Thursday, February 5, 2009

Escolar featured on Top Chef

Escolar is a beautiful, lusciously rich fish, often served as "super white tuna" at sushi restaurants. Other recipes online will identify Escolar as Sea Bass, Cod, or Bluefin, when in fact Escolar is the much less fancy sounding "Snake Mackerel."

Two years ago my local Hy-Vee had a shipment of Escolar (labeled as Escolar) for the first time. The men at the meat counter were unable to tell me anything about it, and at the time I had never heard of it, but it was new, so I brought a 1/2 pound home.

The smoothness of the Escolar is unparalleled. This is because the Escolar cannot digest some of the esters which are a natural part of its diet, which leads to the meat having up to and sometimes over a 20% oil content. The meat is nearly melt in your mouth creamy.

There's just one problem which Top Chef failed to mention. The oil content of the meat is largely composed of "wax esters," and many humans can't digest them. This can lead in some individuals to keriorrhoea a foulness that I refuse to describe in this blog (though I will link to it).

So, it was more than a little surprising to me that Top Chef had Escolar as part of one of its six featured dishes, and failed to make any disclaimer. Statistically it would not be surprising if at least one of the contestants had a little trouble later that evening.

Theoretically these effects can be ameliorated if the fish is grilled, whereas the effects are worse when the fish is raw, or as on Top Chef, poached or baked. However, it's possible that the quantities were small enough so that contestants only suffered from some surprising gas. Ewww. Thanks Top Chef.


Daniel said...


Perhaps Eric Ripert has some sort of secret to prevent, um, the condition of which you spoke? Or maybe bathroom breaks were just built into the programming?

Progeny of Trystero said...

I suspect a swig pepto-bismol would be enough of a preventative, but in order to prevent something you have to know its going to happen...