You might be asking what are collars?
Just like a shirt has a collar, so do fish, it’s a cut along the clavicle, right behind the gills of the fish. The cut is anchored to the collarbone, behind the head of the fish, the collar runs from the top to bottom (including stiff pectoral fins along the way). It is especially rich with meat, very few bones, and coming from the Kahala, a very rich fat content full of flavor and high in Omega 3’s. Collars have long been popular in Asia and India, but only now are we seeing a higher demand in the states for this truely amazing cut of fish.
More and more people are taking an interest in the collar of the fish. It’s definitely a cheaper cut of fish than the fillet, as it does come with skin, bone and fin attached, and there are only two collars per fish. It has to be a big sized fish to yield large enough collars to cook and enjoy, other varieties of fish with decent size collars would include cod, halibut, salmon and tuna.
Where can you pick up a couple of collars?
The best place I’ve found is your local Asian market who normally have an amazing assortment of fresh fish and shellfish. But I’ve even seen collars on offer at my local WholeFoods store, but the best thing is to call ahead and ask if they have them in stock or if they can cut them for you from the whole fish that has just arrived that day. Always remember to buy the freshest fish you can and use on that day.
Ok, now you have your collars, how do you cook them?
Actually very easily, they have a higher fat content than a fillet so it can be a lot more forgiving than a normal piece of fish that you might grill or fry. If you simmer them in an Asian scented stock, they will absorb the flavor without being overcooked. They can be braised or stewed and served with the thickened stock or sauce. Marinate them then grill, broil or roast them in a very hot oven, for a crunchy outer layer and moist inside. I really like to coat them in batter, then deep fry them until golden and crispy.
So follow the recipe below and make this slightly messy but delicious dish that you can use your fingers to eat, just like spare ribs, you’ll love them! Enjoy.
4x Forever Oceans Kahala Collars
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all purpose flour (plus 1 tablespoon for dusting)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 ⅓ sprinkling water
Oil (enough to cover the bottom of a saucepan with 3 to 4 inches of oil, heat to a temperature of 375’F)
Season each portion of fish with salt and pepper.
Take a medium size bowl and add all the dry ingredients, then take a jug and add the egg and water, whisk until incorporated, then slowly pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. Whisk as you pour, until you have a slightly thick, smooth batter.
Lightly dust each portion collar with the remaining flour. Then dip each collar into the batter, until well coated. Carefully drop each batter covered collar into the hot oil and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
Carefully remove each collar from the oil and place on a rack to drain. Serve with the Thai Chili sauce.
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 to 4 Thai red chili’s, seeds removed, fleshed roughly chopped
1 cup local honey
1 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
How to make:
Place the garlic, chilis and honey into a small pan, place over a medium high heat on the stove. Mix vinegar and cornstarch together to form a paste, then whisk the paste into the hot honey, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, approx 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
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Mark William Allison
Corporate Executive Chef Forever Oceans