pasta, alliums, lemon, chilis, habanada, smoked monkfish

Made in heaven, when we weren’t even paying that much attention.

This simple looking dish of pasta far exceeded both of our expectations.

I haven’t been posting on this blog lately, because we’ve been very busy trying to get the apartment ready for friends who will be staying here while we are in their Berlin apartment. I’m making an exception for last night’s meal, because it was extraordinarily good (the flavors amazingly balanced), because it was pretty much an accident (I mostly trying to just put together something for dinner using fresh supplies that were otherwise going to be wasted), and because it was very much a collaboration with Barry (there was a real conversation throughout its development).

If you have access to the ingredients, and if you can take a few minutes to reproduce what we did, you will probably never forget this meal. If it helps, I can’t imagine why almost any smoked fish wouldn’t work just as well as the monkfish that I happened to have in the refrigerator.

  • part of one medium-size leek from Hawthorne Valley Farm, thinly-sliced, and a small sliced shallot from Trader Joe’s Market sautéedin 4 ounces of olive oil inside a large, high-sided tin-lined copper pan for 4 minutes, the juice from 2 small Trader Joe’s organic lemons added and the pan kept over heat for another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring, the flame then reduced to low and a pinch of sea salt, some very good red pepper flakes (remaining from the delivery of an excellent Waldy’s Wood Fired Pizza a few days earlier), plus 4 or 5 chopped fresh medium-size habanada peppers from Norwich Meadows Farm stirred into the sauce until both hot and sweet peppers had become pungent, 8 or 9 ounces of Afeltra Pasta di Gragnano Spaghetto from Eataly, cooked until barely al dente, added, along with – pouring very gradually while blending – almost a cup of reserved pasta water, continuing to stir until it had emulsified, one thinly-sliced 2-ounce piece of smoked monkfish from Blue Moon Fish added and tossed with the sauced spaghetto, the dish transferred to low serving bowls, drizzled with a little olive oil around the edge, sprinkled with lemon zest and more red pepper flakes, and garnished with homemade toasted breadcrumbs
  • the wine was a good Italian (Alto Adige) white wine, St. Michael-Eppan Pinot Grigio 2015, from Philippe Liquors and Wine
  • the music was from the album, ‘Piano Music from the Weimar Republic’, featuring works by Hanns Eisler and Ernst Krenek, performed by Elizabeth Klein