The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Sep 15, 2012

Seafood Tartare

Manuel Vázquez Montalbán's detective Pepe Carvalho is a culinary maven, and loves nothing better than to potter around his kitchen cooking up delicacies and feeding them to the constant stream of women that get in and out of his pants. A tribute, then, to the quintessential Barcelonan man.

But there was no way he could sleep, and he eventually found himself studying a road map, tracing the escape route Margalida had mentioned, and then in the kitchen staring at the open fridge, with the vague idea that he should be doing something more than just worrying himself silly. Cooking, for example: and at that time of the morning he could think of nothing better than a seafood tartare,  a recipe he had been turning over in his mind since the previous evening, a sort of adaptation of the oyster tartare that Jean-Louis Neichel had invented, but without the oysters. Instead, he had fresh clams, sea urchins, prawns, a jar of unspectacular Russian caviar, and some hake macherated in virgin olive oil, salt and green pepper. He cut open the sea urchins, removed their eggs and chopped them together with the clams and prawns, then added a combination of capers, fennel, shallots, gherkins. He had no seaweed or sea-grass, so the recipe could only be an approximation. He sprinkled oil and lemon on the mixture, spread it on the fish, stuffed it into the empty sea urchin shells, and topped them off with a spoonful of caviar. He opened a bottle of white Peludi wine, and placed the sea urchins, the wine, glasses, toast and butter on a tray. When he succeeded in waking up Albert and Margalida and she saw all this exotic display in front of her, she had to stop herself reaching instinctively under the pillow for her gun.
- from The Man of My Life.


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