All Those Jellyfish. So Little Time. PB&Jf.
“Take us *slooorp* to your leader,” ordered the Commandant of the Jellyfish Army.
With his troops massed behind him, Commandant Jellyfish stood upright, bell-shaped, muculent and dripping. The Jellies all stood upright, some on shore and others filed into the sea like a string of alien mushrooms. By some freak acceleration in evolution caused by global climate change or “The Warming”, jellyfish now possessed sensory organs, brains and leg-like tentacles with deadly stingers.
Oh, and they could speak perfect English too.
“Barack Obama?” I replied.
“No,” the massive, menacing yet squishy jellyfish snorted.
“Vice President Hillary Rodham Clinton?”
“No, the guy who *slllooorp* fucked up the environment and *sloorp* made it possible for us to take over the seas,”
“Oh, him. He hasn’t been our leader for years.”
“We just wanted to thank him for The Warming *sloorp*. He didn’t invent it but he sure didn’t do anything to stop it. Now, I must ask you to surrender. *Sssloorp* The mass stingings will commence in fifteen minutes.”
At that moment I wiggled around like a merman out of water — this was my signal to attack.
From seemingly nowhere my band of resistance fighters popped out of the sand, propelled down from the cliffs and charged the Jellies. All of my fighters were of Asian descent and wielded Global 8-inch chef knives and carried pots of freshly boiled water.
Tears welled up in my eyes. It was a magnificent sight. Like a culinary cavalry.
The Jellies shrieked at an octave just outside of human hearing range. “Fuck me! Chinese foodies!!” the Jellyfish Commandant bellowed.
It was too late for the Jellies. With the element of surprise to our advantage, their flotilla was brutally and mercilessly sliced, boiled and whipped into jellyfish appetizers. Our victory was exhausting and, unfortunately, not without cost. We lost a dozen comrades to suicide stingers.
But there were still blooms upon blooms of Jellies out in the wide-open seas numbering in the billions. With no predators or competition to speak of due to overfishing and warming waters, jellyfish have thrived and multiplied. Warmer waters are the ideal climate for them so not everything opposes global warming. The Jellies love it.
Although what they didn’t count on was a whole lot of Chinese with a taste for nicely marinated invertebrates.
The War on the Jellies had just begun.
This was my peek into a dark future. However horrific, I saw it as a gift. So I’m sharing it with you and telling you all — it’s not too late to avoid this future shock scenario. There are many, many things you can do, like:
1) Vote for environmentally friendly leaders.
2) Live your life green.
3) Diversify your diet so you don’t eat as much of the really popular fish like certain tuna, red snapper and Chilean seabass.
4) And learn to love, I mean really love, eating jellyfish because there are plenty of them.
Consider the jellyfish salad or sesame jellyfish. It’s a cold dish. Very simple to prepare. You can get all of the ingredients to make it — including the jellyfish — at any well-supplied Chinese grocery store.
1/2 lb prepared shredded jellyfish
2 tsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp white rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted
Rinse jellyfish well in cold running water and drain. Put it in a stainless steel bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the jellyfish sit in the hot water for about 15 minutes or until it is tender. Drain and continue to soak at least 6 times in several changes of cold water. Drain thoroughly and blot dry with paper towels and set aside. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Toss the jellyfish well in this sauce and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, garnish with the sesame seeds. (Serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal or 2 as a single dish.)
Jellyfish is also served at most authentic Chinese seafood restaurants. I had a nice plate during the dim sum service at Hop Li in Arcadia. I usually call this dish a "salad" not because it’s cold or because it is like salad but because to me jellyfish is just one DNA strand away from being lettuce. In fact, the fish part of jellyfish is a major misnomer. Why? Because jellies are brainless, don’t have basic sensory organs and start out life very much like a plant. On top of that, they’re made up mostly of water so they're squishy and yet are crunchy — scrunchy? Yes, it's a scrunchy texture, and, when shredded, jellyfish is slippery in a wet noodle kind of way. Because of these peculiar textures, the first time I ate jellyfish salad I didn’t even realize I was chowing on an animal. (Really, the next several occasions I supped on jellyfish I didn’t know it was of the Kingdom Animalia.) Jellyfish’s singular characteristics are part of the appeal for gourmands who enjoy this odd dish.
I, for one, really enjoy slurping up and munching on jellyfish salad — sweet, savory and slightly spicy — it hits all the right spots. Combine these tastes with its unique feel and jellyfish salad becomes a sensationally complex snack.
I’m sure I haven’t convinced the majority of you to join the Resistance to help control the jellyfish population by adding them to your shopping list. That’s okay. I understand this may be a little much to ask from those who’d rather stick to the safe stuff like hot dogs. After all, hot dogs don’t involve anything stranger than tails, snouts, ears and other tasty nether parts all ground up and packaged into an appetizing, portable presentation for your dining in denial pleasure.
By Jove, that’s it!
If I cleverly disguise the jellyfish, make it eater-friendly and handy, then maybe I can get some of you to try it.
Introducing PB&Jf. Like, what is it? Peanut Butter and Jellyfish sandwiches, silly! It’s just like a regular PB&J sandwich only better because you substitute Jf for the J. Just spread your favorite PB on to some toast then pile on the Jf and enjoy. Serve with a cold, tall glass of squid ink. No EVOO required. How easy is that? Yum-O!
Go on. Do your part and rid the world of excess jellyfish scum. Try it and let me know!
Next time…Jellyfish Donuts!