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The Dish: Cod milt and salmon roe
Where to Get It: Sushiko; 5455 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; (301) 961-1644; sushikorestaurants.com
What It Is: Fertilization in a bowl: sperm from cod (shirako), eggs from salmon (ikura), and a tongue of sea urchin (uni) just for fun.
What it Tastes Like: This fishplosion of briny sea creatures is as much about texture as flavor. The ikura bubbles burst like the tapioca pearls found on a frozen yogurt toppings bar, but instead of fruit flavor you’re getting pure unfertilized fish. The sperm, which is also called milt, is a cool contrast with its smooth, clay-like texture and mild flavor. The uni brings its distinctive buttery, umami flavor blast.
The Story: When sperm of the sea is consumed in Japan, it’s usually from tora-fugu (a poisonous member of the blowfish family). The imported specialty is extremely pricey and difficult to obtain in the U.S. That’s why Sushiko owner and creative director Daisuke Utagawa opts for cod milt, which is still considered a delicacy. “It’s not an everyday food,” he says. The combination of ikura, milt, and uni is uncommon. Utagawa added the dish to the menu around Valentine’s Day to be tongue-in-cheek about romance. Sushiko will carry it through winter as long as they can get the milt. Call ahead before venturing in to try it.
How to Eat It: Swap your chopsticks for a spoon and make well-composed bites containing all three ingredients. Eating each element separately means no magic will be made in your mouth.
Photo courtesy Sushiko