Too much cheek
In case you’re new, this is an experimental food blog. Luckily, the experiments often work out, but sometimes, they stink. Literally.
Tonight things were cooking along quite well. I had planned to turn some salmon cheeks into a Japanese inspired soup with soba noodles. The recipe called for me to make a stock first out of a fish head, and because I was familiar with fishheads, I elected to avoid them. Instead, I used shrimp shells, because I had heard you could. Hey, does anyone else think it’s funny that I just glossed over the fact that I had planned to cook with salmon cheeks like that was normal? How many of these blog posts do we think it will take before I officially become the world’s biggest food weirdo? I might nearly be there. Here’s the recipe for the shrimp shell stock which could serve as a light base for an Asian-inspired soup, if you don’t mess it up like I did.
- A good deal of shrimp shells. I had the shells from about 20 medium shrimp, but go with more if you can
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1tsp dried thyme
- Salt & Pepper
Directions: Add everything to a soup pot with water and boil it up and then simmer for 1/2 hour to 1 hour.
Strain the stock, and you’re good to go.
Now don’t do this. I opened up my little pack of salmon cheeks. They looked like scallops. They smelled like Oscar the Grouch’s beach house garbage can.
And here is a very big bit of cooking wisdom. If it smells bad before you start, it ain’t going to smell any better after you’re done.
That picture nearly captures the stink, doesn’t it?
That last pic was movie-grade stink.
I tried a few bites of the soup and tried to cover the flavour with ginger and miso paste, but quickly I wondered why I was trying so hard. Luckily my husband was kept late at work and missed dinner. The man can’t handle bad smells and gags at the faintest whiff of anything malodorous. He changed lots of diapers, but I often wondered if he had a hairball while he was doing it.
Anyway, this was one of those times I had to bleach the entire kitchen and still couldn’t find the remainder of the fishiness. I do have to give kudos to the fish’s revenge skills – it gets you back for killing it long after it’s dead and gone. A bit like a skunk hitting your tire, or a bee dying as it leaves its stinger in you. I admire that, I must say. Might figure out how to do something like that myself some day. If you’re at my funeral, watch out.
And buy fresh fish, people. Even the cheeks.