seafood in a mess, over pasta
This is for Paul, he’s a cook, possibly a chef – a chef is a tradesman, like a plumber. So this is for the plumbers who like to cook pasta with seafood.
Food is the best shit ever. Paul and I are one on this, plus he might surf – but being an Englishman probably not too well. Outstanding kooks the Poms, in all walks of life.
here we go –
Meet Steve. Steve’s cooking schedule this afternoon is (1) The Ulladulla Co-op, and (2) The Marlin Drive-In bottle shop (3) Alexs’ Acres just past Milton, Alex for the holy herbs –
Scoop a half-hand of soft butter from a container, then remember that you should have opened up the anchovy tin before your hands got greasy. Dump the butter, wipe the hands down on some material close by – use your shorts first, the shirt might have to be worn out later – and open the tin of anchovies. Yank all of them out and find the butter; we have to mash them all up together, ball it up about as big as a golf ball. You like butter? Then more.
Put it somewhere.
Scoop up another half-hand of butter and drop it into a hot pan, watch it as it slides away into liquid, smell it as the heat burns in – then chuck in plenty of prawn heads and cook them hard, and hot, and crush them down into the butter, make a mess. Spill something in there if it’s too dry, something red.
Later we run the mess through an old tea-towel and hope for some clear liquid. Not much.
Put it somewhere.
Garlic, onions, carrots all chopped up etc etc, into a pan with something, oil, butter – you pick it, you’re eating it, and when that’s soft that’s done so it’s tinned tomatoes in, tomato paste in, put on a Nick Cave album and grind in the pepper. Be cool. Pepper is a good thing. Judge your own salt, I’ve got hypertension. Ever thought of a tin of tomato soup right about now, fucken A bro, in she goes.
The Marlin Drive In bottle shop? That’s where you bought the Captain Morgan and we are about three glasses into it now, cooking is supposed to be fun, we know drinking is – so double your pleasure.
So what have we got so far; a ball of anchovy butter, a half glass of something that looks like piss and smells like prawn heads, and a saucepan of tomato stew.
This is where we want to be.
Choosing the seafood. There is a science here. We want little and big and smooth and rough. Flathead fillets, pippies, prawns, mussels, bugs, and about five scampi. These are to treated with great reverence and their price is not to be questioned.
That’ll do. Plus three dozen oysters to go with the rum, during the cooking. Time is a cook’s enemy, looking at you Paul – Chefdante, I know your pain boys.
Pressure can be a friend.
Back to it.
We need about a tin of anchovies in with the tomatoes about now, squeeze some lemon in, sugar – maybe. Chilli? – is the Pope a Catholic?
Check the fridge, peas? – why not, sweet corn? – beats chucking it away.
Tinned crab, the little ones, and tinned shrimp. Combine the liquid in those tins with the prawn head poison and stand back.
Tip the crabs and shrimp into the tomatoes and peas and sweet corn and anchovies and onion and garlic – the stew in the pan – give it some hammer, make boiling bubbles, then tip in the prawnhead poison.
Pippis first, shelled. Ask an Australian how to do this, then the mussels, then everything else, seafood cooks quick, and any man who doesn’t strip the shitline out of his prawns needs questioning, the bugs are ok in their half-shells. We prefer the chunks.
All done. Pick a herb, drop it on the top.
Five scampi cut lengthways and finely dusted with lemon, salt and olive oil go under a hot grill. Served separate, the elite do not mingle.
The pasta is cooked and drained, the butter ball is dropped into a hot pan and when it’s making a noise the pasta goes down on top of it.
All done, let’s eat, pass the olives, pass the capers, pass the bread.