Unicum by a colleague - the restaurant we visited that day was called Serpenyos, on the picturesque and hilly Buda side of the city.
We sat outside in almost 40-degree heat, toasted with an iced glass of Unicum, before settling down to lunch and a discussion of the real business of my trip there.
It's a few years ago now since I went, but we subsequently went there on regular basis and the food was always well-made if unashamedly traditional and old-school.
Catfish can grow up to several hundred kilos in weight, but the ones I used to buy from a giant fish tank in Budapest supermarkets were about 1kg - 2kgs.
I now make my own version at home in the UK as follows, substituting the more easily-available salmon for catfish. Other meaty white fish like monkfish would also be an option.
Match this with a wine with a bit of spice, not too much tannin and plenty of fruit acidity to cut through the heavy cream sauce; obviously Hungarian if you can get it, otherwise southern French red will do.
Ingredients (to serve 4)
1 large onion, diced
Some cooking oil
6 heaped dessert spoons of paprika
2 large red peppers, thinly sliced any way
300ml sour cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 skin-off salmon steaks
- wash and pat dry the salmon steaks; cut the salmon into equally sized pieces around 3cm square and season generously with salt and pepper, then set aside
- fry the onions in a pan until softened and browned (around 15 mins)
- add the sour cream and passata, sliced red peppers, crushed garlic and seasoning and simmer gently until the sauce is thick and the peppers just cooked through (around 15 mins)
- add the fish to the sauce; simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until cooked (around 15 - 20 mins)
Serve with flat ribbon pasta such as fettucine.
Other related articles
Das ist ein Unikum ! Memories of Hungary and Unicum
Hungarian Food and Wine Tasting
Serpenyos website (in English) - http://english.reziserpenyos.hu/