Five Friday Fishmonger Favorites (by Reggie Asplund)
Unnecessary instances of alliteration for the offseason.
With the madness of summer and the holiday season done our often busy deli has returned to the restful lull that is the winter offseason in Duluth. Though the cold can be a tad bit of a challenge, here are five things us fishmongers enjoy during the offseason.
1. Seasonal samplings of smoked savory sustenance.
We like to eat. You like to eat.
Free food is pretty fantastic, which is why we’re playing around with some pretty sweet sample plates in the shop. So if you’re stopping by and see some up on the case, please help yourself! Need another? We won’t judge. We’ve been sampling more than we’d care to admit.
2. Limited lines lead to lunacy and laughter.
The summer often yields to a somewhat serious full staff. Though we never take ourselves too seriously our game faces are most definitely on and ready for the never-ending crowds that often swarm our small storefront. When the crowd finally ends, we often find ourselves having, well, a bit of (read: potentially way to much) fun with the quietness this beautiful offseason provides. So please enjoy the banter, say hi, make a joke, laugh with us a bit, and enjoy the lack of a lengthy line with us. Let’s all beat the winter blues together!
3. Creative cleaner creates clever creature capture.
Ah yes. The dreaded deep clean. Or is it?
Harrison, one or our beloved assistant managers, seasonally hides small animal figures around the shop to be scavenged for while we clean. This leads to some rather creative hiding but also a nice little reward while we clean every nook and cranny of our shop. So while you’re passing through or waiting for a sandwich, take a look around and you might just spot a few little ones awaiting their discovery.
4. Whimsical wizard wails wordy wonder.
It’s been around for nearly three years, but it certainly deserves a replay.
5. Big bad bourbon breakfast beats blues.
Yes. Bourbon for breakfast.
We aim to minimize waste (throwing food away is never enjoyable), and lately I’ve come to saving our leftover bread for a bountiful breakfast the following day. Recipe below: a modified bread pudding that’ll warm the soul, stick to your bones, and probably clog the arteries. Nevertheless, enjoy!
3-5 cups day-old ciabatta, sourdough, or french bread, cubed in 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp melted butter
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
Preheat over to 350º.
In a medium bowl beat together eggs, melted butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in sugar until dissolved, then mix in milk, set aside. Finely chop apple, set aside.
To prepare, arrange a single layer of bread pieces in a well seasoned 9 or 10 inch cast iron pan. Sometimes I’ll lightly(!) coat it with melted butter, no more than a tablespoon. Top with a third of the apple and walnuts. Repeat. And again. Carefully pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread into the pan. This should get close to filling the pan but not quite. Feel free to top with extra cinnamon, apples or nuts… this is about winter survival right?
Bake for about 60-70 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the eggs and milk have set. I often place foil over the top for the last 15 minutes to prevent the top bread cubes from getting too dark, but keep an eye on it.
While that’s going, go get your first round of dishes done. Do ’em quick, as we’ve got a little bit more to do.
Yes, I did say bourbon, though just about any whiskey will do.
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup whiskey (I use Jameson or Bullet Bourbon)
In a medium saucepan, on low heat, melt the butter and sugar together.
Then add cream and whiskey. Gently mix and bring to a slow, rolling boil.
Let it slowly boil down for a good 15-20 minutes. We’re looking for a nice heavy, caramelly sauce.
When the bread pudding is done carefully drizzle sauce over it.
Let it cool for just a bit, then grab a big metal spoon and enjoy.
For extra winter warmth, serve with a batch of Northern Waters Breakfast Sausage and hot black coffee. Don’t worry, you can ski this off in no time at all.
Blog post written by Reggie Asplund