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every dish has a story

Linguine With Sea Urchin and CaviarFeb 07, 2012

What's so gross about sea urchin? Even some of the most adventurous eaters I know will make the most horrific faces when the topic comes up.

I asked my husband who generally recoils when I suggest that we share a pair of nigiri at the sushi bar, and he offered that it's a textural thing. Some people say it resembles phlegm (or worse), and I heard one person characterize the briny bits as "little orange tongues" (although, let's face it: the truth of what uni is may actually be harder to stomach!). But a lot of these same people will tell me that the flavor doesn't bother them; in fact, they find it quite pleasant.

So when my BFF told me about a sea urchin pasta she makes for dinner parties, I found a way to sneak uni back into the palettes of the unsuspecting (just a word of caution to anyone who's invited to my house for dinner). This recipe is based upon Eric Ripert's On the Line which means that it is insanely decadent, topping a first course-size portion of sea urchin linguine with Iranian osetra caviar. My girlfriend uses ikura (salmon roe) which also provides a nice, salty punch to the velvety sauce at a much more reasonable price (my nearby Japanese market sells it for $2 per ounce versus $200 for the osetra). I managed to find an ounce of domestic Hackleback caviar for $50, and it was plenty for four servings. And my uni-shy husband? He licked his bowl clean. Read on for the recipe.

Duck RagùFeb 17, 2011

Recently, I got to pretend to be a member of the ladies-who-lunch set with a partner in crime. Jess and I tried out Cotogna over a late lunch and cocktails, and in between the kale sformato, halibut tartare, and sea urchin-and-cauliflower pizza, we had a delicious plate of braised rabbit pappardelle. The plump chunks of rabbit just melted in your mouth and contrasted nicely with the just-chewiness of the fresh pasta. YUM.

It reminded me of a recipe I found via Epicurious for duck ragù, so with a quick trip to Molly Stone, dinner was underway. It's actually remarkably simple; it just takes a while because you have to let the duck breast render some of that amazing fat in to the pan and then simmer all of the ingredients together to infuse it throughout. The recipe calls for a heavy skillet, but I like to use my Le Creuset 5 qt. Dutch oven to retain all the moisture and flavor. For the recipe, read on.


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