Shark, that’s what’s for dinner.
Last weekend, I was in the public market of the town of Baler in the province of Aurora. My brother and I came across this baby shark in the market. It weighed 2.5 kilos and I bought it for Php 250.We were upset that it was still a baby but it was fresh so I bought it.
Tip: To retard decomposition, ask the vendor to remove the guts and gills of the fish. This is true for any fish, not just sharks. Removing the guts (the entire digestive system and fish organs) and gills eliminate most of the harmful microbes in the fish’s body. Your gutted fish will stay fresh longer.
What to do when the flesh smells of ammonia
I had tasted shark many years ago and was put off by the ammonia smell of the cooked shark. That happened because the shark we ate wasn’t fresh anymore when it was cooked. “The ammonia-like smell is because the fish is not fresh. It is a product of decomposition. Don’t eat it if it smells like that. It might not make you sick, but then again it might. Why risk it or have an unpleasant experience? Fish should have only a briny aroma of the sea. If it has a fishy smell from being in plastic, briefly rinse in fresh water. If the fishy smell persists or is strong, take it back and demand a refund. For that reason, it’s best to cook fish the same day you buy it.”
Shark fins are why sharks are killed.
When I bought the shark, its fins had already been cut off. It’s because of the fins that the Filipino fishermen who netted this shark did not release it. Marine product traders (of the kind that buy and sell sea cucumbers) buy shark fins from fishermen. These shark fins are bound for the Chinese market where they’re used for both food and medicine. I blogged about the market for shark fins previously. My post even has pictures of the fins of adult sharks — large ones. Click here.
I’m very much against the practice of shark-finning. All of these sharks are being killed solely for their fins and it’s because of the shark fin soup. I’d rather see that soup stop being served than see sharks become extinct.
Shark curry in coconut milk.
I checked around for shark recipes on the internet and decided to go with an Indian recipe that sautéed the chunks in a sauce made with onion, tomato, and curry mixed in coconut milk. Golden brown potatoes and green shallots completed the dish. I had an assistant, Gina, to help me make this dish.
It was delicious. Sharks don’t have bones; they only have cartilage. Therefore, shark meat doesn’t have fish bones and that made it easier to eat.
My mother, who was fearful of eating shark, in case it bites her ;-), remarked that you wouldn’t know it was shark (from eating it) unless you were told it was.