Mar 05 2005

The Fish-Man Weepeth


Splendid grouper with gremolata and olive fried rice

My fish-man, a sensitive feller, radiated zeal when I enquired about the grouper. It was, he said, giving the stack of fillets a reverent gaze, the briny deep’s most staggeringly beautiful delegate in a month of Sundays. I could not argue; if ever a stack of grouper fillets was in the pink, this was it.

So moved was the fish-man by the splendor of his grouper that he appeared on the verge of weeping as he sliced off the tidbit you see above. We observed a moment of solemn reflection, the fish-man and I, silently acknowledging that neither of us was worthy to lick this fish’s boots. Then off I pranced to find the wine steward, with whom there was much to discuss.

When it comes to splendid grouper fillets, my policy is firm: dust with flour, pan-roast in olive oil, apply gremolata.

Incidentally, I have never seen a woman behind the fish counter. Or the butcher counter either, for that matter. Not that I’m spearheading a Women’s Fishmonger Suffrage movement. I merely observe that, centuries after the hunter-gatherer model of gender-based division of labor became obsolete, purveyors of fleshly comestibles remain, vestigially, male.

Me bring meat! Ug!