Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Actually Ate This Sea Robin: Would You?

I never ate a sea robin before. Look at it, would you? I grew up on Long Island, and the sea robin was always regarded as a garbage fish, something that stole your bait and made it more difficult to actually land a fluke. But times change, and the Great South Bay is pretty well fished out, despite the new 19 inch limit on fluke (I, of course, landed an excellent looking 18 incher which I am sure is enjoying swimming in the bay as I write this). So the mates of the boat we were on suggested we keep the sea robins and cook them. "They're not bad" we were told.

Our friend from London pan-fried the robins with garlic and salt: it tasted sort of like a combination of bluefish and catfish: a bit bony but not terrible. We all liked the fluke and the weakfish that we caught better, but it wasn't bad. Of course she's a really good cook, so I'm not sure what would happen if mere mortals tried to cook the thing.

Since I felt so iffy on the issue, I wanted to see what other people have posted about eating sea robins: wrote about it 2001. They felt that it could be the next monkfish, which was considered a garbage fish thirty years ago in the US.
Wikipedia states that it can be used as a substitute for scorpion fish (another winner name) in bouillabaisse.
Surftalk has a whole discussion about the issue. You can find my comment!
The Fishing Line has a recipe for sea robin cakes.

After eating the sea robin, I do not think that these clawed critters of the deep is the next monkfish. But you never know, and it could be the next catfish.


Zoe said...

Thats my fish! I caught that one yay!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, was looking for some new recipes for Robins and came across your page. Funny how stuck in the mud Long Islanders can be. I've lived there all my life and luckily had a friend who is a chef who enlightened me on the value of fish like Robins, Monks, and Skate.

All of the above are fantastic, all command a kings randsom on the menus of the finest restaurants in NYC and around the world. The Sea Robin is known as the Gallinella in Italy, prized in traditional recipes and flown over night Las Vegas to their finest restaurants. You'd think with all the Italian families on LI you think somebody would know this and use those recipes? Nope.

Skate is known as Raie in France, the Famous Raie au Beurre- or skate in brown butter and capers, is a staple on the finest restaurants there, and any french restaurant in the US worth it's salt.

Without saying, Monk is now ubiquitous everywhere, but the other two have yet to really take off, fortunatley for the rest of us!

Oh, and the bouillabasse subsitute is true, any fish in the scorpaenedae family makes a good substitue for the Racasse, or scorpionfish as you know it, in that recipe for the world's most sublime fish soup. That soup sells for about $50-$75 a bowl in the french mediteranean towns where it is available! The sculpin, another fish common in the NE and dismissed as trash, is also another substitute.

Glad you tried the Robin, go for some skate next time, you won't be disappointed! there are great recipes all over the net, look up skate with capers and brown butter.

Anonymous said...

I live on the north shore of LI and last summer caught a 18 incher.

I took it home along with my stripers and cooked it up.

Here is my recipe. I only used the tail and filleted it off the bone. It produced nice large chunks of meat (I cut it into 8 cubes). In a Wok I added 2 cups of peanut oil and got it very hot, then I took BBQ potato chips and pulverised them in my food processor.

I dipped the fish chunks into an egg and milk bath (2 eggs 1/2 cup of milk) and then into the potato chip crumbs and dropped them into the wok.

In about 8 minutes I had some of the tastiest fish ever. I used cocktail sauce and tartar sauce for dipping.

If I get a large one again this season, the same will take place.

Bon apetit.

Capt. Tony