Aberdeen, Scotland Food and Lifestyle Blogger
Two days ago I gutted a fish. Yes. Yes, I did. Me! I GUTTED a fish! Two fish, actually. Let me just pat myself on the back for a second here and congratulate myself on such an accomplishment.
Not a big deal, you say? Well, for me it was! I found a recipe that I desperately wanted to make from my new favorite cookbook (I'm going to leave this handy little link here with information all about it and where you can buy it because you NEED this cookbook!) that calls for whole trout. Now, I knew that I could probably buy pre-gutted fish somewhere but I knew even more that I wanted to conquer this and gut it myself. I always try to use fresh ingredients or make something myself when at all possible. With this project of Cooking through the World I am forcing myself to try new cooking techniques and learn new skills that I previously never had or even thought of doing! And one of those things is gutting a fish. It has absolutely nothing to do with my Icelandic food, just another night in the kitchen.
So I pick up my fish from the store, place it in the freezer to keep it fresh until I need to use it (I do this with all the meat I buy!) and then commence stressing out about actually gutting it. The days tick by until it comes to the day I am meant to be tackling this issue but I was thankfully rescued by my mother-in-law who invited us over for dinner. Thank you, Jesus!
I'm not joking when I say that I was totally stressing out over this. I kept asking myself if it would be so bad if I simply let the fish go bad and then I had no choice but to throw it out. But, I said no, I need to do this! Conquer those fears!
So on Monday, I take the fish out of the fridge. I rewatch my YouTube tutorials on how to gut a trout. I make sure that all the workmen outside of my house can see what I'm doing (how much of a bad a** would I look if they looked in and saw me ripping the guts out of a fish?!). I take my knife and flip over the fish. Then I stare at.....where am I supposed to cut? I finally figure it out only to realize my knife is not cutting. So I grab a different knife. That doesn't work either. So I grabbed our only other knife (we did just move across the ocean and own nothing.). It works.
I then get to the part I'd be stressing about: putting my thumb down its throat to then pull back with all the innards attached. Graphic much? But the stupid thing kept slipping out of my hands! Then I realized the magic trick of holding it under the gills. And voila! In one swift movement, I gutted my first fish!!
I was nervous about how my kids would react to seeing a whole animal on the dinner table but they didn't care and Isla even kept poking the eyes. They polished those fish off and left nothing for the cat (we don't have a cat....yet). An absolute mom win for me!!
This week has been an amazing week of self-discovery and forcing myself into situations that make me uncomfortable but make me grow. Gutting a fish doesn't seem like a big deal but I walked away from that feeling like if I can give birth to a baby and gut a fish (not at the same time) then I can handle anything! But in all seriousness, I jumped around the kitchen clapping with my chest puffed out excitedly stomping on my fear.
That had nothing to do with Iceland....but last night we had homemade skyr, Icelandic pancakes and caramelized potatoes for dinner. It took me over 24 hours to make that yogurt but I did it! I've never made yogurt before and I've also never caramelized potatoes before. I will absolutely be doing that again! And the pancakes were delicious and savory. Next time I'd add some bacon or eggs to really round it out.
Here are the recipes I followed: