"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Monday, March 28, 2011

Delaware Delicacies Smoke House - March 19, 2011

Now, what has started this fall down the rabbit hole? Was it the Victorian detective novel, in which a policeman, hungry and frozen to his post (figuratively and physiologically), buys some jellied eel at a street corner? Jellied eel seemed certainly quaint enough to be pursued, but somehow and somewhere, it morphed into smoked eel, thanks to the beautiful working of human brain - the free association (can HAL do that?) - and voila, I was calling Mr. Ray Turner upstate.

The entire box - including the styrofoam and the receipt - smelled of smoke.
Smoked Shrimps

The wise hermit shared a piece of wisdom: The shrimps lasted only for about a week to ten days and unfreezable, whereas the eels were “Ha! They are smoked and airtight, so just throw them into the freezer.” Duly noted, I proceeded with the shrimps. They were large, really large – the size of an adult-male’s palm – and this was post-cooking. One smoked shrimp would equal two so-called jumbo prawns served in Manhattan. Gently salted and delicately smoky, they were sweet succulence itself, from the first satisfying pop of the skin when the teeth bit down into the flesh all the way to the last fibrous morsel hiding in the tail.

Smoked Eels

The wild eels - caught by Mr. Turner himself with self-made contraption in the Delaware River - were such thick and sturdy perfect specimens that may just become the next maguro; the Japanese eel kabayaki (grilled eel) masters and connoisseurs, who have been largely left with farmed ones due to the dwindling, or dwindled, supplies after more than two hundred years of collective eel-fervor, will literally turn green with envy at the sight of them. I hacked off – eel is a vertebrate - a chunk of one of the two heavy weights; the cross-section revealed a milky white smooth flesh with mild flavor (yes, I licked). After grilling on each side for a few minutes and drizzled with lemon and soy sauce, the smoked eel was ready, à la Gourmand. The smoked eel was at first fatty, but of such a clean and clear fattiness, which, when combined with the fruity Meyer lemon juice and salty soy sauce, tuned sensitive and even sensual. The silken flesh was so delicate that it fell off the bones easily. Devoid of the muddiness often found in freshwater fish, the fresh eel had been smoked and pampered so that it needed no other dressings to be beautiful – well, perhaps a steaming bowl of rice to complete the picture.

Watch out for the bears! – Heed the divination from the wise man.

Delaware Delicacies Smoke House
Address: 420 Rhodes Road, Hancock, NY 13783
Phone:  (607) 637-4443

1 comment:

  1. Wild Bears in Delaware River are happy mammals as they enjoy wonderful eels a year along (??). No wonder the old man has to watch out his back...

    Look, a wild bear is behind you!!

    P.S. If you are wondering how the old man looks like, Travel Channel has an interesting 5-min movie clip.