Sunday, 9 October 2011

Saliva Producing Recipes

Fish Brain, Guts and Gill Fritters in Alphagetti Aspic
If fish is brain food it only makes sense to eat the brains of a fish and thus double its potency and effects on the neural pathways. I speak not only as a scientist but also as a garcon de gastronomique. I've put this premise to every cook, chef, dishwasher, waiter and busboy that has found me rummaging around in their restaurant's dumpster bin but they don't listen.
"Look," I say, brandishing my bags of fresh fish guts and heads. "You're throwing out the best parts and it will be your brain capacity that will suffer for your folly. Or your customers' brains, in which case they won't even be able to figure out your 15% tip."
Sometimes they flick their cigarettes at me but my heightened brain power allows me to anticipate the curve and arc of their burning butts and easily evade the trajectory.
The effects of super brain fish power demonstrated in a controlled laboratory environment. This man, Hubert Blork, was once a patient of mine and after I put him on a pure fish entrails diet, he blew the spectronograph reading right out of the water, much like a trout caught on a 5-pound line.
Now, it's obvious that a man of my considerable talents in psychology, phrenology, theology, ornithology, archeology and urology, not to mention my forays into psychoanalysis, hamster habitats  and raising giant frogs, squabs and snails for fun and profit, needs all the extra brain power he can squeeze out of the old clump of gray stuff. So that is why I've come up with this delicious and economical recipe for a fish dish that'll send your synapses spinning while your wallet remains slumbering deep in the comforting nest of your sock drawer. If you don't have a sock drawer may I recommend the lint trap of a dryer or a jar cloudy with pickle brine and oxidized pennies that you can keep behind your dresser. Anyway, I promise this dish will make not one dent in your pocketbook as long as you stick to my specialized hunting and gathering techniques and my unique gelatin made from boiled fish heads recipe. The Alphagetti may cost you a little something but if you look for the dented-can specials they have in some of those Korean mom and pop corner grocery stores, you can snag one of these delicacies with only the change you have hunted for so diligently, and may I say with dignity, on the sidewalk during the week. So, first things first. Pay a visit to your local fish monger but don't let that front door stuff fool you. Go around the back in the alleyway, find the dumpster and start fishing for fish heads and innards using a simple straightened wire coat hangar. A dumpster filled with rotting fish guts is sure to deter even the most resolute of winos, bums and junkies who're looking for cans, bottles, old prescription bottles and cheesecake remains, leaving you to reap the rewards and get the cream of the crop of fish pickings. So, once you have your bag of fish parts, again we're looking for heads, fins, gills and innards, hightail it out of there because it is of the utmost importance to work with these ingredients while still fresh and don't yet smell like my neighbour, Lumpy Balford's overcoat.
Lumpy Balford in his overcoat. Lumpy's face is not blacked out. He just has a very large mole that covers the entire surface of his face.
 Place your ingredients in the refrigerator and if you don't have access to one, again, just like with your wallet, your sock drawer will do. Next, it's time to round up some bread crumbs for the fritter batter. I've never understood people who buy breadcrumbs at the store when there are plenty available if you can beat the pigeons to them in the park. Really, it's no great effort as most pigeons are absolute pigs and not quick enough to beat me to the bread chunks. Nevertheless, I still utilize my specialized arm-waving technique, guaranteed to send pigeons skittering and scattering, leaving the spoils to the victor, which, in this case would be you. I've had a few run-ins with the old men and women who feed the pigeons in the park and try to deter me from swiping bread from the gluttonous birds but as I say, "Hey, look how fat these pigeons are? You really think they're gonna miss a coupl'a pieces of bread?" The only real danger to this foraging procedure are the crows that descend like hell's carrion, so you must work quickly and I've taken to wearing oven mitts after having my hands pecked by these nefarious bottom feeders of the sky time and time again.      
Here is my well-tested and time-proven arm-flapping technique for chasing both fattened and emaciated pigeons away from the bread scraps. Three easy steps guarantee you success and an unlimited supply of bread. The pajama-like apparel is optional.
So, now that you have gathered all your ingredients, it's time to start constructing the dish. Your guests will be amazed that it didn't take you more time or money to create this dazzling display because visually, it looks like a million bucks, even if some of that money came from racketeering, prostitution, drug-smuggling, gambling and chinchilla farming. There are some who may ask, "Dr. Haltiwanger, don't you feel the aspic is overkill in this dish?" To them I reply, "Why cook the pheasant if you're not going to put it under glass. Catch my drift, kemosabe." And on that note, aspic is the first order of business. Take your fish heads, removing the brains first, and place them in a good sized pot for boiling. If you're not sure of what a fish brain looks like once you've cut an opening in the head, I've provided this illustration below, complete with nostril location to give a sense of brain placement in the fish head.
If you still can't find the brain, just pull every slimy thing you can get a grip on out of the head cavity and set aside. Put the fish heads on a rolling boil for an hour or more or until you can't stand the smell any longer and then set aside, preferably on an open windowsill where a cool breeze will assist with the gelatinizing process. If you have a fridge handy, then by all means pop the concoction in there for a couple of hours until the fish head jelly water begins to set (my landlady, Mrs. Grabowsky, has forbidden me from using her fridge for any more of my culinary experiments after my Tower of Meat extravaganza but I'm sure you're not as unfortunate as me and have a proper refrigerator at your disposal). The chemical compound for your gelatin should look like the configuration below, but if you don't have access to an electron microscope for this purpose, just poke the surface with anything pointy and see if it bounces back a bit.
Now, most importantly, before the fish head jelly has completely set, pour in a can of Alphagetti, spreading out the letters evenly for a more attractive visual presentation. The tomato sauce base should also go into the gelling liquid to add some colour to the aspic. Place the bowl or pail of this delightful mixture back in the fridge or on the windowsill or in the broom closet next to one of your closet-aged salamis and begin the fritter and fish innards step. Take the breadcrumbs you've stolen from the pigeons, spread them out in a bowl, or if you don't have a bowl even a clean ashtray will do, and the dip the innards in the mixture, making sure to coat the entrails thoroughly. Some people may wish to first dip the guts in an egg and milk mixture but I find this masks the taste of both the guts and the breadcrumbs and I prefer to let these flavours sing, especially once they've been submerged in the Alphagetti infused aspic. 
These tantalizing fish innards are just begging for some fritter batter to complete their journey from ocean to plate.
Now, it's time for the fritter frying. If you have a stove or hotplate, well, kudos to you. If you're like me and have a minimum of tools and appliances at hand (as most of the great chefs of history are used to), then five or six Sterno cans are just the ticket to get these fritters sizzling and sumptuous to the palate. Of course one Sterno can will also do but you must be patient to achieve the perfect golden fish guts crust. Once the fritters have attained that golden brown colour, drain them on a paper towel, toilet paper or wad of napkins you've pilfered from McDonald's, and then push them into the aspic, which should have solidified nicely by now. Don't be shy. Push those fritters in like a prostate examination. Gentle but assertive is the key to this technique and the recipe's success.
This prostate examination training device is equally good for fritter insertion exercises.
Well, now you're about done. The guests await with baited breath and tongues hanging out. Or at least my dinner guest, Mrs. Grabowsky's cat, who pants with anticipation at my fancy victuals and he knows a thing or two about fish guts and heads and so you may scoff, but a more temperamental and discerning critic would be hard to come by.
Portrait of the food critic as a fat, not so young cat. Mr. Smeely may look like a meat-eater due to his substantial girth but believe you me, this cat knows his fish and can tell a pike from a pickerel with just one sniff.
Well, you may ask, was the dinner a raving success? I for one could not stuff the fish brain and innards fritter and the jellied gills and Alphagetti mixture into my mouth fast enough and as for Mr. Smeely, I believe the hairball he left by the side of his plate is proof enough that this dish will please even the most discriminating of palates. It's true I did not anticipate his sudden trip to the vet not long after the meal nor my bout of prolonged vomiting that almost cost me my gullet but that's the price of fine dining on a pauper's budget.

No comments:

Post a Comment