|Barbunya: Not a political debate.|
|Fresh anchovy and tiny fish who will never see adulthood.|
Troya gets a fresh delivery of fish every week from Turkey - bright-eyed, red-gilled not smelly fresh fish. And even better, not expensive fish. (Hot tip: ask the butchers when the fish are being delivered and go early before the Middle Eastern Diplomats buy it all out.) Fish in landlocked countries is never cheap, but check them against other markets offering smellier, pre-frozen fish. Yes, it is entirely affordable. If you live in Hungary, you know how outlandish this sounds. Fresh ocean fish? Nawwww... can't happen. Hungarians eat lake fish: carp, catfish, perch. Most Hungarians find the taste of ocean fish strange and dry. Believe me: I have traveled all over Europe with regular, non-yuppie Hungarians in places like Portugal and had to learn to say things in Portuguese like "Excuse me, Chef. I see you have prepared a perfectly cooked fillet of sole for our dinner tonight, and I appreciate this sincerely, but my colleagues would like you to return their servings to the fryer and fry them until crisp and dry and stiff like the fish they are used to eating in Hungary? Thank you!" Yes. I can say that in Portuguese, because I had to say it every day. Twice a day for a month. So, after decades of following rumors of fresh fish in Budapest that always led to a freezer full of packaged hake, we were skeptical. But stepping into Troya was like stepping off the ferry in Kadikoy. All our favorites were there.
|Istavrit (above) and bream|
|Fried red mullet and anchovies.|
Hamsi is more than a food to Turks around the Black Sea - including Istanbul. It is a regional national symbol. Think wine and France. Wurst and Germany. Hungary and paprika. Sinop and hamsi. Trabzon and hamsi. Ordu and hamsi. Rize and hamsi. Ardeşen and hamsi. We traveled around the Turkish Black Sea coast some years ago, and yes,they do eat a lot of hamsi. A lot of restaurants in towns like Trabzon or Rize served only hamsi while we were there. When the hamsi arrive in late autumn there are hamsi festivals and hamsi eating contests and hamsi dances. I have CDs of local Black Sea pop bands playing the addictive fiddle music of the kemenche and singing endless verses about either hamsi or tea. Singing about tea? Really? But I can understand singing about hamsi. If you only know anchovy from the salty nubs packed in cans and tossed on pizzas you don't know anchovy at all. Fresh hamsi do not have that oily, fishy flavor that a lot of people recoil from. You can eat them whole or easily fillet them using only your fingernail before cooking, leaving little finger length boneless butterfly fillets. Turks eat them fried, boiled, baked, made into hamsi pilaf, baked into corn bread, pickled, or even dried.
|Anchovy ceviche with wild ramps|
|Sorry, but perfectly roasted lamb is not an open source resource.|
|Perhaps the best butcher in Hungary.|