In the last nine years of blogging, I have come across it a few times, but it hasn’t managed to stir up enough fascination to compel me to write about it. Once we get to fish the size of a large snapper, we can start serving just the head in order to appreciate the different textures that it offers.
With a fish so big, even a small organ such as its testicles is large enough to be made into a dish! Before we start our anatomical devastation, I just want to touch on the fascinating method in which the fish is dispatched.
It was cleaved oil alright, the kind that you might find at aromatherapy shops. Johnny proceeded to climb up to the back of the tank and added about a teaspoon of the stuff into the water.
Johnny explained that this was how the fish was put to sleep in order to transport it from his farm in Sarah by air to Singapore! This particular fish weighed about 30 kg and took about 2 years to grow from eggs which where hatched at his farm.
This specimen is considered a juvenile compared to the 270 kg giant which he served at his restaurant in 2013. The lower part of the head is prized for its skin which turns wonderfully gelatinous when stewed.
The part just under the gills (2a) is especially prized and has a texture similar to duck web. The lips (2b) are also very sought after, but they are not as thick as the Sew Ma (Napoleon Wrasse).
The upper part of the head is not as valuable as the only portion of interest is the area around the eyes. Stewed Fish Head (2b)The Chinese have a penchant for gelatinous textures which gourmands of the West might dismiss as “phlegm” or “mucous”.
That is why things like sea cucumbers, chicken feet and fish heads are prized in Chinese gastronomy. The stewed fish head (lower portion (2b) was excellent and should make mum very happy.
In fact, the internal organs, which are usually discarded in smaller fish, are considered delicacies. It is less powdery but not as creamy as phone gas and the “livery” flavor is not as pronounced as with pork liver.
The pectoral fin (7) section is rather tough in the GiantGrouper, unlike tuna and yellowtail amber jack (burn) where the Kama (neck) is tender and has a wonderful flavor when simply grilled with salt. We sampled the dorsal fin braised with soy sauce and ma Che in an earlier session.
I didn’t think that the braising sauce suited the flavor of the fish, although I thoroughly enjoyed the balance of meat, fat and collagen in the fin. The bottom-most part of the belly (11) is very well exercised and is full of connective tissue which can be broken down into gelatin through slow cooking.
The next three parts are so small that they are not on the menu and is only offered to patrons of the restaurant who specifically ask for it. Giant groupers are monastic protogynous hermaphrodites which means that they change sex as they mature.
The taste is ok and the texture is like minced meatballs but it isn’t something that I would specifically ask for. The jelly like marrow lies within the vertebral bone and it’s best eaten raw.
Now, I won’t advocate eating anything raw (unless it is served by a sushi chef), but I did have a taste of it after I was assured by Johnny that a certain prominent doctor always reserves this for himself. In smaller fish, the amount of red muscle is so small that you don’t make it a point to separate them.
The scales of the grouper has become quite a commodity in recent years due to the popularity of collagen. I first encountered grouper scale soup while we were doing a mission trip in Andaman with Educate.
One of the best ways to get some extra collagen is to order their guiding GAO for dessert. It tastes quite similar to guiding GAO made in the traditional way.
Which, along with their size, made them a prime target for fishmongers and caused their population to drastically decrease, so much so that in 1990 the US had to put a harvest ban on the species with the Caribbean following suit in 1993, and Brazil in 2002. And while this means throughout most of the year the numbers of Goliath groupers sticking together in any one place is quite low, they are still easy targets due to the way they reproduce.
When the time to reproduce comes, Goliath groupers come together in large groups that are rarely made up of less than a hundred individuals. In other words, the Goliath groupers utilize the same few places and same few days a year to spawn, which makes them predictable, and thus, easy targets for fisherman looking to catch them.
The best alternative among them would probably be the giant grouper (also known as Queensland grouper or mottled-brown sea bass), which is just as highly prized for the quality of its lean but moist flesh and distinct taste. Since the distinct taste is giant grouper ’s biggest charm, it’s better to cook it in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the fish with other ingredients.
You ’ll only need fresh and cleaned grouper fillets, a lemon, and an Italian seasoning mix along with some salt and pepper. Put a generous amount of salt and pepper on both sides of the fish, lay the fillets out on the foil drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkle Italian seasoning on top.
Rub salt and pepper over the fillets, lightly dust with flour, and fry in butter and olive oil (yes, both) for 3-4 minutes on each side. Squeeze some lemon over it when you flip the fish (be careful because the juice will start bubbling when it hits the heat).
Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: Epinephrine Genus: Epimetheus Species: Binomial name Epimetheus Tamara Synonyms Promiscuous Tamara (Lichtenstein, 1822) Serra nus Tamara Lichtenstein, 1822 Serra nus Menelik Valentines, 1828 Serra nus gales J.P. Müller & Trochee, 1848 Serra nus guava Play, 1860 Promiscuous one Ehrenberg, 1915 Promiscuous ditto Roux & Collision, 1954 The Atlantic Goliath grouper or Tamara (Epimetheus Tamara), also known as the Jewish, is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths from 5 to 50 m (16 to 164 ft).
Its range includes the Florida Keys in the US, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean and most of the Brazilian coast. On some occasions, it is caught off the coasts of the US states of New England off Maine and Massachusetts.
In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it occurs from the Congo to Senegal. Young Atlantic Goliath groupers may live in brackish estuaries, oyster beds, canals, and mangrove swamps, which is unusual behavior among groupers.
They may reach extremely large sizes, growing to lengths up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and can weigh as much as 360 kg (790 lb). The world record for a hook-and-line-captured specimen is 308.44 kg (680.0 lb), caught off Fernanda Beach, Florida, in 1961.
Considered of fine food quality, Atlantic Goliath grouper were a highly sought-after quarry for fishermen. It is a relatively easy prey for spear fishermen because of the grouper's inquisitive and generally fearless nature.
They also tend to spawn in large aggregations, returning annually to the same locations. Until a harvest ban was placed on the species, its population was in rapid decline.
The fish is recognized as “vulnerable” globally and “endangered” in the Gulf of Mexico. The species' population has been recovering since the ban; with the fish's slow growth rate, however, some time will be needed for populations to return to their previous levels.
Goliath groupers are believed to be protogynous hermaphrodites, which refer to organisms that are born female and at some point in their lifespans change sex to male. Males can be sexually mature at about 115 centimeters (45 in), and ages 4–6 years.
In May 2015, the Atlantic Goliath grouper was successfully bred in captivity for the first time. Tidal pools act as nurseries for juvenile E. Tamara.
In tidal pools juvenile E.Tamara are able to utilize rocky crevices for shelter. Besides shelter, tidal pools provide E. Tamara with plenty of prey such as lobster and porcelain crab.
The Atlantic Goliath grouper has historically been referred to as the “Jewish”. It may have referred to the fish's status as inferior leading it to be declared only suitable for Jews, or the flesh having a “clean” taste comparable to kosher food ; it has also been suggested that this name is simply a corruption of jaw fish or the Italian word for “bottom fish”, Giuseppe.
In 2001, the American Fisheries Society stopped using the term because of complaints that it was culturally insensitive. Age, Growth, and Reproduction of Jewish Epimetheus Tamara in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Pseudorhabdosynochus species (Monogenoidea, Diplectanidae) parasitizing groupers (Serranidae, Epinephrine, Epinephrine) in the western Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters, with descriptions of 13 new species”. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epimetheus Tamara.