Thursday, January 8, 2009

Seafood Dinner


Man meet seafood, man meet crustacean, man meet mollusk, O man meet the forked branches of the old sea tree, then meet smoking hot oil. Oil from the Tuesday night, Man-fry still sticking to the kitchen walls, Wednesday night I rung the brine bell again and returned to the cochina. Being a fried fish newbie, I wanted to perfect my batter, and to be honest, I just wanted to chaw on some more jumbo prawn, on some more sea scallop, on some more diggity Carolina slaw.

Ah, but don't jump into your automobile and head to Carolina just yet. My fish monger, when queried, opened his mouth and divulged. You want a thicker breading? Dip your mollusk into a thicker liquid. Thicker liquids make more flour stick. The fish monger suggested milk; I bumped it up to heavy cream. (I may use heavy cream and an egg next time, btw.) Furthermore, to the flour, add spices: salt, pepper, cayenne pepper. Curry batter occurried to me, but heroically I resisted and stuck with some really nice, home-grown, organic cayenne from Penn. Mmm! What a gut schmeck!

There are some basic principles to understand and follow when deep frying fish: 1) get your oil ripping hot; 2) portion your fish pieces appropriately so that the breading and the fish finish cooking at approximately the same time: you want golden breading and done fish; 3) if you don't know how big or thick to slice your fish, head to a fish 'n chips place and figure it out for yourself; 4) before you dunk your fish in your heavy cream, clean it under cold water and pat it totally dry; 5) absolutely do not chince out on the salt; no salt, no flavor: put a bunch of it in with your flour and spices; 6) put "Blues Hit Bigtown" by Junior Wells on your turntable and crank that shit out.

Carolina Slaw

Dr. Crowbar introduced this recipe to me back in, oh, who knows, in Bloomington, IN.

Red cabbage, thinly shredded
A couple green onions, sliced thinly on the bias
Vinegar (white is fine), some lemon juice
Ketchup and hot sauce
Chili flakes, salt and pepper

Big mixing bowl

Steep your green onions, chili flakes and pepper in your vinegar and lemon juice for about ten minutes (at least) in your bowl. The vinegar punches the onions and knocks their essential life blood out of them. Add your ketchup and your hot sauce. I use Sriracha, a Vietnamese chili sauce, but you can use your favorite hot sauce, since it's your slaw. This constitutes your dressing.

Wash your hands and hand-toss the cabbage in your dressing, while salting for taste. If you are squeamish about germs or something, or if your cuticles are open wounds (vinegar stings), you can go ahead and wimp out with some traditional tossing device, but hands is more fun. How does it taste? You say it needs more Sriracha? Squirt some Sriracha on the heap. More ketchup? Repeat heap pummelage. Etc. This is your Carolina slaw; make it how you like it.

Now watch the video, "Fry them, fry them, FRY THEM!!!" Yes, videos are back. I posted "Fry them, fry them, FRY THEM!!!" on my new blog, Every Man His Own Football (see sidebar). See you there, Chooch. Jono

4 comments:

whit said...

mmm that looks really good!
i had some great fried fish, shrimp and hush puppies in florida.

i have a suggestion for you though.
can you do a recipe with beets?
i love beets
i mean i really love beets...mmm especially when they are roasted.
so you have a beet mission!

Jono Tosch said...

Whit

I do beets one way: I slice them potato chip thin on my Japanese mandolin, and then I plunge them into a pot of hot oil. In fact, I made some the other night. Be sure to salt all chips right when they come out of the oil.

Seth said...

When you start really thinking about the other things you could chuck into a vat of oil, well, the possibilities are just endless, aren't they?

Gregory said...

Braised Peasant and Invading Hordes

roast pan dripping with fat
13 invasion-minded strangers
5 innocent bystanding share croppers
fortified plantation walls
parsnip, celery, onion, salt

Obviously, you will need a lot of goose fat for the roast pan. Maybe roast geese for a quarter of a year before mounting the roast pan on the fortified wall and wait for your bumper harvest to attract strangers; douse in the oil, making sure to splatter the bystanders. Prepare the vegetables ahead of time, and place the meat in this bed while finishing in the oven. Make sure and ladle the juice over the top of the pile, or the bodies' skin will dry up. No one likes a tough invasion.