Evan Martin Caught my Fish

Today was a crappy day. Headache, body aches, rain, sleep deprived.

I dragged myself into work and realized quickly it was not a great idea. At lunchtime, I called it quits and made my way home for an afternoon nap.

But not before I made a quick stop at Kensington Market. I'm sure if I had asked my doctor, she would have agreed.

My brother was coming over for dinner and I had originally planned on sending Dustin to grab some fish for dinner. I figured I'd make the quick stop before my nap.

I love going to Hooked. I like spending a little more money for the extra quality of fish, quality of service, and for that general fuzzy feeling I get when I leave there knowing I've done something good for the world and myself. Supporting sustainable fish is delicious.

I was hoping for some wild salmon that would taste good raw, hoping to slice it up and add it to our sushi DIY dinner.

Of course they had some beautiful King Chinook available, but the really fun part? They've now partnered with ThisFish: an online tool that traces the origin of your seafood from ocean to plate. Now, when Hooked stamps your bundle with their labels, they scribble down a number for you to trace your fish!

Evan Martin is a fisherman from Sidney, BC, and he caught my King Chinook that I ate for dinner. It was harvested off Kyoquot Sound between April 21st and 24th, was sold in Richmond BC, travelled to Hooked Inc. in Toronto, and then to my belly. How cool is this?! (Click the image below if you want to see the full summary of my fish trace on ThisFish.info.)

And how cool is sushi DIY? I came up with this concept a few years ago, when I was tired of standing in the kitchen making maki roll after maki roll and then having it not taste quite as good as when I first made it.

I use the packages of Korean style nori. They're small rectangles perfect for a little magical bundle of sushi ingredients. Like a miniature handroll. And the rest of the ingredients are up to your imagination.

After a ridiculously long afternoon nap, I made the sushi rice in the cooker, cut up cucumbers, avocados, kani (imitation crab meat), green onions, and the King Chinook wild salmon that Evan was so nice to catch for me. A little spicy mayo, wasabi, and soy sauce. Delicious! So many options at dinner time. And so much less work than making each maki roll for dinner!

Fishmongering 101

A fishmonger sounds like an ancient trade from the days of yore. You know, just down the road from the blacksmith and the town juggler. But it simply refers to a person that sells you fish.

I was first acquainted with the fishmongers at Hooked Inc. when I was looking for sustainably sourced fish for my first Farmhouse Retreat. The salt baked rainbow trout was a big hit, and my friend Priscilla made note of the fish shop for gift ideas when the time came.

In October, I was surprised with a gift certificate from Priscilla to attend a class of my choice at Hooked. I signed up at my first opportunity and waited patiently until March for my Fishmongering 101 class.

Dan and Kristen opened Hooked Inc. to fill a void in fish markets supporting truly sustainable sourcing practices. Although fishmongers are plentiful in Toronto, few have the dedication to learning who caught that fish, and exactly how.

At the long awaited Fishmongering 101 class, I learned how to gut, fillet, and perfectly pan fry a couple fish (a branzino and rainbow trout), and they even packed away our leftover fillets with all the necessary ingredients to replicate the meal the next day. We watched Kristen fillet a halibut (did you know it was halibut season?) and she also showed us how to make a delicious dill riesling sauce.

It's amazing how simple, challenging, and satisfying it was to fillet the fish. Chinese cuisine usually leaves the fish whole; my mom was an expert gutter and descaler, but I never learned how to properly fillet a piece of fish.

Since taking the class in March, I've been playing with options for how to fit fish fillets into my menu for the summer farmhouse retreat. Do we do a light fish lunch? Or add it to the summer bbq on Saturday night?! First world problems...

I highly recommend this class at Hooked Inc. and am hoping to take another class one day, but you need to keep an eye out for the class postings! They like to keep the classes small, and taught by the best, so they don't come out often! In the meantime, visit their locations in Leslieville or Kensington Market and feast on some of the freshest, most ethically sourced seafood in town!