Thursday, June 21, 2012

FAIRY TALE

You might want to sedate your children before making squid ink pasta with anchovies, potatoes, sliced lemon, and crème fraiche.

The moment those 24 little fish hit the hot pan, your daughter will sniff sniff the air and look concerned. She will jump to her feet as the light show of spattering anchovy oil glistens high above the stove in the evening sun. Hands to hips, she will look at you like you should be locked up for committing such a heinous crime. Your son will join in the protest because he loves his sister to distraction. And you'll have to put on your ninja-bitch-mom armor and start deflecting numerous requests for a different dinner.

Turn the music way up to drown out your little drama queens.

Be strong.

This dinner will not kill them.

Bring your attention back to the delectable umami mass and watch its magical disintegration. Slide in some sliced pre-cooked potatoes. Fry up paper-thin lemon slices in garlic oil and have your kids chop the parsley. If you've all made it this far without hurting each other, smear an anchovyfied potato on grilled bread, drape it with a garlicky lemon slice, and splash it with a teaspoon of crème fraiche. Offer this bite-sized preview to your kids but don't be disappointed when they turn you down. As you place it in your own mouth, you will moan out oh my god this dinner is going to be so fucking tasty.

At first, it will not be a relaxing or friendly dinner. Have red wine available. When you hit that wall of irritation and desperation, you will stand up, shake your hands in oh là là frustration, and yell out just cover it with crème fraiche and get it down!

As you sigh back down to the table, your kids will help themselves to so much of the thick and creamy white condiment that the mounds of black pasta will look like mountains covered in fresh snow.

And there will be peace across the land.
Crème fraiche recipe #5:

SQUID INK PASTA WITH LOTS OF ANCHOVIES, GARLICKY FRIED LEMON, AND POTATOES
printable recipe
serve 4

ingredients:
6 medium-sized yukon gold potatoes
handful of kosher salt for potato water
1 lemon
3 tablespoons garlic confit oil (or plain olive oil)
at least 1jar or tin of anchovies packed in oil (20 or so fillets)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound squid ink spaghetti (or plain spaghetti)
handful of kosher salt for pasta water
1/2 cup chopped parsley

directions:
Peel potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Fill a medium-sized pot with water. Add a handful of salt. Place cut potatoes directly into cold salty water. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Turn down to low and cook potatoes until just cooked through. Gently strain in a colander. Don't overcook them or you will have mush! Set aside.

Thinly slice the lemon. Pick out the seeds. Add a few tablespoons garlic oil to a sauté pan. Once it's hot but not smoking, carefully slide in the lemon slices. Flip them over after a minute. Just make sure to get a bit of color on each side. With a slotted spoon, remove lemon slices from oil and set aside on a plate. Reserve lemon/garlic oil. Boil large pot of water for pasta. Add salt. Drain anchovies and save remaining oil for something else.

Place medium-sized pan on medium heat and add olive oil. Carefully place anchovies in the hot oil. They will spatter like crazy if the pan is too hot. Stir them for a minute. They will fall apart and come together into a mass of melted anchovy. Slide in cooked potatoes. Saute on medium heat for 30 seconds until potatoes are anchovy-laden. Turn heat down to low.

Place pasta in boiling water. Cook until al dente. Reserve a cup or so of pasta water in a pitcher. With tongs, pull out pasta, drip off some (but not all) of excess water, and place into potato/anchovy pan. Turn the heat up and stir for 30 seconds, boiling off a bit of the pasta water and integrating the sauce with the pasta. Be gentle. You don't want to squish the potatoes because they will look ugly on the black pasta (with white pasta this is not a concern). Slide pasta into a large warm bowl.

Top with chopped parsley, lemon slices, lemon/garlic oil, and lots of creme fraiche. Serve with pitcher of pasta water and extra creme fraiche. Most likely, you will not need to add any salt!

20 comments:

  1. I've never had squid ink pasta. What does the ink do other than change the color? Does it have a distinctive taste?

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    1. it's so beautiful to look at! but beyond that, it's got a kick ass umami taste. salty, fishy, sweet. really wonderful.

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  2. They will love you for this some day ...

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    1. i think they'll hate me for awhile first!

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  3. Look delicious. I would love it if someone cooked me a meal right now instead of me cooking it myself! This is an inspired idea, something different without to much effort.
    P.S. I hope what i wrote makes sense, I'm on my third glass of wine :)

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    1. oh boy do i understand! i would love for someone to come cook me a meal. but, having said that, meals like the pasta above are so beautiful and comforting and satisfying that it's almost like someone else has cooked you a meal. almost.

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  4. Also, if you have a second could you tell me more about serving this dish with a pitcher of the pasta water, I've never heard of that... I know about reserving pasta water and adding it back in to a sauce when you stir in the pasta but did you have it on the table so people could add more to their plate if they like?

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    1. yes. adding pasta water to the sauce and finishing off the cooking of the pasta is so great. and then you can just have a pitcher of the pasta water at the table. that way if your pasta gets a little dry you can loosen it up.

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    2. I'm making it RIGHT NOW. Thanks for the inspiration. I like that my boys will get omega-3s tonight too.

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    3. cool!!! let me know how it goes. i just noticed that i didn't add that you can drizzle the final dish with the garlic/lemon oil. super tasty.

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    4. I actually did drizzle with the oil to finish it. I ended up slicing two cloves of garlic, sauteing them first and then removed them and left them out since I'm not a garlic fan. The kids weren't huge fans but my husband and I were too busy stuffing our faces to care.
      Aaaannnd... My computer is covered in anchovy spatter, oh well that just makes it more shiny!

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  5. ninja-bitch-mom armor. love it! and i have to say, i'm not a huge anchovy fan, but this sounds (and looks) wonderful.

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  6. This just has to be tried - definitely a way to get anchovies into me which I am up for. And, I will turn up my music and have the glass of wine as my partner views his thoughts on squid ink pasta which he has already started ; )

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  7. This sounds SO good! I used to have to give some of my dinners a fancy name, so my kids would consider eating. Raised in the gourmet ghetto, they fell for it like a ton of bricks!!

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  8. You are incredible, and that dish looks fabulous! I mean fabulous! Like send my boyfriend out for groceries NOW fabulous! Also-I agree with the other person who said your children will love you. My mom raised me on real, gourmet food as you are doing with yours-and I loved it. I grew up to be a chef.

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    1. send-my-boyfriend-out-for-groceries-now fabulous is my new favorite expression!

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  9. Hi Phyllis, I know you wrote this months ago now, but I hope you don't mind my posting a question. I've been making a similar pasta with the lemon slices and garlic oil, but twice now after I've cooked the lemon (to kind of browned and caramelized) the oil has turned really, really bitter. I can't figure out why! Has this ever happened with you, or do you have any ideas? (Also, thanks for such a wonderful blog! I love reading it.)

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    Replies
    1. lucy. thanks so much for the question. have you tasted the oil before adding the lemon? sometimes garlic can be really funky and intense. my other thought is that maybe you're cooking the lemon slices a bit too long. i haven't made it in a few months. write me back at dashandbella@gmail.com. would love to continue the conversation.

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    2. I just saw this! I'm so sorry not to answer earlier. I'm using garlic oil that was already infused (not by me) and it's fine in other things, so I'm not sure about that. Cooking them for too long may be the problem. I'm going to try again and taste as I go and I will write you the results! Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

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