Monday, March 19, 2012

Cauliflower and Anchovy Orecchiette

I found this recipe in a recent Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal (the "Off Duty" section often features decent recipes - I've written about them many times). This particular dish caught my attention since it's the brainchild of April Bloomfield, a renowned British chef that we saw at the food fest in Grand Cayman (you may recall me mentioning her beef-and-Stilton pie demo). I just recently waxed poetically about the virtues of eating small oily fishies, so I was hoping that this version of orecchiette ("ear" in Italian, so named for their shape) would be a hit with the missus, who is quite possibly the world's foremost anchovy advocate (a title that might look a bit weird on a business card). Sadly, we found it to be underwhelming and surprisingly bland, especially for something that includes olive oil, Parmesan, caramelized red onion, garlic, and anchovies (although the last statement of the recipe urging the diner to "season to taste with salt, oil, and lots of Parmesan" should have tipped me off that maybe the base flavor would be, well, neutral). The leftovers have been a little better, more so after I threw a few more anchovies on top and drizzled the oil from the anchovy tin on it (ed. note - I've discovered that, much like nuclear energy, the use of oil infused with the essence of small oily fishes is tremendously good when used for the benefit of humanity and not for evil purposes). Perhaps the most positive lesson to glean from this experience is that I need to seek out some bottled anchovy essence (basically the Italian equivalent of Asian fish sauce) for general use in the Commissary...

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