The Diners Journal has been archived but the habit of reading the NY Times food section never left me. I was so thrilled when a separate recipes section was launched recently. It was in that new recipes-only section that my friend Joel found a very intriguing pasta recipe which he promptly shared with me. It’s called pasta with fried lemons and chile flakes. I call my version linguine with anchovies and caramelized lemons.
Joel and I occasionally swap food tips and items in our must-make list. We go over everything food in the New York Times but for different reasons. He grew up in Ozamis nurtured by the bounty of the sea and now lives part time in New York. I do it out of nostalgia more than habit.
There used to be a list of food blogs in the now-retired Diners Journal section of the NY Times site. The list was put up at a time I like to think of as the golden age of food blogging — a time when food blogs were real personal journals of real foodies rather than websites of wanna-be product endorsers. The list was a permanent fixture in the Diners Journal until the section was retired last year. My blog was on that list and I’ve always felt that I was in good company there. Diners Journal is no more but I’m glad there’s a recipe section to pore over everyday.
The linguine is tossed with a sauce made with butter, olive oil, the caramelized segments of a lemon, lemon zest and anchovies. To serve, I scattered more anchovy fillets on top of the heap of pasta before sprinkling in chopped parsley.
- 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon sugar (or more, depending on your taste)
- 2 anchovy fillets plus more to garnish
- 1 bird's eye chili finely sliced
- pepper to taste
- cooked linguine to serve one (tip: cook in generously salted water and undercook the pasta by about a minute)
- a handful of grated Parmesan plus more to garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley plus more to garnish
Zest the lemon and set the grated zest aside.
Cut off the white pith covering the lemon and discard.
Cut the lemon into segments and pry off the seeds.
Boil of cup of water and blanch the lemon segments for a minute (don't skip this part; otherwise, the lemons will make the cooked dish taste bitter). Scoop out and drain on paper towels.
Heat the butter and olive oil. Add the blanched lemon segments with the sugar, lemon zest and chili. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and turns a shade darker. Don't worry if the lemon segments almost liquefy.
Add the anchovy fillets, breaking them into bits as you stir.
Throw in the cooked pasta. Season with a little pepper. Toss to coat the noodles with sauce.
Add the Parmesan and parsley. Toss a couple of times more. Taste and add salt, if needed.
Twirl the pasta into a shallow bowl. Top with more anchovy fillets, chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.
P.S. The linguine with caramelized lemons was so good that I made a vegetarian version the next day. It’s the same recipe except that I substituted fresh button mushrooms for the anchovies.