Sweet Sweetness

Fresh on the heels of another fish delivery, and despite being pretty thoroughly covered in grout, I got giddy with the potential in our box of seafood and tried to make it into something befitting its freshness and quality. To begin, a dozen more oysters. I didn’t photograph them, because they disappeared too quickly. John stopped by to pick up his order, and had a couple, and I polished off the rest.

Next up, a gorgeous hunk of yellowfin. Translucent fuchsia, it really needed nothing at all done to it, so I sliced it fairly thick and made sushi of a sort using the rest of the brown rice risotto from the night before. The consistency of the rice was a little wet, so after taking this picture I actually gathered the fish into rolls with the rice inside for easier eating.

I used the rest of the chicken stock to make simple miso soup, and caramelized some king oyster mushrooms and deglazed them with soy, mirin, and ume vinegar. Extra mushroom sauce made an extraordinary dipping sauce for the tuna rolls.

I took the triangular end of the steak that couldn’t be sliced for sushi and minced it fine with scallion, sesame and olive oils, Espelette pepper, and ume vinegar to make a tartare, formed it into balls, and gave a hard sear in the mushroom pan to one side of them. I deglazed with a bit of the miso soup and soy sauce, and poured it over. You can’t see because of the dark sauce–which, in retrospect, I should have poured on the plate first–but the underside is completely raw while the top has a nice brown burgeriffic crust.

To drink, as a celebration of this perfect seafood that we are so lucky to have access to (and the fact that the tile is grouted) I opened a 2003 Domaine Cheze Condrieu cuvée de Breze that is a deep yellow, dessert-looking wine, with some of the slightly oxidized, unctuous qualities of a great sweet wine but all in the service of a magnificent, dry late-middle-aged Viognier. Not a perfect match–a simple Muscadet would have been perfect with the oysters, and carried over just fine–but it more than sorta took care of business, elevating the whole meal like a movie star dropping in on your picnic.

4 comments to Sweet Sweetness

  • The Spiteful Chef

    Peter! This is the first ever seafood meal that you've made that I would eat EVERY PART OF. I'm so pleased. You did this because it was Valentine's weekend, right? And you wanted me to feel special?

  • Muskeg Harpy

    That tuna is beautiful–love it with the other-than-white rice.

    Grouting is awful, dirty, irritating, painful work. Glad you have that behind you. Sanded or unsanded? Did you seal it yet?

  • cook eat FRET

    ok so whaddabout all the mercury in the tuna? what's your take on that?
    i've begun eating little fish just to avoid all the toxic shit.

  • peter

    Kristie: Yes. Yes, I did.

    Harpy: Both, actually–backsplash and floor used different mixes–and I'm just finishing up next to the stove. I mixed commercial sealer with tung oil to really get the water to bead up, since the concrete and unfinished terra cotta are so very porous. It works really well.

    Claudia: Most of the fish we eat are small. But this tuna made me an offer I couldn't refuse.

Yours Truly



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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