Savory Collations

We learned something interesting about the relative freshness of fish this evening. The black cod we’ve been enjoying was off-the-boat fresh on Monday. I picked it up on Tuesday, and cured most of it yesterday for smoking. But there was part of a side that I forgot to make last night, so I pulled it out tonight. It was clean, firm, and had no bad smell. With a simple broil, it was flaky and perfect, and tasted wonderful. If I had bought it this morning we would have been pleased with the quality, and surely bought more. Knowing when the clock actually started on this fish gave me a new appreciation for its durability (properly stored.)

The rest was pure simplicity. Turnip caramelized with a little onion, leftover shiitake from fancy Sunday dinner, leftover triticale from last night, and a few broccoli florets browned with garlic and then steamed with a little water. I took the small amount of duck ham-lemongrass sauce and warmed it up with a little soy sauce, some beer, and a drip of agave nectar, and then glazed the fish with it on the plate.

This was just plain old home cookin’ and it disappeared off all three plates in short order (even Milo, who seems to like oilier fish best, and those broiled.) I opened an Ommegang Hennepin- it’s a Belgian-style saison ale from the esteemed traditional Brewery in Cooperstown, NY. They make a mean beer, even if my preference is for a thinner, more bitter IPA kind of thing. The best beer I ever had was a hand-pulled Abbot Ale in a pub outside a tiny town in East Anglia (in the UK) back in the winter of 1991-92. Barely carbonated, and about 2 degrees cooler than the room. Heaven. These are so thick and foamy, a glass is about all I can take before getting a little cloyed. But, in order to be fair to the ersatz Belgians, I should make moules frites and get back to you after more research.

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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