Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not for the faint of heart

Or perhaps, not for the faint of palate. I love blue cheese and I have been known to put some Maytag Blue or creamy Fourme d’Ambert on just about anything. (Pasta, eggs, soup, vegetables, baguette, fruit, other cheese…) Last night I made pasta with sardines and olive oil, which tastes good with some grated Parmesan or Ricotta Salata. But I didn’t have those. I just had Maytag – or Jarlsberg. I went with the blue, even though it meant pairing a strong flavor with another strong flavor. But somehow it worked - though I’m partial.

I usually buy sardines canned in olive oil. They also come in tomato sauce. For those hesitant about sardine consumption, please remember they are not nearly as intensely flavored as their anchovy cousin. If you like canned tuna, you can handle sardines. Cook your preferred pasta, per directions. While pasta is draining, heat a few tablespoons olive oil over M - M/H heat. Scoop your deboned sardines into the pan – ~ ½ tin per person . Add the hot pasta and stir a few times. Remove from heat. Mix approximately ¼ tsp lemon zest into the pasta. You likely don’t need salt when using canned sardines and salty cheese, so salt and pepper with that in mind. Turn onto a plate. Top with grated or crumbled cheese. And greens, if you are feeling healthy. I used arugula, which is a bit zesty and tasted nice with the slight lemon flavor. Today, I used the second half of the sardine tin to make a “sardine melt,” using wheat bread and the Jarlsberg cheese. It tasted like a grown-up tuna melt, with the olive oily fish and rich nutty cheese.

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