Even in the normally tranquille world of eating it does happen that there are issues which make peoples' blood boil, depending mainly on whether they're making money - or losing it!
This is one of them - those innocent looking, little filets of fish, so appetising looking and yet..... which have become a source of trouble - worldwide!
You see, it's really nothing else than the "catfish" family, but recently it was "discovered" or more "rediscovered" and this time by a country called Vietnam.
They started massive production, and to launch it they were accused of "dumping" prices, all over the world The Americans, in particular, didn't like this - it made their own home market almost disappear, so there were accusations of "toxins" in the Vietnam variety. Completely unsubstantiated.
"There has recently been an unsubstantiated report into high toxin, pesticide and cancer issues concerning Basa from mass farming techniques on the Mekong River in Vietnam. Tests by ASDA and Tesco in the UK have found no trace of contaminants."
Of course, nothing was said about the probable presence of toxins in many other of our foods, many of them coming from the various other USA products, but not only....!
Some unscrupulous producers and retailers actually went as far as to label these fillets as "Cod" and up the price whilst remaining well under the price of real cod....Fraudulouse - of course it is, but no reason to accuse other countries of poisoning us...!
It's a complicated life you lead as a little fish fillet!
I regularly consume the "Panga" fish as an exceptionally good and cheap version of other high priced fish. It can be adapted to all the recipes for such fish, and it must be said that the taste is rather weak, but then - so is hake or cod or whiting.
I recall also, in my younger days in London, that the "fish and chip" shops in London always had a particular variety of a thing called "Rock Salmon"...This seemed to be particular to the South of England, and it was in fact very tasty indeed. Imagine what another name for this variety is......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_salmon.......no - not catfish, for a change, it's also known as "DOG FISH"....! On top of that, it is now an endangered species because of over fishing!
Of course, the name, involving "salmon" also led to various 'misuses' or abuses....... but I recall that at the time, salmon really was salmon, a wild fish in the "noble" classification, and the price was a reflection.
I don't like to think of how many English style afternoon teas I must have both prepared or participated in where the "salmon sandwiches" were anything but....!..The colour had about as much to do with "Salmon" as the fish itself, and in any case, smothered as it always was with that infamous British concoction named "Salad Cream", the taste didn't matter!
The stuff was smeared everywhere, but I don't recall using it in this fashion...nor on battered fish!...I'm still alive all the same!
It's the nature of progress.....particularly in times when fish is pronounced as something extremely health...and rapidly becomes unbuyable by many people due to it's price. At that moment, progress steps in and provides "replacement products" - much cheaper but with little of the famous "Omega Oils" so good for our health, and - of course - the taste has nothing to do with the original article.
One of the newer "inventions" are those things called "Surami sticks" ...generally sold with "crab flavour" in sticks.
"Crab" - Well I guess so - with a lot of imagination.......!
Cut up as above, it is usable in "seafood cocktails" and at first has an agreeable texture and taste, but after two or three uses, you can't take any more!
This is also usable in omelettes, just to give a different taste, or even creamed with crème fraîche to use as a sort of spread for the little snacks with your aperitifs....also used in bought and/or delivered Pizzas....but after a while - you just don't want to see it anymore.
One of its main uses is being minced and mixed with other white fish "debris", to make those things called (euphamistically) "fish cakes" or "fish fingers".......
So there you are, nowadays we must accept all kinds of things in the name of "progressive food" but the real stuff is still there...somewhere, at a certain price:..tuna is still up there at the top of the list, mainly because it is almost extinct.
Happily, I only eat the fish I purchase, because looking at them isn't my cup of tea, especially not at these prices:
...ok for a quick snack...I suppose!
So let's just be thankful for small mercies....a fish finger can still be got for around 5 cents or even less!
iwmpo(mrlemarquis) - Vauvert, France - Juin 2011
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