I’ve been taking the weekends off from the blog lately, and though traffic craters as a result I can’t bring myself to care. This is why I’ll never be famous. The eating continues, even though in today’s modern world of the future one could argue that a meal eaten without being photographed and written up is much akin to the tree falling in the forest with nobody around. Last night I did get out the camera, because we had a pretty good dinner inspired by some first-rate fish courtesy of Gerard, who called on Saturday to say that he had more than he could deal with. So I drove over and picked up a trove of goodies.
The haul included softshell crabs, sablefish, squid, littlenecks, and a little flat of uni. To begin, Milo and I ate soft-shelled crabs on Saturday night. I made a nice tartar sauce with a quick cider vinegar-duck egg mayonnaise (with a few uni thrown in) to which I added capers, pickled garlic, and pickled jalapeños. There was salad. He loves the crispy claws, so I ended up giving him a bunch of mine while I ate the bodies. I also rubbed one of the sides of sablefish (aka black cod) with red miso and maple syrup, then wrapped and fridged it overnight. Yesterday I floured and fried the rest of the crabs, then set then aside to cool. The garden yielded arugula, garlic scapes, and wonderful red lettuce. I took some leftover short-grain brown rice out of the fridge and grabbed some nori.
The rolls were simple enough; some of the mayo, a squirt of sriracha, some arugula, the straight part of a scape, and then a quartered crab arranged roughly in a line. Very nice, though fresh rice would have been a little stickier.
Then I rinsed and dried the fish and cut it into smallish pieces. Once the iron pan was hot, I added a dab of duck fat and then set the fish in there, skin side down, until it got thoroughly crispy and released from the pan. I flipped them for another minute or two to caramelize on the flesh side, then removed them to bowls. After draining excess fat, I threw in the curly scapes and let them get a good sear, then poured in a bit of the miso-maple marinade along with raspberry vinegar and a little bit of the jellied duck stock that had been quivering under the fat I used to lube the pan. The sauce went over the fish, a scape adorned, and last I placed little citrus marigold leaves on each dish. They have a wonderfully exotic yet earthy flavor, and are pretty to boot. I’m excited for the flowers, too, which are budding now.
Crispy skin, creamy fish, sweet-sour-umami sauce, crunchy-chewy scape, and bright floral marigold all made for a rich and varied experience, albeit one that stayed within a pretty narrow range. I’m starting to miss the ocean more; it sure would be nice to have better access to this sort of food on a regular basis, instead of having it be a special occasion.