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Old 05-18-2012, 05:37 PM   #1
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It's A Party!

Paying homage to whom we decide to harvest is critical if you asked me. I'm a big believer in Karma points when it comes to fishing; paying proper respect is just one piece of that pie. Anyone who's ever had an opportunity to catch, The Right Kind, will certainly respect the power these fish possess. That's a given, really. No matter what species you've already checked off the list, pound for pound, Yellowtail are tough to be beat. If you haven't had that opportunity just yet, be prepared for a real arm-breaking endeavor---all the way to the boat! Unless you're fishing with dynamite, of course. One thing's for sure, the local grade will certainly give you a run for your money. Even on a cold/crisp day you're going to break a sweat if you tie into one of these prized fish. Guaranteed.

Besides the incredible fight, don't get it twisted, Yellowtail provide fantastic table-fair, too. Personally, I get tired of White Sea Bass, Halibut and pretty much any white meat fish. Yes, that goes for Sheepshead, Vermillion and any other delicacy of the deep. A nice mild, white meat fish, is great for a spell, though. That should go without saying. They pretty much taste like whatever you put on them, right? For lack of a better word, they're neutral. Which is what's so appealing at first, but also why I can only eat so much. After a while they tend to get a little, dare I say, boring? Maybe that's just me. Now, Yellowtail on the other hand, have some serious personality, though. On the end of the line as well as the table. I suppose you could refer to them as an acquired taste for most folks. Myself included. The first Yellowtail I ever cooked I had to force myself to finish. I'll admit to having feelings of guilt for harvesting that first fish. Luckily for me, I kept at it or I would have been really missing out. The oil content in these fish is quite high. And with that oil comes a fish with certain ground rules to really enjoy the table fair they provide. Yellowtail most certainly require a specific approach in terms of preparation and finesse when it comes time to cook. Simply put, while everyone is entitled to their opinion if you don't absolutely love Yellowtail you're nuts---or you're cooking it wrong.

Make sure and bleed your catch as soon as you have it secured. Key words being, "as soon as you have your trophy-fish secured!" This should also go without saying, but it can't be stressed enough. Properly bleeding a fish is just one critical step in providing quality table-fare. In a perfect world you'd immediately put this fish on ice, but a few hours is fine. So don't stress. To offset the stress of getting the fish immediately on ice: a simple burlap-bag "that's kept wet" will work wonders, too. In short, don't cook your fish on the kayak---save that for the party!

Since my last thread was based on the coffin of death ( the ice-chest), I won't spend too much time on the subject. All I reiterate is that you want to fully immerse your catch for a minimum of twenty four hours on ice. I typically keep my Yellowtail on ice for forty-eight hours, but that's not exactly necessary. The last thing you want is your trophy, sushi-grade or not, sitting in water. A body bag where water can't intrude is ideal, but if that's not an option, at least, keep that drain plug pulled and minimize water in your resting place. Icing your fish for a day or so will not only make the fillet process cleaner, but you'll end up with a higher quality product in the end. In essence, aging aside, keeping your fish buried in ice for a day will allow the blood to congeal. Which simply translates to a nice, clean filet, when you take that next step towards the table. Once you extract your filet simply pat the meat dry with a paper towel. Use nice firm pressure without bruising the meat. If there's any excess moisture (whether it's from blood or water) you need to properly dry the filet. This is a simple step to raise the quality of your finished product. One that most folks neglect to realize the importance of. Never, ever, ever rinse your filets in water. When you spend $15 a pound on a nicely aged New York strip, do you wash it? Of course not. Along the same lines: never, ever, ever just flop a bunch of filets in a zip-lock bag. A glass dish pan or a ceramic plate with seranwrap is ideal. Again, moisture is the killer here. So don't stack your filets on top of one another, either.

Beyond the first step of properly bleeding your catch and required ice-time there's a couple other steps with Yellowtail, specifically---which are of equal importance, mind you. One of them is making damn sure to remove any and all of the bright red meat. While this protein rich source is incredibly high in nutrients, it tastes like a compost heap! And anything you cook with it will taste like an outhouse, too. If it's red and you're serving this product to a human, remove it. I mention the word human because man's best friend just can't get enough. Your dog will do backflips for this rancid stuff. So don't let it go to waste.
I can't stress the importance of celebrating the life of these amazing creatures enough. If you're going to harvest these fish it should be a celebration---so lets get the party started!

Here's just one of the sashimi plates for tonight's party. Notice all of the blood meat has been removed. I can eat pounds of this stuff without a single grain of rice. It's amazingly simple and delicious.

Unless you're inviting a couple Sea Lions you're probably going to mix it up a bit, though. As much as I love the Sashimi a little diversity goes a long way when inviting guests. Ideally, you'll have a fresh garden in the backyard to pluck a few little beauties to spruce things up a bit. Here's a stock-standard plate to do exactly that. A little crunch and texture never hurt.

With this basic selection a near endless variety of rolls can be created, but that's not exactly my forte'. After all, I had to take a couple waves to the chest and go rope this bad-boy while floating on a piece of freakin' plastic! Then I got my a$$ completely kicked by a thirty pound fish on a ten foot, glorified-noodle (Calstar 100J), while popping through kelp stringer after kelp stringer. So I tend to let the guests have fun while creating rolls for all to enjoy. I like to think of it as a team effort. After I filet the fish it's just an interactive platform that everyone seems to enjoy. Besides, if I'm making the rolls the plate will never get filled as I tend to eat as I go along. So it works out quite well. Here's a tasty roll a guest whipped up in less than a minute. Did I mention that this food is actually good for you?

Here's a different photo using the macro feature on my camera.

I don't know about you, but this looks pretty tasty to me. With endless possibilities in regards to creative combinations, you're the master of your domain. Maybe you're just trying Yellowtail for the first time and go nuts for Avocado? Viola---the world is your Oyster. Go on with your bad self.

This social gathering had eleven guests. With that many sushi craving friends I'd suggest a few plates with assorted rolls to go around. At least a plate of rolls for each side of the table.

In addition to the regular Sashimi plates I like to keep the belly cuts separate. The belly has not only a higher fat content, but a higher oil content, too. I absolutely love it and feel it requires it's own place. Most people either love it or aren't really a fan. All the more reason to keep these cuts separate so guests can decide for themselves. Here's just one of the plates with cuts from the belly. Mouth watering goodness.

In addition to the Sashimi and Sushi rolls I'd suggest mixing things up a bit with some perfectly cooked side dishes. Key words being, perfectly cooked. The most important thing when cooking Yellowtail: never over cook it! Here's a plate of dynamite crusted Yellowtail, charred rare. I don't care if you're a Sea Lion or, Sashimi grubbing elitist, this offering will last mere seconds on the table. Guaranteed. Unless you want a scuffle to break out I'd strongly suggest a plate at both ends of the table.

While I absolutely love a little spice, some people don't. I'd go ahead and plan ahead for that when inviting guests. It's always a good idea to marinate a few pounds of filets in whatever you can dream up. Yellowtail filets accept a marinade quite well. Anything from your own version of Teriyaki to Italian Dressing and herbs are a match made in heaven. The most important part of cooking Yellowtail, especially when you're throwing it on the grill is slicing your cuts to an even size. I prefer my cuts to be exactly 1/4", so they cook evenly. A 1/4" filet will have the perfect time to caramelize your marinade on both sides while reaching proper temperature throughout. Again, never, ever, over cook Yellowtail---unless you want a funky tasting fish. This one mistake is what's responsible for 99% of the people who claim they don't like to eat this fish. And remember that your filet is still cooking when you pull it off the grill. I can't stress this enough. I'll admit that cooking Yellowtail will require a bit of practice to get it right. If these fish are being cooked on the grill or a pan for that matter, you want it flaming hot---I'm talking Hillcrest hot! After a few minutes on each side you should be looking at this. Caramelized goodness.

If it's your first time cooking Yellowtail you might want to experiment a bit before cooking thirty pounds of filets. Like anything else, there's a fairly steep learning curve and if it doesn't turn out quite right, don't blame this amazing creature. Take a long, hard look at the Brave before blaming the arrow. I promise with a little special attention to the details, like anything in life for that matter, you'll get the results your after. In addition to appropriately prepared trophy-fish, I'd suggest a few more items to slap on a little polish after the invitations go out. If you've invited a few lovely ladies, something as simple as sliced Cucumber water goes a long way. Just don't forget a few flowers to really make things pop! These little additions require mere seconds, at best.

Since we've come this far we might as well go all the way. I don't care if your friends only drink that certain cocktail or have a favorite beer. As the saying goes, 'pick your poison'. That's all fine and dandy, but a couple decent bottles of Sake are a must. You don't need to spend $100 on a finely polished rice-wine, but you don't want the bottom of the barrel either. After all, it's a celebration of life!

So now it's time to take a load off---have a seat, kick back and relax.

To round things out, I can guarantee that someone will have a sweet tooth at the party. Whip something up out of what's sitting in the pantry already; and become someone's hero in the process.

When the coffee and tea come around later on, you'll clean up on the brownie points for sure (pun intended). Say something along the lines of: "oh it's nothing, "I just tossed something together"---"it's called cereal for rock-stars". Something like that. That should seal the deal. If it doesn't, they're not really your friends. And you might have wasted some money on a nice bottle of Sake.

Oh yeah, remember to take a bad ass photo. Don't just snap some lame picture as your fumbling in blood. Unless that's what your really into, of course. My only advice is to let the fish expire before you proceed with the photo shoot. Not only will your photos turn out better, but I feel it's the right thing to do. Just keep snapping photos until you get the money shot. It not like we're shooting photos with film these days, it's a digital camera for crying out loud! It's the least you could do to pay proper respect for the life of an amazing creature---who fought to the death. Besides having a party in her honor, of course.

When I'm old and grey I sure as hell won't remember these sushi rolls and bottles of wine, but these fish I'll always remember.
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:47 PM   #2
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:53 PM   #3
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Again........amazing preparation

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Old 05-18-2012, 05:57 PM   #4
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:57 PM   #5
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don't delete this reply.

all I wanted to say is aweomseness!
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:57 PM   #6
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Josh's first dish photos and they are off the chart. Best post this year so far. And may I remind you that this is coming from a guy that loves the FoodNetwork.

I know who helped you with these awesome dishes and she is good!

This is going to send people running to the sushi bar tonight!
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:01 PM   #7
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Im so hungry now... thats some spread!
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:03 PM   #8
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:13 PM   #9
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great read! It felt like I was watching something from Food Network but with a BWE twist
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:17 PM   #10
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Wham bam, I am really hoping to join the club and throw my own party this coming week.
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:22 PM   #11
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Pure inspiration.
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:30 PM   #12
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Jesus what a horrible post.....

Everyone knows Yellowtail obey the mexican border boundaries and dont like to move around much.
And a local stock bahhhhhhhh.... Blasphemy

Well Mr. Pruitt at least you gave at least one piece of info that any of the 3,000 future readers should take to heart and its the care and preparation of these long gone visiting alien fish in relation to quality of final product.

BLEED AND ICE YOUR FISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Epic food shots Josh

I will look at, drool over and respect legit cooking any day...

Well Darkie I ask you sir how young is too young??



If theres grass on the field play ball???????? (perverts)

They are never too young

Beautiful Yellow god I love those fish.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:11 PM   #13
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I just ate dinner and after seeing that, I am hungry again!

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Old 05-18-2012, 07:30 PM   #14
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Totally sick...that's the way to do it right...
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:42 PM   #15
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Epic dinner.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:56 PM   #16
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Nice post!
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:57 PM   #17
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:59 PM   #18
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Show Off..
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:08 PM   #19
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nice dinner spread!

Its allways great to see other peoples fish presentations.

I am sure your friends were stoked on the fish.

your title should of been Warning this post will make you hungry!
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:12 PM   #20
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I know what you're saying about getting tired of the all white meat. It's good but kinda boring. YT on the other hand, it's only your imagination that limits your ways to enjoy. The more I eat YT the more I want to eat YT. I have a pair of super heavy duty kitchen shears to get the collars off, maybe the best part of the YT. My buddy just gave me a bag of smoked YT bellys. Wow! Mike
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