Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Nastiest. Food. Ever.
This is called Stargazey Pie. Here is the Culinary Chronicle I wrote about it for World Wide Recipes:
Stargazey (or Stargazer or Stargaze) Pie originated in Cornwall. One source supposed the dish was developed for festive occasions or to amuse children. Mom and I read about it in a Martha Grimes mystery and couldn't believe it was real, but it is. There are a variety of recipes, from an egg custard and whole de-boned fish in a double crust to filleted fish stuffed with breadcrumbs under a top crust. In any case, the heads are left on the fish. Sardines, pilchards, herring or mackerel can be used, but the fish must be oily and they must have their heads on and their eyes in. That's the gazey part. It wouldn't be stargazey pie, if the fish didn't gaze. The fish are put into the pie with their tails toward the center and their heads poking up over the edge. The top crust (puff pastry, flaky pie pastry or mashed potatoes) is put on and tucked around the...the place where the necks would be, if fish had necks, leaving the heads poking up, gazing at the stars. How festive. Quite amusing. Some of the recipes I saw sound pretty good, as a matter of fact, but I'm not certain I could eat something with eyeballs in it, even if I left the eyeballs on my plate to show I wasn't a glutton.
Those are fish heads, folks.
The site this recipe is on is wonderful. It's called The Great British Kitchen, and it has all kindsa nasty--I mean interesting recipes. No, truly, lots of wonderful recipes, including vegetarian ones like Celery, Pear, Stilton and Walnut Souffle. Highly recommended.