Day 70: A surprising winner

March 11, 2007

This evening we cooked Sardine and Bread Crumb Pasta [recipe] with Puttanesca Salad [recipe], which was in all honesty an unexpected success. A minor complaint would be the timing of the recipe instructions-the directions say to put the pasta on to cook, and then do all the preparation and assembly of the meal while it cooks. We were two people cooking and chopping, and we started the pasta after about ten minutes of chopping the salad stuff. The pasta was still ready maybe ten minutes before we were.

The puttanesca salad consisted of tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies, red onions, parsley and basil, basically all chopped together and mixed in a bowl. There was a reasonable amount of chopping involved, obviously, but it was well worth it in terms of the depth of flavour achieved. The colours were vibrant and the salad looked good on the plate. The anchovies were complemented by the other ingredients and were not overpowering, which was a happy balance all round.

The sardine bread crumb pasta seemed a little odd at first- garlic and a mountain of bread crumbs were added to olive oil in the pan and turned until golden. Finely chopped parsley and salt and pepper were added to taste, and the breadcrumbs were put to one side. The chopped sardines and red pepper flakes were then sautéed in more olive oil. They formed into one giant lump which was maybe not supposed to happen; it seemed difficult to imagine at this point that the pasta would be anything but extremely dry. We mixed the sardine mixture with the linguine, with some olive oil to lubricate. The breadcrumbs were then added to the pan and the whole lot was mixed together. At this point it still seemed very, very dry but we served it anyway.

I have to confess to taking a fish-breather this evening, but the others really enjoyed the meal. The pasta was not too dry- obviously it wasn’t wet but it wasn’t unpleasant, and it was well complemented by the salad. Everyone ate plenty and said it was very good. It seemed to have had a strong soporific effect on at least one member of the household, who may have been snoring on the sofa within 45 minutes of finishing the meal. So, amazingly, this was a resounding success, although the fishy smell permeating the condo is a little less than pleasant.

Tomorrow, I think we are set for some all-American food extravaganza with BBQ Sloppy Chicken Pan Pizza. As far as I can tell, the pizza base will be made out of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix, which seems just odd. It may be a good litmus test as to whether our guests are either

  • easily pleased
  • exceptionally polite
  • genuinely enjoying the cuisine of Rachael Ray

We’ll let you know. In other news, our website still isn’t fixed, but we can put in teeny tiny low quality images for some reason. We’ll replace them with bigger and better pictures as soon as we can, assuming our sanity is intact.

EDITED TO ADD: Finally! Our pictures are working again, hooray! Let’s all take a moment to look at the glorious technicolour pictures of meals 64-70.

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  • Reply The Home Cook March 14, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    I saw RR make this meal the other day and I thought it sounded interesting. I have to admit to being worried about the sardines, though. I’m not afraid of anchovies (so it’s good to know the salad isn’t too overpowering) but sardines, with all the little bones…I’m not sure I could handle that. Did you de-bone them or just throw them in whole?

  • Reply Helen | One Year Project March 14, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Hi, we used tinned sardines in soybean oil and just drained the can and chucked them in, bones and all. They did go into an enormous lump at first, but eventually the fish dispersed within the pasta, and any boneyness was masked by the breadcrumbs.

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