Eat Them Up Yum

June 20, 2011 · 9 comments

Fish Heads

When I saw these three salmon heads poking out of the ice at the fish counter at the Stop & Shop (with the radio on), I though of two things:

Thing the first:

I remembered this post from Ideas in Food, a rethinking of  head cheese. There is a lot of tasty meat in an animal head, and a fish head has the added bonus of consisting of more cartilage than bones, which ups the gelatinization potential.

The preparation was dead simple. I started by brining the heads in a five percent salt solution for ten minutes to remove some of the blood.

Since the Belm Utility Research Kitchen still lacks the CVap oven I’ve been hinting about, I put the heads in my steamer and cooked them for about 20 minutes.

I let them cool a bit while they stared at me with those dead, empty eyes. (They still haunt me, those eyes, my dreams… Sorry.)

I picked all of the meat and fat off the heads, then prepared a seasoning mix of equal parts salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and piment d’Espelette. I also readied some white truffle oil and light soy sauce (I couldn’t find white soy sauce anywhere in the area).

I mixed everything together while it was still warm, then pressed it into a square plastic container and covered the top woth plastic wrap.

After an overnight chill in the fridge it was ready to try.

Unlike my previous head cheese disasters, this version sliced beautifully and held its shape at room temperature. The seasoning was just right, spicy but still allowing the salmon taste to come through. I don’t know how often I’ll get to make this, but I’ll keep my (undead) eye open for more fish heads.

Thing the second:

I can’t imagine living without having a huge selection of music to listen to, and knowing that there is a world of music still out there for me to discover still excites me. I know that my voracious consumption of music is not the norm, there must be people who have absolutely no desire to listen to music. Somewhere between those polar opposites are people who listen to a very narrowly defined subset of possible musics. I have met a few of these people, and they have all gravitated to novelty songs, the tunes you could hear on Dr. Demento‘s radio show.

I hate novelty songs. They have a third-grader nyaah nyaah quality that makes me feel like steel needles are being driven through my skull. The lyrics are equally puerile, although devotees quote them as you or I might quote Shakespeare or Milton. I know more about this music than I want to because I shared an apartment with a Demento fanatic. He taped the shows every Sunday evening and played them every day until the next show was broadcast.

What does this have to do with salmon head cheese? As I worked at picking meat from bone, then mixing the spices to make the terrine, I kept hearing THIS GODDAMNED SONG, my ex-roommate’s absolute favorite:

YouTube Preview Image

It’s stuck in my head again, after an almost 30-year absence. I think a week-long course of Norwegian black metal will be the only thing to kill the dreadful earworm. Wish me luck.

Eat Them Up Yum on Punk Domestics

9 comments

David Dallow June 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

What held everything together? I wouldn’t think you’d get the gelatine content that you would when using meat products? It looks fantastic. I need to try…..soon.

David June 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

It’s held together with noting but the gelatin from the heads. You have to work with everything while it is still warm, before the gelatin starts to solidify. The finished product was quite sturdy and sliceable.

JO'N June 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Great. Thanks, David, for spreading the earworm to me. I don’t know how much work I can get done while I undergo the rigorous therapy of American and Canadian hardcore punk needed to rid me of this terrible malady. I’ve only got about 100 hours or hardcore on hand, so I might have to listen to Nig-Heist more than once. Oy.

David June 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Black metal is a better brain cleanser.

JO'N June 27, 2011 at 9:04 am

Agreed, but I can work while I listen to Joey S#!*head explain how bad Ronnie Reagen is/was. I cannot get any work done while I listen to Varg Vikernes giving fascism a bad name.

Paul Riddell June 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Ah, yes. Bill Mumy and Bill Paxton nostalgia. And the recipe’s interesting, too.

David June 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I knew Bill Mumy was one of the Barneses. I eventually forgave him after Babylon 5.

Julia June 30, 2011 at 12:27 am

Have do you create a brine with 5% salt? The math eludes me.

David June 30, 2011 at 10:20 am

The percentage is based on the amount of liquid, usually water. So, for a liter of water (which weighs 1,000 grams), a 5 percent brine would require 50 grams of salt – 50/1000 = 0.05 = 5%

That same calculation in ounces: one quart (32 ounces) of water would require 1.6 ounces of salt – 1.6/32 = 0.05 = 5%

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