Sand Goby
Goby [Sand Goby, Tank Goby Glossogobius giuris, (family Gobiidae)]

This fish is found in tropical fresh and brackish waters from the east coast of Africa to the South Pacific islands. Caught wild and farmed. It is absolutely gigantic - for a goby - most of which are between 1 and 4 inches long. This one gets as large as 19 inches in brackish water, less in fresh, but is generally marketed at about 9 inches and 3.2 oz.



This fish is a bit of a hassle to eat due to small size and troublesome bones and fins. The only way I've found to eat these is to fillet them, though that's a bit of trouble for so small a fish.

Method:

  1. Scale the fish. The scales are very large but scrape off easily with a minimum of flying around.
  2. Split the belly as for any other round fish, up to the pectoral (bottom) fins (which are fused together into a single fin on this fish). Use your kitchen shears to continue through the fins. If you intend to use the heads for stock, you want to continue the cut all the way up under the chin because you have to remove the gills from the underside.
  3. Cut around the collar in the usual way, snip the backbone with kitchen shears and pull away the head. Unlike some smaller fish the innards will not all come out with the head so you have to pull them the usual way.
  4. You'll find two strips of flesh under the head which you can salvage for some use if you wish. Open the head from the bottom to pull out the gills.
  5. Cut off the tail with your shears.
  6. Hold the fish upside down and make two quick fillet cuts from the body cavity to the tail, one on each side of the fin.
  7. Set the fish on it's belly and make two quick fillet cuts, one on each side of the fins for the full length.
  8. Now just peel the fillet off from the tail end. Just pull it off over the ribs, but most of the rib bones will stay with the fillet.
  9. Take your long nose pliers and, working from the front back, remove all the ribs from the skirt area. You can practically just scoop them out with the nose of the pliers.
  10. Dust fillets with lightly salted rice flour. Even though you are going to deep fry you want to do this, or every time the fish hits your spatula or the pan it will stick - the skin turns to glue when heated.
  11. Heat enough high temperature oil for deep frying to around 400°F/200°C and fry stirring in small batches until lightly browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels. The fillets will curl sharply crosswise and gently lengthwise, but that isn't at all a problem here.
  12. Serve with a Southeast Asian fish sauce based dip, or with just a good Philippine vinegar with some salt.

Yield:   A pound of gobies will yield 9.6 oz of bodies after cleaning and removing the heads, or about 7 ounces of edible flesh (43%).

Stock   Sand Goby heads (gills removed), fins and bones make a very nice mild soup stock with no oil at all, probably the best use for this fish.

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