Thai Beef Salad

This is a summer dish in Thailand which is often served as an appetizer. It is incredibly flavorful, bursting with umami notes using a zesty dressing. It is becoming more popular in other countries as well and just about every Thai restaurant will have this on their menu. It is meant to be shared so I will be making a recipe for 4 people here.

This is 2 lbs of beef skirt steaks cut into thirds.

The primary ingredient of this salad is of course, beef. For those that think a salad must only be vegetarian in nature I assure you this is an authentic Thai dish and is considered a salad in its country of origin.

The first step is to marinate the beef in a mixture of light soy sauce and black pepper. Only 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce is needed and maybe 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper for 2 lbs of meat. Let the meat sit for 1 hour in the marinade, covered and refrigerated.

The vegetable part of the salad will include cucumber, tomato, shallots, scallions, cilantro and baby spring greens. The limes are for the dressing.

You will want to peel the cucumber, seed and then dice it. Chop the tomato into chunks too. Chop the shallots well but don’t mince them. And wash the cilantro and pull the leaves off. We want about a cup of packed leaves which we will coarsely chop. Cut 3 scallions into 1″ pieces.

Squeeze the juice from 2 whole limes into a cup and add a round teaspoon of sugar. To that add a teaspoon of minced lemon grass and 1/3 cup of fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of thin (Thai) soy sauce. This will be our dressing.

Thai Beef Salad dressing consisting of fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar and minced lemon grass. The oil you see on the surface is from the lemon grass.

Mix the dessing well to dissolve the sugar. Our next step will be to grill the meat.

I put the bigger slabs on first as they need to cook longer.

This is a matter of personal taste but I like to cook the meat for this medium-medium rare. You can cook yours to your own prepared doneness. Most Thai restaurants will cook the meat well by law which is a shame.

The meat is just about done here.

I like to get a good sear on the outside of the steaks. Here I have used skirt steaks though many sites will recommend flat iron steaks. I like skirt steaks for their tenderness.

The meat is done and now needs to rest.

You will want to rest the meat for a good 10 minutes before you cut it. Cover the meat with foil while it rests.

Keep the meat under foil for 10 minutes while it rests.

After the meat has rested for a full 10 minutes you can slice it. I like to make pieces no bigger than about 2″ long and about 1/3″ wide. There will be lots of juice from the meat after it is grilled and cut. Do NOT waste this! Put that into the bowl as well.

Medium Rare-Medium cooked skirt steak sliced into thin strips.

Put the meat in a mixing bowl and add the other ingredients except for the spring greens.

I add the shallots first and mix in by hand. You can wear gloves for this.

I add the shallots first, then the scallions, cilantro, cucumber and tomatoes.

Here I have everything but the tomatoes and cucumbes added.

After the tomatoes and cucumber, mix the dressing well and drizzle it over the mixture. Mix well using tongs or your hands. I like to add a teaspoon of pepper flakes at this time and mix that in too but it is up to you. To serve, use a large serving dish and make a bed out of the spring greens and ladle the Beef Salad over the greens.

Ready to eat, let each diner spoon out what they want. That incredibly savory dressing means they will even eat the sald greens to get all that good flavor.

That fantastic dressing ensures that diners won’t just eat the meat and skip over the greens. They will want every savory drop of that dressing with whatever it touches. This is one of my favorite dishes and the dressing does not taste like fish despite having fish sauce as a main ingredient. Just a deep umami goodness.

Thai Beef Salad (serves 3-4 as a main course or 6-8 as an appetizer)


  • 2 lbs skirt or flat iron steak.
  • 2-3 cups spring greens, washed.
  • 2-3 large shallots chopped well
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves washed and coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 tomatoes diced (depending on size)
  • 3 scallions cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced.
  • juice from 2 whole limes
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 5 tablespoons thin soy sauce divided (Thai soy sauce).
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes or 1-2 minced fresh Thai chili peppers (optional)
  • 1 tsp minced lemon grass stalk or paste (available from some grocers in a tube)
  • 1 round tsp white sugar


  • Marinate 2 lbs steaks for 1 hour covered in the refrigerator in a mixture of 3 tablespoons thin soy sauce and 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper.
  • Grill steaks to desired doneness (medium rare or medium-medium rare works best).
  • Mix lime juice, fish sauce, lemon grass, 2 tablespoons of thin soy sauce and sugar in a cup until sugar is dissolved.
  • Cut vegetables as needed.
  • After meat is cooked, allow steaks to rest for 10 minutes covered.
  • Slice meat into bite sized strips and add to a mixing bowl along with all the meat juice that is produced.
  • Add remaining vegetables to the mixing bowl (except for spring greens).
  • Drizzle the lime and fish sauce dressing into the mixing bowl and mix well by hand or with salad tongs.
  • Add red pepper flakes or minced Thai chilis if desired.
  • Cover a large serving plate with the spring greens and spoon the beef salad mixture over the top.
  • Serve.




Originally from Peru, this seafood dish has become almost common all over South America and Mexico, especially in coastal towns. Ceviche has to be made with the very freshest ingredients possible since no heat is used in cooking this dish in its purest form.

Most people first get exposed to ceviche in a restaurant that serves Latin American cuisine. And it seems intimidating to prepare at first but really it’s not that complicated and well worth the effort.

In the US many restaurants are forced by state laws to cook the dish with heat before adding citrus for food safety concerns. But if you are making this dish at home and you trust your seafood source this dish is much more authentic using lime juice to “cook” the meat. The acid in the citrus juice will cause the meat to take on the characteristics it would have if it were cooked with heat. But with this method comes the risk of food contamination so you need to have a very clean work area when you prepare it.

Ceviche can be made with almost any kind of seafood but is usually made with shrimp, fish or conch or some kind of combination of 2 or 3 of the above.

Raw conch meat

For mine I am going to use conch, shrimp, squid steak, fish and bay scallops. I will admit mine is unusual but no less authentic. Conch is a sea snail about 8″ long in its shell usually found in the carribean and in cuisine the most used and best conch is the Queen conch. Mine comes from a farm in Caicos.

When cutting your ingredients you will want to cut the pieces roughly the same size. For mine I am cutting 1/2″ pieces.

Humboldt squid steak

If you use squid you can use the rings which give a more exotic appearance but I prefer squid steaks because they are much more tender. Squid steaks come from the mantle of 40-100 lb specimens usually caught off the coast of Brazil or Peru.

Wild Halibut fillets

And because I want different textures I have included fish in mine. Not shown but also added are shrimp and bay scallops.

Red onions are best fir flavor and visual appeal.

And for vegetables and herbs – Onions and Cilantro are added along with the lime juice. If you are one of those people that absolutely cannot abide the flavor of cilantro, you can substitute parsley here but it will take on a completely different flavor profile. And lastly you want to add one diced tomato.

I will mince this cilantro up well before adding it to the ceviche

And the primary catalyst ngredient is our lime juice. I am using about a cup here.

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice.

Everything gets cut up and mixed together in the lime juice. You want the meat evenly coated with the lime juice.

You want enough lime juice so that everything is bathed in it.
Everything is added including a whole tomato and mixed very well.

After adding salt and black pepper, I refrigerate this covered for 4 hours to marinate.

You will want to drain out the citrus marinade juice in a colander after it sits for 4 hours.

Cold and refreshing, this is best served with some minced hot chilis but I would let my diners add that (I provide it at the table) as not everyone likes it spicy.

This is an excellent summer meal, low in carbs and very high in protein. I like mine spicy so I will mince 4 or 5 Thai Dragon chilis and stir it into my own serving. Because I used different types of seafood here, I have different textures which is what I was going for. I will confess now that you aren’t going to get all the different seafood flavors here which is why typically this dish is made with with only one kind of fish.

Ceviche (serves 8-10 as a main course)


  • 1 lb fresh or thawed frozen conch meat cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 lb fish fillets (red snapper, grouper or halibut) cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 Humboldt squid steaks cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 lb bay scallops
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 red onion chopped well
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro or parsley
  • 1 beefsteak tomato diced
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp salt or to taste


  • In a large bowl (preferably one that has a cover) mix all ingredients well making sure that all meat gets a good coating of lime juice
  • Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours minimum
  • Drain the ceviche in a colander and discard the juice
  • Serve over Bibb lettuce and optionally with corn chips
  • Offer minced chilis to diners



She Crab Soup

Out of all the over the top savory dishes I make that might come out of a 5 star restaurant this one has to be the easiest to make.  Provided you can get all the ingredients.  She crab soup is a South Carolina favorite but it can be found in Georgia, Alabama as well as around Louisiana.  It is a personal favorite of mine and my younger brother Rick.  My children have come to love it too.  There are many variations on this dish but one thing they all have in common is that you can’t really call them “She crab” soup unless they have that ubiquitous roe from the female crab. And that ingredient is not easy to come by.  I get mine from the very kind people at Charleston Seafood who are very helpful and about the only seafood purveyor that has it – – and I do highly recommend them for their outstanding customer service.

Many recipes call for 8 oz of lump crab meat.  But I start with a lb.  You could add backfin crabmeat too for the small pieces but the standard recipe generally calls for 8 oz to 1 lb of the lump.

In addition to fresh crabmeat (the above has already been cooked) you need a few other ingredients.

Above I have some dry sherry, two large shallots, a pair of bay leaves and some mixed peppercorns (white, Telicherry, Malabar and some pink).  And lastly I have crab base there in the upper right corner – the stuff I have there is made from Dungeness crab and seasoned before it’s concentrated which is why my spice mix above is rather scant.  I also don’t like to add any salt at this stage (besides my base has some in it).

Above I have been sauteeing my peppercorns, bay leaves and chopped shallots in butter for about 10 minutes at medium heat before adding a cup of whole milk.  I’ll let that cook for a while (maybe 3 minutes) while I whisk that together and then you will want to strain all solid ingredients out of the milk broth.

The above solid ingredients can be discarded.  They’ve done their part and are no longer needed.  Pour the strained milk broth back into the pot.

At this point I aill add 1/4 cup of that crab base and a quart of half and half and whisk it well over medium high heat.  You will want to stir this often to avoid build up or scorching on the bottom.

I will mix 4 Tbs of corn starch with 1/4 cup of dry sherry and 1/2 cup of milk.  Whisk that together in a separate container until all of the starch is dissolved in the liquid.  Once it becomes a slurry with no lumps, pour that into your pot and whisk well.

After the crab, the roe is the most important ingredient if we’re going to call it “she crab” soup.  I like to take out 1/4 to 1/3 cup of this amber-gold treasure and break it up into my pot with my bare fingers.  Then whisk everything together well.  From a dining exploration standpoint that roe reminds me of a high end Bottarga without all the salt.  You get that crab-fish taste and a barely perceptible (And I mean barely – you have to be looking for it) faintly wax texture that you get with Sardinian Bottarga.  And that really pleases me and is one of the many reasons I love this dish so much.  If you’ve ever had food that had Bottarga with it in any shape or form, this dish will seem to have vestiges of that experience.  It did for me anyway.

When the soup starts to thicken because of the starch – I add two cups of heavy cream and whisk well.  The only ingedient left now is the crab meat.  You can wait to add it and divvy it up at the table and distrubute it among your diners, putting it in the center of the bowl for presentation which many restaurants do.  Or you can just add the meat and stir it in as I did.

See those little orange and yellow specs?  That’s your she crab roe and it does add some balance and extra character to the dish.  It adds a delicate crab flavor that distinguishes She Crab Soup from just an ordinary bisque.  You really want to make the effort to get the roe and not just for the right to use the “She” label.  Trust me it’s a different experience without it.  When serving you will want to make extra sherry and maybe some hot sauce available to your diners.  This is a very rich dish with so much history.  Some have it that President Taft was visiting Mayor Rhett in the early 1900’s when she-crab soup was created. They were dining at the John Rutledge House when Mayor Rhett asked his butler to create a fancier version of the Scottish recipe of partan-bree (or crab and rice). The butler simply added crab roe (crab eggs), making the soup creamier and therefore creating she-crab soup.

Now I have seen versions in restaurants that are more pinkish looking and I will tell you it’s not because of the crab roe.  Some restaurants will add tomato paste for color and to mellow the flavor some.  But I like sticking with the authentic recipe.  But you can do what you want with yours.  This is a fall or winter dish that you’d serve in the same fashion they do with Oyster Stew up North.

It’s a warming, heavy dish suited for colder weather and is a signature dish from the Carolina and Georgia coast.  To many of us Southerners it is a true delicacy.  I invite you to enjoy this recipe.

She Crab Soup (Serves 8 as a starter soup or main meal)


  • 1 lb lump crab meat
  • 1 large shallot chopped well
  • 1/4 cup crab base
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tabespoons corn starch
  • 1 1/2 cups milk divided
  • 1 quart half and half
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/4-1/3 cup blue crab roe
  • 1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 tsp chopped chives (optional)


  • In a stock pot, begin sauteeing the butter, peppercorns and bay leaves on medium heat for a few minures.
  • Add 1 cup of milk to the pot and whisk well.
  • Simmer for about 5 minutes to get the flavors out of your spices and then strain, keeping the liquid and discarding the solids.
  • Mix the sherry, 1/2 cup milk and starch together well to completely dissolve the starch.
  • Add the half and half and the corn starch/sherry slurry to the pot and whisk very well.
  • Add the crab base to the pot and whisk in well.
  • Agg the crab roe to the pot, breaking up lups with your fingers ehere necessary and whisk in well.
  • At this point I like to taste the soup and see if it needs anything.  It shouldn’t but you can add pepper or sherry as needed.  It should not need salt because of the crab base.
  • Cook a few more minutes whisking gently until the soup thickens.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Fold in your crab meat and stir gently.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve.  You can add chopped chives as a garnish.




Seared Teriyaki Humboldt Squid Steak

In 2015, the country of Peru applied for a sustainable resource harvest permit for Humboldt squid.  It is a predatory cephalopod that can reach 100 kilograms in mass and can even be a threat to humans if you venture out to far at sea during the night.  Prior to 2015 Humboldt squid were considered inedible because like the giant and collossal types of squid, their flesh contains ammonia used to lend bouyancy to the animal.  But someone or some group figured out not only how to get around this problem of ammonia but to both find the best meat on the animal and properly tenderize it.

The steak you see here comes from the mantle of a Humboldt squid and has both an inside and an outside layer of skin removed (from both sides of the steak you see here) and is pounded to make it more tender.

The first time I ever had this was in a Japanese hibachi restaurant a couple months ago and I became fixated on where it came from and how to get it.  I ordered it with fried rice at the time and was amazed at not only how flavorful, but how tender it was.  Now anyone who regularly reads my blog here knows that I am no stranger to squid.  But before spring of this year (2018) I had never seen nor heard of these steaks.  But they are starting to become more well known and my reason for putting this recipe here is not to show people how to make some compex dish they may have heard about but didn’t know how to cook but rather to introduce a newly available food to those, who like me, may not have heard of it before.

Before I continue I must first disclose that this steak is absolutely delicious. And more tender than squid rings.  Fried calamari only wishes it could be so tender!  And cooking it is so simple that I am almost embarassed to publish it here.  But I will 😉

All you need is a little oil or non stick cooking spray, some salt and pepper as well as a little Teriyaki sauce.  I also like to add some Thai basil to mine.

After dusting with a mere pinch of salt and pepper (don’t overdo it), I like to sear it until it gets brown on both sides like you see here.  That takes about 4 minutes on each side.  You should only flip it once because the squid will start to curl if you flip it too quickly.  It sticks to the pan slightly because of the moisture which keeps it from curling so only flip it once after 4 minutes on medium high heat.

After flipping once, I will add some Teriyaki sauce after 2 more minutes.  I like this particular brand of Teriyaki sauce from my grocer because it is thick and very tasty.  But use whatever you like.

I’ll add a few basil leaves (maybe 4-5 per steak) to the sauce.  This will make a delicious glaze and coating for the meat.

And because I had this at a hibachi grill, I am in the habit of cutting the whole steak up into bite sized pieces before I ever start eating it.  The steaks are about 1/3″ thick and as I said – very tender.  Another interesting fact about Humboldt squid is that they recently started showing up off the coast of Maine and have become a nuisance pest, eating many of the food items we normally harvest there.  But these squid are not harvested in the U.S. yet.  At present the only countries harvesting Humboldt squid from the ocean are Peru and China.

This is about the most exciting new cuisine I have had in a very long time.  When you have been cooking as long as I have, there are few if any surprises left.  So this was a huge boon to me and I encourage you to try it.  They are very inexpensive for now and you can find them at Sprouts Farmers market for about $5.99 per lb.  You can get two steaks for less than that.  As these become more popular I do expect the price to go up.

And here is my very simple but refreshing recipe.

Seared Teriyaki Humboldt Squid Steak (serves 1 per steak)


  • 1-2 Humboldt squid steaks
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablesoons of good quality Teriyaki sauce
  • 4-5 Thai basil leaves per steak
  • 1 tsp of vegetable oil or spray pan with no stick spray.


  • Dust steaks with salt and pepper.  Be sparing because pepper can overwhelm  them.
  • Heat a no stick cooking pan over medium high heat until hot
  • Spray pan with no stick spray or add oil
  • Lay squid steaks in the pan and cook for 4 minutes on medium high undisturbed (until browned on lower side).
  • Flip steaks and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add Teriyaki sauce to the top (already done) side and add Thai basil leaves.
  • Cook 2 more minutes or until bottom side is done.
  • Serve with steamed rice.
  • If desired, cut steaks into bite sized pieces before serving.

Thank you!



Clear Broth Clam Soup

This dish is for serious clam lovers!!!  It can be made with almost any clam but works best with live topneck or cherrystone clams as they have the most meat without being too tough to eat.

You want to scrub the outside of each clam to remove all sand and grit.  Here I have 2 dozen cherrystone clams but I think my fish monger snuck a couple of quahogs in there.   But if I don’t overcook them it shouldn’t matter.  At this size the clams are great for steaming.    I prefer them in this kind of clear broth meal instead of a chowder during the summer so it isn’t too heavy.  This soup is quite nourishing without leaving you feeling stuffed.

First we add 2 cups of cold water to our pot.

Then 1 quarter cup of dry white wine.  Here I am using a Chardonnay. After that we add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce instead of salt.  The clams have a lot of salt on their own but the fish sauce will give our broth some depth of flavor.

Among the fresh herbs I grow during the summer, one of them is silverleaf thyme which is in the lower right corner of the picture above.  I add just a small pinch of these to my broth.  Don’t add too much but this will give us a lemony thyme taste in our finished soup.

Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil.  Here I have all my clams scrubbed and ready to cook.

Into the pot they go where they will cook covered for 10 minutes.  Make sure to cover them.  You want them to cook until all the shells open.

Strain out the broth and reserve it.  We want to remove all the clams from their shells except for one.   Take one that looks pretty and set it aside and remove the clams from the rest of the shells.  Then pour as much broth as is needed for the soup.  Add the clams and then put the decorative one you saved into the bowl.  Season with cayenne pepper and add 2 TBS of butter.

There’s enough clams here for two servings.  Sometimes I get a real craving for steamed clams.  And this soup takes care of that.  The broth is very light in contrast to the very bold flavor of the clams.   I make this more often for lunch than for dinner.


Here is the recipe:

South Carolina Clear Broth Clam Soup (serves 2)


  • 2 dozen live cherrystone clams or 3 dozen top neck clams
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbs good quality Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
  • Pinch of fresh silverleaf or regular thyme leaves
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 4 Tbs butter divided
  • 1/2 tsp Tom Yum paste (optional but gives it a Thai flair)


  • Scrub all clams to remove any sand or grit
  • Add water thyme, wine and fish sauce to a large pot with a tight fitting lid
  • Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat
  • Add Tom Yum paste if using.
  • Add clams to the pot and cover
  • Lower heat and cook for 10 minutes
  • Strain the broth and reserve
  • in 2 bowls put 11 of the clams without shells and put one remaining clam in shell each bowl for decoration
  • Top off each bowl with the reserved broth
  • Add 2 Tbs butter to each bowl
  • Add 1 pinch of Cayenne to each bowl and serve

Thank you!


Maryland Style Crab Cakes

One of the things I loved during my teen years in Maryland was crabbing in Ocean City Maryland under the 11th street bridge in the marshy saw grass  with a steel net basket and an ice filled cooler and later, eating crab cakes made from our catch.  Now the term ‘Crab Cake’ can mean a lot of things to different people but to me it is a prime delicacy with almost no filler type ingredients.  Indeed if you were to purchase a crab cake frozen dinner at your local grocer you would very likely end up with crab broth flavored bread crumbs which is an insult to the original intent of this dish.

In its earliest form, people would pick through steamed crabs removing meat by hand until they’d collected enough to start making these sweet lumps of heavenly goodness.  But most restaurants today will use canned, pasteurized crabmeat from a wholesaler.  Today I confess I do the same but it still brings me back to the days when my buddy Sam and I would go crabbing as teenagers in Ocean City.  In my recipe here I will use 2 lbs of crab meat (1 lb of colossal lump crab meat and 1 lb of backfin crab meat).  I start by preheating my oven to 350 degrees.

The process of making the cakes themselves is very simple.  Put all crabmeat into a large bowl and make sure there are no bits of shell in them (to the best of your ability).  You do not want to break up the chunks of crab meat if you can help it.

Then you will mix the other ingredients separately which will include 1 egg, 1/4 cup of mayonaise, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs.  That’s right – I said just one tablespoon of bread crumbs for 2 lbs of crab meat.

Beat the egg and combine with the other wet ingredients with a whisk.  Then gently fold in the crab meat, mixing all the ingredients together being careful not to break up the larger lumps.  You want this mostly dry (no wet ingredients pooling at the bottom).  If you do get liquids pooling at the bottom, you added too much and you will want to drain that off.  That should not happen with the proportions I provide here however.

I take a large ice cream scoop and put the scooped out crab meat on a cookie sheet lined with foil that I spray with Pam or some other non stick cooking spray.

Above I have eleven 3 oz crab cakes dusted with paprika.  I will bake these at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and remove them.  I then put the oven on the low broil setting.  I put a generous pad of unsalted butter on each crab cake and put them back in the oven on the highest rack.

In they go under the low broil for 12 minutes.  I like to watch them carefully as you do not want them to burn here.  The reason I bake them before broiling is because baking them sets the egg and makes the crab cakes stay together better with what little breading we have in them.

After 12 minutes, the cakes are done.  I like to allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving them.

Now you can serve them with a dijon mustard and mayonaise topping or dip with capers or an aioli.  But I like to eat them just as they are.  These are extremely rich and I can manage about 1 and a half cakes before I am full along with a vegetable.

Here is the complete recipe:

Maryland Style Crab Cakes (serves 10 as an appetizer or 6 as a main course with a vegetable side)


  • 1 lb jumbo or colossal lump crab meat picked clean of shell bits
  • 1 lb backfin crab meat picked clean of shell bits
  • 1 TBS bread crumbs (panko or standard)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup mayonaise
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Paprika (enough to dust each crab cake)
  • 1 pad of butter for each crab cake


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine everything but the crab meat and butter in a large bowl, whisking well to combine.
  • Gently fold in all the crab meat.
  • Onto a cookie sheet lined with foil prepared with non stick cooking spray, scoop out as many crab cakes as you can with a large ice cream scoop
  • Dust each crab cake with paprika
  • Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.
  • Move the top oven rack to its highest position.
  • Set the oven to broil (low setting).
  • Place a pad of butter on each crab cake
  • Broil for 12 minutes or until the paprika starts to darken.
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Serve



Bottarga (Land Version)

There are as many condiments and seasonings in cuisine as cooks in the diverse cultures that use them.  And this recipe here is something new to me that I had to share.  I need to make one thing clear up front and that is that this is NOT my recipe.  This is a condiment created by Chef Jonathan Sawyer, owner of The Greenhouse Tavern restaurant in Cleveland Ohio.  Credit for this recipe goes to him.

How I heard about it was from my brother’s brother-in-law.  Chris Wiese and I share a love of finer condiments and haute cuisine.  And I know him because he is married to my younger brother’s wife’s sister.  I still consider Chris family to me as well. When I read up on the recipe he shared with me on facebook, I knew I had to make it and try it.

Now Bottarga is traditionally dried, salt cured fish roe.  Specifically either mullet roe sacs or tuna roe sacs.  I had to order the mullet one online and taste it once I started delving into this novel food topping from Sardinia.  The tuna veriety is a stronger, darker, more fishy version and I confess, I have not tried that one yet.  But the Bottarga made from mullet roe is delicious – similar to anchovies or Asian fish sauce in flavor.  Similar but NOT the same.  It has it’s own characteristic flavor profile.  It is truly stunning on pizza, pasta dishes and lord help me, even something as simple as a bologna sandwich.  Traditional Bottarga made with dried fish roe is no simple ordeal to make.  It takes several months in some cases where salt curing and pressing are part of the process.  So I buy that despite it being expensive.

But this recipe here uses no seafood and is rather simple to make.  I like to call it “Landlubber Bottarga”.  It uses chicken eggs as the main ingredient which get salt cured and smoked.

What you see above is salt that comes from the fermentation process of Red Boat brand Vietnamese fish sauce.  It is the salt that gets left over when the fish sauce dries on the outside of the fermentation vats.  I like to use a little of this with the kosher salt that is a primary ingredient in this condiment.  I confess this is the one thing I changed in Jonathan’s recipe is using the fish salt.  That is not part of his original recipe.

Here I have a container with about 3/4 cm of kosher salt where I have made some divots for the egg yolks and I have sprinkled some Red Boat fish salt into those divots.

After carefully seperating the whites from the yolks in half a dozen jumbo eggs, I delicately lay each one into one of the divots prepared for it.  If a yolk breaks during this stage unfortulately you cannot use it.  It will have to be discarded.  For this you need 6 yolks only without the whites.  I sprinkled some of the fish salt on each egg yolk carefully as well and quickly followed that up by covering them all with more salt.

After covering the eggs thusly with the salts, I cover the container and put it into the refrigerator and leave it undisturbed for 3 days.  What happens over those 3 days is, through osmosis, the eggs absorb all the fish salt and some of the kosher salt and the remaining salt draws moisture out of the egg yolks, drying them considerably.  So the yolks then take on a gummy, gelatinous consistency.

The yolks will have a crust of salt on them when they are removed from the curing tray and that salt needs to be removed.  We will prepare a rinse of natural apple cider vinegar.  I prefer the cloudy kind and pour about 1/2-3/4 cup of the vinegar into a bowl.

One by one, you will want to lower each egg yolk into the vinegar and gently stir to rinse off all salt crystals.  Do this for each yolk.

I apologize for the lack of clarity in this photo but you get the idea.  Rinse each yolk until all solid surface salt is removed.  I like to leave the yolks in the vinegar for 5 minutes so that some of that vinegar gets absorbed.  This will add some flavor to the egg yolks.

When all the yolks have been rinsed, they will have a glossy sheen from the vinegar.  It’s at this stage that they remind me of botterscotch hard candies that I gew up with.  From here, they need 3 more days in the refrigerator uncovered.  I keep them in a collander suspended above the shelf so that they dry on both sides.  You will want to flip each yolk once per day so that they dry evenly.

After the 3 days of aging in the fridge, you end up with semi-firm yolks like these which need to be smoked for their final flavor component.  You absolutely must smoke them.  I took a small taste of one at this stage and all I get is an eggy, salty taste that I wasn’t taken with.  So above I have some wood chips that I lit with a brulee torch and then covered, creating some air flow with the drain holes in these two terra cotta pots.

I let them smoke for about 10 minutes.  To be truthful, next time I do this I will use another pair above the apparatus you see here so that the eggs are in a separate chamber from the combusting wood.  While it didn’t get hot enough to cook the egg yolks, it was warmer than I would have liked.  But after 10 minutes in this makeshift smoker, the only step left is to age the yolks for 3 more days at room temperature.

Here are the 6 yolks after smoking.  The color is a little darker but they don’t get cooked by the smoldering wood chips.  The best wood to use for this is oak.

Here I cover the yolks with cheese cloth and age them for 3 more days at room temperature.

After the final 3 days of aging, the Bottarga is ready for use.  To use it, all we need do is grate it.  I have grated it over a paper plate here and it has the texture of a cured, cooked Italian cheese.  It is more like Asiago than Parmesan, having the softer of those two textures and it is very easy to grate.  I tasted this condiment straight as I had nothing to put it on and I was absolutely stunned.

This is truly magnificent and jaw dropping in deliciousness.  I am not exaggerating for effect here – this is a truly divine topping to flavor foods and is best used instead of traditional Bottarga on dishes that you might not want a seafood taste in.  My own test for this stuff was a simple bologna sandwich.

This grated, dried land caviar gave a smokey, salty, umami edge to my sandwich.  And tasting these grains straight is strangely addicting, making you want to keep tasting it again and again.  That smokey, salty taste is nothing less than habit forming and potentially more than addicting.  This find was truly revolutionary for me and for this I an very grateful to Chris.  Thank you Sir!!  I owe you one for sharing this with me!!

And here is the complete recipe:

Landlubber Bottarga


  • 6 extra large or jumbo chicken eggs
  • 1 cup kosher salt, divided
  • 6 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce salt
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup oak chips for smoking


  • Pour 1/2 cup salt into a coverable container and make 6 divots in that container.
  • Add 1/2 tablespoon of fish salt to each divot
  • Separate each egg yolk from the white with each egg and very gently rest each egg yolk in one of the prepared divots.
  • Sprinkle the second half of each fish salt tablespoon over each egg.
  • Cover al the eggs with the remaining half cup of kosher salt.
  • Cover the container and allow the eggs to cure in the refrigerator for 3 days.
  • After 3 days, rinse the 6 yolks completely in the apple cider vinegar in a bowl.  Allow the yolks to sit in the vinegar for 5 minutes after stirring to rinse.
  • Place the eggs on a wire rack or elevated collander and allow the eggs to age uncovered in the refrigerator for 3 more days.  Flip each yolk once a day so that they dry evenly.
  • After the 3 days, put the egg yolks on a wire rack.
  • Light the oak chips and get them smoldering.  I find that putting the wire rack between two flower pots with drain holes works best because it starts an upward draft air flow between the drain holes that keeps the wood chips smoldering and smoking.
  • Smoke for 10 minutes and remove the yolks afterwards.
  • Put the yolks on a wire rack and cover with a cheese cloth.
  • Age at room temperature for 3 more days.
  • Grate over food as needed.

Bon Apetit!!!


Chicken Pot Pie

This is an old family comfort food item that I grew up with.  My mother was a good cook but this was one of her easy meals because she bought these frozen and just heated them up in the oven.  As kids we loved them and they were easy on her.  But as I grew up I got more of an appreciation for natural ingredients and making these pies from scratch.  And making these yourself is not so difficult and gives you more control over what goes into the pie.  Lots of this can be done in advance like preparing the stock and later the gravy.   Note that this dish is quite filling but taking the extra steps to make fresh stock is well worth it.  My family absolutely LOVES Chicken pot pie!

Here I have two slow cookers that I have added chicken feet, chicken necks, onions, peppercorns, celery, carrots and bay leaves.  I will cook these on low overnight until the meat is literally falling off the bone.  But I won’t use this strained meat in my pie.  You’ll want to use fresh chicken meat for better flavor.

After cooking all night, this is the liquid that got strained out.  As you can see it has a lot of fat in it.  We can use that in the gravy if we want but we do not want it in the stock.  So I chill the stock in an ice bath for an hour.  You will want to cover it during this process. Then move it to the freezer and once cold enough, you will scrape the fat off the top and get as much of that fat out as you can.

Next we want to prepare our dough. I have to confess this hot water crust recipe is NOT mine and I do not claim credit for it.  This recipe can be found in other places on the internet and I use it when making my own pot pie crust.  The recipe for the dough will be at the bottom of this post with everything else.

After we get the shortening and liquid ingredients together and incorporate the flour, we want to form it into a ball.  Cover it in a bowl as above and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

For our gravy, I used 1 cup of flour with a quart of our stock.  I cooked the flour in 1/3 cup of chicken fat (you can use oil or butter instead).  Once the fat and flour make a paste, cook that for about 3 minutes and then slowly pour in the stock while whisking.  It should make a smooth gravy.  To that I’ll add 2 cups of diced chicken breast and/or thighs.

I highly recommend using both chicken breast and thigh meat for best flavor.  I’ll add 1/2 of a leek washed, sliced and chopped as well as peas and carrots.  For the leeks, cut off the dark green top and roots on the bottom.  Slice it lengthwise and soak in cold water to get any dirt out.  Once you’ve done that. cut it legnthwise twice more for thin stalks and then slice those strips up into 1/2″ pieces.  Then add to the gravy.  After that cooks for 15 minutes, I add 1 cup of half and half.

We want to start rolling out our dough between two sheets of wax paper.  I like to get mine about 1/8″ thick.

Lay the dough over a pie pan and trim the edges.  Save leftover dough and put pack into our rolled out pieces until we have 6 pot pie pans lined with dough.

Mine doesn’t look too pretty there but after it bakes, any imperfections will be gone.   I’ll press the sides at the top a little to make it all more even but that’s the extent of what I do to the bottom crust before baking.

Ladle gravy into each one up to the top.  After all are filled as above, start covering them with more flat pieces of dough rolled out between sheets of wax paper and then trim the edges.

I like to poke holes in the top of the crust on each pie so that the gravy doesn’t spill out of the sides when it gets really hot.

Put the pies into an oven preheated to 375 degrees and bake for one hour to 70 minutes.  When finished, take the pies out and allow them to cool for 15 minutes before serving.  Especially if you will be serving children.

I like to flip my pie over on the plate and dig in!! It has to be a two crust pie because well… the crust and the gravy are the best parts!!

Chicken Pot Pie (serves 6-7 as a main course)



  • 3 cups solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Six 8″ pie tins (available at your grocer’s baking aisle)


  • 1.5 lbs chicken feet
  • 1.5 lbs chicken necks
  • 2 cups chopped carrots divided
  • 2 cups chopped celery divided
  • One large onion
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves


  • Stock from above
  • 1/3 cup oil, butter or chicken fat
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2-3 cups diced chicken breast and thigh meat
  • 1/2 leek sliced and chopped (dark green parts discarded)
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots or mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1-2 seasoned chicken boullion cubes



  • Divide the chicken meat in half and put in a pair of slow cookers with carrots, celery, onion bay leaves and peppercorns.
  • Cook overnight on the cooker’s low setting.
  • Strain the next day and discard all solids.
  • Chill the liquid in your freezer for 1.5 to 2 hours (until the fat solidifies and you can skim it).
  • Skim as much fat as possible.
  • Freeze any leftover unused stock after skimming.


  • Heat 1/3 cup fat from skimming the stock or butter in a pot.
  • Add the flour and whisk to mix well.
  • Cook about 3 minutes and then slowly pour in 1 quart of the stock from above while whicking to mix.
  • Add the chicken, chopped leeks, peas and carrots.
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Mix in the boullion cubes to taste.


  • Place shortening in large bowl. Pour hot water and milk over the shortening.
  • With a dinner fork, break up the shortening. Tilt bowl and beat quickly with the fork, until the mixture looks like whipped cream (this will take about 5 minutes). Some water will splash out of the bowl as you beat – that’s okay.
  • Pour flour and salt over shortening mixture and beat well with the fork, forming a dough that cleans the bowl.
  • Form into a ball.
  • Put in a bowl and cover.
  • Put the dough ball in the refrigerator and allow to rest for 30 minutes.


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Roll dough flat between two sheets of wax paper with a rolling pin.  You want to make roughly 10″ rounds of dough that are 1/8″ thick. Make 6 of these.
  • Place the flat pieces of dough into the pie tins and trim excess dough from the edges.
  • Save any scraps from trimming and return to the dough ball.
  • Ladle enough of the gravy into each pie to completely fill each one
  • Roll out six 8″ round pieces of dough 1/8″ thick.
  • Cover each pie with the round pieces.
  • Pinch the edges to seal each pie
  • Poke two slits into each pie crown.
  • Put pies in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes until the crusts are golden brown.
  • When pies are done, remove them from the oven and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Serve on ceramic or china plates.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do.

Thank you!




Panang Curry Chicken

I felt like getting back to my Thai cooking roots with this post.  This is one of the most flavorful dishes you will ever eat.  Incorporating the best from sweet, savory, sour and spicy, this meal makes your taste buds sing!  This dish is a favorite among most of my family (the part of my family that can eat somewhat spicy food).  While Panang Curry is a Malaysian dish by name, the use of a pounded curry paste with lemon grass and coconut milk or cream is definitely a Thai tradition.  So though this dish may be popular in Malaysia, it is most definitely a rice dish of Thai origin.

Above we have most of the ingredients of our curry paste.  Not shown are garlic, shallots, soy sauce, ginger and galangal.  But starting from the top and winding in clockwise are Chili powder in a bag, ground coriander, shrimp paste, tmato paste, red onion and lemon grass and ground cumin.

The shrimp paste is an ingredient rarely seen or discussed in the US so I will go into more detail on that here.

This is dried, fermented shrimp paste.  This is perhaps the most pungent ingredient used in Thai cooking.  The smell is very strong and depending on what you are making with it, it is often better to be cooked outside.  Indeed there is a dish called Nam Prik Gapee (fried fish with shrimp paste and water dip) that when eaten, can literally wreck your breath for more than a day.  I know because it’s happened to me and I had to sleep on the couch when I ate it.  This condiment is made by harvesting fresh small shrimp from the sea or from fresh water lakes and then mashing them into a paste.  The paste is then mixed with salt and allowed to ferment in baskets.  It is later dried in the sun and formed into solid bricks or cakes of shrimp paste.  Called Gapee in Thai, the dried shrimp is mixed with other ingredients to flavor food.  This stuff is impossible to eat straight out of the container (it is incredibly salty) and it has to be cooked before use.  In the tub above, even after opening the lid, the surface of the product was coated with a wax seal that I had to break when I opened it.  That’s when the smell hits you.  I store my excess in the garage.  For what we are going cook, we only need to use about a tablespoon of it and we’ll be grilling it and then mixing it with a lot of other ingredients so it shouldn’t be too smelly cooked indoors.

Above, I have about a tablespoon that I will wrap in aluminum foil to cook.  I cook it not only for the grilled flavor but to ensure the paste is safe to eat and cooking it cuts way back on that fishy taste and smell.

I have the paste wrapped in aluminum foil.  Now you COULD cook it over your grill but we only need about a minute of high heat for a tablespon full like we have here.  A gas stove on high will work too.

I am cooking mine with a brulee torch on all sides for about a minute before adding the paste to the mortar and pestle with the other curry paste ingredients.

Here I have pounded the roasted shrimp paste with the garlic, shallots, onion, lemon grass, coriander, cumin, chili powder, ginger, galangal, soy sauce and a little lime juice.

Above are my ingredients for the gravy part of the sauce.  Coconut cream, brown sugar and fish sauce.  Before we start, it is important that we start cooking our rice.  For me, that means adding 3 cups of well rinsed Japanese medium grain rice to the required amount of water and starting the cooker.  This is the way this dish would be eaten in Northern Thailand.  In Southern Thailand they would use Jasmine rice.  You can use whatever rice suits your own fancy.

Here I have about 1.5 lbs of chicken tenderloins cut into bite sized pieces.  To start this dish, we will heat some oil and fry the curry paste first.

I will let the vegetable oil heat here for a full minute on high heat before adding the curry paste.

You want to fry the paste until it’s very fragrant.  The smells of garlic, lemon grass, chili pepper and shrimp paste will be prominent before we add the next ingredient.  I cooked this on high heat for about 90 seconds stirring constantly.

Here I am adding the two cans of coconut cream.  Thai people add coconut milk and/or cream to their curries to soften the savage attack of the spices on the palette.  This curry paste is quite strong in flavor and will easy overpower the palette of most people.  The coconut attenuates this to a normal level for us.  And for this dish – this is next point is very important.  When you go to get the coconut cream for this.  If you go to any Asian market (and even some US grocery store chains) you will see they have coconut milk at least and hopefully the cream.  Try to find the coconut CREAM instead of the MILK.  There is a difference.  Coconut cream is the liquid that is the first press from the shredded coconut meat and if you don’t have it, you have to add corn starch to the gravy to get it as thick as the cream will get it.  You want the gravy to be rich and somewhat thick.

I use a whisk for this next step.  You want the curry paste well mixed into the coconut cream.  If it isn’t, your diners might get a lump or two of the paste itself and you will hear about it if they do.  Much spicier and hotter than the rest of the gravy, it is brutal on the taste buds.  Take the extra time to get this well mixed.  Note the lovely peachy hue of our gravy.  That pinkish-orange color is the hallmark of good Panang curry sauce.

Next we’ll add our chicken.  Now you can add beef or shrimp but I find red curry to be best for beef and green curry to pair better with shrimp.  (I will add those recipes at some point later to this blog).  But you are by no means bound by my preferences.  Feel free to cook what you want in your kitchen.

Stir this well until the chicken pieces start to get opaque.

Here I’ll add a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar and stir well to dissolve it.  

Next I’ll add the juice of one whole lime, one half at a time.  We need some more citrus to balance out that sweetness.

And here, I’ll add about 3 tablespoons of fish sauce.  Stir this very well.  It’s here that you will want to taste it.  It should have a nice balance between sweet, salty and sour as well as with spicy heat.  Here is where you will make any final corrections in flavor.  Add sugar, lime juice or fish sauce, depending on whether your dish needs more sweetness, acid (sour) or salt, respectively.

I like to add a cup or so of frozen peas and carrots.  This will be the last ingredient we will add while the dish is actively cooking.   Give it a good stir and let it simmer on very low heat for about 10 more minutes.

With 8 minutes left for my rice to cook, I shut off the heat on my curry sauce.

I have one final ingredient I will add to the curry after the stove is shut off.  These snow pea pods will cook using the left over residual heat from our gravy.

Snow peas added to our curry.

And our final stew ready to be served over rice.

This is my own dish with chopped cilantro leaves and sliced Thai red chili pepper added.  I add about 1/2-1 cup of gravy to each cup of cooked rice.

And the final dish after a good stir.  It’s ready to eat after a quick drizzle of additional fish sauce.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family and I do!

Panang Curry Chicken (serves 5-6 as a main course)


  • 1.5 lbs chicken tenderloins cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Two 13.5 oz cans of premium quality coconut cream
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1.5 cups cut fresh snow pea pods
  • 2-4 tablespoons fish sause (to taste)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons of either prepackaged penang curry paste or use the below recipe

Panang Curry Paste

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tsp minced red onion
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 lemon grass stalks pounded into paste
  • 1 tablespoon galangal (thai ginger) root pounded to paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grilled Thai shrimp paste
  • 2 tablespoons red chili powder or 4 fresh thai chilis pounded into paste
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin


  • Pound the Panang Curry paste ingredients in a mortar and pestle or use premade paste bought from an Asian grocer.
  • Begin cooking the rice you will serve with the dish.
  • Begin heating the oil in a pot
  • Fry the curry paste in the oil for about 90 seconds (it will be very fragrant)
  • Add both cans of coconut milk and whisk together well.
  • When red oil starts to appear on top of the coconut milk, add the chicken pieces and stir well.
  • Add brown sugar
  • Add lime juice
  • Add fish sauce
  • Stir well and taste.  Add any of the 3 condiments desired to fill in flavor gaps to personal taste.
  • Add the frozen vegetables and stir well.
  • Simmer on very low heat for about 10 more minutes.
  • Turn off heat.
  • Add the snow pea pods and stir well.  Allow the gravy to rest about 10 minutes.
  • Serve over steamed white rice (your preference here).





Bucatini alla Carbonara

Having a pasta machine means you make Italian food more often than you normally would.  At least in my case it does.  The machine came with 8 screens or dies which is all this manufacturer makes.  But when a mettalurgist in Italy decided to make an adapter that lets me use Kenwood (one of the largest makers of pasta dies) brass pasta screens in my Phillips pasta maker, a whole new world opened up.

Above is a bucatini pasta die with 00 ground semolina flour.  It looked interesting to me because the noodles are hollow.  That is what made me purchase the screen anyway.  Hollow spaghetti noodles – how very novel.  The reason I decided to make Bucatini alla Carbonara is because that is the dish most commonly asociated with that pasta.  I love researching the origins and background of a dish before I make it s0 that I have an understanding of the people that ate it and why they chose the ingredients they did.  Such research has me craving the food by the time I’ve had my fill of the reading.  Then my family gets a short story as they begin eating a meal that I make for the first time, as happened here.  All because I thought some pasta die looked interesting on a website.  😉

Ok, so starting with the parsley in the upper left and going clockwise, we have flat leaf parsley, eggs, 00 ground semolina flour, garlic, Telicherry black peppercorns, Pecorino Romano cheese, Parmesano Reggiano cheese, and Pancetta.  Not shown is the olive oil we will use.

Now here I’ve chopped up 8 oz of the pancetta, ground my black pepper, grated a mix of 80% romano and 20% parmesan cheese and minced up some flat leaf parsley (about 1/3 cup) .

Into my pasta machine I have put about 600 grams of 80% 00 ground semolina with 20% all purpose flour and 3 whole eggs and enough water to make up the rest of the liquid volume.  Here, the machine is kneading it.  If you don’t have a pasta maker you can always buy Bucatini pasta online or from a grocer.

These noodles are like long thin macaroni noodles.  This is about 1/3 of my noodles processed.  The brass die works best when it is hot so I soak it in very hot water for 5 minutes before starting this.

And here I have started to cook my pancetta and parsley in olive oil.  The fat rendered from the pancetta gives an extra smooth richness to the sauce that we want.  In Italy they would use cured hog jowls instead of pancetta but there is nothing unauthentic about my dish here (except for how I plate it).

My bucatini cooked and drained.  Like thick spaghetti noodles with holes on the ends.

Ok, here I have tossed everything together along with one whole beaten egg, 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, my ground black pepper and the grated cheese mix.  At the table I provide more grated romano cheese.

And here is the dish plated before adding any condiments on top.  I plate it this way so that each diner can toss the egg yolk into their hot pasta at the table and enjoy this creamy sauce that goes so well with the crispy pork.  I served this to my family of 5 and there were no leftovers.  I must confess when I showed the above to my friends in Italy in our pasta maker group, they wasted no time telling me “That’s NOT Carbonara if the egg is added at the table.”  I thought “Here we go again with the ‘Paella’ argument.”  I wasn’t going to argue with them because they ARE in Italy and traditionally the yolks are mixed in with the sauce before the table.  But if Mario Batali can get away with it then I figured ‘why not’.  And the dish doesn’t taste any different having added the yolks later.

As the story goes, this dish was a favorite of coal miners in the region, hence the name “Carbonara”.

And here is the complete recipe:


Bucatini alla Carbonara (serves 5-6 as a main course)


  • 1.5 lbs bucatini pasta (boxed or made yourself)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano (80%) and Parmesano Reggiano (20%)
  • 1/3 cup well chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 oz pancetta chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 egg per diner plus 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs fresh ground black peppercorns


  • Cook the pasta according to box directions or boil 6 minutes if home made
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat
  • Add the pancetta and parsley when the oil is hot
  • Cook the pancetta until it starts to crisp up (about 6-8 minutes)
  • Add the garlic to the pancetta pot and stir well
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta noodles well.
  • Toss the pasta well in the pot with the sauteed pancetta, parsley and garlic medley
  • Beat one of the eggs well and mix slowly with the hot pasta water
  • Toss the egg/water mix into the noodles well.
  • Add the grated cheese and the black pepper to the pasta and mix well.
  • With the remaining eggs, separate the yolks from the whites.  The whites will not be used.
  • Plate each diner’s dish as a nest of pasta and pancetta pieces with a yolk in the middle.
  • Serve immediately with extra grated pecorino romano and parmesan cheese at the table.
  • Have the diners toss their noodles with the egg yolk