UNI CARBONARA WITH PORK SALT
IF I RANTED, I HOPE IT ISN’T THOUGHTLESS…
The brass dinner fork and spoon is made by the amazing Ann Ladson.
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If I ranted, I hope it isn’t thoughtless.
If I wrote songs, I hope it isn’t comfortable.
If I were a wood-worker, I’ll have a summer cabin.
If I made things with metals, I hope I had made these.
If I were sociable, I hope I am also sincere.
If I were a friend, I hope I don’t mistake loyalty with bias.
If I envied, I hope I could say it out loud.
If I had experienced joy, I hope it is without victims.
If I had a garden, I hope it grows shades for stray dogs.
If I were young, I would change nothing.
If I were a parent, I hope I don’t always think like one.
If I were a believer, I hope I have strength for reasons.
If I were a lion, I hope I respect the lambs.
If I were a vegetarian, I am going to have a pet pig.
If I were smart, I hope it comes with wisdom.
If I were a follower, I hope I wasn’t blind.
If I asked myself questions, I hope it isn’t answered by someone else.
If I were a particle physicist, I hope I can overlook human pettiness.
If I had compassion, it shall be selective.
If I were powerful, I hope I have the capacity to let go.
If I were in the same position, I hope I could resist the mistakes.
If I could live anywhere, I want to live in New York.
But if I lived by the sea, I hope it is home for sea urchins, too.
And if I lived by sea urchins, I hope you would visit me in the summer.
If you visited me in the summer, I hope I make this for you.
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- 1.8 oz (50 grams/about 1.5" square) pancetta, very finely diced or minced
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp black salt, or sea salt
- 2.1 oz (60 grams) fresh uni/sea urchin without shell
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tbsp (22 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- Sea salt to taste
- 7 oz (200 grams) linguine pasta
- 1 sheet of nori/Japanese seaweed
- TO MAKE PORK SALT: Cook finely diced/minced pancetta and ground black pepper in a small pot over low heat, stirring frequently, until all the fat has rendered out and the pancetta is very dry and crispy (resembles very fine pork cracklings). This will take a few minutes depending. Drain the pancetta-bits well then wrap them with paper towels on a flat surface, pressing it to extract any excess oils and changing the paper-towels if necessary, until the pancetta-bits are very dry. Transfer them to a mortar with black salt, then pound until finely ground (the pancetta will not ground properly if it wasn't rendered/dried sufficiently). Set aside until needed.
- TO MAKE UNI CARBONARA: You can use uni from fresh sea urchin, or from store-bought boxes that already did all the dirty work for you. Whatever you choose, just make sure that they are absurdly fresh. Pass the uni/sea urchin through a very find sieve into a bowl, then discard any solids/impurities that remains on the sieve. Whisk in the egg yolks until smooth, then the unsalted butter (its' fine if there are small bits of butter that don't blend). Set aside.
- Bring a pot of water with 2 heavy pinches of salt to boil. Cook the linguine according to instructions until al dente, then drain through a large sieve. Return the linguine to the still hot cooking-pot while it's still dripping a bit of pasta-water, then add the uni-mixture. Without applying any more heat, stir the linguine and the sauce together for about 20 seconds, until the sauce starts to thicken from the residual heat. Season lightly with sea salt (but not too much because we're gonna top it with pork salt), then divide into 2 serving plates.
- Wave the nori/seaweed-sheet 2" above open flames for a few seconds to crisp up, then crumble it with your hands over the pasta. Sprinkle with pork salt, then serve immediately with a glass of white wine.