Saturday, June 9, 2012

fish eggs and dried leaves







We still have relatives in the old country. Not Shanghai . . . old country as in, the old country, the rustic little village our forefathers came out of. Farm and chicken and vegetable fields kind of village. Awesome as everything, especially as they make their own eau de vie from each year's rice and sorghum harvest. I was lucky enough to have a taste last time, and it was just stunning - lethal fire water, but absolutely stunning.

The dried vegetables here are a gift from these relatives. It's a traditional, regional thing, where the villagers prepare a portion of the vegetable harvest to keep over for the winter. It can be made out of any kind of green, but the leafier, the better. They clean the greens out, cut them, and lay them out in the sun on straw mats - no salt, no heat, nothing added. Just the vegetable in all its natural glory. It stays brilliantly green and tender, with an incredibly savoury flavour. Absolutely delicious when we put it in soup. A treasure from the old country.

It was all almost too much of a good thing. I have a serious, serious love lust for fish roe. And this time of year, the live fish we get are almost all ballooned up with thousands and thousands of eggs. This being a striped bass, the roe turns a bright yellow/orange colour when steamed, retaining a firm texture and exceptional flavour. And snout to tail, the fish was just filled with eggs. The meat was delicious, but on this day, it wasn't the star of the dish.

I think I ate a good half pound of roe. Do I feel bad I may have potentially wiped out a lot of little fish? Naw, not this bloodthirsty wino who doesn't have a heart.


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