From his stall at Tuesday’s market in Castres, Monsieur Gayraud–the fishmonger–was extolling the virtues of the maigre–a fish called “thin” if you like.
“Comme un bar [sea bass] et moins cher [cheaper].”
I bought one large enough to serve two and asked him to leave the scales on but gut it for me.
I had it in mind to cook it as per the recipe for Simple Sea Bass in Delicious Dishes–in the oven at a very high temperature seasoned on a bed of thyme for about 25 minutes.
I looked up the oddly named maigre in Alan Davidson’s Mediterranean Seafood and Jenny Baker’s Simply Fish
and discovered that its name is not the only odd thing about Monsieur Maigre.
It’s also known as a croaker–because of the noise it makes when looking for food–and it eats a lot apparently, presumably to try to put on weight and change its name.
This is almost more than I need to know about a fish I’m about to cook!
In the oven went M. Maigre/Croaker/Bocca d’Oro (It)/Saiagiz (Turk)/Corvina (Sp)/Mayatico (Gr)… and 20 odd minutes later emerged ready to eat, after its protective scaly skin was peeled carefully back and the two fillets shared between us.
At the Wednesday market in Realmont, I spied the first asparagus of the season!
I bought enough for the two of us and realized when I got home it would look good on the plate beside the fish; so I put the thin spears, sprinkled with olive oil, on a shallow tray and into the oven, 15 minutes after the fish and they were ready more or less at the same moment–looking crispy and glistening.
A simple dressing of one tablespoon of lemon juice to three of olive oil and seasoning was all we needed for the fish and the asparagus.
What’s in a name? That which we call a maigre
By any other name would taste as sweet.
And call it what you will–it was delicious!