Lots of people think they don’t like anchovies. Maybe they really don’t, at least not straight from the can or jar. But they are commonly used as a flavoring and the anchovy haters don’t even know it’s there. You can dissolve 2 or 3 in some heated olive oil as the base of a sauce. It’s Italian umami.
Another way to get the flavor of anchovies (alici in Italian) is to use Colatura di Alici. It’s essence of anchovy and made by layering anchovies with sea salt in a barrel and then putting weights on top. After a time a hole is opened on the bottom of the barrel and this liquid is drained and bottled.
You might compare it to Vietnamese Nước mắm pha but it’s more complex than that. It’s closely related to garum, a fish sauce used by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
A sprinkle of it on some cooked greens or vegetables or a salad adds a bright note. Try a little on Summer Tomato Salad.
How I like it best is as a simple, uncooked pasta sauce.
Spaghetti con Colatura di Alici
2 oz (4 tbsps) Colatura di Alici
4 oz (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chopped parsley,
Crushed red pepper to taste
1 pound spaghetti (no additional salt in pasta water)
While the pasta water is coming to a boil mix all ingredients except spaghetti in a serving dish. When pasta is done, add to serving dish and coat well with the sauce. No cheese on this dish.
If you can’t find Colatura di Alici in stores just Googleit – lots of places to get it on line.
The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant is still there and still a great American seafood restaurant.
When is opened in 1913 on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal Woodrow Wilson was President It’s been around for a while. A beautiful restaurant and historic too, with its Guastavinotile ceiling.
The menu changes daily depending on what’s fresh and available at the fish market. Complete Menu
The restaurant is divided into roughly three sections – the main dining room, the bar and the oyster bar and counter. If I’m anywhere near Grand Central at lunch time I can’t resist stopping at the counter for my usual – a beer, a half dozen of something on the half-shell and an old-fashioned oyster pan roast. If you sit at the counter you can watch the chefs opening the shellfish and making the pan roast – some ingredients; chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, butter and cream. For dessert, either Key Lime Pie or Cheese Cake.
We were on our way to the Williamsburg Flea Market yesterday when we came across Fabbrica Restaurant & Bar. We were hungry and it was the first restaurant we came to when we got off the ferry (N. 6th St. and Kent Ave.) It was a fortuitous find, crowded but with room at the bar.
Their menu changes throughout the day – breakfast, brunch, lunch, late-lunch, etc. I was lucky to get there when Purgatorio was on it. That’s not Dante’s poem but eggs cooked in tomato sauce. It was the first time I’d ever seen it in a restaurant. My mother made it as a standard Monday lunch, using left over Sunday gravy. She called it Eggs in Purgatory.
I looked at the dinner menu and will definitely go back – hearty Italian food, interesting industrial décor, friendly service and pet-friendly too (dogs at the bar and outdoor tables).
Mint Julep Nothing like it in summer. Try it in a silver cup if you have one. Originally made with Cognac, the standard is now Bourbon although some prefer rye.
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
In a rocks glass or silver cup, muddle a good size bunch of mint leaves with the sugar and a few drops of Bourbon. Pack the cup with cracked ice and mix the mint with the ice. Add the Bourbon and then add more ice and a sprig of mint.
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Cointreau (or 4 drops of orange flower water)
1 ½ oz brandy
1 egg yolk
Shake and strain into flute and fill with sparkling hard cider or Champagne.
1 shot of gin
Juice of ¼ lemon
1 tspn sugar
1 egg yolk
Shake thoroughly and strain into small highball glass without ice and top with some club soda.
We recently spent a long weekend in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It’s been a resort for a long time thanks to the mineral water spring and spas. Until about the time Las Vegas came of age in the 1950s, Hot Springs was also a gambling mecca attracting Hollywood celebrities and gangsters. They even have a gangster museum.
I’ve always appreciated Southern cuisine and Hot Springs has some great restaurants. We started every morning with grits and eggs (and donuts) at our hotel restaurant (The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa). Grits aren’t too common in NYC so I look forward to them whenever I’m in the South.
We had a great dinner at KJs Grill– chicken fried steak, French fries and local draft beer surrounded by paintings and photos of Marilyn.
It wasn’t all Southern American food, there was some Southern Italian too. We had a terrific meal at Luna Bellathat included arancini as good as any that I’ve ever had in New York. The same owners as KJ’s and more pictures of Marilyn.
Small MandolinSlices garlic as thinly as Paul Scovino did in Good Fellas and it’s cheap enough to throw away when it gets dull. Get one in a housewares store for $5 or $10. Watch your fingers, it’s sharp.
Good for handy storage of root vegetables and perfect for drying peppers.
For getting that ugly brown stuff off mushrooms.
Quicker than a whisk for fluffy omelets and zabaglione.
Fish Gripper & Scaler
This gripper was my father’s and is over 50 years old – Delty’s Fish Gripper, Lancaster PA.
Use it to make a lumpy sauce smooth – squashes tomatoes, onions, etc. as they’re cooking.
A great design by Lamson Sharp.
Really a grater but it doubles as a grill for roasting peppers on a gas burner – about 2 or 3 jalapenos or 1 bell at a time.
This one only holds about 2 ½ cups. I use it for making a trinity or any other fine chopping.
To keep parsley, rosemary, etc. fresh put them in water in a rocks glass, cover with a baggie and refrigerate. Works with basil too but don’t refrigerate. Rather than a bowl or tray, use baggies for marinating meat and fish
Not too long ago my cousin Jeanne reminded me about a special after-dinner drink my father would make for our grandmother when we went to see her on holidays. It’s called a Pousse Caffe.That translates to something like ‘coffee chaser.’ It’s made by very carefully pouring layers of different colored liquors with different densities into a pony glass. They have to be poured in the correct order or they’ll mix. He held the glass on an angle so the liquor would slowly and gently run down its side. With some care and a steady hand, you can do it.
My father’s five layer recipe starts with a red base of Grenadine Syrup, followed by chocolaty Crème de Cacao, then green Crème de Menthe, clear Cointreau and topped with some amber Cognac. Use about one half ounce of each or vary the amounts for different of thicknesses of color layers.
It should be drunk in one shot, the way my grandmother did it. You get a swirl of different tastes in your mouth. It’s more a confection than a drink – not too sweet or tart.
Italian Flag Pousse Caffe
Whenever I make Pousse Caffes, since they’re so colorful, all the kids around the table want one. So I’ve come up with a milder version.
It starts with the same non-alcoholic Grenadine Syrup, then a thin layer of the green Crème de Menthe topped with some half and half. The only alcohol is in the ¼ ounce of low proof Crème De Menthe.
Another version of a layered after-dinner drink is the Brandy Scaffa. It’s not too sweet and has a bit more kick than the Pousse Caffe.
Start with 3/4 ounce of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueurin a narrow glass and then float 3/4 ounce of brandy on top of it. Finish with three dashes of Angostura Bitters sprinkled on top. Then watch it sink to make a reddish-brown line between the two layers. Of course, to get the correct effect, you should do it in one shot.