Interview with THE FISHMAN. Matt at VE Trading shares his expertise on fish.
Why did you get into the fish business?
M:Ironically it was by accident…I was looking for part time work while doing real estate…and found the early hours workable. I could prospect clients in the afternoon, however, it didn’t work out and I haven’t been back to real estate since.
What is VE Trading?
M:VE Trading LLC is an import company that imports fresh whole fish from several international locations. We specialize in importing products that adhere to a specific market. By this I mean we supply fish primarily attractive to the European market. This doesn’t limit us though. In the last couple of years the European products imported by VE Trading has begun to be used by various other types of markets, becoming a universal or a better-known array of products and not just to the Europeans here in the U.S.
How do I know if a fish is fresh?
M:Simply smell it! If it smells suspect don’t eat it. People typically check for bright red color in the gills…clear full eyes..not cloudy….and a firm feel of the belly and meat. If you lift up a whole fish and it is floppy..its a sign the stomach is starting to go and losing its freshness. If the fish skin looks dry and does not have an oily feel or look to it- it’s probably aging right in front of your eyes.
What is the best fish for soup?
M:Any type of a white fish that doesn’t have a strong odor like a halibut or sea bass, or sea bream even mahi mahi.
Is there any easy way to clean a fish?
M:There is never an easy way. You are going to get messy no matter what, but its not scary. Just scale it with a scaler or with the edge of a knife. Cut bottom from center of throat and across the belly. Yank out gills and pull out all contents from inside. Don’t over wash the fish with water to the point the water is warm and can possible start pre-cooking the meat. Always use cold water when rinsing the fish off.
Can you eat the head of a fish?
M:Yes- most people use the head for soup. It’s not the most edible part of the fish. Some fish have thick tissue that is edible. And if you watch Bourdain or Zimmerman they will eat the eyes no questions asked.
What is the most flavorful fish to fry?
M:I would have to say a white type of fish again…typically it doesn’t have to be the best quality since you are deep frying it. I prefer a cod or a halibut. Not a huge fan of frying salmon or a tuna. A nice fried Branzini is good too!
Is there a fish that is actually attractive to plate?
M:It’s all up to the chef. A chef can make almost anything attractive. The European sea bass and sea bream we import always looks attractive on a plate and smells amazing.
Whats your favorite fish to eat?
M:I used to be a huge salmon eater…. But since I have been in the business of providing fish coming out of the Mediterranean ocean, my favorite is the Sea Bass from Greece. This species is known also as Spigola, Lavraki, Lup de Mer, and Branzino.