I learned something new at Madrid Fusion Manila last Saturday. Mrs. MM and I were only at the venue for 3.5 hours, and had just 20-30 minutes to go quickly around the exhibitors area to check out Filipino and Spanish ingredients and products, and in passing, I heard just tidbits of Claude Tayag’s presentation on adobo. I did make an effort to watch the first few minutes of Bruce Ricketts talk which was billeted at being about “LOCAL SEASONAL INGREDIENTS” but he quickly dismissed the topic as our not really having many seasons (more on that in another post) and talked about the way he got inspiration from local cooking techniques and how he applies it to creating his new, innovative and tasty dishes instead. He had a wonderful video detailing part of his creative process. He seems like a brilliant, young, intense man who is all-consumed by food. When he started his cooking demonstration, he explained he was cooking some tanguigue, but said he was fortunate enough to harvest some “fish sperm” from the fish and there was a distant video still (at least for the blind like me) of the ingredient on the demonstration counter. I had to return to our table, so I missed the rest of the talk unfortunately. But I did stop and think, hmmm, fish sperm vs. fish roe…
Back at home, a little research yielded the apparent answer, and the new tidbit of knowledge I gleaned from the minutes brush with Chef Ricketts’ talk. Bagaybay is the local term for fish sperm, or what’s known in English as “milt” — literally the seminal fluid (sperm and all) that is in the “gonad” equivalent of fish, usually taken from larger fish, like tuna, cod and apparently spanish mackerel as well. This is what raw cod milt looks like, here. While unfertilized eggs or fish roe, or bihud, looks like this, here. I have never eaten fish sperm as a separate ingredient, and I now want to try it to compare it with fish roe that has an intensely flavorful, briny taste.
Here’s another photo of the milt, that looks a bit like soft loose brains, also known as shirako in Japanese cuisine, which Mr. Ricketts is extremely adept at. Now, for a reservation to Mecha Uma, his acclaimed restaurant, after it’s had a chance to settle down for the past half year or so… :)