July 25, 2011

DINING IN: An Occasional Series

I'm going to start an occasional series here on 10KP called (because it's hot and I can't think of anything more clever) "Dining In." In it, I'll create a meal inspired by a work of art (be it a story, a painting, a movie, a poem, a play, maybe even a building, etc. etc.).  Today we're going to take a little trip to Sicily (Messina, to be exact), into Kenneth Brannaugh's Much Ado About Nothing, which is basically the perfect Shakespeare movie, as well as the perfect movie for a hot summer day.  Also:

Sigh no more, Ladies.


Come! I will have thee.
...And we can't forget this. As it is set in Messina, we shall have our meal the Italian way: Appertivo, Antipasto, Primo, Secondi (con Contorno) Formaggio e Frutta, e Dolce con Digestif. These are vibrant, luscious dishes, perfect for outdoor eating (
Appertivo: Mrs. 404 -- an appertif with St Germaine and Aperol (well, the Aperol, at least, is Italian), from Julie Davis's fun food blog.
Antipasto: In the summer heat a platter of salami and olives will do just fine.  May I recommend Virginia based Olli Salumeria (it is some of the very best salami I have ever had)--available at Grape + Bean in Alexandria, and the delicious Italian varieties of olives: Cerignola, and Castelvetrano (available at Whole Foods and specialty grocery stores, and any decent Italian deli). Brighten the dish with a splash of peppery olive oil and a side of melon.
His words are a very fantastical
banquet, just so many strange dishes.
Primo: In this heat, the primo course, which is usually pasta or gnocchi, needs to be light and fresh.  I've already given many recipes for pesto (which can be tossed into a light linguine) with some cherry tomatoes, or whole basil leaves.  But perhaps my favorite summer pasta dish is Cacio e Pepe: Spaghetti with Pecorino and Cracked pepper.  It is as simple as can be. Grate approximately 3/4 cup of true Pecorino Romano in a variety of grate-sizes (chunky, small and whispy thin). Grind 2 tbl whole black peppercorns, coarsely. Set cheese and pepper aside. In a wide stockpot, boil 1/2 lb angel hair pasta in salted water as directed (approximately 3 minutes). Scoop out one cup of pasta water, and then drain the pasta; returning it to the pot.  Quickly stir in the cheese and pepper (I find using tongs actually works best, because the cheese clumps in a spoon), and add some of the reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, to make the sauce more, well, saucy.  Top with another wisp of cheese and sprinkle of pepper and perhaps a touch of olive oil.

Secondi:  Sicilian Style Swordfish with tomatoes and capers and olives and every good thing, from Food 52. If you can't get a hold of swordfish, this would be good with any meaty fish: tuna, salmon, halibut, and even fresh sardines. As a Contorno, or side dish, add a light salad of shaved fennel, arugula, and heirloom tomatoes.

Come, come, we are friends: let's have a dance ere we are married,
 that we may lighten our own hearts and our wives' heels.
Fromaggio e Frutta: I will admit.  I was inspired almost as much by this movie as I was by this amazing dish of grilled (GRILLED!) cheese (literally--not a sandwich) with figs and honey from Not Without Salt.  Behold:

Docle con Digestif e Caffe: Lemon Anise Slush from 101 Cookbooks with iced or hot espresso. Add limoncello to the slush for a non-traditional take on the digestif. Or finish with some fine grappa.


Have some wine ere you are gone.
If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer: his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods. 

For man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.

(Suggestions for a future post?  Email them to me.)

1 comment:

  1. Only one of my favorite movies EVER! Perfect in so many ways.