I was really excited to find that the fish counter at our local Morrisons had two beautiful arctic char, and some very lovely looking rainbow trout. I’ve been hoping I’d be able to find some to cure and smoke to add to my family Christmas ‘hampers’ (sorry, this is a spoiler for those of you who’ll be getting them). Because I was buying two char and three trout, to save a little time I asked the fishmonger to fillet them for me. This took an age, but I didn’t think much of it – I felt a bit sorry for the bloke, to be honest, since it was a bit of a big job! Eventually they reappeared, heat-sealed into Morrisons’ white plastic fish-pouches, and I got on with the rest of my shopping. The char was expensive – just over £10 for the two fish, but since it’s a rare and very special little fish, I figured that’s OK.
I opened the char this evening and nearly wanted to cry. I’ve never seen such a mess. I’m not a chef and have no formal training in this sort of thing, but I can – and *have* – filleted fish better than this. Anyone can see that this is a total, utter, ghastly mess. I spent 45 minutes trying to tidy up these fillets in the hope of saving them, but in the end I had to give up. They were uneven, still had all their ribs and fins attached, weren’t even split down the midline – one piece had a centimetre of flesh (nearly half an inch) still attached to the *other* side of the dorsal fin! Great chunks of fish were missing, too.
They look like they’ve been filleted with a blunt bread-knife. The cut surface is completely macerated, with the layers of muscle ripped apart. And one of the pieces, you can see, has a nasty blood clot within the flesh, which was connected to a cystic structure is the muscle – I don’t know exactly what this is, but I suspect it probably ought to have been grounds for rejecting the fillet or possibly even the whole fish.
As for the trout, well… see for yourselves. Just more of the same.
I’m so angry and disappointed about this, mostly because it’s such a f*cking waste of beautiful fresh fish. For goodness sake, Morrisons, is it too much to ask for you arrange to have fishmongers on your fish counters who can actually fillet a salmonid without making a complete dog’s dinner of it? They’re about as simple a fish to fillet as it comes, after all! I’d politely suggest they start with a sharp knife, and see how they go from there…
I’ll be taking it all back tomorrow.
Right, rant over. I was going to share my decorated Christmas cake with you all tonight – perhaps tomorrow, eh?
I’m trying to write a post a day during Advent, so, please come along with me while I try to Blog Advent – the Country Skills Way – and forgive me if I don’t quite manage it!
Read more from the Country Skills blog >>