Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Improvised Fish Thing

It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the workplace! One of my co-workers has a second job as the manager of the clubhouse for a fraternal organization, and he has to work his second job because a client rented out the hall for a big party. Another co-worker has a couple of kids at home, and wanted to spend Christmas morning with them. I started my work-stint at 4PM Christmas Eve and will be working straight through to 8AM Christmas morning. I don't mind, everything will be quiet, and I'll be able to go out drinking on St Stephen's Day. Yeah, I've got this thing figured out.

There's one nod to tradition that I figured I'd try to make on this Christmas Eve, and that's the Fish Thing, more properly known in the NY Metro Area as The Feast of the Seven Fishes. On my way to work, I stopped at the local grocery store and picked up some of the frutti di mare, specifically four types of fish and three types of molluscs:





The "cooking" facilities on the job are pretty slim- I had access to a knife, a plate, and a microwave. I was somehow able to cook some orzo by nuking several coffee cups of water and continually soaking the orzo in changes of boiling water. Miraculously, I was able to achieve a perfect al dente texture. I then tossed the orzo with some diced red onion, hot peppers grown by a co-worker, sundried tomatoes, garlic, and anchovies. I used this pasta as the bed on which to serve small portions of the tinned seafood:




On the bottom left is a portion of smoked scallops served on a sliced baguette, while a codfish filet sits at the six o'clock position followed by (going counterclockwise) calamari in its ink, octopus in olive oil, fish "steaks" with hot peppers in oil, and fish "steaks" in hot sauce.

The meal came together extremely well for a hastily improvised, no-equipment effort. In some ways, cobbling together this dish was a process similar to the purported origins of pasta alla puttanesca, a dish often hastily assembled from canned ingredients. Cooking is an endeavor in which technique often trumps fancy ingredients- all of the fancy Himalayan pink salt in the world can't make up for ham-fistedness in the kitchen.

Buon Natale, amici!

8 comments:

Aunt Snow said...

Oh, hey, I also wrote about seafood on Christmas Eve!! We're eating boiled shrimp and smoked mullet spread, on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Hope you are having a good holiday!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

We had cod, and scallop, for the halibut. ((Also halibut, for cod of it.)
~

Mandos said...

"Improvised fish thing."

I think fish would object to your implication.

paleotectonics said...

((Also halibut, for the love of cod!)

FTFY.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Hope you are having a good holiday!

I'm "taking one for the team". I'm the supervisor, and my philosophy is to lead with my chin, so to speak.

We had cod, and scallop, for the halibut. ((Also halibut, for cod of it.)

These puns seem out of plaice!

I think fish would object to your implication.

I blame fish!

FTFY.

How's your Minnesota Christmas, old chum? Any lutefisk on the table?

Anonymous said...

Your "shorts" weather is my "warm sweater" weather.
I thought I would stop by and wish you Happy Holidays, whichever you celebrate. It's all in the celebrating.
Have a safe, peaceful and happy time.Best.
Suezboo

Patricia said...

That's quite a feast Bad, Merry Christmas!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I thought I would stop by and wish you Happy Holidays, whichever you celebrate. It's all in the celebrating.

Happy Christmas, Suezboo!

That's quite a feast Bad, Merry Christmas!

Thanks! It was delicious. Octopus is one of my favorite foods.