I would begin by saying that the cat doesn’t find the smell unattractive at all. And I am not liking it much, but so far, it has at least turned out to be a powerful appetite suppressant. After all of today’s kitchen adventures, I just don’t feel much like eating anything for supper.
Blame Sally Grainger. And me. In equal parts. I thought that the recipe for mint-dressing for a melon sounded quirky, refreshing, and probably pretty tasty. We’ve yet to see how it’ll work out, but I’ve got a very good feeling about that. But I am leaving out the fish.
Oh, those cookbooks that direct you to add something and it turns out that that something is a whole other recipe! FISH SAUCE is what I’m talking about. Which turns out, in her version at least, to be made partially from fish sauce. Yes, fish sauce is made from fish sauce. So I looked for fish sauce all over town. I was reasonably sure Sally did not mean cocktail sauce, for we know for certain that the Romans didn’t have tomatoes. I didn’t think it’d be scampi sauce either, though it looks pretty good, and I may try it sometime when I am feeling too lazy to crush my own blessed garlic.
Of course I ended up in the International Aisle. Sure enough, A Taste of Thai markets this very thing.
So I mixed it up with grape juice, according to dear Sally’s instructions, and set it to simmer until reduced to about half as much liquid.
Hence the stench. I suppose I ought to have used white grape juice (I am a careless reader of recipes at the best of times). The mingling of fish and purple concord is just not a good one. I also got absentminded and let it reduce too much. My kitchen hasn’t smelled this bad since I took up alchemy and very nearly perfected the Elixir of Life.
The resulting salty dark purple stuff is profoundly yucky. I took my life in my hands – which demonstrates my devotion to you, my dear audience – and I tasted it. A whole drop, too. Nope, wasn’t going to fly.
So our Roman sauce here, does have an a mysterious secret ingredient. And that ingredient is… wait for it… NO FISH.