literary recipe (pasta noir): F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Summer Pasta Chicken Salad (125 years this month)

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I’ve been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library.” The Great Gatsby

(The real recipe follows below)

Ingredients:

Jazz*

Scotch, Champaign and various other liquors*

New York*

Paris*

Summer*

A country house with a back porch*

A beautiful, young, rich girl*

1 grilled chicken breast

200 grams of butterfly noodle pasta

4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded

Two eggs, hardboiled

Extra-virgin Olive Oil

Thyme, basil, salt and pepper to taste

*ingredients 1-7 are optional

Serves …1

Pasta is different from you and me. The pure water and hard flour from which it solidifies and strengthens itself allows it to retain its pure form longer than we do. It suffers no past to which it yearns to return, needs no love to sustain it, and in its dry, ever waiting-to-be-boiled state becomes neither compromised nor unclean as some food products do, like, say, peanut butter, yeah, like peanut butter, ya’ know how it kinda’ tastes like milk and coke after it’s been open in the fridge too long? Uhh, anyway.

Only an essential, clean sauce can complete an elegant pasta dish as a purple-hued cloud can complete a glorious summer sunset. Not a vulgar sauce like, say, one made with Italian meatballs, those shiny, dirty round mounds of grease that sit glistening on the top of Little Italy restaurant displays calling out to passing Midwestern travelers like sirens to Odysseus’ crew. This dish is closer to the essence of pasta and for that reason I recommend you use only the finest ingredients, Martelli butterfly noodles, the most virgin of Tuscan olive oils, and free–range Connecticut chicken. (Avoid those of New Jersey, as they are often unclean. I know Hemingway thinks such differences are pretentious and without significance but he puts ketchup on his hotdogs. Ketchup. Hotdogs. ‘Nough said.)

The preparation itself is very easy. Rent the largest summer country estate available. Then organize a party, inviting as many notable people as you can, (a number of Yale men is essential on such occasions,) but before they arrive make sure you’ve stocked the house with plenty of Scotch, Champaign and any other drinks that might come to mind. Hire a 7-peice jazz band to play throughout the evening and a good caterer to set up a grand buffet of tomato sandwiches, smoked salmon and salmon-egg crostini, an assortment of fresh clams, oysters, crab legs, etc.

Meanwhile on the small back porch quietly begin preparing a meal for two. Simply mix together all the ingredients that you earlier instructed the catering staff to prepare and leave on a table not too far away. Then go upstairs and change into the most gorgeous rags you have. Return. As the half-moon begins rising over the silhouette of trees on the other side of the bay turn on the porch light. Wait. Light a cigarette. Have some scotch. Pine. Repeat the process many times as the pasta salad becomes increasingly dry and hard, losing the magic suppleness and delightful flavor it once had in the beginning, so long ago.

At around 5am when the last of the guests have gone slide out of your clothes and put on some sweats, dish out some of the now cool, indifferent pasta salad, grab a beer from the fridge and plop yourself down on the couch in front of the tube. (She must not have seen the porch light. Or maybe she didn’t understand. Or maybe…ah, screw it. Turn on the cooking channel. Great. An Iron Chef rerun. Life sucks.)

The next morning go online. Do a Google search for cheap flights to Europe. Go to Paris for 5 years. Call Hemingway first and see if he’d like to come along. When you get back try throwing another dinner party. Maybe sushi next time…yeah, sushi, that’s it, if only I’d a made sushi….

The real recipe:

1 chicken breast, grilled

4 quail eggs, hardboiled

EV olive oil

salt and pepper

12 sicilian date tomatoes

2 small sticks of oregano

8-10 basil leaves

oil to fry

1 red garlic clove

180 grams of butterfly pasta

serves 2

Slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt and oregano and put them in an oven for about 5 minutes at about 200 degrees (C.), then 5 more at about 160. Remove and let then chill. Do your usual grill on the chicken breast (you can marinade or sweeten with honey or just brush with oil and sprinkle with salt flakes and fresh ground pepper, ecc.) Let the meat gather its juices once cooked. Boil the quail eggs for 2 minutes in barely boiling water, then remove and chill immediately in cold water. Clean and dry the basil leaves very well, then fry them in oil (I use olive oil, it doesn’t take much of it) rapidly – careful not to burn. It takes… not more than 20 seconds or so.  Boil the butterfly noodles, drain. Slice the cooled chicken into bite-sized cubes, then gently mix all the ingredients except the basil in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and herbs to taste. Before placing the ingredients into the bowl rub it as well as the individual serving bowls with fresh garlic – just slice the clove in 2, lightly crush. Once plated, place the fried basil on top. Serve lukewarm with a medium-structured white wine. Or the Champaign.

Do you have any other ideas for a Gatsby dish? Let us know….

link- mint julep, Gatsby’s drink (even if we don’t agree with the blogger on some points )-https://foodinbooks.com/2016/05/08/the-great-gatsby-by-f-scott-fitzgerald/

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