A while back I posted about my revulsion for canned fish (tuna notwithstanding) and how I’d like to get over it — at least when it comes to the finer varieties. A few lines from the Nigel Slater book Real Fast Food had me wishing I had the stomach for it.
Martine responded by stuffing my Christmas stocking with a few cans of
high quality haute gamme Euro-fishy things. They sat uneaten all these months because I have a vision of the proper — or at least most appetizing — way to eat such a thing, and it does not involve dark wintery nights (unless you introduce ice-cold vodka).
Rather, I imaged a warm Saturday afternoon in the countryside, a fresh baguette, a few fresh and simple garnishes, and a chilled bottle of rosé. On this holiday long-weekend we came close enough (the suburbs, not the countryside; and sparkling apple juice, not rosé; but at least it was sunny and warm and for once there was no one in the neighbourhood running a lawn mower).
We began with some leftover soup from the previous night. It was a cold cucumber and yogurt soup from a recipe that Martine had found in one of the Moosewood cookbooks. The recipe version had lacked a certain pizzazz, however, so she livened it up with some red onions and hot sauce. The result was a delicious devil’s concoction of the cool and the hot, the modest and the brazen.
Then we moved on to the tiny can of Crème de sardines, aromatisée au whiskey (from France don’t you know). I prepared it as I had imagined — on a fresh and crusty baguette, with just a touch of mayonnaise, a toss of red onion, and a sprinkle of ciboulette. I was a bit put off at first, as the fish was the exact texture, color, and consistency as Spiff’s cat food.
Fortunately the aroma — and presumably the flavour — were different (Spiff’s food — a high-end hypo-allergenic variety — is a blend of duck, pheasant, and brown rice). Indeed, the Crème de sardines was rather delicious in that very grown-up, highly civilized sort of way.
Which reminds me — I must go to the SAQ and stock up on rosé!