Branzino. Or so the sign said. I honestly don't recognize many fish. Whole Foods offered to scale and gut it for me in 10 minutes, but the last couple of times I took them up on their offer, I ended up having to do extra scaling and gutting myself after waiting 30 minutes, so no thank you. I just took it home whole. (They weigh it before the gutting anyway)
My bf made the soup with the rest of the mushroom stock, lots and lots of scallions and ginger, salt, pepper, sesame oil, a tiny dash of sugar, and a hint of cayenne.
I did the dirty work. This is the closest I have come to applying my pre-med education. I scaled the fish with a knife by scraping it in short chopping motions opposite of the scale growth. I don't fancy swallowing scales! So I scaled all the nooks and crannies.
Then to gut the fish, you cut it open from the little hole on the belly (it is what you think it is) to its little double fins. Then you stick your hand in there, and pull all the guts out. Try not to puncture the green gall bladder, because if you somehow get that into the fish meat, your food is going to taste like crap. Not literally. Just really really bitter.
You also have to cut out the gills from the head, because it is inedible and has all the fun river water particles that the *fish* deemed obviously inedible... like sand. Whole Foods and places in Chinatown really like to leave the gills in because they're lazy and not eating the fish themselves.
Bye bye fish. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes on each side.
We put some mushrooms in on the flip and noticed that the fish was already falling apart. It was fresher than we thought! No problem. I turned off the fire early.
It was absolutely amazing. The stock was infused with ginger, mushroom, and scallion flavor. We ended up drinking it from our bowls. The fish was mild and so tender that we poked it and the meat flaked into the soup.
Note: If you eat all the weird parts like me, be a star and fish it all out at the beginning so that you don't have dangerous fish bones and fins floating about in your soup!
We definitely have to do this more often!