Friday, 8 February 2008

Food for thought

Isn't it amazing what we humans find to eat from our large and bounteous planet? I guess, if you wait long enough, whatever it is, someone will eat it.*

Last night we went to an Italian restaurant near to our flat. I selected a dish described as 'angler fish in a truffle sauce'.

Let's break that down.

Angler fish: a predatory large and ugly fish which lives in the very deep sea. It lures its prey into its mouth by means of a fleshy protusion from its head, which it can twitch to look like something small and appetising (ie bait). Sometimes the protrusion can emit light to make it even more fatally attractive.
(As a point of interest, in some species of angler fish the males attach themselves to females like parasites and then the two fuse to such an extent that the male exists only as a pair of gonads, ready and waiting to deliver sperm whenever the female should be ready for such romantic attentions.)

So far, so yummy.

Truffles: fungal tubers which grow underground, near tree roots. These growths produce a smell which is meant to be a bit like that of the male pig sex hormone. Truffles are particularly unattractive lumpy blobs - in that sense, not much different to angler fish then.

Double yum.

Why did I choose to eat this? Basically because I couldn't remember having knowingly tried angler fish or truffles before. And truffles were a speciality of the house.

What was the outcome? Well, it was actually rather good. The truffle sauce and truffle shavings were delicious and really brought an earthy, meaty, flavour to the fish. The fish reminded me of scallops, which I like (although research online today reveals that the received wisdom is that it most resembles lobster).

I guess I was a little disappointed that it didn't arrive on a platter with its little fleshy fishing rod intact, perhaps deep fried, with a sparkler to resemble the light. But that would have been asking too much. Anyway, the spectacular chocolate mousse I had for dessert soon put paid to any lingering regrets.

More about angler fish...
More about truffles...

*Indeed, only yesterday my daughter attempted to digest mouthfuls of a foam ball.

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