Slytherin "Inner House" Fishy Initiation Feast
by McGonagirl, Hagrid, and Hermi2
Menu: Silverbeet with Anchovies | Grilled Marinated Baby Octopus | Seamonster Stew | Killer Shrimp | Seafood Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms
Hagrid had always pointed out that Harry, Ron, and Hermione were too curious for their own good, but he couldn't fault them. Their nosiness often turned out well for the wizarding world in general, in that they often ended up triumphing over evil in their efforts to know the whole story.
So Hagrid shouldn't have been surprised when he looked up from harvesting field mushrooms and there were the three Gryffindors looking intently at him. He supposed they'd wanted to know what he was doing, and he replied, "None of that now! This is strictly not for Gryffindors to know, only Slytherins! Oops, I shouldn't have said that ..." mumbling, Hagrid quickly waddled away to pick the enormous green and white leaves called silverbeet growing at the edges of the school vegetable garden.
The kids were astounded that Hagrid was doing something for the Slytherins, and they wondered what the mystery might be? Through persistence and eavesdropping, they surmised that on Hallowe'en, Slytherin House staged a party for "members only." Selected persons would be admitted into the "Inner House" within Slytherin on Hallowe'en night every year when they became fourth formers.
Burning to know more, the three friends intended to confront Hagrid at the Lake, but were again surprised at this strange actions and ran behind some bushes to hide. He was talking in soothing tones to the Giant Squid who lived within, and who seemed to be crying. "Now, now, I know it bothers you, but I promise you I got these from the Cephlopod Nursery, these were stillborn. I swear to you, I wouldn't kill them, and if it wasn't for these poor little tykes, who knows what Slytherin would do? Yes, yes, I know it's barbaric, there now, that wasn't so bad was it ..." They strained to see what it was that the Squid handed to the half-giant man, which he wrapped up carefully and placed in his pocket.
At last, Hagrid stopped and turned to pick up a bag he had left on the grass, but dropped it in surprise when the three students jumped out to ask him what he was doing? The contents spilled out, and Hermione and Ron gasped to see dead baby octopuses on the damp grass ...
Back at Gryffindor Tower, Hermione told the others she had a plan to find out what was going on -- they would use the polyjuice potion they'd learned to make two years before and sneak into the party. Both Ron and Harry were worried about that; not only was the potion disgusting, but they recalled how Hermione had gotten stuck into a half-cat form by accident. But Hermione was confident, "Harry, you got into that tussle with Malfoy on the Quidditch pitch ... do you have your robes from the game?" Upon inspection, as Hermione suspected, there were several blond hairs. "But we can't all be Malfoy, Hermione!" declared Ron.
They most certainly could, "We simply have to make sure we aren't seen with him or with each other. He's undergoing the initiation, that's what I found out -- I saw it on a parchment on Professor Snape's desk!"
Silverbeet with Anchovies
The three curious Gryffindors managed to transform into Draco Malfoy without incident, and dressed in Slytherin robes stolen from the school laundry. They split up and watched carefully for the real Malfoy to show up, so that people would not see two at any given time. There were some confusions though ... the real Draco ordered Crabbe to get him something to drink. Vincent dutifully shuffled over to the punchbowl, and to his surprise, there was Draco! "Was I too slow, Malfoy?" Hermione was quite amused to see the big, dumb Crabbe looking frightened, but then realized he thought she was Malfoy. Not wanting to risk talking (they had learned previously that one's voice did not change in the polyjuice transformation), Hermione grabbed a plate of silverbeet with anchovies and thrust it at the large boy, then she turned heel and walked away in an apparent huff. Perplexed, Crabbe walked back to his room and was shocked to see a very annoyed looking Malfoy still sitting there ... "You idiot, did you get hungry and forget my drink? Give me that, and go get me a drink!" By the time a very confused Crabbe rushed back with the drink, Malfoy and Goyle were smacking their lips, "That was good, you'd never know there were anchovies in that. Go on and get us some more, Crabbe!"
Add the chard stalks and cook with tossing till tender, about 5 or 10 minutes. Add the greens and cook till wilted. Remove the cloves of garlic for serving, if you wish.
Serves 6 as a side dish.
Grilled Marinated Baby Octopus
Harry found his way into the Slytherin library and found a book with Hagrid's name on it. Curious why his big friend's book would be here, he opened it and was astounded to find it was a sort of a contract written between Hagrid and Slytherin House, which included an explanation of events that lead to this agreement.
Harry learned that long ago, the Giant Squid in the school lake had been a gentle creature, but had become vicious when the Slytherins harvested its unborn babies for their annual "Inner House" rituals. When October came, the Squid would churn the waters, refusing to sleep and counting it's offspring, afraid of losing any; it even attacked any human in green and silver! Finally, when Dumbledore became headmaster of Hogwart's, Hagrid, whom he hired as groundskeeper, came up with a solution to pacify the Squid. He offered to collect and prepare all the seafood- and fish-based dishes Slytherin required, just so he could spare the Giant Squid the anguish of the annual slaughter of its children. It took him a while to figure it out, but he found out that octopuses would separate their non-born and still-born offspring from the live ones; Hagrid offered to take them in exchange for squid ink, which they used to mask their live children from predators. Thus Hagrid and the Giant Squid entered into a relationship where the Squid sacrificed its own supply of ink to keep its babies safe ... thus the ink protected both squid and octopus! There were even photographs of the poor octopus, grilled to look more alive ...
Absorbed in this amazing document, Harry didn't hear someone else enter the room. "Malfoy!" Captain of the Slytherin Quidditch team Marcus Flint bellowed across the library, "What are you doing, studying? Huh, never pegged you as a Snape-type of Slytherin!" Harry, realizing that Flint was referring to him, resisted the urge to hide, and instead glared at him.
"Don't give me that attitude, Malfoy," the older boy growled, "Just because your dad paid for the new brooms for the Quidditch team, it doesn't mean you're a shoe-in to the Inner House, understand?"
Not being able to fight the temptation, Harry walked up to Flint and whispered hoarsely, "Watch your mouth, Flint, or you'll be grilled like those baby octopus next!" Then, pushing a very surprised Flint aside, Harry walked out of the room as fast as he could!
Place the octopus either tentacle or head side down, so that the legs curl up symmetrically. There will be a lot of smoke; after a minute, turn the octopus and cook another minutes. Give the vinaigrette a quick whisk, and place the cooked octopus directly into the bowl. Finish grilling all the octopus (don't do too many at once -- don't want to forget them and let them overcook). Serve while still warm.
Serves about 6 to 8 as an appetizer.
By now, the three Gryffindors had noticed that the entire menu for the evening had fish or seafood in each dish. At the ceremony where the new candidates were called forward, the three fake Malfoys hid behind columns in the mezzanine overlooking the common room so they could observe without being seen. A blood red stew was brought out in a cauldron, and Hermione nearly shreiked at the sight of heads and eyeballs bobbing in it -- the dismembered heads of small seamonsters! The new Inner House candidates had to dip their hands in the vat and pull out a head ... and suck out the eyeballs and swallow them. The boys and girls looked frightened and squeamish, and there were many wails and tears as some tried to beg off. These candidates were taken out of the room and were told they were on probation till next year; if they were lucky, they'd be considered for membership again, then.
Malfoy, followed closely by Crabbe and Goyle, reached into the pot and -- closing his eyes -- pursed his lips and quickly applied suction, the faster to get it over with; his father would punish him if he did not make it this year into the Inner House! As Lucius Malfoy had warned him, "Better to put up with the ignominy now than to live with the knowledge that you are unworthy and stupid."
Though initially aghast and disgusted, the three Gryffindors in disguise were amused at Crabbe and Goyle's surprised looks as the two goons pressed their mouths on the fish. "MMMMM!" they groaned, and the others had to pull them away from what turned out to be a very delicious soup!
Serves 4 to 6.
The second part of the Slytherin Inner House ritual involved huge crustaceans -- not so large as a lobster, but much bigger than a shrimp. Harry could not find any reference to how Hagrid collected these creatures on the contract he'd pilfered from the Slytherin library. While watching the Slytherins below chew through the enormous shrimp -- head, shell, tail and all -- the three Gryffindors whispered to one another. Ron remembered his older brothers telling him of the merpeople in the Lake, who would keep cat-sized crustaceans as pets. "That's it!" whispered Hermione (the lads couldn't get used to Hermione's voice coming out of Draco's body), "Those crustaceans, when they get too old, I'll bet Hagrid trades for them."
"Yeah," Harry nodded soberly, sniffing at the delicious-smelling sauce in the pots below them, "and it's probably a more humane and gentle end than would have happened to them if these lot had got to them first!"
Serves 6 to 8. Great served with crusty bread, spaghetti, or rice.
Seafood Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms
It took Ron a bit of time to get comfortable with the fact that he could move about the Slytherin common room freely, as long as he was the "only Malfoy" within eyeshot. By the time he did, it was nearly the end of the hour that the polyjuice potion gave them to retain the physical form of another person. He had just put a stuffed mushroom in his mouth when Goyle came up to him, "Malfoy, we have to do that last part of the ritual now. Hey, are you all right? Your face has funny brown spots ... and what's happened to your hair??" Quickly realizing that the transformation was ending, he croaked out, "Got an eyeball stuck in my throat, get m' cloak for me!" As Goyle marched off to do as he was told, Ron realized how good the stuffed mushroom he'd crammed in his mouth was and wanted another, but he saw the other two faux-Malfoys -- starting to look more like Harry and Hermione than Draco -- waving desperately at him!
At that moment, Ron heard the real Malfoy's voice coming down the corridor, "What do you mean I told you to get my cloak, how dare you walk into my room and start looking ..." Deciding he couldn't not take extra mushrooms, Ron grabbed the whole plate of them and ran just in the nick of time -- Greggory Goyle saw the boy he thought was Malfoy disappear through the door leading out of the dungeon, "Look, it's you, Draco!"
Not having seen Ron make his escape, Malfoy huffed with annoyance. "You know, Goyle," Malfoy scolded him, "maybe you need to wear those glasses I saw you with two years ago, after all!"
Chop up the stems fine. Melt the butter in a skillet and sauté the stems and shallot. Add the fish or seafood and cook to warm it through. Add the breadcrumbs a tablespoon at a time till the mixture is bound together. It should be pretty dry, but not falling apart. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pat the mixture into small balls, about the size of marbles, so they fit into the parcooked mushroom caps. Place on a greased baking tray or on a rack set over a baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes. The mushrooms should still retain their shape and the stuffing should be slightly browned.
Serves 6 to 10.
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