Usually, once the weather turns balmy my appetite tends to wane a bit and there are days where I don’t crave for much more than a cup of Rita’s Italian Water Ice (mango, wild black cherry or passionfruit, please) and my mind turns to grazing on random, small foodstuffs. The exception to this is whenever I am able to spend time in a body of water, be that a pool–or on very lucky days, the ocean–as when I emerge after a few hours of frolicking, I tend to become positively ravenous.
Memorial Day weekend did not present any swimming opportunities (that came a week later when we visited my parents to celebrate my mom’s birthday), but we ended up doing the walking equivalent on our Met excursion on Sunday, turning me into what Charles Schultz famously called Lucy van Pelt: a fussbudget.
Aside: there are days that make me long for Lucy’s superhero power of being able to knock people out of her way using the sheer strength of her voice. I’m not sure how well it would translate to communications over the phone, but it would be worth a try, no? I mean, look how awesome she is:
Anyway. I’m sitting at our kitchen/dining room table trying to prevent myself from raiding the fridge while Michael makes dinner, and he’s asking me the random philosophical questions we’re wont to pose to each other. By this point in the day, my hunger has stripped away any semblance of politesse I have and I grouchily reply to his most recent question that there is no way I can answer it now, because my stomach has driven me to distraction and I cannot focus…and then I throw out some choice words to explain exactly how famished I am.
That put an end to the question and answer session for the time being.
It should come as no surprise that my patience, frayed as it was, was amply rewarded with this simple dinner. Our most recent trip to Whole Foods introduced us to whole Boston Mackerel, an oily fish that falls between a Norwegian Mackerel and fresh sardine in size and tends to be less expensive than either of those options, plus it was advertised as being locally caught. Score!
Michael cooked it in parchment (as per Alton Brown’s instructions from the classic The Pouch Principle, save for adding the starch to the pouch) with some segments of orange and leftover rosemary from earlier in the weekend (a tip from none other than Rachael Ray) along with half a red onion, sliced, and a few springs of oregano. Staple the pouch shut, place on a sheet pan and bake in a 400 degree oven until done, about 25-30 minutes.
The pasta salad is really simple and is a good balance against the oily fish: dice the rest of the red onion, slice three scallions thinly, chop a few vine ripened tomatoes (just one or two, really) and toss with a pound of cooked pasta and a can of drained, rinsed garbanzo beans. Chiffonade some mint and fresh oregano and add to the salad, dressing it all with some salt, olive oil and white balsamic vinegar to taste.
Reader, I inhaled this meal, yet still magically had more than enough to last for leftovers well into the next work week.