So, I just got back from Whole Foods where I made a new friend. He's a red snapper and I plan to cook him whole (probably with some ginger, garlic and green onions). This is my first time buying a complete fish (they did scale him for me--using a horse brush; a curry comb to be exact) and I'm pretty excited about it. I ate a lot of whole fish in Asia and think it produces some of the tenderest flesh.
I was inspired by the chicken I bought on Friday. Now, to call this bird "whole" would be to ignore the fact that it had no head and no feet, nonetheless it still looked kind of like a complete carcass. I spent $11 on a small organic chicken at Turnip Truck. Now, some people would call that outlandish, but that just goes to show how much more value you can achieve when you cook at home. From that little creature came a fabulous Friday night dinner for two (the sides were cheap: potatoes, carrots and onions in the pan with herbs from my balcony and sauteed spinach), two excellent lemon-dill chicken salad sandwiches and a pot of stock. Replace just one of those meals with a restaurant check and you've already exceeded the price of my chicken.
Yes, I could have bought a cheaper bird at Kroger and the like, but this way I was able to imbue four separate meals not only with a better flavor (They do taste better, I swear.) but with a little social consciousness. I think that's a pretty good deal.
My fish was $9 and it will serve two tonight. (The price per pound for a whole fish was half that of the fillets.) I also plan on making fish stock (for the first time!) from the bones. This might not be the cheapest at-home option, but it serves as a satisfying substitute for going out--and will fill my afternoon with some very exciting recipe research. I also think that's a pretty good deal.
So, what about you? Anyone cutting back on fillets and breasts in favor of rougher and bigger cuts? Any ideas for whole red snapper?