Thursday, April 17, 2014

Not What You Seem to Be? Shock and Horror at the Fish Counter

I have always loved lobster.   A trip to Lobster Village, south of Tijuana, Baja, was always a brief glimpse into heaven. 

Now Fish Shop, Hermosa Beach, has just opened on Pier Avenue.  Talk about a discouraging name...Fish Shop.   Flat, bare, no adornment, no cute...

Richie grabbed a take-out menu and I read it intently.  No!  Could this be?  Lobster Lumpia! 

You may never have heard of "Lumpia" because its home is Hawaii.  Happily, I have a friend who has visited Hawaii, loved the food and was always up for lunch at a local place.  The two best (full-service bar) are gone and they took their Lumpia with them so lobster Lumpia was a double find. 

Then came a most unwelcome discovery that popped up while reading a tapas cookbook.  The author suggests monkfish as a substitute for lobster.  How could this be?  I thought lobster and shrimp were the only things that couldn't be duplicated! (Shrimp is the only meat I'll order in an Asian restaurant.)

Research informed me that monkfish or anglet or lotte can all be used as substitute meat for lobster.  The tapas writer suggested monkfish because it only has one bone (presumably the spine) and when said bone is removed you will have a pair of filets.  Clean then, cut little slits in the flesh and daub in sweet paprika.  Bake it in butter and lemon juice for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.   Viola! the writer exulted, it looks just like lobster!

I can see using a substitute to save money (I can always see saving money.)  Lobster is never a bargain and the price - for what you get - is exorbitant.  The ratio of meat to shell is 1.4.

This willy-nilly substitution of monkfish for lobster unnerved me considerably.  By law, faux crab aka Krab have to be labeled as such.  But these monkfish seem to be able to run around, flitting into this dish or that with impunity.

So now the dilemma - visit Fish Shop and dare to order the Lobster Lumpia or make Richie order it and then dissect the contents, looking for paprika stains?   Yeah, why not - he's an omnivore anyhow.  Little monkfish - if that's what it is - won't hurt him.

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