3/4/12

Capellini with Chive Blossoms and Crème Fraîche

At this moment, I find myself in a curious situation: I’m drinking a white wine spritzer and writing about capellini with crème fraîche and caviar. It’s as if I’ve never had to eat/serve chocolate bark in a bathtub or carry a stuffed koala while undercooking cake. Two questions: who am I, and what have I become?

I fear that you can only go so long attempting fancy dish after fancy dish before you begin to occasionally crave stuff that is, well, fancy. We arrived at this precarious intersection when, the other day, Matt offered to go grocery shopping, and I added whitefish caviar to his list, right there next to toothpaste and almond milk.
One of my yoga teachers talks about the idea of expanding and stretching our bodies in class as a practice that ultimately leads to creating space for expansion in our everyday lives. Well, not to get toooooo yogic on you, but I’ve noticed something recently. When I don’t make it to class for five or six days in a row, my body starts to feel like it’s shrinking in on itself. My legs in particular feel like they are retracting and tightening into my hips. I don’t like it, not one bit. And I think my relationship with food is a little like this. Now that I know how delicious real linguine and clams can be, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to using the canned Progresso stuff I grew up on. And now that I know how rich and round coffee tastes when you grind the beans yourself every morning, it’s a major bummer when you accidentally buy a bag of the pre-ground variety.
And now that I’ve tasted caviar for the first time, I look very forward to our second meeting. Though I’m sure it’s not for everyone. (If you don’t like foods that taste like the ocean floor, you probably won’t love it.) But, caviar or no, you should probably make this pasta in the near future. Once everything is prepped, the dish comes together in five minutes and looks so pretty. If you are going to leave out the caviar, I’d recommend substituting capers—the mellowness of the crème fraîche and butter begs for a briny, salty counterpart.
In my expansion, I think it’s fair to say that I haven’t completely lost myself. As you can see, I (or Matt, rather) couldn’t find the whitefish caviar the recipe called for, so we substituted with the dark-grey, American Paddlefish kind, which, unfortunately, is just as expensive. I also couldn’t find chive blossoms, so I chopped up a few petals of those edible flowers they sell alongside the herbs in grocery stores. I also didn’t press my hard-boiled egg through a sieve like Martha wanted me to. No, I mashed it with a fork. And in a sure sign of knowing who I am, I ate this meal while watching 1920s Atlantic City mobsters murder one another. (Boardwalk Empire is awesome.)
p.s. If you don’t like Bon Appétempt on Facebook and you don’t subscribe to Elle Girl Korea, you might not have seen that we were featured in last month’s issue. Check out the spread below! Our first print feature!
Capellini with Chive Blossoms and Crème Fraîche adapted from Martha Stewart Living
1 cup crème fraîche
1/4 cup minced chive blossoms, plus more for garnish (I'm thinking you might be able to find these at a farmer's market?)
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
1/2 pound capellini (angel hair) pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 jar (4 ounces) whitefish (or black!) caviar
1 hard-cooked egg

Stir together the crème fraîche, chive blossoms (if you got 'em), chives, and lemon juice to taste. Season with salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mash up the egg with a fork.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with butter and crème fraîche mixture, adding enough pasta water to make a light sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide pasta among dishes. (This makes two big portions or four small ones.) Top each dish with some of the mashed egg, a nice dollop of caviar, and any remaining chopped chives. Serve immediately!
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32 comments:

Matthew said...

I LOVED this, even though at first I just pretended that the caviar were tiny meatballs.

Sophie said...

Craving caviar is how you know you're famous!

Mary Anne said...

ok, i haven't even read the post yet... i got sidetracked by Matt's STUNNING LEAD PHOTO! WOW!!! Nice work, Matthew!!

Ok now back to the post...

HAILEY said...

I love being fancy while being un-fancy (and vise versa.) Thanks for sharing! And congrats on the magazine feature! So exciting!

Caroline Shields said...

Awesome post! I had a very similar experience with the need for fancy food this weekend.

joanna said...

elle girl korea?! REPRESENT! that's radical.

i have never had caviar, but i'll pretty much eat any type of pasta that has creme fraiche which means i would definitely eat this one, caviar included.

way to go, dude!

joanna said...

p.s. i just realized that i used the words "represent", "radical", and "dude" in my previous comment as if i'm 17.

Matthew said...

Thanks so much, Mare!! :)

la domestique said...

Who was it that said simplicity is the real luxury? I'm all about simple luxuries like pasta with caviar and love how you did it the bon appetempt way! Congrats on your first print feature!

Mary Anne said...

I love the fancy/unfancy mix at the heart of Bon Appetempt. I'm gonna go out on a limb and get all philosophical here for a second, so bear with me. I think the collision of fancy and unfancy, the things that are dear and the things that are free-- these are the best combinations in life. You need one to appreciate the other. And they're better together! Give me a fancy/unfancy combo over fancy/fancy anyday. It's like eating an exquisite French cheese (fancy) on the banks of the Canal St-Martin (free!). Or pairing a beautiful new handmade purse with a Goodwill coat. Or taking the bus to an expensive restaurant. My life is one big fancy/unfancy mix, and I love it like that.

Rebecca McTee said...

It was the flower photo that did it for me. The colours. The wilty-ness. That light.

Congrats on ElleKorea. First print feature of many to come, Ihopes.

amelia said...

I wouldn't want it any other way!!

amelia said...

Love this, Mary Anne! Speaking of, we need to talk PARIS! also, Fancy/Unfancy would make a pretty cool book title I think.

Heather Taylor said...

So beautiful!

Susan Cooper said...

OMG does that look good or what. I must give that a try ASAP. Congratulations on the front page of ElleKorea ...so cool!
:-), Susan Cooper

Ashley said...

Love your writing, photos, and recipe! Congrats on the magazine! You'll rival the Hoff in Asia before you know it!

Anonymous said...

You rule! As usual, your writing and photos made my monday :)

Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy said...

Totally agree with you, nothing beats the real thing. I LOVE caviar, yep champagne taste on a beer budget - thats me! I really want to make this on the weekend. I also agree with you that indeed, Boardwalk Empire is awesome.

Ms.Nožisková said...

I second Mary Anne on *both* counts... Matt, the photography is stunning--makes this vegetarian crave whatever is going on here, fish eggs or non. And the fancy/unfanciness of BA is part & parcel to its utter charm!

But wha? Elle *Korea*?? This is positively brilliant news. I know some fashion types who would be frothy for this sort of spread...

(Also.. Amelia, I would totally "like" you on FB if I were on it!)

CookingScraps said...

I am all for every day fancy, this is beautiful!

Thea vintage said...

Oh I get so inspired to cook when looking at your pictures. And hungry...

laura k said...

Caviar is one of those things I've never considered as within the realm of possibility for me. However, you've convinced me that it is, and this recipe might be the way to introduce myself to it.

And even without the caviar, this looks so interesting. I'm already thinking about what types of vegetables might be a good pairing with that sauce...

amelia said...

hahahhahaaa to rival the Hoff would be a dream.

amelia said...

thanks, friends!! And I'm so glad you all are responding to Matt's insane photos!! He's, needless to say, the BEST.

Megan Taylor said...

It's like this dish has all my favorite things!!!

Katherine @ eggton said...

I love how fluid this post is, Amelia- all the paragraphs punctuated by pictures just slide into one another in a way that's absolutely lovely to read.

This reminds me of the first time I had caviar. I was a kid, and my parents had taken me to a cocktail party thrown by an old lady from Charleston, South Carolina. She put out ritz crackers with a block of cream cheese and caviar on top. I assumed the caviar was chocolate (it looked like teeny chocolate balls!) and took a huge bite, and spit it out all over her fancy rug.

I sprained my sternum a few months ago (I know, right? whaa?) and I've had to stop the yoga for a little while. It's driving me batty. I love it so much--enjoy it for me, lady!

Congratulations on the Elle feature! So exciting.

amelia said...

Katherine, thanks! And sorry about your sprained sternum. Sheeeesh! Probably didn't see that one coming, huh? :(

Eileen said...

You are keeping it real by showing the hard boiled egg shell coming off in tiny little pieces, something that Martha would never show. It fits the fancy/unfancy theme of Bonappetempt perfectly, and validates the rest of us who peel eggs that way 90% of the time (against our will), barring the blissful exception when the shell comes off in one piece.

amelia said...

Thanks, Eileen! I mean, it's always that way with me. In fact, I don't think I've ever peeled a hard-boiled egg in under 5 minutes.

jeana sohn said...

the pasta is so beautiful to look at too! you are a rock star in korea!

Anonymous said...

This post makes me feel like spring! I have had caviar but never purchased and cooked with it. This looks awesome. Beautiful post. I love your blog.

-Jess

Anne Zimmerman said...

I must be getting fancy too because upon reading this I thought "that's what I should have done with the caviar we ate last night." Maybe next time.