Editor: King of the End
“I understand that making a fish dish that is suitable for the full course impromptu is an absurd task…… But, if it’s you, I’m sure you will accept the challenge. I wonder if 30 minutes is enough for your time limit?”
A fish dish matching the full course meal that I experienced for the first time. Moreover, only 30 minutes is allocated to think of the recipe and cooking itself. That’s not nearly enough time to think of a recipe; even the cooking process itself will barely make it within that time limit. To make it worse, my creativity will be restricted by the need to make something with compatibility to the whole full course…… Absurd is underestimating it, honestly.
“I shall try, Your Grace. Please wait for a short while. However, I need help from Tina…… from my companion. She’s my assistant.”
Tina isn’t in this room. She’s having her meal in a different room for the servants, along with Volg and Chloe.
“That servant, I see. I understand. I will pass the summons so that she goes to the kitchen.”
“I’m relying on your help.”
I meet up with Tina from the other room on the way, and we head to the kitchen together. The current request is a fish dish. Moreover, I must think of the balance with the full course. In order to be a bridge to the heavier menu of the oxtail stew, I cannot use the cut with high fat percentage. It should be a dish using the refreshing and lean cut of the tuna as the main ingredient.
“I wish you will let me use the remaining part of the tuna that is used in today’s full course dishes. I prefer to use the lean cut. If possible please use the belly part.”
When I enter the kitchen, in order to make a new fish dish, I call to the cooks but they are only responding slowly. They all are only watching, surrounding me from a distance, not even coming closer. More or less, if I leave it as it is, there will still be bones and skin from the cut. However, since there’s no decent cut available, I have to put out my request. Nobody is responding, so I repeat it again.
“I’m making a fish dish under Duchess Renalier’s instruction. Please let me use the ingredients. I’m sure you have been instructed by her to fulfill my requests.”
Even after I say that, the only response I get is hostile glares. It appears that I’m collectively hated. When I think of what to do, a single cook put on a cut of tuna to a tray.
“Forgive us, we’re taking a while in preparing it. Please, future ‘Baronet‘ of Arnold.”
He puts the emphasis on the baronet. When the rest of them hear it, they sneer at me. A baronet is extremely low ranked as a noble. To put it simply, they’re making fun of me.
“Thank you. If I have this, I can make a delicious dish.”
If I say that, it won’t be weird if they fly into rage right here, right now. Let’s do this the peaceful way. I glance at the tuna cut before throwing it to the garbage can.
The surrounding cooks in the kitchen are wide eyed, making surprised noises along with Tina here.
“Tina, this cut of tuna is no good, unfortunately. I cannot make a decent dish with this. It’s been done an injustice. Even the dead tuna will turn over in its grave.”
I smile at Tina.
Geez, I’ve done it now.
The cut of tuna that they gave to me has its skin peeled off on purpose, and it has long since dried. They’re even courteous enough to rub salt on the surface, which has vaporized the water content and removed the extract. If I use it, I can only make a dry and tasteless dish.
“But, Kurt-sama, if you throw it away, can you cook a decent dish at all?”
“I can. Don’t we have all the ingredients we need here?”
On the tabletop, there’s the leftover of a full fish that was previously cut. The so called bone and skin parts.
“These kind of ingredients, isn’t it usually the parts that get trashed?”
“Tina, this is the best tuna. Whichever cut it is, it can become the best dish. It’s only that there’s no chef here that can use it properly.”
That’s not a bluff. From the size of the bones, I can calculate the weight of the tuna, which was on the small side at 20 kg. The feeding ground should be rich and allow it to swim freely, making it an extraordinary quality ingredient.
With this tuna, whichever part that I use can be turned into the best dish. Yes, hidden parts with delicious flavor that surpasses even the highest grade lean cut are concealed within this so-called trashed bone and skin.
“……being able to make the best dish from this kind of thing, as expected of Kurt-sama.”
Tina smiles at me with contented look. Now, let’s start cooking.
Before that, there’s one thing that I have to make clear.
“All you Duchess Renalier’s chefs.”
The group of people who thinks that they have snared me into a trap twitches and trembles.
“As someone who also cooks, I know that you cannot stand my presence, and that I have hurt your pride through this event. ……I have no intention to tell Duchess Renalier that you have given me a bad cut of tuna on purpose.”
Being in the same place with me for the time being surely doesn’t feel good for them.
“But, you know what? If you’re a chef, don’t do petty tricks like that. Fight me instead, as a chef. And, no matter what the reason, don’t treat the ingredients like toys. You’re disqualified as chefs. Not your capabilities. It’s your heart that’s already over.”
Listening to my words, they keep silent while their hands are balled into fists down there. That’s not from anger of receiving this disgrace; there must be an anger towards themselves as well, for slipping off of the right path as chefs.
“Duchess Renalier, the dish is completed.”
Tina and I returned to the dining hall with 10 minutes remaining in the allocated time.
“That was fast. I’m looking forward to your dish.”
Duchess Renalier smiles. When I snap my fingers, the servants are coming in with plates of my dish.
“This, how beautiful!”
On the center of a pure white plate, there’s a round mass of tuna meat paste. The rim of the plate is garnished with emerald sauce. There are other things that I arranged together, forming small mountains on the plate.
“This dish is called Tuna Steak Tartare. Raw tuna is pounded and chopped with a kitchen knife, mixed with seasonings, and kneaded into this round shape.”
“I’ve never heard of this dish before. I shall eat it now.”
So Duchess Renalier says as she starts to cut the tuna steak tartare.
“Such a very rich flavor of tuna, I thought it would smell fishy as well, but it’s not in the least. On the opposite, it smells appetizing. Is it because of the mixed seasonings?”
Duchess Renalier continuously brings cut after cut of the tuna into her mouth.
“Please, enjoy the sauce that I’ve arranged as well.”
When I say that, she starts pouring the sauce that I arranged on the rim of the plate before eating it.
“I see now, it becomes all the more refreshing. It’s a wonderful sauce. The fresh flavor in my mouth, and it makes my stomach happy on its own.”
“It’s a sauce made from herbs that helps improve the digestive system.”
I take into consideration the effect of removing any excess oil remaining on the palate while preparing for the next dish. On the side, I look at Margrave Fernande and Faruno, as well as the head chef, Venaritta. Everyone seems to enjoy my dish properly.
“I am really satisfied. Now, it’s time to judge the dish. ……Head chef Venaritta, let us hear your judgment. For today’s full course meal’s fish dish, which one is better between your dish and this tuna steak tartare?”
Following Duchess Renalier’s instruction, head chef Venaritta groans. He’s a man in his prime age, but his body is trembling and he speaks as if he’s squeezing out the words.
“……It’s better than the dish that I instructed to make. If we have this man in charge, the banquet attended by the four Grand Dukes will undoubtedly become a huge success.”
After hearing those words, Faruno’s face blooms into a smile.
“Thank you very much.”
I lower my head. Making that kind of judgement requires discipline and courage. Most likely, the rest of the chefs despise me for the sake of this man.
“You have passed. Kurt Arnold, the heir of the Baronet of Arnold. Won’t you tell us more about this dish at once?”
“Understood. This dish is made from the lean cut of tuna, beaten and pounded. It also contains several finely chopped herbs, onions, and gelatin made from tuna bone broth that has been chilled and solidified. Then I added a little bit of olive oil into the mixture and made it into this round shape.”
The cooking method is extremely simple. Onions and herbs are used to remove the fishy smell and deepen the flavor, the gelatin made out of solidified tuna stock reinforces the umami. To make the juice in a short time and turn it into solid gelatin, I received Tina’s help.
“Such a wonderful cooking art. It seems that indeed, with that method, the flavor of the lean tuna can become drawn out to the fullest. However, I’m still intrigued with the lean tuna to begin with; it’s too delicious. In this town, we eat tuna regularly. I’ve tasted the best tuna as well, but even for me, I’ve never tasted tuna as delicious as this. Say, head chef, is today tuna anything special?”
Answering Duchess Renalier’s question, head chef Venaritta shakes his head.
“It’s the same top grade tuna as always.”
The ducal house of Renalier always procures the highest grade of ingredients, so it’s the same old answer.
“In that case, could you explain to me the reason for this?”
“The lean part that I used this time is the meat that sticks to the bones.”
“Yes. The most delicious part of any kind of meat are the ones around the bones. This time, I used mainly the meat from the lower back of the tuna, collected by being scraped with spoon.”
It’s just like spare ribs or fried chicken, they use the meat part around the bones. It’s because that part is delicious. Even tuna isn’t any exception, the most delicious part is the one surrounding the bones. Especially, the extraordinary sinewy part of the lower back of the tuna.
The most delicious lean part of the tuna in that place are the leftover remains that’s usually thrown away, almost like being bonded by fate.
……Coincidentally, that part is called “negitoro” in Japanese. Rather, the negitoro that is circulated in the market is made out of adding oil to the scraped lean meat of tuna. Only a fake ingredient that looks nothing like the real deal. The real negitoro even surpasses the highest grade of lean meat.
“……pft, hahaha, I see, the meat scraped from the bones. That is definitely something I’ve never tasted before.”
“Did I perhaps make you feel unpleasant?”
“On the contrary, I’m pleasantly surprised! Yes, this is the reason why I summoned you. New ways of thinking that we couldn’t think of before! If you keep this up, I’m looking forward to your real performance.”
“Yes, please look forward to it.”
I smile along with Duchess Renalier. Then, I snap my fingers. Another servant comes in with a dish.
“Since there was still time remaining, I’ve prepared a dessert. Or rather, because of the trial, we’ve been eating a lot more than usual, so I prepared something simple.”
Served on a transparent glass, it’s peach-like pinal sorbet. It’s a simple dish made of adding diced pinal flesh to a mashed raw pinal, then mixed a little bit of sugar and wine while incorporating air and letting it harden.
“Oh, my, it’s cold, sweet, and sour, really delicious. It smoothly rolls on my tongue. It’s the first time I tasted something like this! Oh no, I can’t stop. ……If you can make something like this on the spot, I’ve become even more excited to look forward to your pastries.”
It’s a simple pastry made to draw out the umami of the best quality of pinal that was harvested in the spirit village. That’s why it is so delicious. The sweet and sour, cold sorbet is the highest grade of dessert. Moreover, this world hasn’t been introduced to ice cream yet. It’s a novel dish.
“Yes, I will prepare something more wonderful for the real full course. The course in my mind is a complete full course, but it’s also a course that will be dedicated to the last dish, the dessert. It will be the full course that makes you anticipate the last dessert.”
My best specialty, the supreme chocolate cake. In order to let them eat it in the most delicious way, I will calculate every thing in the full course, from the appetizer to the main dish.
I like it when characters are being politely savage. -v-
Negitoro – negi means spring onion, toro means the fatty cut. I know I used lean cut all the time here, but it just means lean tuna as a whole, while fatty cut is more about the taste? I think? Should I use red tuna? @_@
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