Lush and almost primordial Cuban flora
  Maria Finn  


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Bay area chefs have been serving up funky parts of animals, from pig heart sandwiches at Zazu in Santa Rosa to pig trotter croquettes at Flour + Water in San Francisco, as a way to show respect to the animals we eat. Now there's a new trend burgeoning, which I am calling "gill to adipose fin," or using the whole fish.

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Maria Finn portrait

photo credit: Matthew Perry

Read Maria Finn's biography »

The Whole Fish:

How Adventurous Eating of Seafood Can Make You Healthier, Sexier and Help Save the Ocean

Mexico in Mind book image

The "gill to adipose fin" trend means buying fish whole and using the entire animal. Make fish head soup, broil the collars, brine the eggs, bake the skins for "fish bacon" dry the bones and grind them into a "salt" or smoke them for stock. Learn to love sardines, mackerel and herring for all their wonderful oiliness. You'll get mega doses of omega 3's, serotonin highs, increased stamina and all sorts of other benefits to ramp up your sex life and vastly improve your health. Research has shown that experiencing new things triggers the chemicals, dopamine and norepinephrine - the same ones released when you're newly in love. So make this as simple as an adventurous dinner.

Wasting fewer parts shows respect to the animal and we are at a critical juncture when it comes to the health of waterways謡e need to reverse decades of damage done by overfishing, dams, and many forms of pollution from mining to industrial farming. The ocean is a complex web, from phytoplankton to orcas, so let's make dinner choices according to the cycles of nature and the marvels of life schooling in our oceans and feel it connect with our own primal pulses. At these intersections with nature, we taste the world around us in new, unexpected ways and cultivate our creativity. We realize that community is not just with our friends and families, but all life on earth. This is passion and there's no greater aphrodisiac. The recipes included here are from some of the best chefs in the business; they will guide you on this voyage through the heads, hearts and bellies of fish.

Recent Recipes featured on Chow.com

Fish Skin Bacon Recipe:
Take a scaled piece of fish skin.
Thin-skinned fish like salmon, black cod, and halibut all work well.
Rub it with a little sesame oil, pepper, salt, and red chili flakes.
Put it in the oven at about 300-325 for a half hour, then cut it into strips.
You'll end up with crispy, salty, strips with a little fish flavor from something that might have just ended up in the garbage.
I really like to use them in a rice bowl with a poached egg and some greens.

Salmon Salt:
This idea came from C Restaurant in Vancouver
Take a left over fish bone, scrape off as much meat as you can, then boil it until the rest falls off.
Leave it out to dry a day or two in your kitchen in a sunny dry spot.
Once it's dry, take a piece, grind it up in a coffee grinder as fine as possible, then mix it together with an equal amount of salt.
After grinding up the salmon bones, grind up dry, uncooked rice and throw it away and then wash it with soap and water and it takes away any traces of smell.
A little sprinkle of this salt adds an amazing depth of flavor and umami to soups, rice,vegetables, and more. Think of it as a dry fish sauce.

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