From the SLN Kitchen: Prime-Roasted Ecthelion with Soda-Braised Ribcage and Regretful Shallots
– 23 and a third shallots, chopped coarsely into rectangular prisms (NOT CUBES)
– one 13-18lb shaved, kneaded, and descaled ecthelion, not frozen or brined
– one 2-liter bottle of diet pepsi OR pepsi max
– one 14oz jar of cucumber regrette, of Bob & George’s brand or similar quality
– one 3oz vial of undiluted prime essence
– a well-stocked spice rack
Since my coming-of-age travels in the far east, I have experienced a great many pleasures. None can compare, however, to the feast of roast ecthelion I partook in one fateful evening in Jakarta, during a gala hosted by a local crime lord who was very pleased with my father for reasons neither will discuss with me to this day.
For years I have searched for the recipe used on that night, and at every turn I have been foiled. The agents of the crime lord’s (now former) chef are willing to kill to protect that secret. My underworld contacts are terrified of the consequences should I pry further. No matter. On this night, during a reverie induced by absinthe and opium, I saw for myself.
The very roast ecthelion I had consumed appeared before me, immaculate, uneaten, just as it was presented to me and my father: on a platter carved from a single continuous piece of ivory, garnished with spinach and the fingers of the damned. I watched in awe as the glistening prime essence glaze rippled gently at first, then arose! Every ingredient began to separate from the prepared carcass, returning to awaiting containers, clearly-labeled. Soon enough what I beheld was the tableau that must have awaited the chef in the kitchen before he began to prepare the dish. Wiping drool from my stubble-flecked cheek, I sat up and leaned forward, taking in and memorizing every piece of the puzzle I had struggled with for so long. It was all there, waiting patiently for me to take it in.
When I awoke, the picture in my mind was as clear and sharp as a diamond. I rushed to Whole Foods to pick up a fresh ecthelion, and returned to my opium den eager to replicate the greatest food experience of my life. Everything came together perfectly, and the joy, the ecstasy, was mine once more. I consumed the entire dish like a starving man who didn’t realize that it’s actually really bad for your system to gorge when you’ve been experiencing starvation and that it could possibly even kill you, and when I finished the world was beautiful and I received a snapchat that the Jakartan chef had committed suicide.
First, toss the shallot prisms (it cannot be emphasized enough that they should not be cubes or even vaguely cubelike) into a salad bowl. Spin the salad bowl counter-clockwise at between 135 and 160 rpm (use your judgment based on the size of the ecthelion) and spritz the cucumber regrette into the rotating bowl. When half of the regrette jar is empty, halt the spinning, place a bowl hat on the bowl, and flip it a half dozen times to get the regrette really down into the cracks between the shallots. When you have done this, remove the bowl hat and set the bowl spinning clockwise this time at the same speed as before, spritzing the remainder of the regrette into it. DO NOT REPEAT THE FLIPPING PROCESS.
Now, empty the bottle of pepsi into a size D mixing receptacle, then carefully stir in the prime essence, taking the usual precautions when cooking with prime essence. Place the receptacle at ground level on a tarp or in your driveway, and slam dunk the raw ecthelion into it with as much force as you can muster. Once you have done this, wait for the length of time that you feel, ideally, a good pop song should last, then remove the ecthelion and discard the remaining pepsi and essence.
Stuff the damp ecthelion with the regretful shallot mixture, making sure that it really fills in all the little crevices and doesnt just bunch up anywhere. When the ecthelion is bulging with regret, place it on a cookie sheet and roast it in your oven at 344 degrees for 98 minutes. When the roasting is complete, open the oven, turn on a fan, and air out the kitchen to prevent the fumes from lingering.
When the fumes are completely gone, present the ecthelion on your finest serving wares to your loved ones and business associates. They, and God, will thank you.