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May 14, 2008

Pasta Salad, Starring the Anchovy


For as long as anyone can remember, the great question regarding the anchovy has been whether it is a tool of the selfish to guarantee a pizza pie to themselves.


None has consulted the anchovy as to whether this constitutes an insult, so let us dodge the debate by seeking out another use for our little fish friend.


I speak specifically of miring it into a nice pasta salad. Here, the point is again made. Why does the anchovy so frequently wind up in things associated with that great Mediterranean boot?


Let us also dodge this question and leave it to those who go about life in a state of advanced agitation, who may spend years debating just who this realization might insult. Instead, let us focus on the matter at hand.


The anchovy will come to your home, not sneaking down your kitchen to garrote you in your sleep, but by way of small metal tins. It is in filet form, which is fortunate for you, because it minimizes the amount of actual hand-to-fish contact you must have with it. A word to the wise . . . the taint of fish smell is difficult to rid yourself of, and you may find yourself the unwanted target of attention from the neighborhood cats.


Begin by boiling pasta. Because this is a pasta salad, we settle for the standard salad pasta, which is the rotelle. For those unwilling to learn non-English descriptors, that means the pasta that is shaped like the body of a screw (do not attempt to screw rotelle into anything, or else sorrow shall be your bedfellow that night).


Now address the question of other ingredients, because pasta salad that consists of only pasta and anchovies is not really so much salad as it is a nightmare. After cooking the pasta, you will want to let it cool nearly all the way through before mixing it with ingredients for reasons that shall become clear eventually.


Cut the anchovy filets into somewhat smaller pieces, and do the same to a handful of black olives. Repeat with a small amount of red onion.


While you do this, roast a handful of pine nuts in the oven. Doing this is as simple as preheating the oven to 350 degrees, and sliding in a pan with a single layer of pine nuts on the bottom. Wait a few moments and remove them. You have roasted pine nuts. If this is your first time, clap yourself on the back.


Meanwhile, also place to the side a handful of freshly picked basil leaves, and also a few chopped artichoke hearts. Finally, cut a lemon in half.


Once your pasta is cooled, toss it with your ingredients, plus a couple cloves of minced garlic, and lubricate it all with olive oil and white wine vinegar. Squeeze the lemon over the top and mix that in, too.


Now, again ask yourself, “Is the anchovy the tool of the selfish?” The answer is, “Pasta salad!”


Anyone who doesn’t get it isn’t worth knowing.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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