Among other things, I got some Arctic char from our weekly primo fishmonger. Monging fish is hard work, evidently, so he was late for the delivery, but I still managed to get dinner together- though not without less elegance than I had originally imagined. Char is pretty mild, salmony hue notwithstanding (it often comes off as a bit of a letdown, flavorwise, since it looks so much like salmon) so I gave it a goose with a rub of miso mixed with kimchi juice and a pinch of brown sugar which sat on the fillet for about an hour while I washed greens and prepped other things.
I peeled, seeded, sliced, and salt-rubbed the cukes, then let them sit and cough up some water for a bit. Then I rinsed them, squeezing out all the water, and dressed them with soy sauce, sesame oil, and a drib of yuzu juice. I had obtained a fat handful of greens from thinning the radicchio, so I sautéed them with garlic and olive oil until wilted. A beautiful bag of shiitake and oyster mushrooms from the market today went in a pan with guanciale and garlic and got a hearty caramelization followed by a deglazement with white wine, soy sauce, and sherry vinegar. I served it all on a bull’s blood beet leaf, with some purslane to garnish. The quick marinade did wonders for the fish; while it didn’t firm up much like with a longer cure, the delicate umami richness of the miso did permeate the flesh and make for some pretty great bites. The mushrooms were ridiculously good.
With a bit more time (the story of my life) this could have been something really special. The red garnish is a julienne of our first cayene pepper, meticulously de-membraned and seeded to get the heat to a perfect level. As it was, the best bites involved rolling up a bit of everything inside the beet leaf. Next time, I’ll brine them like grape leaves and make it official.