Mating Season

April 21, 2006

The layers of Winter clothing have been peeled away and the delicious Spring Chickadees are out in full force. Love is in the air and you can see it on every glorious corner. In order to catch it you're going to need bait.

Head directly to the Union Square's Greenmarket and pick up 2 bunches of ramps. They're fresh, green, delicious and remind me of lying on my back in the onion grass when I was knee high to a grasshopper. More importantly, they make for an extremely quick and delicious dinner after you've been hanging out at the local with your new lady.

She suggested the mojitos, now it's your turn. You know she must be hungry so you're all, "Oh, wha? You hungry baby? Why don't we pop over to my apartment and I'll whip up some Fresh Pasta with Lemon Zest and Wild Leeks." Here's her, "That sounds delicious, I'm starved!" You're in.

Lemon Pasta with Wild Leeks
1lb. fresh egg fettucine or linguine. Not the kind from the refrigerated section in your supermarket or the healthfood store. Go directly to the Italian pasta store or if it rains on Sunday stub your cigarette out, open a bottle of red wine, pretend your Johnny Depp and whip up a fresh batch your self. Either way, say you made it. If you bought it, make sure you take it out of the wrapper they used in the pasta store and wrap it up in plastic wrap or wax paper, whatever you have in the cabinet so it really feels like its home made.

Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
2 bunches of ramps, aka wild leeks
1/2 cup white wine
2T olive oil
1T butter

Dice the white stalks of the ramps and chop the green leaves into 1/2" pieces. Sautee the white stalks in olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes until transluscent, add the green leaves and stir to coat. Increase the heat a bit and add the white wine and lemon juice. Make a big fanfare out of pouring the wine into the pan. Before you pour it in, grab 2 glasses and pour a little taste for the both of you. Let her know this is good stuff you're cooking with. If it's not, make sure it's really cold so she won't be able to tell. Bring to a simmer and reduce slightly. Finish with butter and add the al dente pasta. Toss to coat and simmer for a minute. If she's a keeper, warm the plates in a 220 degree oven. Grab your tongs and plate the pasta with more fanfare. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh parsely. Serve with a dry Rosé, like a Pineau Rosé, Clos Roche Blanche.

While she's ooing and ahhing over the fresh flavors and how quickly you put together such a delicious dish, suggest that you watch a movie after dinner and make sure you have more Rosé on hand or maybe a bottle of vinsanto. I love spring.


Ok, it wasn't exactly dinner, it was lunch. A long lunch that seamlessly became siesta ;-) David, I wish you could have joined us down there in Mexico for the aforementioned lunch and a bit of cooking school because both the latin and mayan women's eyes lit up when they tasted the Ceviche de Langosta con Salsa de Piña. It set my palate alight and the Argentinian white provided a delicious relief.

This is another one of those dishes that requires some advanced planning and preparation. If she's Spanish, Portuguese or native to the Latin Americas, she'll know you went to lengths and that's a fine start at getting to lengths.

My Spanish has improved greatly from that trip.

Ceviche de Mero

Lobster Ceviche with Pineapple Lime Salsa


2 pounds shelled spiny lobster tail cut into small pieces

1 cup lime juice

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup mango puree

1/4 cup passion fruit puree (key word, passion)

1 red onion diced

1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

2 serrano chiles deseeded, diced

1 habanero chile deseeded, diced (don't touch your genitals)

1 clove garlic smashed

Pinch of salt to taste

In a large bowl, combine the indredients and let marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

Pineapple Lime Salsa

1 fresh pineapple, diced
6 limes, sectioned

1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded
2 habanero chiles, diced

Pinch of salt

Make this 30 minutes prior to lunch. I prefer the sweet, hot and salty flavors to be fresh and distinct.

Cut an avocado in half and rub with lime juice. Mound the ceviche in the avocado half and rim the plate with Pineapple Salsa. Get your squeeze bottle out and finish the plate with a couple of drops of basil olive oil. Hold your wine glass in your right hand and in your deepest voice say "Me llamo es Julio Martinez Vargas". You're a shoe-in.