September 19, 2014
But imagine if the roe stayed intact. Imagine that you could barely chew it. Now imagine that chewy rubber married to dates, almond meal, milk and rosewater. If your imagination can stretch that far, you're eating ffish custard.
I can’t remember how I came across Rare Cooking, a blog that recently featured this dish. Dreamed up by two PHD students with an interest in archival oddities, Rare Cooking chronicles their attempt to translate early American recipes into something that might actually taste good. Recently, they found a recipe for something called ffish custard, likely at least two hundred years old, and decided to whip up a batch.
There’s a critical humility in their approach: if an old dish sounds terrible, perhaps we’re wrong. Is there another reason why we no longer eat it? Can early American cooking teach us "new" flavors?
There’s only one way to find out: make the dish. In the case of ffish custard this required a bit of guesswork. The recipe called for a pound of almonds, the roe of a pike, dates, milk and rose water. That’s it: mix it together, strain it, and pop it into the oven.
To impressive result, Rare Cooking decided against the straining step. Check out their result (and the comments) here.
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