A few weeks ago, on a day I was feeling particularly spontaneous I visited Daimajin, one of my favorite sushi places in Guaynabo. This is the only place where without prior notice, I can sit down and say ‘omakase’. ‘Omakase’ is the code word that indicates you are up for eating absolutely anything the chef sends your way. Aiming to please, the waitress and co-owner of the restaurant asked if I wanted to do all cold, hot or sushi plates. If I was going to do this, I had to do it right. A little bit of everything, please! Nothing is too weird for me… or so I thought.
The first dish I received was a beautiful plate of razor thin fluke sashimi, served with a green onion ponzu (citrusy soy sauce) I could eat on anything. Second course: rock lobster tempura bites which were predictably tasty.
Third course: monkfish liver.
Third course: MONKFISH LIVER!
You wanted adventure, Adriana? Here’s your adventure!
I wasn’t sure if the panic on my face was because I was already starting to feel full and still had two sushi rolls to taste after the monkfish liver, or because I was scared of trying the five fish pâté disks in front of me. For half a minute it was both.
If there’s something I have learned in the last four years, is that livers are tasty. Chicken, goose, duck, and yes, even monkfish. The texture was reminiscent of foi gras, but with that distinctive ocean flavor. I worked my way through the monkfish liver and took back home with me most of the food from the remaining courses. It turns out that a Futomaki sushi roll (eel, pickled vegetables and egg) rivals pizza in the “leftovers for breakfast” category.
Only after that first experience with monkfish – and upon learning that the fish would be featured in one of the October FFwD recipes – I was curious enough to look up the Spanish translation for monkfish. The name for the fish is rape (“rah-peh”/”rah-pay”). Reading it immediately triggered memories of old-school Spanish restaurants, the kind with jacketed waiters and towering dessert carts. While not a menu mainstay, monkfish was occasionally featured as a special. That’s how I ended up at a Spanish marisquería – seafood restaurant – which has a store that sells fresh fish and imported goodies. They only had a small monkfish tail available, so I bought that plus four plump scallops for the monkfish and double carrots dinner. The fishmonger cleaned and deboned my fish and I went home with two delicate fillets/tail halves.
I have to admit this neither E nor I were wowed by this recipe. Maybe I should have cooked down carrot juice sauce more, or deglazed the crusted bacon fat and scallop liquids with some carrot juice for extra flavor… The fish was bland, despite the bacon fat crust. I probably rushed through the preparation, and the sauce needed time to come on its own. Oh well. They can’t all be almond crusted, brown buttered magic mahi mahi.
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group where we work our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. The original recipe can be found here. Will I be alone in my feelings regarding this recipe? There’s only one way to find out… check out my fellow Dorista links here.