Letter to the Editor: Deborah Maslia
Letter to the EditorOpinion

Letter to the Editor: Deborah Maslia

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My 87-year old Dad, Danny, is a renaissance man! In addition to his love and mastery of opera, creation of a history of Jewish Atlanta in the 30s and 40s, completion of “My Life,” his memoir of growing up in Atlanta, he is a master and instructor of all foods Sephardic! He teaches classes (standing room only) at OVS [Or VeShalom], cooks for family and friends, and has a thriving [profitable] business making a Sephardic delicacy called abedahu. Through this business, he has connected with Sephardics all over the world and shipped his delicacy across the oceans! An international blog of Ladino cooking and culture featured Dad recently: “A taste of abedahu (aboudaju, bottarga), Greek olives, reshas, a glass of raki … and Port Said playing in the background. A meze to delight … ‘Happy Hour’ Rhodesli style.

“We’ve written about finding the perfect abedahu, a salted, cured fish roe, a delicacy in our Rhodesli homes – made in Atlanta, GA by the legendary gastronomical culinary craftsman, Dan Maslia. (For information on ordering his abedahu, contact Dan at dmaslia@bellsouth.net). Dan’s parents brought the recipe with them from Izmir, but it wasn’t until much later that Dan took up the art himself, making it side-by-side with Rabbi Robert Ischay (z’l), the beloved spiritual leader of Atlanta’s Or VeShalom Synagogue.

“As a boy, Dan remembers cleaning fish at a fresh foods market and carefully removing the sack of eggs (the roe) along with the bones, the entrails that were discarded before the fish was cleaned and ready to sell. Dan carefully salvaged the roe and brought it home for his mother, aunts and neighbors to clean, salt and cure on their back porches to make our precious abedahu.” “From a time when nothing was left to waste, the roe was turned into a delicate, salted and cured ‘poor man’s caviar’ – savored by our folks. It is served as a delicacy in Italy, referred to as the ‘truffle of the sea,’ delicately grated over pasta or other dishes, adding a unique, savory taste to whatever it graces. In Japan, it is called Karasumi, a highly prized and priced delicacy eaten while drinking saki. A treasured delight. Its demand has driven up the price and limited the availability of the roe.

“Dan still manages to procure some of the finest mullet roe from the southern coast and prepare it as it has been for generations. The amber, golden bars or (‘dethos’ (fingers) as we call them) are a sight and taste to behold, ‘intense and elegant,’ as described by Luciana Squadrilli, ‘with a pleasant, bitter aftertaste.’ (definitely an acquired taste.) We love it with a slice of a baguette, or better, with a resha … a light-as-a-feather, pretzel-shaped, sesame covered biscuit from a yeast dough.”

Deborah Maslia, Atlanta

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