April 2009

Posted on April 30, 2009 in Archives

April 17, 2009: Un viaggio in Liguria

Mikel and I are getting ready to leave for a couple of weeks in Liguria, and while I will have my camera and laptop with me, I don’t plan to spend a lot of time sitting in front of this computer screen while on this much-needed vacation. Last year I did manage to go out west with my wine guru Debbie, who turns 60 on Sunday, and Mikel got to go see our friends Anne and Jim Olsen in San Miguel de Allende, but both of our fathers were dying last summer, so most of our time off was spent with family, and not together. We are truly looking forward to going to Genoa, where I lived in the early 80s, for two weeks. We’ve rented an apartment in the centro storico, the old historic center of the city, the world’s largest intact medieval city. The apartment is within the old city walls, where the carruggi, as the alleyways are called in the local dialect, are so narrow in places that you can stretch your arms out and place the palms of your hands flat on the walls. When I lived there, I was making my living as a painter and photographer. The above image is from a series I did called “Il Bianco e Nero”– the Black and the White, as Genoa is often called. Some think that the name came from the distinguishing striped paterns of white marble and the local black ardesia, a type of slate, that was used in the medieval churches. But I’ve always thought that it referred the the flickering of light as you walk through those dank alleyways, only fully lit at midday. The image above is one of dozens I took (and printed, and successfully sold), looking straight up at noon. That’s the corner of the building that housed the apartment where I lived, the top floor of an old medieval building modernized in the 19th century. When I lived there, the carruggi could be downright scary. Snaggle-toothed whores, 70 if they were a day, beckoned from behind beaded curtains and the alleys always stank of dog shit and centuries of grime. It was truly a sailor’s port, more like Marseilles than Charleston. Merchant seamen in rough denims (the fabric — blue jean — was invented in, and named for, Genoa) were its denizens, not pretty boys in white duck.

After Hurricane Hugo in 1989, I turned in the first draft of my first book, and headed back to Genoa for the holidays, hoping to write a book about the city and its unique cuisine. (Fred Plotkin, far more qualified than I, beat me to the punch (see blog for March 6). His book is excellent; several other books on Liguria have since been published in English.) A high speed train from Milan had been built to the city in anticipation of the 500th anniversary of native son Christopher Columbus’s portentous maiden voyage. Rich Milanese and Turinese businessmen were buying up property in Genoa and the once undiscovered city became a bedroom community of northerners. Prices skyrocketed.

Then, for the Cinquecentenario Colombiano in 1992, the city was spruced up big-time, with the great Italian architect Renzo Piano overseeing the major plans that included rebuilding the opera house, destroyed since World War II, and opening up the waterfront and making it pedestrian friendly, with walkways and exhibits and Europe’s biggest and best aquarium. And then, as if that weren’t enough, the city underwent another major overhaul when it was chosen to be the Cultural Capital of the EU (a revolving honor) in 2004.

The carruggi, I hear, have changed little, though those medieval buildings have been stripped of the centuries of filth. The apartment we’ve rented sits not three doors down from where I lived 26 years ago. It hovers over the Piazza di Soziglia, where two of the world’s oldest and finest confectioners still have stores. I can’t wait to eat gianduja and real pesto and pansôti (see February 17) and salame di Sant’Olcese (from a nearby hilltop village, the soft, mortadella-like Sant’Olcese is the true Genoa salame, and nothing like what we call Genoa here in the States. I’ll be blogging about it all in due time, but don’t look for anything before next month!

April 15, 2009: Dinner for Two on Tax Day

 

It’s tax day and while Mikel and I long ago filed our returns, I’m still reminded on this day of the injustice of our relationship not being equal under the law. I’ve written elsewhere about gay rights, and I swore I would never let my blog become a rant of any kind, but religious beliefs codified in political systems is the root of so many of  the world’s problems. Perhaps one day Americans will see the light that shines onCanada andSpain andSweden andNorway andBelgium andSouth Africa andVermont andMassachusetts andConnecticut andIowa. Civil unions are afforded the same rights as marriages in many other states and countries, but in theUS, they’re meaningless when it comes to crossing state lines and under federal law.

 

Honestly, I don’t see why marriage is recognized by the federal government in the first place. I’ll put my relationship with Mikel up against any marriage I’ve ever known. We’ve never even had an argument, as different as we are.

 

The husband of a close relative of mine up and disappeared 10 years ago, but she’s still not divorced for a multitude of reasons, mostly financial. But should she keel over dead tomorrow, he would get her social security benefits because he’s still legally married to her. And he could contest her will and, given the judicial system inSouth Carolina, probably get half of her estate, such as it is, paying no taxes on any of the inheritance. Should either Mikel or I die tomorrow, neither of us would be eligible for the other’s social security, and we would have to pay inheritance taxes on our estate, which was mutually earned and is mutually owned. We’ve done all we can to protect ourselves with wills and living wills and powers of attorney. But something is truly evil about the way things are.

 

I’ve always believed that the Declaration of Independence was the real rock on whichAmerica was founded. Unfortunately, it’s the Constitution, strongly influenced (and largely written) by a bunch of wealthy southern slave owners, that is the law of the land. Thank goodness for the Bill of Rights, though they seem to be abused and misinterpreted as often as not.

 

Freedom of religion is a good thing, but its inclusion in the Constitution also implies freedom from it. I love that all of us can believe and express what we will; moreover, that those beliefs must not be codified into law. The gay rights groups have had it wrong for years, caving in to the ridiculousness of the “choice” argument, when, in fact, inalienable choice (liberty and the pursuit of happiness) was one of America’s great foundations. So what if I choose to love Mikel? Even the Supreme Court has ruled (inLawrence vs.Texas) that what two consenting adults choose to do in private is no concern of the state (or states).

 

So tax day is a hard one for me, like attending a wedding. I feel so left out.

 

In nearly 16 years together, I have shopped and cooked for our evening meal together almost every day. Cooking for two is easy, but it does require some tweaking of recipes and some special shopping, especially in America, where so many of our foods are prepackaged (and, in many instances, not available in smaller quantities). When I lived in Europe, I fell in love with the lifestyle: coffee and a pastry in the morning, then several hours of work followed by a leisurely lunch (for which we shopped just before cooking, just enough for lunch and a much smaller dinner), followed by a nap, followed by a walk, then back to work till evening,  then a glass of wine and conversation, then a simple dinner, then another walk. Then down time, perhaps a film, but, more often, a book. We never had leftovers.

 

In retrospect, I realize that it was not that much different from the lifestyle we led when I was a child and my mother made three meals a day. My father came home for dinner in the middle of the day, and we kids had a full meal at school. Mother didn’t shop every day, but we also never had leftovers. Even if we had soup. Each morning we had a full breakfast, and each night we had a well-balanced meal (with a dessert – usually homemade) every night except Sunday, when we would have had a huge meal in the middle of the day, and when we kids could fend for ourselves with popcorn, milkshakes, sandwiches, eggs, or pancakes.

Most of what my mother served us was fresh and local simply because that’s what was available in the small southern town where I grew up.

 

I must admit that I’m not fan of leftovers. I love to make big soups and stews, but with only two of us here, they get old fast. So I shop for every meal.

 

There are some dishes that I love to make and eat, but certainly not more than a couple of times of year at most. Take short ribs, for example. Cooking them isn’t particularly labor intensive, but it’s a dish that’s made, usually, for a crowd. About once a year, I’ll find some lean boneless short ribs, nicely marbled but not too fatty, in small packages. Though they take two days to prepare, I buy them. Just enough for the two of us. In this recipe, I cook them with hearty red wine, porcini, and rosemary. You could add tomatoes to the braise or you could add a little more wine, then throw in some prunes for the last hour. Use this recipe for two as a guideline.

Look for dried porcini that are from Italy, not China. They are often sold in 1/2-ounce packs. Use ¼ of the pack. I use a clay pot from Portugal for this dish because clay works best, according to Paula Wolfert, whose book on clay pot cooking will be released this fall.

 

Here’s a typical recipe.

 

Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine and Porcini

 

The first day, for the marinade:

 

¾ to 1 pound lean short ribs (see photo)

½ onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 small carrot, chopped

1 bay leaf

6-8 black peppercorns

1 sprig of thyme or marjoram

dry, full-bodied red wine, 1 to 2 cups

 

Place the ribs in a plastic freezer bag, add the onion, celery, carrot, and seasonings, then pour in enough red wine so that the ribs are submerged. Place the bag in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

For the braise:

 

1/8 ounce of dried porcini, about 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons lard, duck fat, or olive oil

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon flour

½ onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped,

1 clove garlic, peeled, green shoot removed

1 or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

 

Four hours before you plan to serve, remove the marinade package from the refrigerator and allow it come to room temperature. Remove the meat and pat completely dry. Strain the wine and reserve. Discard the vegetables and aromatics.

 

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 325º and bring a small amount of water to a boil – just enough to cover the porcini. Add the mushrooms, cover the pot, and remove from the heat.

 

Place the lard, duck fat, or olive oil in a small ovenproof pan that has a tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Season the meat all over with salt and pepper, then dust completely with flour, shaking off any excess. Brown the meat thoroughly on all sides (see photo), then place them on a plate, not touching (unlike the photo!).

 

Add the onion and celery to the pan and continue to cook over fairly high heat, stirring often. The juices released from the vegetables should be enough to deglaze the pan of any bits of deliciousness from the browning. In the meantime, reach down into the porcini pot and lift out the mushrooms with your hands, squeezing them thoroughly dry over the pot. Strain the juice well to remove any grit and add them to the wine from the marinade. Chop the porcini with the garlic.

 

When the onions begin to wilt and become translucent, add the chopped mushrooms and garlic, stirring constantly. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the wine and mushroom water and bring to a boil. Allow to reduce in half, about 5 minutes, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan.

 

Add the meat, tuck the rosemary among it, cover the pot, and on the lower rack of the oven.

Check the pot after 15 minutes to make sure it isn’t simmering too hard. A bare ripple is enough. Cook for 2½ to 3 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender, almost falling apart. If the sauce is not as thick as you want, remove the meat, place the pan on top of the stove over high heat, and reduce it to the desired consistency.

 

Serve over hot grits or polenta, rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes.

 

Serves 2.

 

April 14, 2009: A Vegetarian Meal

 

I’ve never met a vegetable I didn’t love, but I find it hard to pack enough protein into a vegetarian meal to make it satisfying. To big lamb and seafood eaters like Mikel and me, vegetables alone are seldom enough to stand up to the big wines we like to drink alongside our meals. For me, vegetarian meals take much more planning and work than, say, throwing a lamb chop on the grill or tossing a few shrimp in a hot skillet. That said, though, I can hardly resist the beautiful vegetables that begin to come in from Florida at this time of year, and I eagerly await the first of the local asparagus, strawberries, radishes, and beets.

 

Yesterday I found gorgeous golden beets with their greens, and dark purple eggplant with bright green tops. I knew that I would end up featuring them, so, to make the meal complete, I also made a blackeyed pea cake with a red pepper sauce. This meal includes pan-fried, grilled, steamed, and roasted vegetables, each offering a different texture and mouthfeel.

 

For the beets and greens, I often cook them together in a little butter on top of the stove; I also love to roast the beetroots in the oven. This time, I turned to Elizabeth Schneider’s Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini, in which she roasts the beets with a litle star anise:

 

Elizabeth Schneider’s Baked Scented Beets with Greens

 

 

Preheat the oven to 375º. Trim the beets, leaving a couple of inches of stem (see photo). Scrub the beets well and wrap each one with a half of a star anise seed pod in aluminum foil. Bake until tender, 40 to 60 minutes, while you wash the greens.

 

 

While still wrapped, rub the beets, loosening the skin. Open the foil and remove the skin and stems. Cut the beets into halves, quarters, or eighths.

 

 

About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, steam the greens over boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes, while you heat the beets in a tab of butter over low heat.

 

 

Place the greens on the plate, top with the beets, and serve with lemon wedges.

 

Grilled/Steamed Eggplant

 

I have no idea why my mother, an adventurous cook, never served us eggplant. I can only assume that either she or my father didn’t like it. I loved the ratatouille-like dishes of Liguria when I lived there, but I had never really cooked it until I moved to New York upon my return from Europe in 1984. I had a Japanese friend who steamed it for me, serving it with a soy-based dipping sauce. I’ve been in love with it ever since, especially after I moved back home to South Carolina in 1986 to open my shop and bought myself a grill.

 

 

Today’s Washington Post has an article about non-greasy eggplant dishes. What a coincidence that that was one thing I was going to write about today! I agree that slicing and salting the eggplant improves it – not because it removes bitterness but because it leaches out the water, collapsing the cells so that the spongy flesh doesn’t absorb as much oil.

 

 

After salting the eggplant for at least a half hour at room temperature, I pat it dry and then lightly brush it with olive oil. If I’m grilling outside, I close the lid so that the eggplant steams as well. If I’m using a grill pan indoors as I did last night (DAMN! These rains!), I loosely cover the pan so that the inside of the eggplant cooks in the captured steam by the time the outside is nicely grilled.

 

 

Blackeyed Pea Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Puree

The bean cakes are simple. Use the beans of your choice. I used a 1-pound can of blackeyed peas last night. Here’s the recipe I published in The New Southern Cook, though I also published a version in my first book, Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking, signed copies of its Twentieth Anniversary Edition are available here.

The next time you have leftover beans — limas, pintos, garbanzos, blacks, or black-eyed peas — make these pan-fried bean cakes and serve them as a side dish or with a salad as lunch. People love them. If you don’t have home-cooked beans, use a 1-pound can of black beans or blackeyed peas, but make sure they contain nothing but beans, water, and salt.

You can serve them with a puree of roasted red peppers (see October 21, 2008), with herbed mayonnaise or tartar sauce, with bottled hot sauce, or with any of my relishes, such as Chow Chow (see November 25, 2008), Pear Relish (see September 17, 2008), or Sweet Pepper Relish (see March 24, 2008).

 2 cups cooked and drained beans (or a 1-pound can of beans, drained)

1 egg, separated

1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs such as herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning or 1 tablespoon  fresh chopped herbs of your choice

4 (1/4 cup) scallions, chopped (white and some green)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup chopped roasted, peeled, and seeded red bell pepper  or 1/4 cup (1 small jar) sliced pimientos with their juice

1 jalapeño, seeded, deribbed, and chopped or bottled hot sauce to taste or hot chili powder to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cumin (omit if you use chili powder)

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 cup very dry, fine bread crumbs

3 tablespoons peanut oil or clarified butter for frying

Mash the beans in a mixing bowl with a large fork a potato masher, or your hand, but do not use a blender or food processor. Add the egg yolk and mix well, then add the remaining ingredients except the egg white and the bread crumbs. Fold in 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs.

Beat the egg white to soft peaks and fold it into the cakes.  

Heat the oil or clarified butter over medium high heat. Form the bean mixture into 3 large burgerlike patties or 6 smaller ones and place each down in the bread crumbs, coating both sides well.

Fry the bean cakes until golden all over, about 2 minutes on each side.

Serves 3 as lunch item, 6 as appetizers.

 

April 10, 2009 The last of the bivalves

With the “r” months coming to an end, I decided to pick up some mussels last night for dinner. We’re going to the Eastern Shore of Maryland for the weekend, where all of our meals are planned, and next weekend we leave for two weeks in Italy. Even these small and tasty Blue Bay mussels from the pristine and cold waters of the Maine coast will be hard to find in the warmer months. I don’t mind relegating them to the seasonal portion of my menu; besides, I always look at the harvest date, and I won’t buy them if they’re more than a day or two out of the water. I also smell them to be sure there isn’t any sign of death.

I’ve never given the cooking of mussels much thought, they’re so easy to prepare, but I was taken aback by an article by Melissa Clark, whose recipes I usually find to be solid, and fairly traditional. In Wednesday’s New York Times, Clark rhapsodized about mussels being environmentally friendly, saying that her dish of steamed mussels was “an easy, inexpensive and stress-free meal, both for the ecosystem and for me.” I’m not so sure that a plastic bag of mussel shells added to the New York dump can in any way be considered as guilt-free and ecologically responsible as Clark says, but I’ll leave it at that. I threw our shells in the freezer last night and will take them to the Chesapeake Bay today. How could I not?

Recipes for preparing mussels are remarkably similar: put them in a pot with some liquid and some seasoning and cook, covered, until they are just barely steamed open. Some formulas call for reducing the liquid; some call for adding some fat such as butter or olive oil. I put a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil left over from our boquerones (see below), added a chopped shallot and a couple of chopped garlic cloves, heated them for a few minutes, added a half cup of dry white wine (the last of the Muscadet I had bought this winter to have with shellfish) and 2 pounds of mussels, put a lid on the pot and shook it occasionally for a few minutes until the mussels were open. I scooped them out, making sure all of them were open, placed them in a bowl covered with a kitchen towel, and allowed the liquid to reduce a bit with a tablespoon or so of chopped herbs (I used parsley, oregano, mint, and basil, but you can use whatever you want), the juice of a lemon mixed with a heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard. I then poured the liquid over the mussels, divided it between two bowls (though you could make this an appetizer portion for four), sprinkled the mussels with more freshly chopped herbs, and served with crusty French bread. I followed the meal with an arugula salad.

April 7, 2009: Sardines, revisited

Since I can’t seem to get the folks at the Rhode Island Fisheries department to get back to me, I’ve done some sleuthing on my own, and now I’m convinced that my sardines are young Atlantic herring (sardines are not specific; several species of the herring family (Cluepeiformes) are marketed as sardines. That would make their Rhode Island provenance believable, especially given their freshness: oily fish deteriorate rapidly. Small Atlantic herring are the most common fish in cans of sardines. The Pacific sardine, made famous by John Steinbeck, is essentially extinct. In theMediterranean, sardines are young pilchards. All of the species are treated similarly to anchovies.

 

You can split all of these fish and leave them in a bath of lemon juice overnight and they will be delicious. In Germany, herring, both large and small, are cured in numerous fashions; the best known are bucklings, which are hot-smoked; bismarcks, which are soaked in vinegar with onion rings and seasoning; and rollmops, for which the fish are cleaned as below, rolled around a pickled cucumber, and kept in vinegar. In Scotland, soused herring are salted as below, then rolled up from head to tail and baked in a diluted vinegar solution, uncovered, so that the tops browns. InWales, chives, parsley and mixed spices are added, the rolled fillets are skewered, they’re baked slowly, then served with a watercress salad doused with oil.

 

I grew up inOrangeburg,South Carolina, a German settlement where many of the old culinary traditions were still surviving when I went away to college in 1967. I doubt that you will find this dish being served in Orangeburg now, but I used to always order it when it was on the menu at a popular restaurant there.

 

Dutch Herring (from Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking)

 

This recipe comes from “DON’T FORGET THE PARSLEY….,” a book of recipes that for 38 years were prepared by Willie Berry at her Berry‘s-on-the-Hill restaurant in Orangeburg. Berry‘s was a famous stop on Highway 301, which bore most of the New York/ Florida traffic prior to the construction of interstates. It garnered recognition from Duncan Hines, Ford Times, Mobil Oil Company, and the American Automobile Association.

           

When alewifes run up into East Coast rivers to spawn, they are netted for the table. Both the roe and the gonads are delicious. The roe is still canned on the Outer Banks of North Carolina; contact: Perry-Wynns Fish Co; P O Box 85; Colerain, NC 27924. Phone (252) 356 4367; email

lowynns@inteliport.com.

A few delicatessens stock small kegs of the “milkees,” which are smoked and packed in brine.

 

1 keg herring (milkees)

1 dozen lemons, sliced thin

2 pounds onions, peeled and sliced thin

3 cups apple cider vinegar

3 cups water

1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons ground allspice

           

Separate the milk sacs from the herrings. Put a layer  of the fish in a large, non-reactive bowl or a 1 gallon glass jar or glazed crock. Alternate with layers of sliced onions and lemons. Squeeze the contents  of the milk sacs into a heavy saucepan. Add the vinegar, the water, and the spices. Cook over medium high heat until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Pour over the fish, lemons, and onions, cover, and place in the refrigerator for one week. Cut into small pieces to serve as finger food, or serve one herring with fresh lemon slices to each diner as an appetizer.

 

Escabeche (from The Fearless Frying Cookbook)

Escabeche  – fish that is pickled, fried, and served cold — appears everywhere the Spanish and Portuguese settled. A virtually identical dish is found in Malaysia and in South Africa. Being great slave and spice traders, the Iberians long had relations with Malaysia. I wonder who taught whom the recipe. Though the dish was developed as a way to preserve fish without refrigeration, it remains popular in the Mediterranean, the Azores, and Cuba.

           

Though any fish can be prepared like this, I recommend using a strong-flavored one that won’t fall apart. Oily kingfish and salmon work well, as does swordfish. Serve escabeche as an appetizer.

 

1/2 cup olive oil

2 pounds firm fish, cut into 8 1-inch-thick fillets or 1 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

1 bay leaf, crumbled

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into rings

1 jalapeño, seeded, deribbed, and minced (optional)

 

The day before you plan to serve the fish, line a colander with crumpled paper towels. Pour ¼ cup of the oil into a large heavy skillet and heat over medium until hot but not smoking. Dust the fish in the flour and fry until golden on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Place  the fish in the colander to drain and cool.

 

When all of the fish is fried, wipe out the pan and add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Sauté the onions and garlic until limp, about 5 minutes, then add the vinegar, parsley, and bay. Add salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool.

 

Place the cooled fish in a shallow glass baking dish, add the  bell pepper and, if desired, the jalapeño, and pour the cooled marinade over the fish. Cover and marinate for 24 hours.

Serves 8

 

April 2, 2009: Poisson d’Avril

April Fool’s becomes April Fish in France. French children make paper fish, not unlike paper airplanes, and stick them on the backs of their unsuspecting friends. When they see one of their cohorts sporting a paper fish, they relentlessly call him ”April Fish.” Reminded of the tradition, I thought I’d pick up some fish for dinner last night. I’m always in the mood for just about any seafood, and I was curious as to whether the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, so I headed downtown to the DC Wharf, which is just beyond the Tidal Basin, even though it was a rainy, yucky day. Nevertheless, I’ve never seen the cherries prettier in Washington. I guess our wet winter and spring has really paid off. At the Wharf, I bought some beautiful dolphin to cut up into 2″ cubes to fy, but then saw these sardines, which I imagine were flown in from Portugal or the Mediterranean (I’ve got a call into the salesman who sent them to the vendor to find out).

Sardines have been written about an awful lot the past few years, and there has been a lot of contradictory information. It is true that a number of fish can be called sardines, but these beauties I found yesterday are close enough to what I learned to love in Galicia and Portugal. The delicate scales come off easily under running water; there’s no reason to use a knife, which could puncture the soft skin. I slit the belly through the vent up to the head, then cut the head off, down through the backbone, and gently pull the head and guts away from the body. I then slit the belly down to the tail and use my fingers to gently lift the backbone away from the flesh and pull it out. I cut it off just where it meets the tail, leaving the tail intact. I then rinse them and pat them dry.

Last year about this time, I wrote about grilling sardines (see March 8), but yesterday, since I had dolphin to cook, I made boquerones, the pickled white filets that are popular in Spain and that inspired the ceviches of Latin America. Laying the butterflied fish out flat in a porcelain dish, I then heavily salted them and let them sit for about a half hour. I then covered them in white vinegar and let them sit for another half hour before draining them, patting them dry, and placing them in a clean plastic tub and covering them with olive oil.  Recipes vary, some without salting, and some calling for leaving the fish in the pickle for 24 hours or more. You can use lemon or lime juice, or you can fry the fish as well before laying them down in oil. I’ll let you know how they are. Boquerones are most often made with anchovies. Sometimes called “white anchovies,” you can now find them in this country vacuum-packed in oil. It’s the vinegar that bleaches the fish white. I like to make ceviche (other fatty fish like mackerel are good), but I’ve never seen fresh anchovies in the States, so I use sardines. To serve, some crusty bread and perhaps a slice of lemon or some hot sauce. Here is a picture of the cherry blossoms near the Wharf. (P.S. The boquerones are delicious, no lemon needed, and the salesman told me that the sardines came from Rhode Island. See April 7, above.)