exploring new food
I've got to experience a wide range of, maybe not strange, but different kinds of food since I met Alex. Only in the past ten days he's introduced me to three new things that I think I'd never would think of eating if it wasn't for his passionate introduction to them.
First the shark which I was slightly hesitant to to begin with as I could only imagine the meat to be jellylike and plastic? Not sure why but that's the impression I had, also knowing that sharks are completely boneless got me thinking. It turned out to taste much better than what I had imagined.
Then when shopping groceries the other day, Alex picked up a glass can full of.... beef intestines. Ok go ahead and eat that, I sure won't. But I did try it of course in the end. Can't say it's my favorite dish in the world and not sure if I will ever find a reason to give it another try but the experience was interesting and that's what we live for anyway, fascinating new experiences. And then last night he served me this. Gésiers de Canard confit which apparently is a delicacy in France. Duck Gizzards. What the hell are gizzards you might wonder? Read on here if you wish a longer explanation but it's basically an organ found in the digestive tract of some animals, including birds, reptiles and some fish to name a few.
Here's what wikipedia says:
"Birds swallow food and store it in their crop if necessary. Then the food passes into their glandular stomach, also called the proventriculus, which is also sometimes referred to as the true stomach. This is the secretory part of the stomach. Then the food passes into the ventriculus (also known as the muscular stomach or gizzard). The gizzard can grind the food with previously-swallowed stones and pass it back to the true stomach, and vice versa. Bird gizzards are lined with a tough layer made of the carbohydrate-protein complex koilin, to protect the muscles in the gizzard and to aid in digestion."
Tempting? Uuhhyeah.. not really but who am I to say no to a man when he's so passionate about something plus does the cooking himself.
In France, or especially in the Dordogne region, it's served in a traditional salad with croutons, walnuts and lettuce. We had it served hot, with white rice that was cooked with cumin, herbs and butter and it was also, surprisingly good. I think with most controversial food, it's mainly the mind that tells you this is weird, and you automatically judge the flavor after your previous mindset towards it. Would I not have known that the shark was shark the other day, I think I would have loved it immediately, instead it took me a while to evaluate the flavor as I compared it with other fish and I also put the experience in relation to my life long respect for the shark and the fact that some of them are endangered etc. so it took a bit longer to get used to the actual flavor as so many other thoughts got in the way.
These duck gizzards were interesting in the way that the meat inside offered a total new type of structure/texture. Very firm and dark red/black meat - coated by a hard cover of fat. Very tasty I must admit. And I'm totally liking the idea of actually using all of an animal if it's going to become human food anyway. I doubt any of these three will become common diet on our boat but still good to have it all tried at least once.
Thanks to everyone by the way who've sent us shark tips and recipes, now I know what to do next time we accidentally get a shark on the hook.