Recipe contributed by Editor in Chief J. Townsend. Photographs by Creative Director J. Deardorff.
You will never have a stranger conversation than when you attempt to explain to the deckhand on a charter fishing boat why you want to keep the tuna heads from the Yellowfin you and your friends just caught. This was several months ago and I still recall the way that he craned his neck in confusion when I asked, “Hey, can you save a couple of those heads for me?”
His reply was not as cordial as you would imagine. A PG version of it would be, “What are you going to do with them! Fish Head Soup?????”
My reply was equally baffling as I told him the story of watching a documentary that showed how traditional sushi chefs roast the collars and sometimes the heads to eat. In one motion, he shrugged his shoulders and slid the largest of the heads off of the cutting board and into a bag for me to cook with later.
Fast forward to several months of this head living in my freezer and my wife also questioning my sanity. I finally decided to pull it out and roast it. The meat was to be picked off of the bone and the skull used for stock. The whole creation, in my mind, would come together flawlessly into a delicious bowl of piping hot ramen. The ramen did come out amazing!. But the whole process was not flawless. My wife still questions my sanity because I left the whole house smelling like roasted fish head for two days. So with this said, you have been warned!
- 1 large Tuna Head or other fish head
- 2 tbsp of Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp of Cajun Seasonings
- 2 tsp of salt
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 tsp of white pepper corns
- 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 packs of fried ramen noodles
- 4 eggs, soft boiled and peeled
- 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
- Sriracha for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Place the fish head in a baking dish
- Coat the head with the olive oil and amply season with the salt and 1 tbsp Cajun seasonings
- Place the head in the oven and roast for 1 hour 25 minutes or until it begins to brown
- Remove from the oven and let cool
- Pick of the edible meat and set it aside (focus on the cheeks and collar)
- Place the 1 gallon of water into a large stock pot
- Put the remaining head, excluding the gills, into the water
- Season the water with the 1 tbsp of Cajun seasonings, pepper corns, ginger, and soy sauce
- Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to cook for 20 minutes
- Strain the stock and discard the head
- Bring the stock back to a boil and add the noodles
- Cook until the noodles are cooked
- Place in a bowl and top with the shredded tuna meat, soft boiled egg, and Sriracha
- Air out the house!