Slice of life
Slice of pie
Sidekick thrust aside.
A cut too deep.
In a kaiseki dinner, Mukozuki is a small side dish of slices of raw and rare seasonal fish – sashimi. It is set on the far side of each guest’s lacquered tray, hence muko zuke (literally “set to the far side”) in a small beautifully glazed bowl or dish.
|After going through the script I sketch up these concepts for this episode|
Jack mines for the truth as Hannibal collects the gold
Jose Andres, our Culinary Consultant in DC, wants Hannibal to make ‘Hangtown Fry” for this scene – in honor of the San Francisco 49ers. Hangtown Fry is a dish that became synonymous with Californian gold miners striking it rich in1849 and celebrating with the most expensive dish the local saloon-keeper could offer. It was first created by the cook at the El Dorado Hotel in Dry Diggins - renamed “Hangtown” after several unauthorized lynchings (you know how it only takes a few unfortunate outbursts to mar the reputation of a peaceable, if unpolished little town and sully the image of it’s simple but kindly townsfolk).
|Hangtown Fry - with a crayfish and smoked Maldons salt|
So out come the oversized oysters, sizzling bacon and --- fresh cracked eggs.
We are more than a bit concerned with the Benihana egg trick called for in the script. I’ve tried it and can only get it 1 out of 4 tries, and I’ve seen Benihana chefs flub the manoeuver when they have an entire grill as target. Mads has to crack his eggs into a 8-inch diameter skillet. The props Master calls his guy. The Production Manager calls in his guy. I call my guy. On the morning of the shoot we have 8 dozen eggs and 3 Japanese chefs with their hands made up to be hand doubles.
|On set - Three crack egg crackers: Benihana chef, Mads the Juggler and Mark AKA Judge Masa|
I guess I don’t have to tell you that when Mads arrives on set, I briefly describe the egg trick to him whereupon he just tosses an egg up in the air and breaks it perfectly on the spatula. Did it. Unbelievable. I insist it was a lucky fluke but he does it again. I accuse him of practicing when I wasn’t looking but he laughs (as if he has time to practise egg-cracking between scenes) and confesses he was a juggler in his youth.
|Beverly Kidney Pie|
Sad slices of Beverly Pie
Beverly has been in and out of the frying pan so many times in the draft scripts of the last two episodes that I have known for several months I will be cooking her up for Hannibal…yet I am utterly stopped in my tracks when I see vivisected silcone Beverly in the studio, sliced up in clear acrylic like a Damian Hirst cow. I stand 5 inches away from the piece and it looks real. I would like to marvel at the talent of Francois Dageneau, our prosthetic guy who makes these human sculptures, but I can’t. My mind is too busy screaming “She’s really dead!” Not cryovacced a basement somewhere to emerge in a future script. There can be no resurrection from this Slice-o-matic. Beverly Katz is deader than dead.
|Beverly Pies line up ready for retakes|
I feel something that can only be described as grief. I understand that I will miss seeing the funny talented Hettienne Park in the studio but I am surprised that I feel real sadness about losing this fictional character. I loved her directness – she always solved the crime simply with her clear unwavering logic. While the guys in the room were running around hallucinating, waffling and pouting, she always came up with the goods. I see Hettienne (with baby bump!) in the make-up trailer and tell her I want her to come back in a dream sequence. We can but hope.
|Beverly Pate - Yellow and red beets layered with chevre and sliced to show their inner beauty|
|Buddah's Hand reaching up through the floorboards to grab your leg and pull you into the dirt - which is black quinoa|
The kidney in the pie is Beverly’s.
I made Beverly into a pie (honor the Pushing Daisies' Pie Hole!) because no matter how sturdy and delicious the pastry, even though it defines the pie it is just a shell for the meaty centre. The top pastry I made into a mask – in this case, it’s Will’s prison mask. On set, Mads asked me if the pastry was to represent Hannibal's mask – absolutely not! No one wants to keep him out of prison more than I do! Unless he can get a cell with an eat-in galley kitchen.
|Making the pastry mask - mini mask shaped in clay, then covered in tinfoil to create a form for baking the pastry tops|
I think we will all feel aftershocks from the killing of Beverly – if only because her death is a signal that NO ONE IS SAFE. Let’s all comfort ourselves with a hearty breakfast and two shots of bourbon:
Also great for a light supper or a weekend brunch or to celebrate when you discover gold.
For one serving:
3 Tbsp cream
¼ cup water
3 to 5 raw oysters, shucked
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup flour
6 Tbsp butter
2 thick slices pancetta bacon, fried
1. In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs and cream together. Remove all but 2 Tbsp to another bowl and set aside while you fry the oysters.
2. In the first bowl, add ¼ cup water to the 2 Tbsp egg mixture and beat together.
3. Spread breadcrumbs on a plate and flour on another plate.
4. Dip each oyster into flour, then egg water, then breadcrumbs to coat evenly.
5. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tbsp of butter and fry oysters just until golden brown. Do not cook all the way through. Set aside.
6. Wipe skillet clean with paper towel and place over medium heat. Add butter. When butter is bubbling, add beaten eggs from 2nd bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Scramble gently and before egg is completely cooked, add oysters. Continue to scramble gently and when eggs are fully cooked, turn out onto plate. Garnish with bacon slices and enjoy!
Next week: Osso buco was a fore-taste. Can thigh be far behind?
all material within copyright of Janice Poon unless otherwise noted