You might think he's doing something else. But in reality, he's learning how to sit/stay, and not doing a very good job of it (he eventually learned how to do so beautifully ... sort of ).

lunedì 3 maggio 2010

Averardo and Green Garlic

The Italian Scallion has many cousins, all interesting and wonderful. One of the most interesting and wonderful is Averardo, the Senior Statesman of the Scallion's generation. Averardo is warm, witty, learned, world-travelled, and a marvelous cook (perhaps one day I will extract his ragù di cinghiale (wild boar sauce) recipe from him. He likes his food, knows how to cook it, and appreciates a good dish of anything.

Imagine my dismay when he told me a few weeks ago that he thought a previously-blogged recipe bordered on mediocrity. (He’s far too much of a gentleman to speak that way; this is my inference.) The recipe he referred to was Samantha’s divine spaghetti-garlic-olive oil-bouillon cube. Though I stoutly defended the virtues of this dish, he was unforgiving. No, he said, if you’re going to mess with this classic, make it with olive oil and garlic, then, just before serving, add a couple of chopped anchovies, toss, eat.

In replying to my solicitation, Averardo writes: “I view aglio, olio e peperoncino [spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, and hot peppers] as a quick recipe, simple to make with what’s available in the pantry: if you have fresh garlic, great, otherwise regular garlic works equally well. It [the green garlic] will change the flavor a bit, but we change, too: with the seasons and their colors, their aromas, and their vibes, so it’s fine like that. On the other hand, when you have fresh garlic, you don’t have new oil[1] … As for the anchovies, it’s important to have them melt in oil that’s hot, not boiling! Otherwise they get bitter. So, after cooking the garlic ‘til golden (with the hot pepper), turn off the flame and wait for the oil to cool; then add the anchovy filets, breaking them up with a fork, while the pasta is cooking. There you go. Trust me: it’s better than with a broth cube!!!)."

So here’s a riff on Averardo’s recipe with green garlic rather than everyday garlic. (Though everyday garlic would work equally well during wet and rainy winters.)

Green garlic is a fleeting thing; it’s garlic at its earliest stage, before the bulb has set. It looks a lot like a scallion. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, grow it. Otherwise, seek it out in the spring at any good farmer’s market. You can use it the way you’d use garlic, only then some: Chez Panisse, Temple of Gastronomy, highlights it in a cheesy soufflé, and in a creamy soup with potatoes and said, as well as another delicious soup with tomatoes.[2]
Gli spaghetti aglio e olio di Averardo in primavera (Averardo’s garlic, olive oil, and peperoncini spaghetti in spring)

200 g. spaghetti or other thin noodle’d pasta
4 green garlic plants, ends trimmed, minced
2 hot peppers, minced
3 T. extravirgin olive oil
2 salt-packed anchovy filets, scrubbed clean of salt, chopped
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Put the olive oil in a saucepan, and heat over a medium flame. Mince the garlic and the hot peppers together, and toss in the pan. Do not let the garlic brown; if there’s even a hint of it doing so, turn the flame down.

Fill a deep pot with water, bring to a boil, and toss in the spaghetti. Cook according to package instructions, drain.

Remove the olive oil/hot pepper/garlic mix from the stove, and gently stir in the anchovies, which will melt upon contact. Add the spaghetti, and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the parsley, and eat immediately.
Serves two.

Averardo: we had it for lunch today; and though it isn’t better than dado (!), it was absolutely saporific. Apologies to all readers who find photo of said dish blurry and incomprehensible, which it is.

Photo of Dan having had his fun with Sol the Shark in Ipswich kind courtesy of James Hayward.

This just in from Sally, Art Historian Chum and Mistress of the Perfectly-Executed Roast: opening imminently at the National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Virgina is “Lives of Dogs Viewed Through Literature, Art and Ephemera” Exhibition on Display at the National Sporting Library from May 27 through December 11, 2010 . “Lives of Dogs Viewed Through Literature, Art and Ephemera” will open Thursday, May 27, at the National Sporting Library, located at 102 The Plains Rd. in Middleburg, Virginia. The exhibit features books and objects that span four centuries and are selected from the Library’s holdings as well as those of private collectors. Lives of Dogs provides a glimpse into the richly complex topic of the relationship between dogs and humans.Lives of Dogs is on display in the Forrest E. Mars Sr. Exhibit Hall at the National Sporting Library and is open to the public May 27 through December 11, 2010, during normal library hours, which are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Curatorial Assistant Brenna Elliott, Librarian Lisa Campbell and Maureen Gustafson curated the exhibition. For more information, visit or call 540-687-6542 x 10.
[1] An interesting, crucial, and sad point: olio nuovo (new oil) happens in the fall, usually in November. Green garlic season typically happens in mid-spring.
[2] See Chez Panisse Cooking by Paul Bertolli with Alice Waters, New York, 1988. He writes: “The quality of green garlic is unique and of great use in the kitchen. When cooked, it has none of the hot, pungent qualities of fresh garlic cloves. Its flavor, although unmistakably associated with the mature form, is much milder.” (p. 111) The folks at Chez Panisse also use it to make a ravioli stuffing (see Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza, & Calzone, New York, 1984).

1 commento:

  1. You write that one cannot have green garlic and new oil at the same time, but a)can't one grow garlic (for new shoots) for as long as there are no frosts? & b)isn't it a waste of new oil to cook with it and have its new-taste qualities vaporise in the heat?
    I look forward to trying this recipe all the same.