November 25, 2008

Something Delicious This Way Swims

Lamprey%20at%20Harvest%20Vine.jpg Joseba%20in%20kitchen.jpg

Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez of Harvest Vine and Txori does not take his responsibilities lightly. He is not only Seattle's pre-eminent Spanish chef, he is one of the city's great chefs, period. There's incessant pressure, however, to innovate, to renew, to surprise. Potato omelet, salt cod, even octopus: been there, eaten that.

But what about lamprey? Not eel, actually. At least not the tiny little squiggles called gulas, but the big fellas, lamprey. Look like eel (long, basically) but not. More primitive, no bones. You eaten those?

Born in freshwater, in the rivers of France, Spain and Portugal, lamprey slither out to the Atlantic and are easily captured in the shallow waters of the Bay of Biscay. A "meaty" fish, fit for a king, it's said. Sadly, they're considered pests in the Great Lakes, where they feed on trout.

Somehow, Chef Joseba has got his hands on a shipment of lampreys, from the Yukon, no less, Arctic lamprey (Lampetra camtschatica if you will), and will be cooking them up for the next three or four weeks at his flagship restaurant, Harvest Vine, in Madison Park. These bad boys are dipped through holes in the ice at Graying, 400 miles up the Yukon River. They travel under ice for 2,000 miles to spawn. (Great pic on Nancy Leson's Seattle Times blog, "All You Can Eat.")Preparation will vary from one week to the next; the default is to poach them in a spicy tomato sauce. Price will vary as well, but expect to pay about $15 for an order.

Harvest Vine, 2701 E. Madison, Seattle 206-320-9771. Harvest Vine on Urbanspoon

Posted by Ronald Holden at November 25, 2008 10:40 AM | TrackBack

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