Good eating

yes, we know the blog is taking forever to load up. This is one of the reason that this place will be gone next year. But let’s get on to important things in life, like food 🙂

Let’s talk about stuff we don’t talk about much…eating fish. My favorite subject 🙂

I know many of you enjoy eating fish, eating anything..but I doubt many of you spend as much time obsessing about food like I do. I cook 365 days a year. Even when my wife starts something I take over and criticize her cooking skills to the point where she throws her hands up in the air and leaves the kitchen. Yes, I am anal about cooking. I don’t think making dinner should be, “here, I just got some stuff together to fill the belly”. Just like to a women, you got to make love to your food when cooking it. Imao

As you can imagine, for a guy like me, going on diet is a nightmare. But I been on it since the begging of the year..From 220 or so down to 194 and for the first time since elementary school, I bought size 34 pants yesterday. I figured I use them as a “goal”, when I fit into them, I will be “there”. Funny part is I tried them on and they fit just fine. Not sure I want to go to 32..for Christ sake my 16 year old son wears a 32 and he is like a rail..gaaaak

Anyway, my diet consist of some Greek yogurt and fruit at work and sensible dinner, something I never managed to grasp over the years. And a treadmill, weights and bike every day, no exceptions. As a child in Croatia I was thought to “clean out my plate”. Who knew what, if anything would be for dinner next day. So I ate the same way here, you put stuff in front of me, I eat it…all of it. Remember that huge paella for two people Tommy tried to tackle in the Columbian restaurant last week? I finished mine when I took my family there last time.

One of the things that dives me INSANE as a cook is cooking fish. My wife “needs” a sauce on everything. Ketchup, mustard, cream, you name it, she loves it. She’ll eat a fish but she insist on smothering it with something. Which to me defeats the purpose of eating fish. To me every fish is a delicacy onto itself. Each has a different flavor, different texture. If someone eat the fish I made for them and said “it taste like chicken” I’d shot myself..or them.

So although I am not a cook, or have no training as one, I enjoy cooking. And when cooking fish in particular, I get so wrapped up in the meal, I can’t think of anything but that all day. Especially on the days when the plan is to grill something special.

First the background so some of this makes more sense..where I grew up, there is only one fish fit for the Kings, the mighty branzino. It’s the fish we never ate because it was too expensive for my grandfather. If we caught one, we sold it and bough snappers or porgies. You still had a fine meal and few coins left in your pocket. It is consider the ultimate meal to treat a friend or someone who comes to your house. If you eat brazino regularly and you are either a bourocrat or a rich dude..

Times have changed though. The wild caught brazino are hard to find these days,  but now they farmed them in giant saltwater cages about a mile from my hometown. And that is what you will find when you go to the fish market…even here in USA

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The European seabass, Dicentrarchus labrax or Morone labrax, is a primarily ocean-going fish that sometimes enters brackish and fresh waters. It is also known as the sea dace.

Highly regarded as a food fish, it is often marketed as Mediterranean seabass, bronzini, or branzini (branzino is the name of the fish in Northern Italy, with branzini being the plural form; in other parts of Italy, it is called spigola or ragno). In Spain, where, due to its popularity, it is farmed, it is called lubina or róbalo, and in France bar commun along the Atlantic coast and loup de mer in the Mediterranean. In Greek, the vernacular name of this fish, as well as that of the related Dicentrarchus punctatus, is lavraki (λαβράκι).[1] In Greek cuisine, the fish can be prepared in a variety of ways (e.g. grilled, steamed in parchment) and is often considered a delicacy. Greek journalists use the same word (lavraki) to refer to high-value exclusive news stories, a cultural reference to the perceived luck of an angler when catching this fish.

Which is what I did on Saturday, went to the local seafood place, picked two up and had them gutted and scaled. It cost me $25 for two if I remember. I did nothing to them but dried them , sprinkled some love on them with salt and peeper and heated up the grill. Few slices with a sharp knife on the back so the fish will cook equally on the thin and tick parts and on the hot grill they went. I know some of you guys would never eat a fish whole, I feel the same way about a filet. Where I come from they would stone you to death if you filleted the fish and threw that much meat away. Anyway, that is a story for another day.


A little added love with olive oil while its cooking, turned once and it was done. If you ever get a chance to go to Croatia or eat in the Croatian restaurant they will offer you a fish made only one way. Smothered in olive oil, parsley and garlic. That is it.

The olive oil is the bomb though. It’s not the regular variety from a local store but the two bottles I brought from my trip back home last year. It is almost green, bursting with flavor, not like that see-through crap I buy in the store. But I only use it for a special occasions and unfortunately, I am down to the last few cups. If you came over and offered me a $100 a cup I would tell you no thanks…it’s that good. Or maybe I am just romanticizing because it reminds me of my childhood

Oh man, I will need to double up my treadmill and biking today but it was soooooooooooo worth  it. Wife licked her plate too and no sauce for once. Thank you Lord….

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25 comments on “Good eating

  1. Rich S.

    Great story. Zenoism’s and all! Sorry to read that you’ll be shutting down the blog, but it’s a lot, I get it. Embarrassed to admit that I just noticed the new pic’s in the banner at the top. I do everything in such a rush these days, that I often forget to smell the coffee I’m drinking.
    But I’ll tell you one thing, I’m gonna find me some good green olive oil, and try that garlic and parsley thing.
    As always Z, thanks for the nice read. It’s getting colder out (a little), go fish the fall run this year. Leave the camera home, maybe we’ll get some pics of you for a change.
    Tight Lines, Rich

  2. Jason Colby


    I don’t know if you have “Ocean State Job Lot” by you but in it you can find olive oil “the way you love it”! Pure, unfiltered, extra virgin, first cold pressed is the stuff and it goes for $7.99 for 23 ounces!
    I used to sell Branzini, Barbunia and a fish that looked much like a scup for my friends and customers from that area. Greeks really love the “barbuni’s”!!!


  3. Karl

    I to love to cook especially fish, I cook whole Bronzini, porgy, sea bass, fluke (if big enough) …… on the grill regularily
    love it plain and simple just as you do and if they are big enough the cheeks are delicious
    myself not into eating eyes maybe some day in future
    Glad you share the passion
    My wife also destroys most fish ad other dishes with sauces etc especially hot sauces which i enjoy but love the taste of fish first and foremost

  4. Bruce Bjork

    Here’s one of my favorites given to me by a great guide out of Eastern CT, Captain Dan Wood:
    White fleshed fish filleted, striped bass preferably, cut into one inch chunks.
    2 quarts of water, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of salt, juice of one lemon.
    Combine water, salt, sugar and lemon juice in large kettle, bring to boil. Drop in fish chunks and boil when fish rises to surface it’s done. Serve with melted butter and lemon juice. Leftovers make a great “Mock Lobster” salad. I’m not a cook by any means but this recipe has gotten rave reviews.

  5. Sudsy

    When I saw “branzino” in the article on your F page, I thought it was a recipe. Now I’m putting two and two together and realizing that this is the fish I was questioning the origins of in the Top Tomato food store over in Freehold NJ about a week ago – If anyone wants to try it, you can get em there (but like Z said… mucho $$$$)

  6. Sudsy

    When I saw “branzino” in the article on your Fb page, I thought it was a recipe. Now I’m putting two and two together and realizing that this is the fish I was questioning the origins of in the Top Tomato food store over in Freehold NJ about a week ago – If anyone wants to try it, you can get em there (but like Z said… mucho $$$$)

  7. Mike S.

    The story, the pic’s, and the passion behind the words made my LIRR train ride home that much better!

    Thanks again for another great blog post …. would hate not having them next year but can completely understand the time they must take you each and nearly every day.

  8. Tyson

    I only wished that I could eat seafood, but gout doesn’t allow me to enjoy that anymore. Nevertheless I still enjoy seeing photos of seafood dishes.

  9. uncatim

    Careful – I was a schmuck in the kitchen to my wife. After she handed me my knives & sent me packing I was a schmuck in the kitchen to my girlfriend. Now I not only have to cook alone, I have to eat alone as well.

  10. chuckg

    Great article, I too do most of the cooking, here’s a no-fail blufish recipe. Take two blufish filets, lay them in a large piece of tin foild smother them with mayonaise and a half bottle of creamy Italian dressing. Place a red ‘Kelly” brick on top of the filets, cook on grill for 5 minutes, turn once cook another 5 minutes, take off the grill, throw fish away and eat the brick…

  11. Gilly

    Hi Zeno,

    Great looking plate you made there.

    I agree on the quality of Olive Oils…I too, only use Olive Oil from the old country…Portuguese olive oil, “Saloio Brand”.
    – “The “Saloio” olive oil is preferred by those who like the original taste of the olive, which possesses its own innate characteristics. The “Saloio” olive oil was the first to cross the Portuguese frontiers and is internationally recognized today.”

    There’s a world of difference in the taste, especially when used on fish, my mouths’ watering right now…little bit of parsley, diced raw onions….a hot pepper, glass of home-made wine…………………………A COMFY RECLINER!

    Good Night

  12. Zeno Post author

    Just so there is no confusion, blog will be redone,rebuilt and lots of other stuff
    Gilly…I will try to google that oil..I am running low
    Sudsy ..$25 for two fish of that type, considering imported from europe, its ok with me, and i am cheap as hell
    Uncatim…not a schmuck, she just does not show passion for cooking…unlike milion other things she is great at. Everyone has their strenghts
    Jason…Barbuni,…where i came from we called them Arbuni..spend my whole childhood fishing for them with my grandfather. I ate so many. sometimes 3 times a day, 3 days in the row when at sea that i dont care if i never see another

  13. georgeC5

    Hi Z, North Shore Farms specializes in Olive Oils and has it set up so you can dip a piece of bread and have a taste to find one you like. They also regularly stock Branzino ($) and a beautiful selection of fresh fish. Bring extra bucks for the breads and 20 or so types of olives and cheese. It’s worth the trip to Glen Cove, corner of Sea Cliff Ave. and Glen Cove Ave. Bon Appetit, George

  14. Jamie

    Hi Zeno, I don’t know if you’ve read this, but I would recommend (to all fishermen as well) to read Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food [Hardcover]
    Paul Greenberg
    which has one chapter about Branzino (others are salmon, tuna, and cod). It’s a very interesting book about trying to find a balance of conservation and harvest. Everything looks delicious! Jamie

  15. Zeno Post author

    I am reading…..but the blog is taking forever to load…goddady tells me is my ISP but what about all of your ISP??…are all internet service providers in cahoots to bring down S} blog?..I think not…..this is why we were planning on moving the blog to another server next year but if this shit keeps up, might be sooner

  16. matt viggiano

    Damn Z that looks finger lickin good.I to love to cook and your right when your that passionate about it does consume you leading up to the preparation and cooking of that meal.

  17. Don R

    Z- sometimes from work it takes a little longer to load. I don’t complain because…….well I’m suppose to be working! That’s the life of an addict always thinking ’bout fishin’ haha.

  18. David Murray

    What a great post..thanks. I gutz to get me summa that! I believe we have those down here where I live…lubina or robalo are here…smae fish as you mentioned above. I am going to target them for sure.

  19. Tony Marchisotto

    Hey Z

    Fish & most meat taste better when cooked on the bone. You can get great olive oil at Fairway in Plainview. I think they are opening another store on LI

  20. MRisser

    Z, great post and boy am I hungry for some simple well cooked fish! Fillets are nice, but you’re right about eating it off the rack – just tastes better. Funny note: I had a roommate in college that was Italian and would honestly fish-fight you if you broke the spaghetti before boiling it!! Haha.

    It’s nice to see the passion that people have for different angles of the sport. Thanks for sharing, as always.


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