Thursday, October 07, 2010

Bongo-Bongo (Page 104)

RECIPE # 1222

  • Date: Saturday, September 18, 2010 -- 1pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: C

I started this project more than four years ago now. Early in the project I would flip through The Book and think, "Oh my gosh, that one sounds amazing! No, that one sounds amazing!" It was an exciting time. But occasionally I would come across a recipe and think instead, "I can't believe I have to actually make and eat that!" Some recipes sounded so foul that they became long-standing jokes (e.g. the fish jello). Those that sounded even worse became threats. To my friends who would complain about dinner: "Be nice, or next time I will make braised octopus." Or, "Watch out, or there will be some beef tongue coming your way." The standing joke/threat between me and my special gentleman became the Bongo-Bongo. What is Bongo-Bongo you might ask. It is pureed oyster and spinach soup. The ingredients: oysters, frozen creamed spinach, half-and-half, butter, garlic, A1 steak sauce, salt, pepper, cayenne, cornstarch, and heavy cream. Yummy! This recipe was tricky because most self-respecting grocery stores don't sell frozen creamed spinach these days. In Berkeley, where oysters were easy to find, frozen creamed spinach was nowhere to be found. And here in East Lansing, where I did find a store that carried frozen creamed spinach, oysters are not so easy to come by. But I picked up the creamed spinach at a somewhat questionable local supermarket, then got the oysters from Whole Foods in Ann Arbor, and I was ready to go!

My special gentleman graciously shucked the oysters. OK, truth be told he wasn't too excited about it -- especially because that day he shucked enough oysters for two recipes and enough clams for another one. But he sucked it up and shucked them, which I appreciated. I cooked the oysters with their liquor for a few minutes. Then I put them in a blender along with the creamed spinach and pureed. I simmered some half-and-half and added the oyster-spinach mixture, butter, garlic, steak sauce, salt, pepper, and cayenne. I stirred in some cornstarch to thicken, then distributed the soup into bowls. I beat heavy cream to soft peaks, then spread the cream over the soup. I put the bowls under the boiler until the cream was lightly browned.

Truth be told this wasn't quite as foul as I expected it to be. Given how low my expectations were, though, that wasn't saying much. If Starbucks created a new beverage called "Oyster-Spinach Latte" this would be it. It had the consistency of a coffee drink, and mostly tasted like cream, with an oyster kick. The layer of broiled whipped cream on top was very thick and a little odd. I wasn't particularly a fan of the soup and neither was my special gentleman. In the end we both pushed our servings of soup aside in favor of the other part of the meal: fried oyster sandwiches. In a way I am sad to check off this recipe. There goes a perfectly good threat: "Be nice or we're having pureed oyster and spinach soup for dinner!" It's OK though, I've got some decent threats left,"Complain about this meal and tomorrow I will prepare the stomach lining of a cow sprinkled with mint!" Yummy!

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kingshearte said...

It looks pretty innocuous. It might make a good prank.

"Tonight, we will be having French Onion Soup... Surprise! Spinach and oysters!"

Teena said...

Oh my gosh that is brilliant. Brilliant!