When I’m not eating it, I’m reading about it, I’m cooking it, I’m loving it.
I’m a food junkie.
I came from a home where great food was worshipped. Note I didn’t say expensive food — I said great food.
When I was a kid, and money was tight, all it took was a box of La Rosa spaghetti (price at the time: 17 cents a pound), four cloves of garlic (cost: three cents) and 1/3 cup of olive oil (cost: about 15 cents). That’s less than a dollar for my Mom to make a delicious meal for six people.
Here’s the recipe:
Just lightly sauté four thinly sliced garlic cloves in olive oil, add a few pinches of dried red chili flakes, a few shakes of salt, some grated Parmesan cheese, and toss with spaghetti.
Presto! In less than 15 minutes, you just cooked spaghetti aglio e olio, a delicious, inexpensive meal (about $5 today) for the whole family.
Here are a few more food ideas from past columns.
All the food in this column is guaranteed to be lip-smacking good.
• Cool summer recipe: Pick up a pound of fresh raw scallops at the wonderful Seafood Shop in Wainscott. Slice them into thin slices, add the juice of one lemon, four ounces of great virgin olive oil, plenty of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Mix and leave in the refrigerator for two hours. Drain, then serve. Delicious.
• Here’s my favorite tomato sandwich, which comes from The New York Times food section:
Toast a few slices of great bread from Breadzilla in Wainscott. (Breadzilla, whose motto seems to be “We’re not here to smile, we’re here to sell you good bread,” bakes the best bread in the Hamptons.) Rub a whole garlic clove on both slices of the toasted bread. Cut a jalapeño pepper and rub it onto the bread, too.
Take a large ripe tomato, cut it in half, and rub the juicy delicious part on the bread until the bread is covered with tomato pulp. Slice the other half of the tomato, add some thinly sliced red onion, a little mayonnaise, a lot of salt, and dig in. Best sandwich in the world.
• Here’s my recipe for linguini with clam sauce. I might add that no one in the world makes a better linguini with clam sauce than I do, and that’s me at my most modest.
Buy a pound of the already shucked clams at the Seafood Shop in Wainscott. Ask the man behind the counter to chop those clams coarsely. Also buy two dozen Little Neck clams, closed.
First you steam the closed Little Necks in a pan in olive oil and garlic. When they open, they give off a lot of juice. Save the juice and the clams.
Then, put a generous pour of olive oil in a large pan and sauté about 10 garlic cloves for seven minutes, then add all of the clam juice that came out of the Little Necks. Plus, you can buy clam juice frozen at the Seafood Shop or ask the man behind the counter for some. Add the clam juice to the olive oil and garlic.
Turn the heat up until just about all of the clam juice is cooked off. In the end, you should have olive oil that tastes of clams. Add your pound of chopped clams into the oil-and-clam-juice mixture and cook for about three minutes. Separately, cook a pound of linguini in salted boiling water until it is al dente.
Then, toss your pasta into the chopped clams and oil and garlic mixture, turn up the heat for one minute, and mix the linguini and clams well. Garnish your dish with the two dozen Little Necks in their shells. Delicious.
• Want to taste mozzarella the way it tastes in Naples, Italy, the world capital of mozzarella making? Go to the Red Horse Market and run over to the section where Pasquale Langella presides over a mozzarella wonderland. Pasquale is a master at making the best creamy, delicious mozzarella in the United States. Check that — he’s even better than the guys in Naples.
Pasquale is a mozzarella magician. Slice one of his mozzarellas just after he made it, while it’s still warm, and serve it with luscious slices of ripe tomato, a little olive oil and basil, and your tongue and taste buds will thank you.
• Make yourself great hamburgers all summer long. To begin with, don’t use that 80-percent lean crap that they sell at the supermarket. Lean, dry hamburgers are yet another thing that we can blame on those politically correct fools who want to tell you what to eat and how to eat. May their doctors put them on an all-kale-and-nothing-but-kale diet for the rest of their lives.
And have you heard? It turns out fat may be good for you. If you’re in the Hamptons, go to Cromer’s on Noyac Road just outside Sag Harbor. It’s the best place for meat in the Hamptons. Ask for Ray (he’s the best butcher in the country) and ask him to chop you some delicious, fat-filled hamburger meat. Then enjoy the most delicious, juicy, tasty hamburgers you’ve had in years.
• Here’s a great snack or a nice light appetizer that should make everyone happy, including those vegans in your life who, we all know, can be pains in the ass about food.
Take six endives and cut them down the middle. If your math is good, that should give you 12 halves. Take a good olive oil (I use Monini Fruttato Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is criminally overpriced but delicious) and put two or three drops of olive oil on each endive half.
Crush and mash some garlic and put a little bit on each half (you can substitute garlic salt if you want to take the easy way out). Put the endive halves cut-side up in your George Foreman Grill and close the top for three or four minutes. When you open it, the endive should have brown grill marks and start to be translucent. Serve each endive piece as a snack or side dish.
I’ve got to stop writing about food. I’m drooling onto my computer.
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