Courtesy of - wait, could it be? what a surprise! - Laurel, who appears to spend all day reading the internet trying to find things to make my blogging experience easier, I am pleased as punch to present something that actually really truly made me feel a little welling of throwup when I looked at pictures of it.
So there is apparently this creature called a hagfish. I consider myself to be a fairly worldly sort of person and while the possession of a somewhat thorough zoological knowledge isn't something on which I necessarily pride myself, up until just now it was something I never quite realized I lacked. Have you ever heard of a hagfish? Don't lie. Clearly you haven't.
Here is what a hagfish looks like:
I find this very disturbing on many levels, one of which the level of this looks sort of repulsively genital. Oh, also, the hagfish likes to open its mouth and get all Dune on our asses:
I should clarify for the sake of journalistic honesty that the matte white bits surrounding the black slimy bit are actually the gloves of a researcher, and only the black slimy bit is actually the hagfish. If you would like to know what a whole hagfish looks like, mentally picture an earthworm that has slime-secretion glands running along the length of its body, magnify it by like twenty, and put on the creepy head evidenced in the above images. Yum, hagfish. Actually there are some decidedly awesome Fun Facts about hagfish, such as: they get their own slime up their noses, and then they sneeze it out. No joke.
So you will have noticed by now that the hagfish secret tons of slime, because I mentioned it in the previous paragraph. As I learned from my vast hagfish research (this one site, pretty much), the slime is a sugar and protein solution that coagulates when it's secreted into water, forming a slime that is similar in texture and chemical composition to egg whites.
So these dudes made scones out of them. This is a picture of a scone:
I'm going to posit that a scone is significantly more appetizing than a hagfish. The, um, fearless students who made a hagfish-slime scone didn't include the recipe in their lab report, so here is my personal recipe for excitingly flaky and not at all dense cheddar-gruyere scones, which receive rave reviews whenever I bake them. Except that I've changed what would have been "eggs" to "hagfish slime." I trust you to adjust accordingly.
Hagfish-Slime Cheddar-Gruyere SconesFrom a real culinary perspective, I sort of doubt that the pure egg-slime substitution works terribly effectively, since about 1/3 of an egg's mass is the yolk, which contributes texturally since it's both pure fat and it holds air marvelously (it's a born emulsifier). So maybe this would work better with 4 ounces of hagfish slime and two egg yolks. Or you could probably replace the yolks with butter... or cook up some hagfish and render the fat, if you want the truly authentic version.
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (two sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese (about 9 ounces), or a mix of 6 ounces cheddar and 3 ounces gruyere.
1-1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons hagfish slime
Preheat oven to 375F
In a food processor, blend flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using quick pulses until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cheese and cut in using quick pulses. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and hagfish slime. With the food processor running, add cream mixture through feed tube. Process until dough just holds together Â– donÂ’t overmix!
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gather the dough together and divide into quarters. Pat each quarter into a round just short of 1 inch high (it should be about 6-7 inches in diameter). Using a clean, sharp knife, cut each round into six wedges. Transfer half the wedges to ungreased baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
Bake the first batch of scones until the edges just start to brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer them, still on their parchment paper, to a wire rack to cool at least 10 minutes, during which time put in the second batch of scones.
Serve warm or at room temperature. The scones will stand for about 8 hours. Do not refrigerate. If you want to reheat them, warm them in a 350F oven for about 5 minutes.