Washington Post Express: Eat at Your Own Risk
From the Washington Post Express by Lani Furbank:
“If you thought the paleo diet was rough, consider how difficult foraging for dinner must have been in Neanderthal times. The only way to know if that unidentified nut or berry was safe was to sample it. While we no longer have to gamble with our lives, there are still plenty of modern ingredients that could harm us if not prepared correctly. Here are five dishes, all available locally, to try if you want to live on the wild side. No need to hire a food taster — these chefs know what they’re doing.
Sumah’s West African Restaurant, 1727 Seventh St. NW; 202-462-7309
Cassava, a starchy, edible root, comes from a South American shrub. Its interior is similar to a potato, but the skin can be dangerous because it contains a compound that releases cyanide. Once peeled, the root fiber should be ground into flour or cooked. “You can make a cake out of it, you can fry it, you can boil it, you can bake it,” says Amara Sumah, the owner of Sumah’s West African Restaurant in Shaw. You can also make fufu, dough made from boiled flour that is typically served in a ball on the side of sauces or soups. At Sumah’s, cassava fufu accompanies housemade sauces, including peanut butter, okra and cassava leaf varieties.
Sushi Taro, 1503 17th St. NW; 202-462-8999
Pufferfish (or fugu, as it’s called in Japan, where it’s a traditional delicacy) contains tetrodotoxin, a deadly toxin with no known antidote. While he doesn’t recommend it, chef Nobu Yamazaki, the owner of Sushi Taro, has eaten fugu liver — a particularly dangerous part of the fish — in Japan. “It’s like Russian roulette,” he says. At his restaurant, Yamazaki imports the safe parts of tora-fugu (tiger pufferfish) for his seasonal fugu tasting menu available December through February (10 courses, $138). He warns diners not to expect a rich or fatty flavor from the white fish, but rather a delicate taste that is hard to detect at first.”
Read all about the other risky ingredients on the Washington Post Express website here!