Poor No More – Spaghetti with Clams and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Spaghetti and Clams with Toasted Bread Crumbs takes its inspiration from two dishes–spaghetti alla vongole, a dish of string pasta with clams popular in Naples, Rome, wider Campania and farther north along the Italian coastline; and pasta con il pangrattato, pasta with breadcrumbs, a very basic dish of la cucina povera, the cooking of the poor.  At its most elemental the latter contains no more than pasta, breadcrumbs, oil, salt and a bit of garlic.  Variations include raisins, cauliflower, anchovies and olives, which is to say that a little stale bread, some pasta and oil is all you need for dinner–if you have anything else you can dine in the lap of luxury.

Sardines with Feta and Salmoriglio

Photographing Sardines with Feta and Salmoriglio this past week reminded me of a fancy dinner where Jody and I found ourselves sitting across the table from Stephen Hawking’s literary agent, who told a story about A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME.  The original manuscript, we learned, had been an overlong demanding text several times the size of the slender volume that was eventually published.  The agent revealed how he convinced Hawking how to pare it down.  “I explained to him that every time he used a mathematical formula in his book he was going to lose half his readers.”

Hawking must have taken his advice to heart.  There’s nary a single formula in the entire story.

Friends have suggested a similar axion holds for food bloggers.  Every time you publish a photo of a fish with its head on you’re going to lose half your readers.  

Seared Char with Creamed Spinach and Sorrel

This is the easiest elegant dish you will ever make.  Seared char with creamed spinach and sorrel.  Despite my French introduction to cooking I’m not a fan of the just-add-butter-and-cream approach to life on the stove top. It’s too easy to lapse into a dish whose primary flavors are cream and butter rather than the ingredients you brought home from the store.  Nevertheless, there are combinations that ask for butter and cream.  Salmon, spinach and sorrel is one of them.

Simple Whole Roasted Fish – Part Deux

I learned to clean fish when I was nine-years old, taught by my father, practicing on the sunnies, perch and bass my brothers and I caught in rural Michigan.  Cleaning fish is a tripartite affair–scraping the scales off while grasping a slippery tail, gutting and removing the viscera, and cutting out the gills and fins, …

Aqua Culture and Labor Day Grilled Clams

On a post about Labor Day weekend it seems appropriate to step back and give you a glimpse of the people behind the food.  Herewith, a taste of our visit to the Woodbury Shellfish aquaculture grant in Wellfleet.  Barbara and Patrick Woodbury are the sort of people you almost never hear about unless you’re in …