Drunk eats have a narrower range and variety than prison food. It’s always salty, often crunchy, often cheesy, always greasy, always brown or tan, and usually available by phone. That doesn’t mean, however that drunk moments don’t produce kitchen inspiration. Some great dishes (or at least they seemed that way at the time) have come while under the influence, wobbling over a hot stove, stirring a blazing pot of peanut butter, noodles, onions, and frozen peas. (Why does frozen food always end up in the equation?)
Tastes evolve, however, and sometimes dishes are conjured in the mind rather than on the plate or in the pot, and you make do with a sleeve of crackers or a plain bowl of cereal. Such was the case last week when, returning home from a gin and tonic or six I lay on the couch staring at the ceiling thinking about sushi and sandwiches (sandwiches and alcohol being a classic marriage).
The best bites of sushi I’ve ever had the privilege of consuming have been passed to me over the bar at Sushi Yasuda. The lone exception being the uni roll at recently closed Sushi Nozawa in L.A. It put me over the top, head nodding in a hallucinogenic sushi overdose, not recommended for a tourist in L.A., the most confusingly planned town on earth.
Back to the East Coast and last week. Uni on a sandwich, rather a crostini. But, being drunk, bacon came to mind, or, rather, its cold cut cousin, prosciutto. Why not? The next day I hopped on the bike to Chelsea Market-a place I loathe but whose fish market sells uni by the piece-and made said crostini to very good results.
I can’t boast of past drunk food, but perhaps with inebriation comes true gastronomic inspiration, if you can hold out till the next day. Or until someone comes up with a sushi snack in a bag, available via delivery guy.
(NOTE: Ficelle is a thin baguette, about 2-inches wide. It works for a delicate hors d’oeuvre, but you could use a standard baguette cut carefully.)
Uni and Prosciutto Crostini w/ Chili
Makes 8 pieces
4 large pieces uni
¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto
1 thinly sliced small Thai red or green chili or other hot chili
½ fennel bulb sliced thinly plus a few fronds
few tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Slice ficelle at a severe angle very thinly, sprinkle with a little olive oil and toast lightly. Cool. Toss fennel with lemon juice and olive oil. Reserve.
- Arrange the uni and prosciutto over the bread, alternating the two. Top with fennel fronds and chilies and serve alongside fennel salad.