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Friday, February 24, 2006

Salmon dinner for two. $7.50

This is the story of how one day I set out to make fish stock, and ended up with a surprise dinner for two of fresh salmon – for less than $7.50!

The Bargain Queen and I were at the fish markets one Sunday, looking for a distinctly un-bargainish lunch, when we got the inspiration to make some fish stock. Sitting in a great big tub were the freshly-filleted remains of some giant Tasmanian salmon – so we picked one up for $2.99 and brought it home.

What did we get for our $2.99? Over a metre length of fresh salmon head & tail and the flesh all along the spine, which remains after you have cut off the fillets. Sound appetising? Well no, it sounds revolting (and looks worse) – but little did we know what a transformation it would go through once we got the fish stock underway!

So into a pot of cold water went our salmon (sans eyes, ugh), plus all the usual fish stock goodies – about $4 worth of onion, carrot, celery & sea salt. As per the recipe, we brought it to a slow simmer for 30 minutes, skimmed it and reserved the stock.

What was left in the pot was a giant bit of cooked salmon. I flaked a little meat of the spine to try it, fully expecting it to taste like bland goop. To my surprise and delight, it was firm, juicey and full of salmony deliciousness!

So I ended up flaking the whole lot off the bone. This only took 2 minutes, since it was so thoroughly and gently simmered, the flesh just fell off the bone.
That one bony-looking salmon yielded enough cooked, boneless, skinless, flaked flesh to make a couple of huge salmon sandwiches – or, in our case, it added a lovely dimension to our vegie stir-fry that night.

And the fish stock? I’d love to report that we froze it and made batch after batch of delicious risottos, sauces and casseroles with it, but, in the end, we got lazy and tossed it. My bad.

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