When you don't want a bagel with your smoked fish.
Brooklyn is pageantry. My pharmacist yells out my prescriptions, discretion be damned. My landlord smokes cigars all day in an art gallery he never opens to the public. Cashiers hit on my boyfriend in my presence.
Manhattan has characters like this, too, but Manhattan is a bit too scrubbed clean, more 24-hour Duane Reade than "closes at 6 or when we feel like it" United Pharmacy.
Take Acme Smoked Fish, the Greenpoint-based distributor for Zabar's, Russ & Daughters, Barney Greengrass, and others. They are the country's largest smoked fish house and are typically only open to wholesalers, except on Friday mornings, when they open their doors to the public.
My bounty of smoked tuna, dill gravlax, smoked bluefish and smoked sable after immediate, impassioned noshing.
At first, I was delighted by their classic Northern Brooklyn staff, who were Hasidic, Polish, and Hispanic. But soon I got sucked into the charismatic vortex of two guys, self described as Wall Street-Jewish-Jersey types. But to me, they were very Brooklyn.
They loved the pastrami salmon, which they named "moishes" because they felt like it. When they ate a new extra-salty fish, they teased the guy helping them: "Did you make this? You wouldn't make this, would you? I'm not gonna invite you to my fish party if you did..." They made me eat the moishes and argued with each other: "Should we just get the moishes? Because we're just gonna put it out with everything else, and everyone will just eat the moishes!"
So this Brooklyn Chirashi recipe is for them. It doesn't contain any moishes, but it carries the spirit of the cold fish cavern, the two fish-loving characters at the counter, and Brooklyn.
Chirashi is basically a more relaxed, creatively-open, version of sushi. It's fish, veggies, egg, meat, pickes -- whatever -- on top of rice. Mine is on salad...because I felt like it!
Cut 6 leaves of red leaf lettuce and place in bowl. Blister corn and fava beans in a skillet over high heat and add to bowl. Add grape tomatoes. Add sliced smoked fish. You may want to dress it with oil and vinegar, but I think the fish is seasoning enough.