Saturday, July 28, 2012

Spiedini


Vince has just left for a short visit to Rockport, north of Boston, where his mother holidays every summer, a much-anticipated escape from Quebec. For writing-reasons I decided I had to be Sensible, and stayed behind. I am rather sad to be missing the journey with him - we travel well - and the water and the flowers and the lobsters, but it will be good for him and his mom Germaine to spend some time together, just the two of them. She doesn't know he's coming, and as he's about to arrive and she is not likely to read my blog, I think the secret is still safe.

We had a celebratory-sad supper of spiedini before he left. I haven't made them for years. The idea came originally from a book of Antonio Bugialli's, The Best of... (good gracious, it was published by...my publisher, yay! Stewart Tabori  and Chang, now an imprint of Abrams) which was the second recipe book I think I ever owned, Stateside, having relied hitherto on my mother's library of cookbooks. Actually, I did have a Rupert the Bear cookbook when I was little. I wasn't impressed. And the first book I bought Stateside was The Cookery of the Eastern Mediterranean, by Paul Wolfert. I opened that recently, after a long hiatus, to discover that she has several recipes for wild greens.   I hadn't noticed before, intent on stuffed peppers and aubergines. The book is as culturally rich and informative as it is stuffed with recipes.


Anyway, back to Bugialli - I threaded bread and good mozzarella onto skewers and toasted them under a flaming broiler. Last night the mozzarella and the skewers parted ways so I had to scrape all the melted cheese up and slap it on top of the bread. No matter. Over that I poured melted butter and anchovies (the little fish really do dissolve), finishing it with a scattering of hot dried chile flakes. We drank cold rosé, and ate an arugula salad for our digestions' sakes. And that was it.

I ordered this once at a place called John's in the East Village. It is a very old school Italian American joint, much loved, even revered. But I was appalled by my spiedini, which filled a plate in all directions and was soaked in oil and indigestible. The portion size was gross, in the original sense of the word. I wonder if Mayor Mike knows about it. He should ban it along with his giant drinks. Fran Lebowitz calls him the mayor of minutiae.

It can be such a good dish. Try it.

7 comments:

  1. My mother used to saw (rather wistfully) that one of the things she missed when her children married was one-on-one time with her children. Not that she didn't love her in-laws, but she missed time to herself with her children. You may have given your mother-in-law a lovely, as well as unexpected, gift that she will treasure. Hope the time passes quickly til the Frenchman is home again. Stay cool.

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  2. Lobstas are extra cheap this year, too few buyers, and lobstermen (lobster-persons?) are more willing to sell them right off their boats, because they aren't paid enough by the retailers.

    What a wonderful surprise for Vince's mom, some time alone with him.

    I would have expected a lot of recipes using blueberries and honey as ingredients in the Rupert the Bear cookbook.

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  3. Going to try that today. The sun is out agin and I feel I should relish every moment of it - since the downpours ceased, I've been able to do t'ai chi OUTSIDE for a change which is wonderful. My garden is another room to me and I miss it during bad weather. Thanks for the recipe :) will report back!

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  4. I've never tried this but looks like something we would enjoy. Once you add the melted butter, anchovies, and pepper flakes - does it go back to the broiler for a moment or not?

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  5. Hi Barbara - no, once the melted butter is poured, eat at once. This is very much like souffle - it must be served to persons already sitting down and waiting for it. Warm plates help.

    I use about a 1/4 stick of butter (...) to 5 anchovy fillets.

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  6. Definitely looks like our kind of dish. I have a feeling I will be lucky at my house if this even makes it to a serving plate at all!

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  7. There is nothing better than spiedini Romana with anchovy and caper sauce, I haven't made it in years! I am enjoying your gardening posts!

    Stacey

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