Monday, July 19, 2010

Summerlicious, Linguini Vongole, and "Bill"

Linguini Vongole.
Easily my favorite pasta dish of all time. I first had it in a random back street piazza in the outskirts of Rome. I learnt two things that night. First, this pasta would be the defining dish to take home with me. Second, if I wished to make it back to the hotel with my body as one whole unit, I better vet my Rome taxi drivers more carefully in the future. In fact, it's safe to generalize here. When in Rome, walk.

Barry "The Blur" Mooney (Now CWC!)
Stuck in the middle of a typical summerlicious service; which can be exceptionally fun as long as you and your fellow cooks share a self-deprecating dark, dry sense of humor. We here at Epic do just fine.
Wild B.C. Salmon
Stewed Ham Hock/Navy Bean Ragout, Sugar Snap Peas, Meyer Lemon Sauce.

When life hands you a lemon...

A rabbit. More specifically, a rabbit with a huge chunk of my perfectly manicured lawn stuffed in its mouth....

Make lemonade.

Hot and Dry Smoked Spiced Rabbit,
Garden Chimichurri Sauce

Full Disclosure; I did not kill the bunny from my backyard(who my wife refers to as "Bill") to make the tasty kebobs shown above.
It did however take some concentrated effort on my behalf to save its little furry skin from my Italian classically raised, now retired, old-school father-in-law who was all to eager to handle this "situation" I was having with "Bill".
In the end, Darwin was on its side, as I am sure it could sense the impending exhaustion of my wife's father patience and simply disappeared one day last week when the whole family was up.

huh,...uh oh...

Anyways, summerlicious is in full swing at Epic. The menu is awesome, and we have been busier then average this year thus far with it. I was really happy to hear from Chef Ryan that the Vongole would be on the menu.

So, here is my take on the dish, just the way I love it.

Linguini Vongole


Linguini (100gr. per person)
Clams (I love Varache, and 6 per order)
2 oz. Pancetta (Diced)
1 Shallot (Brunoise)
Garlic (1 Peeled Clove)
Chilies (tt)
Italian Parsley Chopped
125ml. Dry White Wine
1 tbs. Olive Oil
1 knob. Butter
Salt and Pepper (tt, and you toasted the pepper before using a coffee grinder to break it down right?)
Parm (the good stuff, optional, purest will hate me though)

Method (to the madness)

1) Cook the linguini al dente. Reserve the salty pasta water in case you need to loosen the final dish. However I am serious about the al dente bit. That pasta better have perfect structure there or I am walking away...
2) In a heated skillet, Add a hint of olive oil. Cook off the pancetta until brown. Add the shallots and garlic and sweat for 1 minute.
3) Deglaze with white wine, add the clams and chilies.
4) Cook off until the clams open up. Remove the garlic.
5) Check for sauce consistency, add a knob of butter and set an emulsion. Add pasta water if needed. Finally, add the linguini, and toss in the parsley, and season to perfection.

Serve on a mid-summer night, around 10pm, preferably in a Rome piazza court yard with your favorite person next to you. ...assuming they are into Bi-valves as well. Drink a healthy amount of wine if you plan to taxi it back to the hotel.

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