escolar

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by pete, Aug 1, 2000.

  1. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    What is the story with escolar? I have been using it for years and now I have been told that it is dangerous to some people. A paper here in Chicago just ran an article on it and supposedly really bashed the fish (I never had a chance to read the article). What is going on? Is it really that dangerous or is this just another way that the media distorts the truth just to get a headline?
     
  2. bob s

    bob s

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    Unfortunately, Escolar can cause problems. The FDA refers to the fish as the diahrea fish....because escolar's oil content can give people the runs. The fish has another problem in that it is susceptible to scromboid posioning. Scromboid poisoning is bascally the formation of a histamine on the fish's surface. This poisoning most likely results from high surface (+50 degrees) temperatures......this fish being a bycatch probably does not get much handling respect from the fisherman.

    Would I eat it? No.
     
  3. bob s

    bob s

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    Oh by the way.....histamine's on the surface are not lethal, but they will make you nauseous....possibly cause vomiting...you won't die but you won't forget.
     
  4. bob s

    bob s

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    It is always important to handle the fish properly......but Skate lacks two characteristics common to escolar. Escolar is oily (real oily) causing natural but uncomfortable digestive issues in customers....particulary the elderly. Skate is not very oily. Skate is not listed or known as a histamine producer.....escolar is at the top of the list.....while handling is important the escolar problems are not found in skate
     
  5. chefjohnpaul

    chefjohnpaul

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    Harold McGee (On Food and Cooking) is a friend of mine and he did some research on escolar, apparently escolar stores its energy in a type of wax and not oil, it actually waxes your insides like a pair of skies so that things just slide on through with out even the urge sometimes. He said the key is to eat less than six ounces, when I serve it I serve 5 oz portions and have never had a complaint. It really is perhaps the most succulent fish I've worked with, I just love it and so do the diners. I was not aware of the histamine issue though but, like I said I've never had a complaint, perhaps the portion size is a factor to some extent.



    [This message has been edited by chefjohnpaul (edited August 16, 2000).]
     
  6. chef mark hayes

    chef mark hayes

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    The Problem with Escolar isn't that it is oily. The problem is that the type of oil is one that can be impossible for many people to digest. As for the problem with skate: it, like Shark (its close relative) doesn't have a urinary tract, so it excretes uric acid thru its flesh. Many people soak the fish in milk (Yuk!). I just make sure it is impeccably fresh and I buy small amounts.
    I like escolar; but does anybody know if rinsing the fish before portioning will take care of the surface Histamines?