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.
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