Sunday, June 12, 2011
Fiddlehead Fettucine with Wild Arugula Cream Sauce
INGREDIENTS (serves 4):
1 12-oz. bottle Sierra Nevada Summerfest
1/2 pound fresh fiddlehead ferns, carefully washed and trimmed
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp red chili flake
1/4 cup apple brandy (or regular brandy)
8 oz. chicken stock
8 oz. half and half
3/4 pound mixed fresh egg noodle and spinach noodle fettucine (bicolore!)
2 large handfuls wild arugula (regular is fine; ours is from the garden)
1/2 cup fresh minced parsley
salt and fresh black pepper
1) Heat oil in a large skillet; meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
2) Add onion, garlic, dried thyme, and red chili flake to skillet; sweat the onions, 3-4 minutes.
3) Pour brandy into pan, followed by stock and half and half. Season with salt and pepper and then bring to a simmer.
4) Cook, stirring often, until the sauce begins to thicken and the flavors blend, 8-10 minutes.
5) Immerse fiddleheads in the cream sauce and cover, turning down heat, cooking for approx. 6 minutes or until tender.
6) Meanwhile, cook your bicolore fresh pasta noodles for three minutes in rapidly boiling water. Drain.
7) Add arugula to skillet just before incorporating noodles. Toss the noodles into the cream sauce, which will wilt the arugula. Adjust seasoning to taste and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
8) Open Sierra Nevada Summerfest. Enjoy together.
Okay, okay, Sierra is not the most obscure choice of beers for us all to geek out over here at Beer Meets Food. But this is a very respectable pilsner, and it won the gold medal at the California State Fair in 1999 for that reason. It tastes like early summer, and so do fiddlehead ferns, and thus are we determined to match them up in our bellies. The Summerfest goes through an extra-long lagering period, according to Sierra's website, which is the time when the yeast re-absorbs ester compounds, sulfur compounds, and tannins, mellowing the flavor of the brew. It leaves this particular pilsner with a nice fresh cut grass aroma that blends very smoothly with bready malts and an active, crisp mouthfeel.
Gabe bought a Canon T3I. As you can see above, our recipes will now be looking MUCH sexier. I have nothing to say regarding this purchase, however, because when Gabe starts talking about cameras with knowledgeable people like my friend Melinda, I start hearing things like, "It's a twenty-ex-three-Mach-niner Millenium Falcon model, with Bravo chrome zoom and eleven o'clock aperture range, and the lens is a seventy-two degree deadeye with curvature of LALALALALALALA."
THE FIDDLEHEAD FERN:
Know what I DO know about, though? Obscure veggies. The most magical ingredients on earth are always the ones with a very narrow period of availability, such as the powdered unicorn horn only harvested during the the intersection of the full moon and David Bowie's birthday. Fiddleheads taste like the green forest floor and are around for about three weeks, end of May into early June. Technically, it's an Ostrich Fern frond, with the delicate light brown casing carefully removed by the folk who are kind enough to forage for them in the Northeast woods. Clean them very carefully in cold water and then treat them just as you would an asparagus tip or a French bean. They are delicious and sexy and pretty and I love them.
THE BOOKS I HAVE BEEN BOOKING:
Wow, but this blog needs updating.
I can haz book cover for The Gods of Gotham (!).
I can't show it to you yet. I wish I could. It is very sexy and very shiny. But the marketers have to have a meeting to launch it first, and so instead of showing you my book cover, I will cruelly taunt you with the fact that it exists.
It is sexy like this, except that the picture looks really nothing like this, and neither does the font, and I can't wait to show you, and the book is not by Stieg Larsson, it is by ME: