Saturday, August 24, 2013

Scotch bonnet

[Which, the record should show, is not a term from a Jane Austen novel]

I was making some pasta the other night -- just a simple recipe with tomatoes, fresh peas, chopped parsley, olive oil and garlic -- when I decided to chop up a Scotch bonnet and put some of it in.

A Scotch bonnet?
Yes.  It's a type of pepper.
I know that.  But my God, man.  You might just as well have said you got in bed with a black mamba.
A black mamba?
Yes.  It's a type of snake.
The one named after Kobe Bryant?
Well, it wasn't as serious as that.  Although I'm under the impression that if you did find a black mamba in your bed and then somehow got out of the bed without it biting you and fled for your life, the snake crawls faster on open ground than most people can run.  So it would hunt you down and bite you anyway.
Now I'm gonna have nightmares.
But it wasn't a snake, was it?  It was just a hot pepper.
The hottest in the world.  The black mamba of peppers.
It was, I must admit, a hot motherfucker.
Exactly.  Better you should have been bitten by a snake.
You know your dish is too hot when, as you stare into your pasta, sweat pools on the tip of your nose and drips into the food.

Do you know those uber-peasant pasta dishes where the sauce largely consists of bread crumbs, oil and garlic?  Like a super aglio et olio?  A lot of the recipes call for sauteing a couple of anchovy fillets in the oil before you add any of the other stuff.  The fun thing about the anchovies is that they basically disappear, leaving behind a richness that isn't fishy at all.  Kind of like the oboe in the back of the symphony.

I bring this all up because I noticed I had a veggie burger in my refrigerator and wasn't sure what to do with it.  So I chopped it into bits and threw it in the oil along with the tomatoes.  And voila, it just all sort of came apart.  Gave itself up.  Became one with the whole.  And isn't that, friends, what we're all trying to do?

Later, while eating it, I thought of the aglio et olio thing.


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