By Julia Crumpleman
As the Atlantis-Peace Force Meetings get underway tomorrow, at least one New Romforder is embracing their culture via their food. Elizabeth Schumacher, head chef of Amethyst in LoDo, has debuted a new Atlantean menu today.
“Atlantean cuisine is so foreign to us land-lubbers,” Schumacher said. “We think we know seafood, but we know so very little. They eat creatures that we’ve never even seen. It just fascinates me.”
Crafting an Atlantean menu was a particularly difficult task due to lack of authentic ingredients. “I can go online and find so many recipes, but half of the ingredients come from the bottom of the ocean,” she said. “Their skin is so thick that they can survive the pressure, and there’s no way I can afford a submarine. So I do the best I can.”
One dish, called Ac’jurlnnam Ka’put’ka, involves sautéing the liver of a Trench Crawler, an animal that crawls deep trenches in the ocean. Famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau is the only human who has ever seen one. According to Cousteau, the creature was at least seven meters (about 23 feet) long, virtually blind, and moved at a snail’s pace. “It was as magnificent as a turtle,” Cousteau said. “Its movements were exact and carefully planned. The pads on its feet felt the ocean bed’s surface like a blind man with a cane. It had a grace to it, not forcing its way through the world but, instead, moving where the universe led it. We could learn so much from this gentle creature.” Schumacher is substituting the liver with tuna, peppercorns, and fennel.
Another dish, P’kan An’kan, mostly uses kelp and sea salt but requires coral reef, which is also difficult to obtain. “I don’t really swim,” Schumacher said, “and it’s not like people go out to fish for coral reef. So I’m using hard pretzels, paprika, and red wine vinegar instead. I hear it’s practically the same.”
For the most part, Atlantean dishes can substitute most ingredients for any sort of seafood from Hobbs Market. Squid, octopus, sea anemone, and even sponge are common ingredients. “But it’s all in the preparation. They can’t have fire or electricity down there, so most of their food is eaten cold. They cure a lot of their food, and if they do use heat, it’s from an underwater volcano pit or whatever they call it, and that’s takes hours to cook.”
As for whether or not an Atlanteans will visit her restaurant, Schumacher is skeptical but hopeful. “I would love for a few of them to stop by,” she said. “It would be a great honor. I’d love to just pick their brains about food and their culture.
“I’d even serve them raw puffer fish. I hear they eat those like fruit.”