little slabs of fishy saltiness, I like them either cooked into the sauce (yummiest) or crumbled and sprinkled on the pizza (on top of the sauce being better than crumbled on top of the cheese).

As for sardines, yes they are rather fishy, but not nearly as fishy as anchovies. Some brands are saltier than others, and I prefer them less salty, so I always just check the sodium count and buy brands that are on the lower side of the spectrum. I would say sardines aren't much stronger than tuna, so if you like canned tuna and canned salmon, there's a good chance you'll like sardines, canned mackerel and other canned fish. Of all the lot, it sounds weirdest to Americans, because few of us have eaten much if any eel, but eel is the mildest. Eel is very sweet and unfishlike, so it's kind of weird at first, because it feels like fish in your mouth, but doesn't taste like fish (I won't say it tastes like chicken, because everyone always says "tastes like chicken" but it's very mild).
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Old 01-27-2009, 08:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Haven't tried gefilte fish, that just creeps me out. It looks like mud balls to me.
To me it tastes like mud balls too! As a teenager I used to babysit for a family who always had gefilte fish in the fridge, the kids loved it. Me - not so much.
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:38 PM   #10
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Mmm. I love sardines.. I used to have sardine sandwiches, which is basically just sardines on bread
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:03 AM   #11
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the one that always scared me was lutefisk. family tradition that i'll gladly let drop out of my family thank you very much.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:16 AM   #12
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I like eel, I've had it in sushi. I think maybe I will try sardines.
Lutefisk sounds terrible. My mom said she had to eat it when she was a kid because her dad was very norwegian. I think that is one thing I will never try.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:17 AM   #13
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Oh yeah, do you eat the whole sardine? Is it a whole fish?
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:36 PM   #14
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When I've bought canned sardines, they've been either whole (no heads) or cut in "steaks." Usually the bones are still in the fish (although you can buy boneless fillets also, although they're more expensive). When I was a kid, I'd always remove the spine, and only eat the meat, but now I eat the bones (that's where all the calcium is).

I know it might sound creepy to eat the bones, but they're very soft, they sort of crumble when you bite them. If you eat the bones, one serving has as much calcium as a carton of yogurt, and nearly as much as a glass of milk. I once read that the calcium in canned fish bones is easier for the body to use, or the body uses more of the calcium than in milk. I don't know if it's true, but since I'm not always good about eating/drinking the dairy products (I take calcium supplements just in case), it's a nice thought.

I also love smelt. It's a regional thing, but they're very small fish (about sardine size, heck they might even be the same kind of fish. I once read that over 20 species of fish could be called sardines, and some fish are "sardines" only when they're young and small, and are called something else when they are older and larger.) Anyway, smelt are sardined size fish, that are usually sold frozen (headless and cleaned, but again still with the bones and tail intact). Generally, they're thawed, then battered and fried, and you eat the whole fish, bones and all. They are a bit "muddy tasting," sort of reminiscent of catfish, though I believe they're actually related to salmon. Darn it, now I've got a hankering for fried smelt. There's a restaurant in town that serves smelt every friday, and it's so popular they usually run out early. I think one of the reasons it's so popular, is that it's sort of a nostalgic food in the midwest. Smelt were the cheapest fish at one time (they're still pretty darned cheap) and so they were "poor food," so a lot of folks have nostalgic memories of eating smelt during tough times. I'm a generation past the need to buy smelt, so my nostalgia really is about the stories my dad told when he was making smelt than about experiencing them first hand, but they sure are tasty little buggers (although deep fry anything, and you end up with something pretty tasty).
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:06 PM   #15
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I like sardines, too and I eat the bones as well. Very good source of calcium. If the bones bother you you can mash the sardines with perhaps Laughing Cow cheese into a spread. Maybe a bit of mustard for extra taste. My mom used to add grated cooked potato (to add volume) but of course I don't do that.
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