Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ankimo, Monzennakacho

Once in a while I cook something, and some portion of those times it even comes out well. Actually the best things I make are usually raw, which should tell me something.

Uncle N tells me you need a special contact to get raw monkfish liver in America. Honestly, I think you need a special contact here too. Maybe if you asked a fish shop they could get it for you as a special order. Fortunately I've been lucky enough to get a special contact this year, and here is half a kilo of Chinese monkfish liver. (Domestic, like many domestic luxury items, is priced out of all proportion.). What you've gotta do is as follows:

1. Clean them real good. Wash 'em a lot, get busy with your hands, get all the blood and stuff off the outside. Salt liberally, leave for a while to extract more blood, etc., wash again.

2. Cut up in pieces, removing veins and other tough-looking bits. I guess you don't have to cut them up, but it helped me to see where the veins were. I dunno if there's a technique for extraction, but I ended up pulling and scraping and generally doing battle until I couldn't find any more to do battle with. This seems important.

3. Soak in sake. Fortunately I have a bountiful supply of the finest sake available...from 7-11, where 10 of my drunken colleagues bought out the nihonshu supply before invading my apartment on night (they called first, but still). The finest sake at 7-11 is very suitable for cooking. After soaking, drain.

4. Roll into a sausage. This is as big as it looks - close to 3 inches in diameter, 10+ inches long. Two layers of plastic wrap, plus a third counter-wrapped when it started squeezing out. Twist the ends. Tie off with rubber bands. Wrap again in foil, and twist those ends.

5. Cook. You could steam it, I'm not sure it matters. I simmered, a big pot of water with the surface barely moving. Definitely not boiling.

6. Cool. Cut (make sure to wait long enough so it's firm and cut-able).

7. Pause and consider the majesty of the finished product - so orange, so mottled, so greasy, so fishy. I'm just describing it that way so you don't feel too bad about not getting to eat it!
Incidentally, the greens aren't what you think - they're raw turnip stalks. I still maintain that raw is the best way to eat a turnip; stewed and whatnot does very little for me. Destroys the delicate but delicious raw taste.


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