Grilled Sardines with Ramps and Rhubarb Agrodolce

Grilled Sardines with Ramps and Rhubarb Agrodolce-2168

When our son Oliver was seven or eight and we lived within shouting distance of East Cambridge I used to take him with me to visit Courthouse Fish Market on Thursday afternoons to pick up seafood for dinner.  Courthouse is an old-school establishment.  Glass cases filled with ice and gleaming fresh fish–sardines, tilefish, snapper, salmon, flunder, bluefish, squid, swordfish and several varieties of clams, including the large razor clams you’ve seen here before.  Opposite the fresh fish display a freezer holds frozen octopus, Alaskan king crab legs, squid and fava beans and wooden cases stacked nearby contain salt cod.  On Thursdays Moray eels came in from Portugal.  One of these arm-sized monsters, dark gray with brilliant yellow spots and a ferocious set of teeth in its gaping jaws usually occupied pride of place in the front window.  We stood in front of the window and stared.  People ate that?  We no longer live within hailing distance of this venerable Cambridge institution, but when I pass through the neighborhood I try to stop by.  For this week’s Sardines with Ramps and Rhubarb Agrodolce I made a special trip.

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.