Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Helping my pal Kate

The lovely and gracious Kate O'Hare, my co-conspirator in tilting at the windmills of lousy translations by the Vatican of Pope Francis and others, has an excellent blog, Pax Culturati. You should go there.

Anyway, earlier in Lent she asked for help in putting together a piece on grilled cheese sandwiches as she's -- the heart has its reasons, I s'pose -- somehow not fond of dining upon the piscine aspects of Creation. So I threw in this particular gem of mine.

I somehow missed her call for input on her piece on mac-and-cheese, so I was unable to render much assistance. (Mea maxima culpa.)

Now, for a number of reasons (geography, ethnicity, etc.) we-e-e-e-e-ell afield of this post, I didn't grow up eating mac-and-cheese. I didn't get to try it until well into my collegiate years. I prefer it as a side dish, myself, and the best I have ever had comes from Smoque in Chicago.

What a lot of people don't realize is that mac-and-cheese has its roots in penne ai quattro formaggi, which is something in my background from my Italian (maternal grandmother) side. Similarly, the tuna noodle casserole -- and even more alien craft to my palate -- comes from the classic tonnato sauce. This sauce most classically goes over cold poached veal but given the batch sizes of the sauce, leftovers are inevitable, and these find themselves dressing pasta. This becomes, therefore, the ur-Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Here ya go:

¼ c capers (rinsed of brine or salt in which they are packed)
1 T grated lemon zest, plus 3 T lemon juice
1 t anchovy paste (I prefer Amore) or 2 anchovy fillets, drained
2 egg yolks
1 can tuna packed in olive oil (try to find Italian or Spanish brands), drained
1 c extra virgin olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste

Purée the capers with the vinegar, zest, anchovies, yolks, tuna, salt, and pepper in a blender (best!) or food processor (OK) until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until sauce is emulsified. Garnish with additional capers.

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