Monday, September 1, 2014

Making Italian food with a dagger

Today on A Book of Cookrye, we would like to announce that we have replaced our much-used Italian cookbook!
We even put in a ribbon bookmark.

It seems that once books reach a certain age, putting heavy weights on them because they won't lie flat will make pages fall out. There are a lot of 1¢ copies of this book online, but it occurred to me that I'd get another 50-year-old paperback that would then fall apart from my having to smash it flat to see the recipe. Since it has been a while since I did anything interesting in the craft world, I scanned, reprinted, and bound a new one instead. I used Coptic binding which was easy (see Coptic binding instructions here) and didn't require any specialty supplies aside from a darning needle and a 27¢ ribbon spool.  To inaugurate the new copy and to start another year of living on campus off with a racket, we're going to make...
fritelle di pesciolini
I think this was invented by lazy fishermen who decided to eat the bait instead.

I must admit I was a bit unsure how to proceed with this one. How was I supposed to clean all those minnows? Do they just mean wash them, or am I supposed to actually gut and fillet each and every one of them? Well, I looked online, and

Just kidding. We're making this.

I only have one recipe that cauliflower recipe I voluntarily eat. Only six years ago, I thought cauliflower was broccoli that had been dipped in bleach. I picked this recipe because I wanted to try something that you don't really see in American Italian restaurants, and I found the list of ingredients intriguingly strange (Currants? Anchovies? Simultaneously?). I was also curious to try a spaghetti recipe that involves neither basil, garlic, nor oregano.
Because I already have leftover currants from this and pine nuts from this, the recipe looked nice and cheap. However, to make it even cheaper, I took the liberty of weighing a cauliflower head (it was 2½ pounds) and buying a couple of frozen bags instead. I then decided to microwave them wrapped in soggy paper towels because I was lazy. By coincidence, microwaving apparently better preserves the vitamins than boiling.
Then, it was time to take out my kitchen dagger and cut up the onion!

This was a Christmas present from a really good friend. I think it was meant to be a letter opener, but I had it sharpened on one edge so it can actually be useful. Plus, since it came with a sheath, I can just drop it in a bag and carry it without worrying about dinging the blade or cutting the bag open.
I'd tolerate 2 months of hearing Jingle Bells 9 times a day a lot better if I knew I'd get weaponry at the end of it.

However, after getting to have at produce with a sword, I had to then face... uh... this.
It almost looks like that woodgrain-looking laminate you see on old appliances.

I don't know why these grossed me out so much. I've blenderized kidneys without feeling as squicky as I did fishing these out of the tin.
Oh, yum.

Fortunately, all I had to do was scissor them which was over in 30 seconds.
It looks so innocent, you'd never suspect canned fish were dissolved in it.

At this point, I must report something strange. Something about the smell of tomatoes and onions with the anchovy just barely there drew people to the kitchen. Seriously, it seemed to have bewitching powers. I was really glad I hadn't cut the recipe in half; a lot of people were asking if they could have a taste and I hadn't even gotten halfway through.

Once again, the pine kernels look like little bugs breeding in there. The currants look like little droppings. Fortunately, once the tomato sauce, cauliflower (which I randomly hacked at with a sword once it was cooked), and noodles all got mixed, it looked lovely.  You just had to not think about the dissolved(!) anchovies.

And.... holy Jesus this is good. It is amazing. You should totally try cauliflower and corkscrews, they are delicious. They are beautiful. I received hugs over this. Even the anchovies added just enough of a pungent kick to make it really nice without making it taste like anchovy.

But I will add that it is best fresh. Casseroles and enchiladas benefit from a night in the fridge to meld, cauliflower corkscrews do not. The next day, everything had blended and... well, it was nice, but a little bland.


  1. I tried this and can confirm its deliciousness. Frying the snipped anchovies tended to crisp them up - next time I'll mash them in a little of the oil.

    1. It's delicious, isn't it? Also, I once forgot to separately cook the anchovies and just dumped them into the tomatoes and it turned out fine- they dissolved and everything.