Whiting Fillets - Worst Meal I Ever Made

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Whiting Fillets - Worst Meal I Ever Made

Postby Todd » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:24 pm

I baked some Whiting Fillets the other night, and I think it was the worst meal have ever made.

The whiting was frozen and I thawed it. After baking it, I noticed there seemed to be an excess of water in the bottom of the pan. I'm talking 3/4" of water. Well, the fish tasted like a salt lick, and I never put salt on fish. I'm thinking it must have been some brine rinse or injection used during the cleaning/freezing process.

It's a good thing I had made plenty of greens and yams....
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Postby ~jeff~ » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:25 pm

Warning, the long version response including reasonable cause and cure of salty fish along with general seafood trivia

Whiting as well as Pacific Pollock have zero flavor as far as I can tell.

Typical preparation, as well as what has made both popular in the market place (other than price), is the flavored breading used when deep fried. The breading is the flavor, if prepared otherwise it's extremely lacking in any flavor of its own at all.

I think thats why you notice all the salt.

Heavy brine is used all the way through processing. The whole fresh fish lands in a tank of heavy brine and is held until the rigor stage passes. Can't run them through the automated butcher and fillet machinery until they soften up. They brine is necessary due to the storage water being below 32 degrees. That's the first introduction to salt other than seawater and probably doesn't account for much of what you tasted.

Sorta funny, you can get fish caught right outta a river behind a plant and have to hold them for an extended period of time for the rigor to pass,.... fresh fish?....yeah, right...

Next, a relatively new process today when creating a boneless or semi-boneless product, and likely what starts adding a salty taste.......

After they are filleted, they go back into a brine storage....for up to a couple days.... and it's not just brine, preservatives are added at this point because they will not be held below freezing during this "aging" process.

This allows for the meat to once again, soften..

Again, this is necessary due to the automated machinery involved, this time, it's the automated deboning equipment. The bones are more effectively removed if the fillet is more like "mush" than a firm fresh piece of meat.

Am I tantalizing your taste buds yet?

The bones are literally torn from the fillet by these machines, afterwards they are hand patted down and smoothed to make them look as if they haven't been through a living hell.

These fillets are now candidates for IQF product, (Individually Quality Frozen).

Each fillet enters a freezer of one sort or another on a belt or tray and hopefully pops out the other end of the freezer with a core temperature of -10 to -30.

There is more salt to come but I'm gonna rant for a minute here.

This freezing process is going to be one of those things you read about in national headlines someday.

It's the bottle-neck of the entire process, it cost huge money to freeze and takes a lot of time. All of these production freezers have variable speed control for many legitimate reasons...they can be abused, production staff needs numbers, speed up the freezer and wa-la, you get your numbers and a pat on the back for your incredible production capabilities.
But in doing so, you can turn out warm product that goes right into shipping crates and will never freeze to sufficient temps for long term storage.

Like most food production in this country, these processors police themselves. Rare and random spot checks by government agencies do occur but are normally focused on sanitary conditions of an operation.

OK, I'm done ranting.

As these fillets come out of the freezers they go back through a brine process or "glazing" as it's more commonly referred to. Again, it has to be brine due to the low temperatures of the water, you can't be heating up the product. This can be sprayed on or dipped at this point. This effectively encases the product in ice (here's more water as well as salt) giving it a protective seal so to speak. If held at the right temperatures after this process an extended freezer life is attained.

So, the water you see while preparing can be part glaze, part natural and some that may be absorbed during the aging process of boneless product.

Since water on and in seafood products equals salt, the taste can be there and probably more noticeable with fish of lesser dominant flavor.

I'd recommend thawing completely, draining and rinsing these frozen products to help eliminate the salts involved in the processing procedures.

Cod has more flavor than any of the lesser priced white fish on the market. I stick with it.

Trivia
This time of year, around Easter, Wendys fast food restaurants offer a Cod fillet sandwich. It's seldom on their menu boards, just a seasonal special.

This is the only fish fillet sandwich offered by any on these types of restaurants that isn't made from Pollock or Whiting mince. Try one and see if you don't notice a considerable difference.....
~Jeff~
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Postby Todd » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:47 pm

~jeff~ wrote: I'd recommend thawing completely, draining and rinsing these frozen products to help eliminate the salts involved in the processing procedures.


Here are directions for whiting fillets that worked well for me. Take the fillets from the box, walk over to the nearest trash can, lift the lid and throw that crap in, replace lid. Problem solved....
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Postby ~jeff~ » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:00 pm

Todd wrote:Here are directions for whiting fillets that worked well for me. Take the fillets from the box, walk over to the nearest trash can, lift the lid and throw that crap in, replace lid. Problem solved....


And let the Pollock follow......
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Postby chief joe » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:19 am

We had a fish fry last week here. Bought catfish filets. The guy who fixed it rinsed it six times after cutting it up into same size pcs. When he started the run off looked nearly like skim milk. By the sixth time it was clear. He also showe me how the fish "fluffed up" allowing the breading to adhere better. DELICIOUS!
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