Feb 7, 2009

le poisson, le poisson

ladies, gents, i don't know about you but when i spend the day lurking about cambridge street, stopping into the mayflower poultry co. (live poultry, fresh-killed), the new deal fish market, and christina's exotic spices is practically inevitable.

they're not kidding.
at new deal, there was a line almost to the door, and the ice case was rapidly being emptied of fish so fresh the eyes were still clear. there was scorpionfish in a row being picked off by bouillabaisse makers alerted to the event (when have you seen unfrozen scorpionfish in your local fish market?). a japanese guy accompanied by two coughing children bought $126 worth of toro, $64 of hamachi, and 4 pounds of maine shrimp twitching in their clear plastic bag, all for dinner. when chris got to me, i asked for and received a pound of squid, a 2-pound pollock head they'd just cut off, and a pound of freshly-cleaned perch fillets. on the way out, i met tw, picking up his order of fish for dinner tonight (lamb, pig trotters, cod, etc). then, much further down the street, a packet of aji amarillo and a tiny jar of saffron from christina's.

with a fresh fish head, it was the work of moments to fill a stockpot with with celery, a bay leaf, a yellow onion, some kombu, and katsuobushi, and water to cover. for 2 hours, it filled the kitchen and the entire second floor with a deep and all-encompassing smell of fish, which i found pleasant and uplifting but the vegetarians among us did not. for dinner, thus, an enormous bowl, a tureen, of fish chowder in the style of my mother, stuffed with white rice, perch, squid rings, and massive quantities of cilantro, raw garlic, and ginger. with this meal of peace, restoration, and aggressive sulphur compounds (thank you, jim harrison), i hope to definitively usher out the sinusitis through which malign mechanism my left sinus cavity betrayed me all of this week and half of the week before.