07/07/10 Vermicelli with Clams

"In un mondo di ciechi un orbo re." (In a world of blind people, a one-eyed man is king.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Smoked Salmon Pate
  -Corn and Radicchio Salad
  -Vermicelli with Clams

"La fame muta le fave in mandorle." (Hunger makes hard beans sweet.) Enjoy your recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Smoked Salmon Pate

Smoked Salmon Pate
Pate di Salmone Affumicato


1 oz (25 grams) butter, melted (plus extra for greasing)
7 oz (200 grams) smoked salmon, chopped
3 potatoes
3 tablespoons black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 canned anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped
Salt and pepper
Pickles or small gherkins, drained, for garnishing


Grease a mould pan with butter.

Cook the potatoes in lightly salted, boiling water for 15 minutes or until they are tender.

Drain, peel and mash the potatoes with a masher.

Put the salmon, olives, melted butter and anchovies in a food processor, season with salt and pepper and process until it becomes a puree.

Stir the puree into the mashed potatoes.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared mould, smooth the surface and chill in the refrigerator for about 5-6 hours.

Turn out, garnish with pickles or gherkins, and serve. Serves 6-8.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Corn and Radicchio Salad

Corn and Radicchio Salad
Insalata di Mais e Radicchio


7 oz (200 grams) canned sweet corn, drained
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) baby spinach leaves, chopped
3 radicchio, chopped
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) ham (or prosciutto), diced
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
3 and 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) extra virgin olive oil


Put the spinach and radicchio in a salad bowl.

Add the ham and sweet corn.

Put a pinch of salt in a bowl, add the lemon juice and stir to dissolve.

Whisk in the olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Vermicelli with Clams

Vermicelli with Clams
Vermicelli Con Le Vongole


2 and 1/4 lbs (1 kg) clams, scrubbed
1/4 pint (150 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
12 oz (350 grams) vermicelli pasta
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper


Discard any clams with broken shells or that do not close immediately when sharply tapped.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan.

Add the garlic and clams and cook for about 5-7 minutes until the shells open.

Remove the pan from the heat and lift out the clams with a slotted spoon.

Discard any that remain closed.

Remove the clams from their shells.

Strain the cooking liquid into a frying pan and add the clams.

Meanwhile, cook the vermicelli in a large pan of salted, boiling water until 'al dente', then drain and pour into the frying pan.

Cook for 2 minutes, tossing frequently, then season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the parsley.

Tip on to a warm serving dish. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates & reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news resources in Italy. Each story is slapped with our wild, often ironic, and sometimes rather opinionated comments. And now, for your reading pleasure, a sample of today's edition:

The Fat Ladies Won't Sing, Italian Opera Houses Go On Strike

Rome - May 2, 2010 - Opera theatre workers in Italy have gone on strike, causing the cancellation of performances throughout the country.

Union leaders called the strike to protest a government emergency decree concerning the financing of the country's 14 state-supported opera houses, which have 5,500 workers.

The union says benefits will be chopped and the decree also hobbles their ability to bargain properly. Reports say that stipends, which can account for up to 20 per cent of a worker's total salary, would be cut by 50 per cent.

Giancarlo Albori, a La Scala union official, said that an emergency decree was not necessary: "We don't agree with the instrument."

The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Celilia in Rome posted a warning on its website that it has scrapped performances Sunday, Monday and Tuesday because of a strike.

The famed La Scala, in Milan, has already canceled its May 13th premiere of Wagner's Das Reingold.

Barber of Seville: "FIGARO! FIGARO!"

This strike is part of a long-running boring drama involving Italy’s main opera houses, which are almost all dependent on government financing and frequently suffer labor stoppages or the threat of them.

The fight bears the asinine hallmarks of Italian life: Powerful blood-sucking unions holding on to long-held privileges, a struggle between local and central control, and seemingly wrongheaded decrees from Rome.

The Italian government provides about $321 million a year for all 14 opera houses. But that's not much more than the Metropolitan Opera’s budget in New York. There is no doubt that the protagonists of these houses have the brilliance, passion and talent of people like the late great Pavarotti...but the management of Bozo the Clown.

For example, the 'Teatro Massimo' in Palermo is the largest theatre in Italy (and the third largest opera house in Europe).

In 1974 the house was closed to complete renovations required by updated safety regulations, but the inflated cost over-runs from the Mafia, rat-bastard Sicilian corruption, and meddling from Sicilian politicians who had less knowledge of Opera culture than the vendors in front of the theater selling greasy "panini con la milza" (fried cow spleen sandwiches), all added to the delay and it remained closed for a staggering 23 years and reopened in May of 1997.

The only opera performance taking place at the 'Teatro Massimo' during those 23 years was 'Fantasia' by the local academy of Palermo rats.

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