Tag Archives: fish

A Continued Journeyman

When last we left our intrepid heroines,their senses had been tantalized by two of their five-course Journeyman meal (with a little, delicious lardo interlude). Tune in now for Journeyman, Part II: The Entree Initiative.

Fish Course

Our next course was the fish (no shells!: bluefish atop salt cod, with sea beans, a muscadet foam, and more of that heavenly lardo. There are people in the world who don’t like bluefish, finding it too oily. I am not one of these people, perhaps because I’ve only ever eaten bluefish in nice restaurants, where they know what to do with this oiliness – basically use it to make the crispiest, most delicious fish skin of all time. The sea beans and cod added a pleasant saltiness to contrast with the sweet muscadet foam and the fatty lardo. I put a little heart next to the lardo in my notes, because I loved it so.

Next, the main course – lamb two ways:
Lamb 2 ways
The two ways the lamb came were braised in barley milk, served atop a little bed of bulgur wheat, and roasted, simply but perfectly. The accompaniments were blackened pistachio puree and autumn olive puree. (Our server helpfully explained that autumn olive is not really an olive, but sort of a berry. I helpfully explained that I was well aware of what an autumn olive is. I fear I have not totally mastered the gentle art of smiling and nodding.) There were also black trumpet mushrooms on the plate, which were pleasantly chewy, but unexciting. Unlike the rest of the dish, which was VERY exciting. The braised lamb was very tender and its little bed tasted, fascinatingly, of almonds. The roast lamb, while it sounds boring, was divine. Tender, cooked to perfection, everything a little lamb should be, and the purees just enhanced it. A lovely fall meal.

Prior to dessert coming, we were informed, a palate cleanser would be served, and after dessert there would be a surprise “thank you.” We asked if we could try the milk punch with dessert, since we’d not selected a dessert wine (it was actually what sounded like a very good vermouth) as part of our beverage pairing. Alas, we were told, the milk punch was nearly gone, but there would be enough for us to sample it. Huzzah!

Palate Cleanser - Greek yogurt ice cream and watermelon gelee
The palate cleanser was delightful, a greek yogurt ice cream atop a watermelon gelee. Watermelon is not the most aggressive flavor, which I suppose is appropriate when cleansing the palate, but it was sweet, which partnered nicely with the tart ice cream and a wee bite of chiffonaded mint.

The milk punch arrived:
Milk Punch!
The beverage fellow was the most enthusiastic I saw him all night when we asked about the process of making the punch (he was perfectly lovely the rest of the night, just a bit soft-spoken. This brought him out of his shell.) For those who don’t know, milk punch is made by combining liquor (traditionally brandy or rum), milk, and citrus. The citrus curdles the milk – you then strain off the solids and are left with a clear, but still creamy, liqueur, which can then be flavored how you like. This one was meant to taste like a root beer float, and the root beer taste was very clear. I smell a project coming.

Desserts

Our dessert proper, the “Three Apples,” came next. That’s a brioche filled with Scotch cream, a caramelized apple with Madeira creme anglaise, and an apple sorbet atop house-made graham cracker crumbs. I think I liked this last the best – it was intensely, purely apple. The others were pleasant, and I liked the smoky Scotch cream, but if I’d had my druthers I’d probably just as soon had another plate of lardo. In the battle between sweet and salty to win my heart, salty takes every round.

That said, our surprise was quite nice, and perhaps just more up my dessert-alley:
Surprise!
Housemade marshmallows, super-dark chocolate brownies, and the teeniest little creme brulees you ever saw! Isn’t it cute? The marshmallow tasted of lemon, and the brownies were barely sweet and intensely fudgy, which love. Since I am not a huge fan of custard, but a GIANT fan of burnt sugar, this was also just about the most perfect helping of creme brulee I can imagine.

All told, Journeyman did not disappoint. It’s definitely not an everyday sort of meal – it’s expensive, and the presentation is all about theater and lingering over your meal. But if you have something, or several somethings, to celebrate, I can’t think of a more intimate and lovely way to so!

Also, they’re working on building an attached bar, called Backbar, to open sometime soon. You better believe I’ll be checking it out!

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So Fresh and So Clean

I think that most of you have been reading this blog long enough to know by now that, when possible, I like to use fresh, local ingredients in my cooking. You also probably know that I try hard to be up for anything, whether it’s eating bugs, taking on strange stink-fruit, or just traveling all the way to Quincy(!) for a meal. Recently both Mr. Menace and I were involved in meal that truly capitalized on both of these traits!

You see, Mr. Menace’s family have a boat, which they utilize off of Cape Cod throughout the summer. They are also very kind and generous and invite us to take part in the use of said boat. (Thank you, Sheila and Rich, for all that you share with us!) Do not misunderstand, however; this boat is not a party boat. It is not used to take leisurely sunset cruises around the harbor. This is a serious boat, a working boat, and the work that it does is fishing! Mr. Menace’s mum is perhaps the best fisherwoman I have ever heard of, and her prey is the striped bass.

Now, each summer we head down to join his family on the Cape, and to frolic in the sun, and each summer there is a trip out on the boat to try to catch some bass. Unfortunately, while I love time with family and being on the Cape, I’m not really a big fan of the fishing – I tend to get a bit queasy as the boat goes in and out of the harbor, and pale redhead that I am, sitting in the sun for several hours is a terrible idea. Yet I like the idea of being involved in this process in some way, of contributing to the hunt. So it was decided that this year, while I would not board the boat, if Mr. Menace caught anything, I would learn to clean it! This was something I was excited for – I always loved the dissection labs in school. (Yes, I was a weird kid.)

So off they went for a trip to see what could be caught, while I went for a ten-mile run (because I know how to have a good time on vacation!). By the time I’d gotten home, showered, and dozed off in the hammock, the gang had returned, bearing these:
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(The one on top is sad to be dead.)

Both were caught by Mr. Menace!

The gents showed me what to do on the smaller fish, and then I got the chance to have the big one to myself.
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(See what I mean about me and the sun? NO GOOD.)

I cut behind the head, and sliced up the belly, being careful not to puncture any organs.
Then down the back:
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Then gently sliding the knife through to get at the good stuff!
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Off with the skin:
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Finally a lovely fillet!
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Rather proud of my work and Mr. Menace’s fishing skills, we decided to have folks over for a proper fry-up with our fish. This is the Mister’s favorite way to eat bass – it’s quite simple, although you have to be ready to deal with large quantities of hot oil. This is best done in a FryDaddy, if you have one. If not, be very, very careful and use the deepest pan that you own. First, make sure your fish is super clean:
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Next, dredge your fish in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. We used panko because it gives you the lightest, crunchiest coating.
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Drop the pieces in the FryDaddy! Do this in batches lest the oil bubble up and coat your entire kitchen in terrifying molten grease.
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Don’t those look fantastic? And they were, crisp and light! I made up a quick batch of tartar sauce to eat them with, but they were pretty great as is, too. They’re sitting in that picture on top of squash that our friends The Goog and Elise brought from their garden, which I roasted along with my favorite brussels sprouts in order to temper the number of fried things we were eating. The squash continued the local theme nicely, and was very tasty.
While we had the fryer going, Mr. Menace whipped up some french fries and his patented onion rings:
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I can’t even really begin to tell you how he gets them so beautifully golden and crisp – it’s really just egg, flour, and possibly magic. They are best eaten ridiculously hot, straight out of the fryer.

All in all, it was a lovely meal, made all the more delicious for being the product of our own work! Do any of you hunt or fish? If so, what do you like to make from your efforts?