Yesterday’s breakfast, in particular, was absolutely savory. Fr. Jeff‘s recent trip to Bacolod for the thanks giving Mass of the newest member of the Clergy of Paranaque (Congrats, Fr. Topher!) yielded numerous treats specific to that part of the Visayas. Among the varied edible delights that came our way was a pack of a delicacy much missed on our dining table: danggit.
Danggit (rabbitfish, spinefoot, or sleek unicornfish) are small saltwater fish from the Southern provinces that are butterflied, salted, dried, and usually served fried to a crisp. You eat these crunchy little fishies whole – bones, heads, eyes, and all – dipped in sukang kinurat, rice or cane vinegar where chili peppers, garlic cloves, and peppercorns have been soaked for a long time.
At our house, the rare appearance of danggit does not call for the scrambled eggs or onion frittata that usually accompany such fried dried fish as dilis (anchovies) or espada (needlefish). Instead, these salty fish go best with the highly spiced, incredibly savory little sausages known as longganizang Lucban.
As the name suggests, these sausages originally came from the town of Lucban in Quezon province, the same place that hosts the glorious Pahiyas Festival year after year. Longganizang Lucban are classic examples of longganiza de recado or savory sausages, certainly worlds apart from the hamonado – ham-cured or sweet – sausages of either Pampanga or Bulacan in Central Luzon. In these links, fatty pork is highly spiced with pepper and crushed garlic while a shot of vinegar is thrown into the mix for some extra bite. Paprika is optional, but when it’s used, the oil exuded by the sausages during frying turns a vivid red.
Vinegar – preferably spiced vinegar – and garlic fried rice are the usual accoutrements for such a meal. We, however, prefer to savory the dusky saltiness of danggit and the savory flavors of the longganiza against the blandness of plain boiled rice. Our vinegar is sweet rather than spicy: all the better to temper the garlicky fire and the salt. Lola Conching’s Vinegar with Wild Honey (available at such shops as Gourdo’s and some major supermarkets) does the trick quite beautifully.
Believe me: it’s the sort of breakfast that makes for weekend bliss. 😀