Linguine with Sea Urchin Roe (Uni) Sauce

DSC_0255_01aStrictly speaking, the edible part of sea urchin – uni, as it’s called in Japanese – isn’t roe at all. It is the animal’s gonads, and will eventually turn into sperm (milt) or roe, depending on the animal’s sex. Uni is a delicacy, and an acquired taste. It is intensely briny, with a heady, floral, loamy aftertaste. In Japan, it’s served most commonly as nigiri sushi, on rice, and it is classified according to quality, based upon its color, flavor, and firmness. Uni is best eaten fresh, i.e., from an animal that you have just killed yourself, however you can also buy uni cleaned, packaged, and ready to eat. This dish – al dente linguine, served in a rich sauce made with fresh raw uni emulsified with melted butter and lemon – is a coastal Italian classic, and, cleaning of the sea urchin aside, it is quick and remarkably easy to prepare. It tastes like nothing you have ever eaten before in your life. Continue reading

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Another Roll in the Allium (More Wild Garlic Recipes)

Unless you’ve been under a rock or you live in the Southern hemisphere, you probably know that wild garlic is currently in season. Wild garlic, called wild leeks or ramps in the United States, is annoyingly but deservedly trendy. It is (a) delicious; (b) beautiful; and (c) did I mention delicious? As I discovered, it also freezes beautifully; although the leaves lose their structural integrity, they maintain their colour and pungent flavour. To freeze wild garlic, simply chop finely or puree in a food processor, pack in a Tupperware, and pop in your freezer.

Perhaps, like me, you were lucky enough to “find” wild garlic actually growing wild, and you greedily picked way more than you could possibly use at once. (It still counts as finding it if someone else found it first and showed you where, right?) Or maybe you bought a bunch at a Farmers Market, used some leaves in a recipe, and now are wondering what the heck to do with the rest. Or maybe you just need a little inspiration. Whatever your need, here are three lovely things to do with wild garlic when you’re at a loss. For what it’s worth, all of these recipes were made using wild garlic that I had previously frozen. Continue reading

Duck Egg Pasta with ‘Nduja Sausage, Grape Tomatoes and Arugula

I am overjoyed! I finally got my camera back after a three-week separation. I picked it up from Parcelforce on Thursday, and on Friday, one of a spate of truly lovely spring days we’ve been enjoying in London, I went to Borough Market, a market I’ve avoided lately because I usually spend a fortune there on lovely food. (Friday was no exception.) A week or so ago I bought some duck eggs which I planned to use for fresh pasta, and in Borough Market I was looking for one product in particular: ‘Nduja sausage. ‘Nduja is a soft, spreadable Calabrian sausage loosely related to Andouille. It’s seasoned with fennel and oregano and Calabrian chilis – apparently it can contain up to 60% chilli peppers – and the chilis give it a beautiful deep red colour. It pairs naturally with pasta Continue reading

Pasta with Calamari, Tomato and Caper Sauce

Blogging has turned me into a culinary diurnal vampire. “Huh?” you say. Let me explain: as a food blogger, you realize pretty darned quickly that without natural light your food photos look like … well … crap. This is the case even with a nice SLR camera. It all gets flat and yellow. You know what I’m talking about. It’s when the food looks kind of dessicated and (let’s face it) unappetizing.

I have a single window in my kitchen that faces vaguely north. So, being fairly obsessive-compulsive, I now find myself cooking dinner at 11 a.m. Then I take half a dozen photos of whatever I’ve cooked and I put it away. Or I eat it for lunch. In August I had no idea how grim things could get. Now, by three Continue reading

My Fresh Pasta

When I googled “fresh pasta recipe” just now, I came up with over four million hits. Even assuming some of those hits are for recipes with fresh pasta you buy at the store and porn sites (you know how devious those porny spammers are), I would conservatively estimate that hundreds of thousands of them, if not over a million, are recipes for making fresh pasta.

Everybody’s doing it. It’s a rite of cheffy passage. By the late 90’s, you couldn’t go to a cocktail party without overhearing a foodie ‘casually’ mention the fresh pasta they’d made the other night. Continue reading