Fish Head

Fish Head

Salted whole salmons sold in Japan

Salted whole salmons sold in Japan

I live in Queens, New York. It is one of the most racially mixed neighborhood in the United States. Within a short distance, I can find specialized grocery stores for Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Greek, Mexican, Brazilian, Middle Eastern, and so on. I love to visit those stores to look around foreign food items, and imagine how people cook with them.

I recently shopped at a Chinese grocery store at the corner of Horace Harding Expressway and 99th Street. I noticed that salmon heads were sold. It’s unusual to see them in the United States. I suspect that most of the fish heads, either big or small are discarded in the United States.

I was watching the heads probably more than five minutes and debating myself. Would my husband and son eat the stuff, or are they totally disgusted? They are cheap, and I know that they are fattier and tastier than plain boring fillets. I didn’t buy after all.

One week later, I went back to the Chinese grocery store. I was still watching the heads. Thinking about what I could do with them this time. They are perfect to grill, but also can be cooked in a donabe with vegetables. Stewed with daikon would be good, too. I didn’t buy again.

But I still can’t forget the heads. I was wondering how Americans think of fish heads. I googled and found an NPR article titled, Why We Should Quit Tossing Fish Heads And Eat ‘Em Up Instead, Yum! I also brought up the subject to my husband. He said, “I know that some ethnics eat them. They may not be my favorite food, but I could try.” But he cautioned that our son may not eat them.

Well, I shall try. When I go to the Chinese grocery store next time, I will buy salmon heads, cook them, and serve them for dinner.

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One Response to Fish Head

  1. anna in spain December 16, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    I use salmon heads to make my own fish stock. As bonito flakes are prohibitively expensive here in S. Spain where I live, I infuse water with kombu by barely simmering it for an hour, as I saw a miso master do. Then I remove the kombu from the stock, and add the salmon head and cook until the head is done. My husband enjoys nibbling on the cooked head, and I have about a litre of good fish broth to use in soups etc. Not quite “dashi”, but very tasty indeed!

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