pasta, leeks, celery, chilis, lemon, smoked bluefish, crumbs

A little bit of smoke goes a long way, whether it’s with vegetables, meat, or fish, but this time we had a full 4 ounce section of smoked bluefish fillet to mix with less than 8 ounces of dried pasta, a ratio twice that I’ve used with similar dishes in the past.


  • several chopped baby leeks from baby French leeks from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm and some very small stems of a small rib from a small stalk of celery from Norwich Meadows Farm, both sautéd in a little olive oil inside a large antique copper pot until softened, the juice from half  of an organic Whole Foods Market California lemon added and the pan kept over heat for another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring, the flame reduced to low and a pinch of sea salt, part of one crushed dried Itria-Sirissi chili, pepperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia and a pinch of home dried Norwich Meadows Farm golden habanada pepper stirred into the sauce until both hot and sweet peppers had become pungent, then adding less than 8 ounces of Afeltra Pasta di Gragnano Spaghetto from Eataly that had just been cooked until barely al dente, along with almost a cup of the reserved pasta water, continuing to stir until the liquid had emulsified, followed by mixing in one 4 ounce piece of smoked bluefish from Pura Vida Seafood Company and some chopped leaves from the celery rib, the dish transferred to low serving bowls, drizzled with a little olive oil around the edges, sprinkled with lemon zest and a little more red pepper flakes, and garnished with homemade toasted bread crumbs
  • the wine was a Portuguese (Vinho Verde) white, Quinta de Paços Casa do Capitão-Mor Alvarinho 2017, from Flatiron Wines 
  • the music was a glorious 1982 DGG recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, Claudio Abbado conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera Chorus, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and Jessye Norman