Gut Rumbles
 

March 10, 2008

Trigger fish

Originally published April 21, 2003

I go deep-sea fishing a couple of times every year and I always come home with a load of black sea-bass and red snapper. Those are good fish to eat, but my favorite fish in the ocean is a trigger fish.

They are ugly. They are big, discus-looking critters that have no scales, but possess skin like leather. I've always been able to trade some sea-bass or a snapper for triggers when my fishing party gets back to the dock, because nobody wants the pain in the ass that it is to clean them. I don't mind that pain in the ass because the fish is worth it.

I clean a trigger by starting out with a hatchet. Once I chop the ugly rascal's head off, I can get my fillet-knife under that leathery skin and peel him from the inside out. And you PEEL a trigger. You don't scale him.

You end up with a fish that you can put on the grill, broil in the oven or cook on a stick over an open fire. It's all tender, white meat that falls away in hunks the size of your thumb if you cook it right, and the bones all come out in one connected piece. I LOVE trigger fish.

But I'm kinda weird anyway.

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