Neptune’s Table

Neptune's Table Jpeg

It was 1971. I was 60 feet underwater in the La Jolla Canyon, off San Diego. I had a SCUBA school then.The squid were spawning, and it was hard to believe that so many small shimmering bodies could appear in one place at one time. The market squid off the California coast are the species, Loligo opalescens, and here were millions of
them, mating, laying eggs, radiating in ever changing colors, darting here and there, and being eaten by every predatory beast in the ocean.

Crabs feasted, tearing apart the dying bodies of the squid which had spawned (the species off California dies after spawning). Phalanxes of bull nosed rays flew through the breeding melee in squadron-like formations gorging as they went Random blue sharks swam by with squid bodies and pieces dribbling from their overstuffed jaws. It was a giant seafood festival as every other fish in the vicinity joined the feast. This spawning mass was a sight never to be forgotten, and for mc it was the mental beginning of this book.

Cousteau had spoken of this spawning behavior in one of his films, referring to the squid as “Sea Arrows”. He made it a point to compliment the chef aboard his ship, the Calypso, for his genius in preparing this abundant food in so many different ways, yet I had never eaten squid. Now I was intrigued. Here was an ocean full of food, but I did not know how to prepare, cook or serve it The search for the answers provided a lot of culinary excitement in my family. My children refer to this period as “The Squid Years’.”

And so this book was actually born. I amassed squid recipes from sources from Maine to California and cataloged them for my publication. But there was one flaw. I didn’t think that a squid cookbook would fly, so I added another exotic – octopus. Still not broad enough! Then I made the fateful decision to write a whole cookbook on shell-fish. Ouch! That led to 18 months of non-stop cooking, eating, trying, adjusting and finally accepting the some 215 recipes in this book out of about 400+ cooked. Further, I practice a Japanese art named GYOTAKU, or Fish Printing, and decided to liven thing up by producing a separate, original, GYOTAKU for every chapter Lastly, I added a bit of information about my personal involvement in the collection of the raw materials in my world-wide travels. And that is the book you see on this page. I contains 166 pages of tested and approve shell fish recipes, original art work and interesting shell-fish collecting memories.. Buy a copy and enjoy.