Saturday, February 9, 2008

fishy business

Law school is taking its toll on my health, and it seems hellbent on taking a different toll every semester. Last semester my iron levels were wonky; I ate a lot of spinach and dreamed of rare steak. This semester appears to be all about omega-3's: I crave eggs and nuts and, above all, fish. There's a little voice in my head saying "fishfishfishfishfishfishfish," and it doesn't seem inclined to stop anytime soon. It's a fussy little voice, too. White fish makes it quieter, and salmon lulls it to sleep for a little while, but the only things that really shut it up are anchovies and sardines.

Fortunately, my friends are tolerant of my dietary eccentricities, and they've been remarkably willing to go along with the various fish pastas I've been making recently. This is the latest, inspired by some of the things I read when I did a Google search for anchovy pasta recipes.

Despite its pungent ingredients, this is really quite a polite, almost demure pasta. The garlic and anchovies are tempered by the vodka and lemon juice, and rounded out by the sweetness of the fennel. You can serve it to company if your company doesn't object to fish; it even has an appropriately elegant Italian name. If your friends are like mine, however, you'll refer to it as fishy pasta, and call it good.

Linguine con Alici, Finnochio, e Sarde
(Fishy Pasta)

For a heavier sauce, substitute a 16-ounce can of crushed tomatoes for the cherry tomatoes.

(Serves four as a main course, or one with lots of leftovers.)

Put a big pot of salted water on to boil. Meanwhile, heat a small quantity of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over low heat. Add a can of anchovies in olive oil. Mince four cloves of garlic and add them to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break up the anchovies. Slice up one medium fennel bulb, and add it to the pan when the garlic starts to smell fragrant.

Cook until the fennel softens, then add a splash of vodka and the juice from half a lemon. When the fumes have burned off, add a pint of halved cherry tomatoes.

Simmer until the tomatoes are softened. Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and three cans of sardines in olive oil. Break the sardines into small pieces and simmer further. Depending on how salty your anchovies are, you may or may not need to add salt.

When the water has reached a rolling boil, add a pound of linguine. Cook until al dente, then toss with the sauce. Serve immediately.

Note: You can also add capers in vinegar or thin shreds of fresh basil to this pasta, depending on the contents of your fridge.


Ann said...

Mmm... this looks yummy. Jack has a really nice recipe for a pasta with anchovies, capers and a buch of other stuff I bet you'd also like. I must ask him to post it when he comes back from Europe.

adele said...

That sounds excellent. Please do!

Wing said...

Oh man this looks delicious, and I have all the ingredients handy. Maybe I should try it some time this week.

Katy said...

That sounds wonderful!

Karyn said...

I'm trying to eat more protein right now - for some reason, I always forget about fish. I need to check the dates on the frozen seafood in my freezer . . .

I found a terrific-looking recipe for Thai shrimp soup, using fresh and dried shrimp. I think it will be great with bok choy or napa cabbage, I just have to feel good enough to get to the grocery!

An end to this freezing rain would help, too. I can't leave my house! I have no flour or sugar! I can't bake!

Hope things are going well for you. ;)

Yulinka said...

Yes, I have cravings too... Last month it was all about spinach, butternut squash, salmon, sweet potatoes, and soup. Now I want eggplant, dips and little appetizer things on crackers. The pasta looks good, by the way.

adele said...

Wing - Tell me how it turns out.

Katy - It was tasty. :)

Karyn - The weather in Boston is revolting, too. I recommend tea. Lots of tea.

Yulinka - Hmm. Maybe you could combine all your cravings, and make baba ghanoush with crackers?

Anonymous said...

The 1/8 of me that is Norwegian draws me to the fishy things you've been making lately. I recently discovered the secret behind the rather tasty herring appetizer I've ordered several times at a trendy DC restaurant- a discovery made at IKEA! IKEA sells an assortment of pickled herrings, which I shall no longer be paying for one spoonful at a time downtown.

wing said...

Did make it. Or, actually, not really. I had no anchovies so I substituted sun-dried tomato chicken sausages. Also I had no lemon nor vodka so I added soem chadonnay instead. It's not the same thing, but it's still pretty darn yummy.

adele said...

No, not quite. But it sounds tasty, anyway.