A Cooking Class on Fish Stock and Bouillabaisse at Cork and Fin

Cork an Fin

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A visit to Cork and Fin Restaurant in Vancouver's Gastown for some culinary tips from Elliott Hashimoto, owner and chef.

Just last week I had the liberty to attend a fish butchery class with Elliott Hashimoto, owner and chef of Vancouver’s Cork and Fin. I have been to the restaurant a few times in the past and highly recommend their seafood tower.

I was very lucky to have a one-on-one session with Chef Hashimoto and had a lesson on:

  • how to fillet a whole fish
  • how to prepare a fish broth/fume
  • how to prepare a Provencal-style bouillabaisse

I always wanted to cook a Bouillabaisse from the ground up at home, but was very intimidated of fish filleting, preparing fish stock and cooking clams as well as mussels.

But now….I have the confidence.

I will be attempting a Bouillabaisse at home soon, I am sure. Chef Hashimoto gave me a great gift of confidence and appreciation of making fish stock and Bouillabaisse . He was an awesome teacher and articulated the techniques with great patience and clarity.

Some things that I learned was:

  • You can use a basic fillet knife that is sharp, but you don’t need a super fancy expensive knife. But that being said, having a great sushi knife to take off skin is a nice to have, especially if you are skinning flat fish.
  • A Japanese kettle from china town is a great pot to cook a serving of Bouillabaisse in and cheap.
  • Some steps to follow when filleting a fish that I am going to try at home:
    • cut in tail both sides to the bone
    • cut along neck
    • filleting – cut in skin along the back
    • cut along top feeling the bone
    • stick through belly, cut along to tail
    • do same but up to head, bones will be a little tough
  • Say you never want to fillet a fish yourself but want to make fish stock at home? Chef Hashimoto said that most fish departments will fillet fish for you on the fly, and you can ask them for the carcass to take home to make your own fish stock. You can even ask them for a carcass alone. A supermarket like T & T may charge you only about $1.50 for a fish carcass.
  • You can make up a large batch of fish stock and then freeze in small batches. Homemade stock is the best and won’t be full of sodium.

Most of my session was on fish butchery and not cooking per se. I would like to attempt a Bouillabaisse at home in near future so I can document all steps, take more pictures and possibly try other Bouillabaisse recipes (once I do more research on them).

In the meantime, here’s the recipes Cork and Fin shared with me:

Fume (Fish Stock)

  • Equal parts fish scraps and bones
  • Equal parts onion
  • Equal parts celery
  • 1 lemon sliced in half and juiced
  • Pinch salt

Top with water and bring to a simmer (just under boiling) for 2 hours

Bouillabaisse
(make 8 portions)

  • Chorizo sausage (meat of one sausage)
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • Saute and deglaze with 2oz pernod (pastis) and 1/2 cup white wine
  • Add half a cup diced tomatoes
  • Add 2 cups fume (fish stock) and bring to a boil
  • Add one cobb corn, 8 nugget potatoes, both cut up, 8 mussels, 8 clams, and 8 prawns
  • Sear small fish fillets
  • Once mussels and clams have opened pour 1 portion into a bowl. And add seared fish on top.

At the end of the class I sat down and enjoy my Bouillabaisse. It was delicate and very tasty. Yum – I can’t wait to make Bouillabaisse for some friends and family soon.

Thank you Cork and Fin!

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