One of the best dishes I have had this year was red snapper with lily bulb at Jean Georges in New York. I also had red snapper with lily bulb at The Oval Room here in Washington. Of course, Tony Conte, the chef at the Oval Room, worked as executive sous chef at Jean Georges. The dish at Jean Georges was better but Chef Conte did change the ingredients, adding meyer lemon and vanilla at the Oval Room for a different taste.
All that as background so when I ask my question, you won't send me to a garden store. Has anyone seen lily bulbs for sale in the DC area? They are an Asian ingredient and a Google seach leads me to believe that they are often sold frozen but I can't find them. Even in Asian grocery stores. Have you seen them anywhere? Please don't just tell me to "try an Asian supermarket." Been there, done that. Most look at me with blank stares.
I'd love to recreate this dish but the lily bulbs are an essential element and a unique flavor and I can't find any. Help ! Thanks in advance.
Are you talking about lily flowers? They come dried in a package and are kind of chewy and taste a bit like bamboo shoots. I've seen them also tied in knots and cooked in soups or with clear mung bean "glass" noodles with black mushroom/wood ear fungus. If this is what you are looking for, I have found them with no problem at Eden Supermarket in their section that has their dried mushrooms or at the gigantic Chinese supermarket Great Wall in Merrifield on Gallows Road.
I'm probably way off base here, never having had them in a Western dish, but is there any chance these are the same as the "lily buds" or "lily flowers" widely sold dried, as opposed to fresh or frozen, in chinese markets. These are an integral flavor and texture component in hot and sour soup
At first I thought you were talking about lily buds too ( actually day lily buds), but then you said they were like shallots. Onions are in the lily family so perhaps it is a kind of "onion"? Technically one could call any onion a "lily bulb"! Ruth