Friday, July 31, 2009

Huevas:Mahi-Mahi Roe Part One

Shad roe is a great delicacy, and because it is seasonal, both celebrated and legendary. Cute story from the early nineties, when I was first earning enough money to take a date to a fancy restaurant (that's what we called joints back then). At the Washington, DC, organic Restaurant Nora (Al and Tipper Gore were regulars), I sat passively while my then-girlfriend ordered it as a special-she had a notion that the eggs of a shad were similar to caviar. I did not disabuse her of this notion. I was in a heavily passive-aggressive stage back then, and saw this simply as two appetizers for me, none for her. Yes, I was a prick. (FYI-'Appetizers' is what we called 'small plates' back then. FWIW the term FYI was also just coming into vogue.) She took one look and passed it to me with disgust. It was delicious and I ate it all with no guilt. C'mon-I'm an American artist. I have no guilt. Just ask Patti Smith.

I would occasionally cook fresh shad roe in season, in a little bacon fat, as is the tradition. Well not really 'a little'. If you've never eaten it, shad roe comes in a 'set' or sack, and tastes a lot more like a delicate fish liver with a subtly nutty flavor (as opposed to caviar, which it does not resemble at all), and has a texture that is not to everyone's taste. When I popped into Food Giant on the Kennedy Causeway yesterday, I had no intention of buying anything other than a lemon for a simple linguine and bottarga dish. Passing by the meat/fish counter, I saw a sign that read "Mahi Row". I had an inkling, then a suspicion, and when I asked in Spanish I was told 'huevas'. Jackpot. I took the frozen 'row', bought a pound of cheapo bacon, and dashed home to tell the cat. She was, not unexpectedly, rather unemotional about the whole thing. But how should I cook this stuff? And how much would end up in the cat's bowl? Here the girl had no response. Stay tuned for the answers...

Is this right?