For some reason I can no longer remember, I had persuaded myself long ago that I had no interest in blowfish. In any event, after last night’s meal, that’s changed.
I had seen recently on Twitter that these little guys were back in town (thanks to our hard-working Long Island fishermen and the Union Square Greenmarket). Thinking it was probably timer to give them another chance, I looked for a simple recipe.
I found it, and I think it would probably be a mistake to stray far from its austerity, the fish itself is so tasty.
Blowfish is a bit like fried perch, and, since I grew up in the midwest, I’ve had a lot of fried perch (even caught some), and I also miss it a lot. The texture is like perch as well, especially when lightly batter-fried. Where it differs most from [Perca flavescens] is in its reputation for danger (undeserved, at least as respects fish caught in our waters). There’s also the popular enthusiasm about consuming it as finger food, probably because of their size and shape, and the absence of any substantive bone but the spine (we passed on the finger thing).
We used forks and fish knives (less messy, and for a leisurely pace much more suitable for enjoying the wine).
- 12 blowfish tails from Blue Moon Fish Company, dredged in seasoned coarse stone-ground flour, pan-fried in olive oil (about an eighth to a quarter inches in depth) inside a very large cast iron pan, turning once, for about 2 minutes to each side (or until golden), served with lemon wedges
- 2 Sicilian (heirloom) eggplants, from Phillips Farm, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds, brushed with olive oil, pan-grilled, turning 3 times, removed to a platter, brushed with a mixture of olive oil, finely-chopped garlic from Berried Treasures, chopped marjoram from Stokes Farm, lemon zest, and pepper, drizzled with a little olive oil and kept at room temperature, for a short while while the fish was fried.
- slices of an ‘olive demi baguette’ from Hot Bread Kitchen in the Greenmarket
- two small ripe red heirloom tomatoes from Lani’s Farm, sliced, mixed with a very good Campania olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper, and torn New York City basil from Gotham Greens via Whole Foods, served in bowls on the side of the entrée.
There was a small cheese course, and it gave me the opportunity to pull out my other favorite toaster, the trusty ‘Camp-A-Toaster‘, to get maximum crustiness from some odd slices of bread.
- small bits of Consider Bardwell ‘Barden’ blue cow cheese, via the Greenmarket, and ‘Bergflichte’ a washed rind cow cheese from Thurgau, northern Switzerland, via Eataly
- micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- toasts from a 3-day-old loaf of Bien Cuit baguette from Foragers Market
- The wine was a California (grapes from the Sacramento River Delta with a small amount of Viognier from Lodi) white, Miriam Alexandra Chenin Blanc California 2015
- the music was Q2 Music, streaming, including Jörg Widmann’s violin concerto, and Eight Etudes and a Fantasy by Elliott Carter