Sea Minus

A recent trip to a nearby market that traffics in decent seafood occasioned a bit of a spree on account of our regular fish guy has been on hiatus for a spell. That drought is over next week, but in the meantime we’ve had to content ourselves with fish of less than exquisite pedigree. We ended up with a bag of mussels and a wild yellowfin steak. Not too shabby, just not of a freshness we have now become irrevocably accustomed to.

The mussels–a perennial favorite, with a baguette purchased specially for soppage–got a brief, hard schwitz over a bed of onion, leeks, fennel, garlic, real Palacios chorizo, herbs, and white wine, then a dusting of parsley. Not exactly plump, and a bunch had to be thrown out on account of their being, uh, DEAD (in itself an improvement over the last bag purchased at a different local market last summer, in which EVERY SINGLE FUCKING MUSSEL was dead) but they tasted pretty good. And the resulting juice? Was really really good. So good, in fact, that I changed seahorses in midcurrent and used it for a sauce for the tuna.

Now normally the leftover mussel-cooking liquid is the kind of culinary casualty that you either accept as a given or do your damnedest to thwart, waving your damp toast menacingly at the server who strays too close to the bowl with an eye towards clearing it. But then you’re too full of bread to finish your main course, and end up bringing home a soggy burger or chops in the kind of plastic container that you can’t recycle. And at that point, it’s hard to see why you even bothered to go out to dinner in the first place, outside of some misplaced liberal guilt about providing employment for the ex-cons and meth-heads in your town.

So I took the mussel liquid, along with all of its attendant chunks of stuff, and poured it over the tuna. I’m pretty sure there was some polenta under there, or something similar. Memory fails. By looking at the picture below, observant readers will be able to discern the following:

1. My knives need sharpening.
2. I couldn’t even be bothered to throw some greenery at this.
3. The tuna is pretty well cooked, though I didn’t trim it very thoroughly before cooking.

All of these are in fact true. Having said that, though, I may just have stumbled on a truly sublime use for leftover shellfish liquor, because this was extremely good to eat. There’s a refined version of this now waiting in the wings for the chance to strut and fret its hour upon the blog, but it will have to keep waiting until I have some guests worth the effort.

3 comments to Sea Minus

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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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