Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Missed me?

Being all Papist and stuff, we observe a fast on Ash Wednesday. Iberic tradition holds the fast to keep until after sunset (or, as it's called in Spain, "lunchtime") and even then, no meat or poultry need apply. So, I made one of TFBIM's faves, Black (i.e. Squid Ink) Spaghetti and Shrimp with Puttanesca Sauce.

First you need garlic (I used 4 big cloves, you non-Mediterraneans'll probably wanna halve that), sliced as finely as your patience your allow.
Several of you have emailed me asking what "as finely as your patience your allow" means. It means this:
Take a small yellow onion, and chop it to the limits of your patience, also.Assemble the rest of the ingredients.Anchovy paste (I like Amore, and in this case I prefer the paste over the whole fillets, because these dissolve far better in a sauce), capers, squid in spaghetti, red pepper flakes. [Not pictured: Shrimp, & dried herbs (oregano, thyme & marjoram)] Oh, and also olives (I prefer Gaeta) which I marinated in herbs and EVOO. You'll need both the olives and the marinating EVOO. Oh, and tomatoes. This is my favorite brand. You can use crushed, chopped or strained, depending on your desired chunkiness. I like it medium chunky, hence the "chopped."Put a couple of tablespoonfuls of the marinating EVOO in a skillet over medium heat.
Once it starts shimmering add red pepper flakes to taste. I use 1/4 teaspoon, you might want to start with just a pinch and work on up therefrom. You want the flavor of the flakes to permeate the oil. Throw in the garlic slices, again you want the flavor to be shot through the oil also. However, you don't want it to brown, so after 10-15 seconds... You toss in the onions, stir a bit and then add the anchovy paste (about two inches, and NO it's not a worm...sheesh). Cook over medium-low heat until the onions become translucent. Add the tomatoes. Stir. Taste. Cook until the brightness is muted a little. Adjust salt and pepper. Keep the salt on light side, because the capers (about which, more anon) will also add saltiness. Put a large pot full of water to boil. Once boiling add a good tablespoon of salt and then toss in the pasta. When it's al dente (7-8 minutes, but start tasting at about 5 minutes, because there are a lot of variables at play here) drain the pasta (leaving behind a couple of ounces of the water). And return to the pot, set heat to low, add shrimp.

You may be tempted to get humongous shrimps (or prawns). Don't. Get someting in the "31-40" size, or slightly smaller. You want, ideally, for the shrimp to be half a mouthful, that you may twirl pasta and spear shrimp for the best taste...and still have it fit in your mouth. The ones here are 31-40s, and those were a touch large. 41-50s would be better. However, the smaller the shrimp, the easier it is to overcook. So watch it!

Stir. When the shrimp start changing color, add the sauce, stir and take the pot off-heat. The residual heat will continue to cook the shrimp. You should end up with something like this:
And the capers.If you are allowing yourself some of the fruit of the vine and the work of human hands, open the wine. You want something not too heavily oaked, with decent fruit and acid. This "lightweight" Chardonnay is ideal, with juicy pineapple-ish notes that play off the mild spiciness and good acid to counteract the saltiness.Have

Have a blessed Lent.



  • At 8:05 PM, March 09, 2011 , Blogger Justine said...

    Yes, I did miss you. I used to look at your blog a long time ago, via Karen's. (I gave up FB posting, but I didn't give up FB reading, and I didn't give up blogs so this isn't cheating!)

    And you can't fool me, that's a worm.

  • At 3:02 AM, March 10, 2011 , Blogger Joe said...

    Fine, be that way. I've been hanging out - blogwise - over at "our" Jesuit blog, but l figured l might do well to fire up this ol' thing for Lent.

    You should go there.


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