Identity crisis? The fish is variously called daurade, dorade, porgy, sea bream, tai, zeebrasem….
|Daurade: When you see it on a menu, doesn’t it sound elegant and exciting? Would it sound as exciting if it were called porgy or sea bream? We think not. We bring it up because a reader wrote to ask if daurade referred to the fish or the preparation. It’s a fish. In France, daurade refers to Sparus aurata, the gilthead seabream, a member of the porgy family. Daurade, also spelled dorade, is ubiquitous in France, where there are four varieties: gray, pink and marble dorade, known by their coloring, and royal dorade. The “royal” is so named because it has a gold-yellowish bump between the eyes that, with imagination, can be considered a crown. While “royal” also has the firmest flesh, the flesh of all varieties is delicate and can fall apart if filleted. Thus, monsieur le daurade is often cooked and served whole.|
|The Japanese black porgy is a different species (Acanthopagrus schlegelii), as is the American porgy (Lagodon rhomboides). The flesh is firmer, so you’ll find daurade fillets in America (sometimes it’s flown ove from France, sometimes it’s porgy—because daurade sounds a lot better), and tai sushi and sashimi (tai being the Japanese word for porgy). No matter what part of the Sparidae fanily it comes from, you can tell from its teeth that the daurade/porgy is a carnivore (if you don’t like the eyes staring up at you from your plate, wait until you see those choppers). Those teeth help it feast on other fish, oysters and mussels (hey, save some for us). While the flesh can be delicate, the flavor of the fish is not shy. Cook it with lemon, wine, garlic, tomatoes, rosemary—any of your favorite hearty herbs and spices work. Learn more about fish, fisch, pesce, pescado, poission, etc. in the Fish, Seafood & Caviar Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.|
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