cooking

All posts tagged cooking

Chinese Penis Fish

Published March 2, 2013 by Tony

EDIBLE WORMS

Urechis unicinctus

Apart from a very small worm that grows in a famous Sardinia cheese, called “Casu Marzu“, and that some eats with the cheese, I had never heard of other edible worms, at least in Western culture. It is known that in Asian and Eastern countries anything is eaten, including insects and larvae, but to know that in Korea they eat some giant worms, well… those images have particularly disgusted me. Although the thought of eating worms and insect larvae is rather shocking for many of you, I guess!
The worm, to which I refer, belongs to a species that lives mainly in the Yellow and China Sea, and its scientific name is Urechis unicinctus, a species of marine spoon worm.

It is widely referred to as the fat innkeeper worm or the penis fish that lives in burrows in sand and mud.

Why penis fish? Well… look at the pictures and you’ll understand!
The spoon worms or Echiura, are a small group of marine animals similar in size and habit.
This spoon worm is commonly eaten raw with salt and sesame oil in Korea and in parts of Japan. It is also used for fishing bait.
In Chinese cuisine the worm is stir-fried with vegetables, or dried and powdered to be used as a savory taste enhancer. In particular, the worm is considered an important ingredient in Shandong cuisine and is used in numerous recipes.

Looking at its pictures, it looks soft and tender and the given “penis” name truly suits it!
By hearsay, people prefer to eat it raw because the heat would make it inconsistent.
How about… do you want to taste it?
And how do you prefer it, into small pieces or put it all in your mouth……

Chinese Penis Fish

..

..

ITALIAN DISH

Published October 5, 2011 by Tony

SPAGHETTI WITH VONGOLA(s)

spaghetti vongola
How to prepare the original spaghetti with vongolas dish, by a real Neapolitan guy recipe.
Note “vongola” should be singular so, I will use vongola
s as plural.
It’s a great Italian slight meal for any occasion.
Hope you know the Italian kind of pasta called spaghetti and what vongola is. Vongolas are freshwater mussels, just a marine bivalves whose scientific name is Venerupis decussate. We called it ‘Vongola verace’ when picked from sea and not from breeding that, obviously is more delicious. The true spaghetti -vongola are made with no tomato but with olive oil, garlic and parsley only.
As pasta you can use spaghetti,  linguina or vermicelli according to your taste and pasta thickness, where linguina is bigger than spaghetti and with a square cross-section while round for spaghetti and vermicelli.

Ingredients for 4 people:
– 2 Pounds (or more)  of clams; – 350- 400 gr of spaghetti; – ½  cup (150 milliliter roughly ) of white wine; – A sprig of fresh Parsley; – Salt; – Extra virgin olive oil (3,5 oz. roughly)  ; – 1 Garlic clove; – pepper or red chili pepper (optional).

spaghetti
vongolas

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1: Prepare the clams

Pour the vongolas into a large colander and leave under cold running water for roughly for some  minutes to remove any grit from the shells. If you have bought them and have to prepare the dish later, you should keep them in salt water or wrap them in a wet table napkin and keep in the fridge where you can store them for more time even.

Step 3: Heat the water

Place a large pot of salted water on a high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and bring to the boil.

Step 4: Drain the clams

Place a large frying pan on high heat, add olive oil and garlic and stir until lightly browned. Remove the pan from the fire and put the drained vongolas adding some splashes of white (dry) wine (even spumante if you already have an open bottle). Place on high heat and stir from time to time. Vongolas needs few minutes to open and cock, 5 minutes should be sufficient, and a minute before blowing out add the chopped fresh parsley and as optional some paring of red chili pepper.

vongola

Step 5: Cook the spaghetti

Once the water is boiling, uncover and put the spaghetti in. Bring the water back to the boil, whilst stirring and cook for 8-10 minutes. The timing is often written on the packaging of sundry brands and depending on thicknesses.  You should taste the pasta from time to time to check the right cooking point because pasta never should be too soft (softish consistency).  A tip: –  boiled consistency of pasta is called ‘al dente’ (Italian for to the tooth), meaning soft but with texture, sometimes even with bite in the center.

Step 7: Drain the pasta

Put the pasta in the colander, allow it to drain and then transfer it back to the same pan.

spaghetti-vongola

Step 8: Add juice to spaghetti

Using the slotted spoon to prevent any clams from falling, tip some juice from the clams over the spaghetti, and stir. Add vongolas at any portion (dish) and serve still warm. Please, don’t forget to do the “scarpetta” in the end, as Neapolitan call it, it’s to say to clean your plate with a piece of (Italian) bread. Any Italian white wine should be the best drink for this dish, also if I advise a fresh and aromatized Neapolitan wine as “Greco di Tufo” or “Fano”.  
Enjoy and YUMMY!

spaghetti-vongolasGreco di tufo