Number 5: Bourgeois “Pike”

Welcome back, readers. Today, we’re diving deep into the sea to dine on this entry. That’s right, it’s fish time. We’ll see food…and eat it.

The Dish: Bourgeois Pike

A gourmet fish dish with Airmid pike, vegetables, and a sprinkle of expensive spices. Popular among nobles. Ingredients are Airmid Pike and Carrot.

The Research: Unlike two weeks ago, where I had to find the world’s most difficult-to-find cheese, this one thankfully features no obscure or clearly fictional ingredients. I had difficulty locating pike in my neck of the woods, but the internet tells me that walleye is an acceptable substitute. Wal-Mart, of all places, turned out to be the most reliable source of walleye. So yes, two weeks after I lost my mind researching, even resorting to a cheese encyclopedia, this week my salvation came at the hands of the single most ubiquitous grocery store in the country. Oddly symmetrical, right?

With the meat – if you’ll excuse my pun – of our research done, the next question is what spices they’re talking about. Well, surprise, a lifetime of gathering useless information has led me to retain the heretofore unused kernel of knowledge that saffron is the most expensive spice by weight. Yes, that’s the very same spice that Donovan himself was mad about.

This little thing was like $20. A regular-sized jar of this would cost roughly $23 billion (disclaimer: I am not an economist).

The description also mentions vegetables, so since saffron is used in Moroccan cooking, let’s do this fish right by serving it on a bed of vegetable couscous. I figure that’ll also serve to make it more exotic to the clearly-nonspecifically-European Fódlan region.

The Method: Our first goal is to divide our saffron in half. And since I’ve been educating you, here’s another lesson: one does not simply use saffron. Unlike literally every other spice, which can just be applied right of the bottle, you have to steep saffron in hot – but not boiling – water. The safest way to achieve this that I’ve gathered is to heat some water in a microwave-safe container and drop in a few strands. That’ll give you something called “saffron tea” that looks like the below.

You can optionally crush the saffron into a fine powder before doing this, but you’d need a mortar and pestle, like some sort of turn-of-the-century apothecary.

You let that stuff steep for about 10-20 minutes and then dump the whole thing in whatever it is you’re cooking. But I’m getting ahead of myself, because first we’re doing a ton of chopping in service of making this vegetable couscous. Even if my favorite thing in the world was chopping vegetables, I’d still get tired of it by the end of this.

Looks pretty, though.

With our mise thoroughly en place, and with saffron summarily steeped, our next goal is to sauté our fish (I trust that you know what you’re doing, so I assume you’ve already seasoned your fish with salt and pepper). In a bed of garlic olive oil, we’ll place first our fish and second our saffron tea to get a nice steam going. Next, we place another pan on top of our fish skillet to trap the steam. After a while (about 8-10 minutes), we take off the other pan, flip over the fish, and cook until it has a nice crust.

It kinda fell apart, but it *tastes* good.

With the fish done, we make our vegetable couscous. I followed the linked recipe pretty closely, but I did add the other half of our saffron, along with some turmeric and coriander, to the chicken broth. This was my attempt at imitating my very favorite vegetable couscous, the one found at Medina in Dallas. If you’re ever in town, give it a try (when reasonably prudent to eat at a restaurant, of course). Anyway, it also came out great.

The Result: It was excellent. The fish was perfectly cooked, the couscous was amazing (even if Medina’s is better by a country mile). I have no idea what the developers were imagining with this dish, but I think I successfully pulled off a “bourgeois” version. Walleye is also some of the better fish I’ve eaten, and it’s worth seeking out if you can find it. Cooking with saffron is a huge hassle, but you can’t argue with results.

Disclaimer: This is a fan-based blog and has no affiliation with Nintendo or any other rightsholders of Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Three Houses, or any other associated brands. The continent of Atlantis was an island…

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