It is the queen of all family traditions.
The middle class occasional show off.
Television cooks’ dream destination and multinational food companies’ marketing target.
The battleground of ferocious teenagers and parents alike.
The sobbing mother’s tears collector.
One of the tables where cease of fire is signed.
Treaties and threats and curses and ultimatums are negotiated on it or around it.
It is an infinite drawing canvas for babies and toddlers.
Unknown and untried waters of hormonally challenged young and a theatre of everyday marriage life.
Ladies and gentlemen, center stage …
the DINNER TABLE!
At our house, probably yours too, if the dinner table could speak, it would tell stories of love , taste , laughs and memories and harmony , perhaps even sex in the style of The Postman Always Rings Twice film. But they could also recall some stories of war or terror!
That is if you are a normal person living with other normal persons and not a direct descendant of the Tudors who preferred a quiet death by hemlock rather than a dinner table argument.
It is also an all-permissive battleground with few rules, like kick boxing. Knives can be pointed at. Dishes accidentally slip of it. Cups bang. Glasses are held tight. Forks protest and scratch dishes. Pools of tears run in spaghetti dishes.
Let’s admit it : Sometimes , sitting at the dinner table , politely put , is not the world’s most exotic holiday destination.
The dinner table is outwinning the finesse of another home castle, i.e.the sofa infront of the television or the computer at the other end of the living room by far. There you can hide. Turn up the volume. Escape.
But who can escape at the dinner table? In a well lit kitchen? Where all actors are called to show up and ,horror, horror, improvise day after day after day…It is a tough challenge.
I will dedicate this recipe to all of us who have endured dinner tables. Who still sit down to eat together with people we have chosen (or are oblidged to live together for part of our lives). And who , fork and knife in hand, take the daily challenge to be there no matter if yesterday, at the dinner table, a whole fish mysteriously flew off the table , onto her lap , down on the floor, where the ever hoping cats looked at it in disbelief and we all started laughing forgetting you had just called me the world’s biggest …oh … something, anyway…
TWO MINUTES ANGIE HOLLY MACKEREL PASTA
Mackerel is a funky fish.Tasty and versatile. This one is jarred and very very salty *. So, use 4 fillets salty from the jar and 4 in a bowl with raki, a greek alcoholic drink that washes saltiness away.
Boil a 500 gram. pack of pasta unsalted , preferably mini farfalle or penne. Keep a cup of hot pasta water.
Cut mackerel in 2-3 cm pieces.
Marinate half the fish in raki and the other half mix it with 2 dates (yes, dates), 2 red bell peppers , 1-2 small chillie peppers and 3-4 spring onions all finely cubed. Chop plenty of parsley and set aside with some red peppers for final garnish. Rinse one cup of capers and pat dry. When pasta is ready, save a cup of its water and strain.
Mix the two fish together , throwing out the marinade.
In the pot you used for boiling the pasta , on high heat, put some oil, quickly stir in the fish mixes and add two shots of raki. Allow alcohol to evaporate for a minute.
Add pasta in pot and little by little add the water you saved until you have a little sauce. Add parsley.
Decorate with peppers and lots and lots of parsley.
piping hot and bring the pepper mill to the dinner table.
From now on you are on your own at the dinner table! Just remember, the mackerel is innocent.