Thursday, July 15, 2010
To recap: visit to see the fishies on the ice at Atlantic Banks Fisheries turns into buying a handful of mackerel, filleting, salting, and pickling them to include in a sushi dinner. And I'm due another sushi post... you all don't need to know every time I make a maki roll, but this is the first since day 1.
Seaweed for a sushi dinner garnish, and from the dog bar breakwater, thank you, not the butt end of Cripple Cove. It *is* going on a plate, you know. Just as I might do with broccoli, it's steamed to bright green and plunged in cold water to keep the color. Before and after.
So I had these famously fresh mackerel I hadn't really planned on buying (but they were so fresh!), guests coming, and sushi on the menu so I prepared shime saba. Of course, I could have probably just sliced and served, but just to be safe I filleted them, salted the fillets, cured in mostly rice vinegar, but I beefed up with a dash of plain old caustic Heinz white vinegar to speed things up. Basically, it's ceviche. Filleting, salting, the final product. Pretty.
Took my 6 year old for his first walk to see the fishes and maybe buy dinner from Mr. Dave Wright at Atlantic Banks Fisheries. These Mackerel called to me. They just called to me. Mackerel are so damned beautiful to begin with, and they were so fresh ('How fresh were they?!') They were so fresh, the eyes still had that translucent half light, actually the retina magnified by the lens. Double click on the fish heads and look closely. It's a little ghostly, and fades hours after death.
Here's my boy holding the fresh fish, fish heads, and a lens I dissected out for your edification, at fingertip and on the table. I almost ate it, but not quite (crystal caviar from mackerel eyes... someone could make a fortune).
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
My man Mark has like six varieties of heirloom garlic in his backyard. Here's scapes and cloves that still have fresh dirt in the roots. Scapes and the garlic meet the chopping board, and helping along a dish of seafood destined for some pasta.
Interestingly, the seafood was scavenged from a take-out Causeway seafood marinara Shane left at my house. Anyone else, I would think they forgot. Shane probably left it for me deliberately. Anyway, rinsed of marinara sauce, and just heated up in fresh garlic and scapes sauteed in olive oil. Yep.
God, I've made a trashy pop movie reference. I never make trashy pop movie references. I never even saw clash of the titans.
But I did release the cracklin's, after freezing salmon scraps from several meals and cooking them all at once on the grill, in a cast iron pan so they don't stink up the house. Kosher Salt. Don't fight, plenty for everyone... (my wife would only eat one of these under duress).
Had guests over this weekend. It was sweltering hot, and damned if I was going to make fried noodles as I had planned. Noodles cooked just al dente, rinsed well in cold water to stop the cooking and get all the starch off so the noodles aren't sticky.
Mixed well with a dressing of chunky style real peanut butter, fish sauce, and sweet thai pepper sauce thinned with water, topped with sesame seeds and served a ring of steamed and chilled broccoli.
After hours, leftovers for my private consumption way heavier on the chilis than what I serve to guests.
Mostly I just like the title; if there's any bitch here it was me, making all these sauces. Actually, these are across several meals, but it was a Pretty Thing to serve, and kind of fun to experiment.
From small to large, they are: spicy tartar sauce, super hot Thai chilis in nam pla, wasabi mayonnaise, house salsa picante (the odd man out here), house peanut sauce with fish and sweet pepper sauces, dumpling sauce with soy, sugar, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, scallion, thai basil.
We were shopping for guests when Shosh, in innocence and sensible expedience, threw a bag of pita chips, and another of some faux bruschetta, into the cart. I don't remember exactly what happened next, but I probably made a scene ('we're serving them what?!..).
Instead, a whole loaf of an artisanal-type bread broiled, drizzled with a peppery olive oil, rubbed with cut garlic, a handful of kosher salt strewn across the lot. Cut into broad fingers and stacked up next to a dish of hummous and crudite.