PUBLIC EYE 03/21/2014

Please don’t fry sardines

Reflections is gone. Long live Touch of Italy. Or it will be Touch of Italy in the Holiday Inn at 66th Street when the Rehoboth/Lewes-based deli and restaurant business takes up residence in Reflections’ former space.

The deal has been the subject of rumors since late last year, but the fact is Touch of Italy owner Bob Ciprietti and representatives of the Harrison Group, which owns the hotel, didn’t finalize the lease until just recently.

Touch of Italy, as a matter of fact, was the source of an indispensable cooking lesson for me and I pass it along to anyone who wishes to remain in, as opposed to being run out of, the house.

Let’s just say, if baking bread makes your house smell good, frying Sicilian salt-packed sardines in a small kitchen is not something you really want to do, unless Amazon.com has a supply of replacement noses in stock. Price is not a factor.

“Yum,” I said, to my marital associate. “See this can of sardines? I’m going to make Mario Batali weep with envy. Yep, I’m going to rinse these babies and mix them with pasta.

“But – and here’s my own special culinary twist – I’m going to dust them with a little flour and just crisp them up in the frying pan.”

Fifteen minutes later, a voice came from the backyard, even though the temperature outside was hovering between numb below zero and lost appendages.

“Hey, in there!” she said. “What are you doing, rendering Moby Dick?”

I’m not going to say that frying canned sardines, rather than fresh sardines, which is a much different affair, makes a big stink, but the dogs did spend the next several hours trying to roll on me.

Oh, and the real cooking lesson was this, “You know that food show ‘Chopped?’” she asked. “If you ever do that again, I’ll show you what ‘chopped’ really means.”

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