Online:A Culinary Adventure, Volume 1
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At last, I've reached the verdant swamps of Black Marsh! I've always yearned for an opportunity to sample authentic Argonian cuisine. Now, at long last, the moment has arrived! I've decided to begin with a regional delicacy—slugs.
Like all good Argonian fare, slugs are frequently served raw and often with a sprig of salt-meadow leaf. I was only able to sample three types during this visit. My chef's accent was very thick, but I believe the limited fare had something to do with the season. I've learned that swamp seasons change as quickly as the wind. So there may well be a whole new array to choose from in a few days. I can only hope that they are as flavorful as what I sampled today!
This indigo beauty is quite common in the bogs surrounding Tsofeer Cavern. It's roughly the size of a Nord's thumb and features a shaggy clump of tentacles beneath its long eye stalks. The slug features a subtle aroma, but it also has refreshingly citrusy undertones. The extra tentacles give the Bearded Blue a unique texture that can be a little distracting (particularly when consumed alive), but it tastes simply divine. The flavor is earth-driven with subdued loamy notes hidden below a firm citrusy bite. I was most struck by the crisp finish. Quite a treat!
The Black-Banded Slider is something of a local staple. It is often smoked and eaten on a bed of weevil larvae and orange-grass, but I insisted on tasting it raw. The slug excretes an acrid black oil when disturbed, but it was easily wiped away to reveal a long body with a series of broad black stripes across a pale, creamy mantle. Even washed, the Black-Banded Slider presents a chewy, tannic flavor that must be endured to reach the clean and nuanced aftertaste that the Argonians seem to relish. It's a mellow, almost floral flourish to an otherwise imposing meal.
I was delighted to hear that the King Yellow was in season. This is a truly massive creature; roughly as long as my forearm and covered in a vast forest of fleshy, undulating bristles! It's always difficult to tell with Argonians, but I think that my chef was very surprised to hear my request for one served raw. He placed the beast in front of me, wrapped in a wasso nut leaf with an indigo lily garnish. I was immediately struck by the rich bouquet of mossy, herbaceous scents. You can practically smell all of Black Marsh in the creature's mucous excretions. Each bite brought on a new wave of astonishing flavor. The brooding, nutty tang of the tail meat eventually gave way to the thick, oily bitters of the mantle. At last, I reached the head. I'm hard pressed to think of a more alarming eruption of flavor! A cloying, buttery taste that swings wildly toward a dry, mustardy finish. Spectacular!
I left the table with a heavy heart, knowing that I will likely not be able to taste the King Yellow again for another season. But I'm buoyed by the knowledge that tomorrow will bring a grand, new culinary adventure. This time, beetle larvae! I can hardly wait!