Saturday, April 11, 2020

WHEN THERE IS NO RED HERRING

This neighborhood at an early hour is better at 'social distancing' than later in the day. Primarily because there are fewer people about, and those that are out will include a high proportion of either the entirely out-of-touch or the severely medicated. Who stumble a bit. But slowly enough that one can calmly step more than six feet aside.

Well, other than the joggers, who think they own the side walk.

I've never liked runners; they don't understand that in some places they'd be shot on suspicion. Justifiably, if only because they're irritating.
Indeed, I am not a pleasant person.
It's my sidewalk.


The pipe was from a store that stopped carving briars over two decades before I was born, and like a number of my excellent smokers it came from Marty Pulvers, one of the most honest people in pipes. And a good friend. Once during a conversation he mentioned that his relatives had been fish merchants, and for the next hour or so we discussed herring, as only Dutchmen and New York Ashkenazim can. Seeing as everyone else has incorrect ideas about that.
And does weird things like smoke-curing to the mahogany stage.
OR vinegar-pickling it far beyond any degree of edibility.

The proper way to treat a herring is to gut it, but leave the pancreas, so that when lightly salted it will cure a little. The pancreatic enzymes benefit the process. That was discovered by Willem Beukelzoon of Biervliet over six centuries ago. Too well cured for Japanese tastes, though still too raw for Americans. Galitzianers, Litvaks, Balts, and Danes prefer it more salted than the Netherlanders, and Swedes like it rotten.

It is utterly delicious, and unavailable in much of the United States, unless one is good friends with a Sushi chef, though it must be frozen for 24 to 48 hours to kill the herring nematode (anisakis).


All of that said, I will confess a queer fondness for kippers (skeddan jearg). Especially when used in kedgeree in lieu of smoked haddock. Which is probably unorthodox, and aksance-at looked by normal people.

Even more horrifying: kedgeree made with charsiu pork from that place on Stockton Street (新凱豐燒臘店 'san hoi fung siu laap dim'), where one of the staff is my age, and asked recently if I was actually Caucasian.
Possibly because with a face mask on, you cannot see my big white nose.
Or maybe because I'm not fat and speak Cantonese.
Also, no tattoos.


CHARSIU KEDGEREE

One pound charsiu pork (叉燒), sliced at the store.
Four cups cooked rice.
Four hardboiled eggs, cut into quarters.
Two TBS Thai yellow curry paste.
One large onion, chopped.
Some minced ginger.
Generous pinches of nutmeg and ground cumin.
Dash Worcestershire Sauce (喼汁 'kip chap').

Chopped parsley / cilantro for garnish.
Lime wedges, sambal (chilipaste or hot sauce).

Slow-fry the onion and ginger in butter and olive oil till golden and fragrant. Add the curry paste and a little splash of water, stir to mix, continue cooking till the water is almost gone. Add the cooked rice and spice pinches, mix it. Then add the charsiu and the dash Worcestershire, and when it is all heated through, dump into a serving platter, and arrange the egg segments on top. Garnish with the parsley and cilantro. Or minced chives.

Serve with lime wedges and sambal.

Oh yeah, and a pot of strong tea.


Followed of course by a long contemplative walk around the neighborhood with a pipe and fine tobacco. Cigars for the ladies.




TOBACCO INDEX


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