MY husband Raff and I love fish—all kinds of fish; well, almost all, and one of my all-time favorites happens to be dulong. A tiny tropical fish that is smaller than dilis (anchovies), dulong is also known as silverfish probably because it is shiny silver in color when it is really fresh. It is caught in schools, so the best thing to do with it is to make Dulong Patties. I got introduced to this fish in Raff’s home province Marinduque, where it is a staple. They mix it up with garlic, flour and seasonings, make patties out of the mixture, and then fry in hot oil. Delightful when eaten with ketchup. It was so good that I was fine with having Dulong Patties every time there is fresh dulong available in the market.
But then, dulong is not just all about Dulong Patties. You can also make other delicious dishes with this tiny but oh-so-flavorful fish. With constant experiments in the kitchen, I learned to make Dulong with Garlic in Olive Oil. This is a versatile recipe because with this basic recipe, you can make Dulong Pasta and a gourmet but easy-to-prepare topping for toasted bread. You can use Melba toast, pandesal, ciabatta, focaccia or English muffin for the bread base. As for me, I recently topped it on pandesal and on pesto roll.
1/2 kg. fresh dulong
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 slices ginger, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
dried herbs of choice (preferably basil)
bread, sliced and lightly toasted
1. Heat oil in pan. Sauté garlic and ginger. Cook until aromatic.
2. Add dulong and cook until fish turns opaque white. Do not stir too much, as the fish might break and turn mushy.
3. Season with salt, pepper and herbs to taste.
4. Simmer until cooked.
5. Top on lightly toasted bread and enjoy!