whelks as antipasto; then rye trumpets, sautéed cucumbers

I had no idea this meal would end up so well.

The whelks were a big surprise. They had been an impulse purchase the day before, when I had picked up some finned seafood for a dinner that night. They had already been cooked, making it easy for me, as long as I could come up with a way to serve them.  After looking at a number of sites on line, I ended up I pretty much winging it, with the help of a well-stocked larder.

Super, and the salad looked pretty nice too.

I had decided early on that the main course would be a pasta.  Remembering that I had a terrific local grain box of artisanal ‘trumpets’, it was easy to imagine them associating with some sautéed early season cucumbers (2 kinds) that I had also purchased on Monday. At that point my dinner had become a thing.


And it was delicious.

  • five ounces of cooked whelks from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, sliced thinly and mixed with some finely-sliced ramp bulbs from Berried Treasures Farm, minced garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, crushed dried pepperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, olive oil, juice from an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market, a bit of Columela Rioja 30 Year Reserva sherry vinegar, chopped stems of baby fennel bulbs from Central Valley Farm, chopped lovage from Central Valley Farm, chopped parsley from Norwich Meadows Farm, all kinds of chopped herbs left over from the preparation of the Porgy the day before, sea salt, and Freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, served on flat plates on top of leaves of a purple frizzy oak leaf lettuce from Norwich Meadows Farm topped with a drizzle of olive oil
  • five cucumbers, of 2 different kinds, from Norwich Meadows Farm (their names still undetermined when I left the farmers’ Union Square Market stand, but I may be able to fix that later, sliced about 1/2″ thick, dried, sautéed inside a large enameled cast iron pot in a little olive oil over a fairly high flame until they began to color, and then joined by one whole red Calabrian pepper from Campo Rosso Farm and several chopped red onion scallions from John D. Madura Farms, the vegetables then seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper before joined by half a pound of Sfoglini rye blend ‘trumpets’ (and some of the reserved pasta water) which had been cooked seriously al dente, the trumpets tossed with the cucumbers and onions and stirred over a low-to-moderate flame for a couple of minutes to blend the flavors and the ingredients, served finished with a drizzle of olive oil, some homemade breadcrumbs (dry crumbs of a homemade rye bread) which had been heated with a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, the pasta finished in shallow bowls sprinkled with chopped garlic flowers from Windfall Farms
  • the wine was an Italian (Campania) white, Benito Ferrara Greco di Tufo 2014, from Garnet Wines
  • the music was Haydn’s 1781 opera, ‘La fedeltà premiata’, a late 1970s recording, Antal Doráti conducting the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra in the first performance of the work in almost 200 years