French Favorite Food … something fishy going on …

The Swordfish – espadon in French It is said that one should eat fish three times a week. (This is beside the point, but I am a fish-eating vegetarian, so I eat fish every day.) How good it is for people like me to eat fish every day is something I would like to know, […]

The Swordfish – espadon in French

It is said that one should eat fish three times a week. (This is beside the point, but I am a fish-eating vegetarian, so I eat fish every day.)

How good it is for people like me to eat fish every day is something I would like to know, because the American Science magazine is warning us that this century will be the last in which mankind will be able to eat fish. From the next one, claims Science, there will no longer be any fish in the sea, lakes and rivers for us to catch and eat. I must say that the disappearance of fish will not be only because we’ve eaten it all, but pollution will kill off a fair share of it. But we will have a lot to answer for, because last year (2008) we took 132 million tons of fish from the sea to put on our plates. That was six times more than in 1950. Fish quotas implemented by the parliament of the European Union (EU) notably on cod and red tuna fish, as well as a moratorium in Canada on the catching of cod, have not therefore done much about making us just a little less greedy when it comes to our eating habits.

All the same, today I am going to write about fish and the French. I am even going to give you a fish recipe.

The French are great fish eaters. I can even say that fish is one of their favorite foods. At Christmas time a meal here in France won’t be a meal if there is no smoked salmon, shrimps, prawns, lobsters or oysters on the table. In fact, in the first days of September, the food stalls start appearing outside the restaurants. Walk along any Paris street and you will see them and smell them – that lovely smell of the sea on a breezy day – and you will see Parisians sitting inside the restaurants around small round tables with large round silver platters of seafood; oysters, raw mussels, clams, winkles, shrimps, prawns, a lobster tail, a whole crab.

But such things are expensive, and not for every lunch or dinner time, so fishmongers are compensating with a wide variety of fish – silver fish, red fish, pink fish, white fish … and fish fed on the urine of pregnant woman (and I am not joking), and fish caught in the Nile though, as I understand, the Nile has become a very polluted river.

This morning at my fishmonger, I could have bought salmon, tuna, sole, cod, hake, bass, bream, eel, haddock, herring, coley, red snapper, plaice, mackerel, sardines, skate, trout, turbot …and let me think … daurade and daurade royale, monkfish, smelt, Saint Peter’s fish and the urine-fed one which hails from Vietnam.

And then swordfish.

And swordfish beats them all! Here it is called espadon.

The swordfish is a very large fish. It can grow to a length of 16 ft, weigh up to 1000 lbs and will live for approximately 9 years if not caught and ending up on my plate. There is however a strong possibility that it won’t get caught because it is the fastest fish in the sea; it can swim at a speed of 70 miles an hour. It is therefore a rare fish and expensive.

Here is one way of how to cook espadon. (And cooked, it looks and tastes rather like veal or pork.)

Marinate the fish steaks for 4 hours in a mixture of olive oil, sliced onions, garlic (oh, do not forget the garlic, this is France after all!), salt, pepper, bay leaf, oregano and lemon slices and juice. Then dry the fish and grill it. You can also fry it in a little of the mixture.

Serve with Mediterranean type vegetables: egg-plant, peppers, squash (marrows) or broccoli.

And an iced white Chablis will make you believe that you are strolling along a beach in heaven …

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

2 Responses to “French Favorite Food … something fishy going on …”

  1. 2
    Susie Says:

    Hello from another fish-eating vegetarian! Sounds as if we’d better start stocking up on tinned fish if the scientists are correct.

    I try now only to buy fish that has been caught at sea, and not farmed, but that’s becoming increasingly difficult. Herring, mackerel, sardines, swordfish, and keta salmon are about the only ones I know of. And as for the urine-injected panga, raised in one of the filthiest waters in the world, the Mekong delta, please count me out. 🙂

  2. 1
    A Taste of Garlic Says:

    […]  found that she had also written about a nice recipe for Espadon (swordfish) which is in a post that also details fish fed on the urine of pregnant […]

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