Linguine with Clams and Confit Garlic Sauce

Linguine with Clams and Confit Garlic Sauce

I was watching an old episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate – SAUCED last weekend where Chef Michael Psilakis talked about the linguine and clam sauce at Don Peppe in Queens, NY (watch the mouth-watering episode here). That’s basically all I could think of this whole past week so I decided to try to recreate the simple yet delish dish.

First, please use good quality pasta – my favorite is Delverde. Next, buy your clams from a reputable source. Last, take the time to really confit (slow cook for a long time) the garlic – it’s key in this recipe.

If you want a slightly thicker sauce, you could create a slurry of ¼ cup water and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and add right before step 4. I don’t think it’s necessary and some, I’m sure, would find this sacrilegious.


  • 1 pound of linguine or fettucine, cooked 1 minute less than package direction, with ½ cup pasta cooking water reserved
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 2 dozens little neck clams
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • Chopped Italian parsley, optional


  1. In a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic cloves and allow to cook for 20 minutes. If the cloves are smaller and they begin to brown early in the cooking process, lower the heat to low – make sure the cloves don’t burn!
  2. Add the garlic cloves and the cooking oil to a large sauté pan that has a lid. Turn the heat to medium and add the ½ cup pasta cooking water, wine, lemon juice, red pepper, salt and pepper to the oil. Bring to a simmer and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the clams to the sauté pan, cover with the lid and cook for 3-4 minutes until the clams have opened. Discard any clams that didn’t open (unopened clams = bad clams). Remove the clams to a large serving bowl, leaving the sauce in the sauté pan.
  4. Lower the heat to low and add the butter, swirling until fully melted.
  5. Add the pasta and gently stir to coat in the sauce. Add the parsley, if using, then add the sauce and pasta to the serving bowl with the clams, tossing gently to combine.
  6. Serve with crusty bread.

Makes two VERY generous portions.


Buick Discovery Tour

Buick Discovery Tour

Here’s a recap of the Buick Discovery Tour event I attended on Saturday as published by Devil Gourmet –

Psilakis and Me

Chef Michael Psilakis and Me

Looks fun, doesn’t it?

Have a great week,


Michael Psilakis Gyro Spiced Sliders

Michael Psilakis Gyro Spiced Sliders

Gyro Spiced SlidersI sampled these sliders at the Morristown Buick Discovery Tour event last weekend. These are by far the most flavorful sliders I’ve ever had and a very good example of how delicious Michael Psilakis’ food is.

Gyro Slider Spice Ingredients:

  • 12 tbsp. Cumin
  • 2 tbsp. Coriander
  • 8 tbsp. Yellow Mustard Seed
  • 2 1/2 tsp. Cloves
  • 2 tbsp. Black Cardamom
  • 4 tbsp. Fennel
  • 2 tbsp. Cinnamon

Tsatziki Ingredients (makes one pint):

  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 shallots, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill
  • 1 1/4 cups strained Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Gyro Slider Ingredients:

  • 12 2-ounce beef patties
  • 12 slider potato rolls
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 12 cornichons (optional)
  • 12 frilly toothpicks

Gyro Slider Spice Directions:

  1. Combine all spices in mixing bowl, transfer to airtight container.

Tsatziki Directions:

  1. Cut the cucumber into very small pieces, even dice. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, vinegar, shallots, and dill. Pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed.
  2. Add the mixture to the cucumbers; add the yogurt. Fold together with a rubber spatula, adding the olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper, starting off with 1 tablespoon salt.
  4. You can store the Tsatziki in a covered, clean jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Gyro Slider Directions:

  1. Preheat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat and coat bottom of pan with olive oil.
  2. Season sliders on both sides with salt and pepper and dredge sliders in Gyro Slider Spice mixture.
  3. In small batches of 3-4 patties sear sliders for approximately 1 minute per side. Allow to rest once cooked.
  4. Remove excess grease with paper towel and repeat until all sliders are cooked.
  5. To serve, place each slider on bottom of potato roll and top with dollop of Tsatziki sauce and cover gently with bun top and cornichon. Spear with toothpick.

Makes one dozen sliders.

FISHTAG – It’s All Greek to Me for Brunch

FISHTAG – It’s All Greek to Me for Brunch

Eggs a La Kosta

Eggs a La Kosta

I love Greek food and as such, I’m a huge fan of New York’s own, Chef Michael Psilakis. I’ve written about his casual place, Kefi, before and this past weekend, I had an opportunity to brunch at one of his newer restaurants, FISHTAG, on the upper west side of Manhattan with some girlfriends. The menu is limited in the number of items it features, but grand in how delicious each of those items sound.

Hair of the Dogfish

Hair of the Dogfish

It may seem unfair, but I find that I often pre-judge brunch by how much care a restaurant puts into brewing a solid cup of coffee. The French-pressed coffee is strong and wonderful. There are typical brunch drinks ($8 each or $16 for unlimited) like mimosas and bloody Marys, but the drink I simply had to have is the cleverly-named Hair of the Dogfish. This outstanding drink features Dogfish Head 90Min IPA infused with house-made pickled vegetables, poured over bloody Mary mix and vodka. That is one fabulous drink I’ll be copying at my next brunch gathering.

Pork Belly and Clam Soup

Pork Belly and Clam Soup

The first dish that caught our eye on the starters’ menu is the Greek “Spoon” Salad ($10). The dish is named that because the chopped ingredients can easily be eaten with a spoon. It’s a combination of Feta, tomatoes, onions, peppers and cucumbers. It’s nicely seasoned, fresh and delicious.

Another starter we had to have is the Clam and Pork Belly Soup ($11). I just love this idea and it really works. The perfectly-fatty pork belly, king oyster mushrooms and clams are served in a bowl where clean, earthy mushroom consommé is poured tableside. The soup is rich and flavorful and I look forward to savoring it again soon.

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur

The rest of the menu is divided into griddle, eggs and lunch options. One dish we had from the griddle menu is the Ricotta Pancakes ($11), Greek pancakes served with honey butter and stone fruit compote. Eggs a la Kosta ($13) features two poached eggs over brioche toast with Guanciale and wilted spinach then topped with lobster avgolemono – how could this dish be anything but fabulous?! The selection we made from the lunch menu is the Short Rib Croque Monsieur ($14), the sandwich is filled with rich short rib meat, smoked Gouda, braised rapini then topped with béchamel sauce. It was simply decadent and delicious.

The space at FISHTAG is cozy but nicely functional. The design team kept many of the ornate turn-of-the-century features of the space like the intricate moldings and the wooden floors with marble tile inserts. The overall feel of the place is of casual elegance. That also describes the well-executed food.


222 West 79th Street

New York, NY 10024


New Wines of Greece – New York City

New Wines of Greece – New York City

I had the pleasure of attending the New Wines of Greece in Manhattan this week and found the event fantastic. First – the people – exhibiting wineries, event coordinators and the catering staff were passionate about their destination and products, second – the wines I sampled were pretty outstanding, third – my favorite NYC chef and cookbook author, Michael Psilakis, provided the amazing food.

Here are some of the wines I sampled that were gems:

  • 2009 Antonopoulos Moscofilero, Mantinia: a bold, fruit-forward, almost creamy wine. Long, perfectly dry, smoky finish.
  • 2009 Domaine Katsaros Chardonnay: Low acidity, aged in French oak for 5 months, buttery (in a good way).
  • 2009 Savatiano Papagiannakos: Light, palest greenish in color, fruity with a hint of tannins.
  • 2009 Gaia Estate Assyrtiko: Rich honey and fruit notes without much sweetness. Refined, elegant wine that reminded me of a nicer white Burgundy.

As far as food was concerned, Michael Psilakis didn’t cut any corners. The ‘catering’ food he brought to this event was what he serves at his restaurant. My favorite dish from Psilakis’ Kefi, grilled octopus, was served on huge platters. Michael ensured that platters, bowls and dishes were filled to the brim and stayed fresh, and even served when a crowd amassed at certain stations.

Great event all around.

Just when I thought I couldn’t enjoy Greek food more…

…How to Roast Lamb happens to me

How to Roast Lamb

How to Roast Lamb

I received my copy of Michael Psilakis’ “How to Roast Lamb” last week and I love this cookbook.  I’ve been a huge fan of Michael Psilakis for quite a while and have enjoyed dining at Kefi several times and can’t say enough about this “cookbook”.  I say “cookbook” as it’s way more than that.  Michael shares traditions, family and his rise to fame throughout the book and his passion for Greek food has renewed my interest in cooking this wonderful food and not just eating it out.

The book itself is weighty and features amazing quality paper (I’m a fan of good paper).  The photos of the food and of Michael’s family are great and left me wanting more (please tell me there’s more!).

I love that Michael could have made the recipes complicated to show off his grasp of fine cooking and his graduation to Manhattan’s elite, but opted to make each dish something even a basic home cook could recreate.  His goal to make Greek food accessible and simple to share with family and friends was accomplished – in a big way.

Looking forward to dining at Anthos and Michael’s next book.  Well done.

Opa state of mind and innovative Greek food at Michael Psilakis’ Kefi

The space at this trendy Upper West Side neighborhood spot co-owned by celebrity chef Michael Psilakis features washed wood, bleached walls and a casual feel.

The front of the house offers a popular bar area ideal for before-dinner drinks and appetizers. The bar staff is personable and eagerly recommends Greek beers such as Mythos or specialty cocktails like the spot-on ouzo sour.

Sheep's Milk Dumplings

Sheep's Milk Dumplings

Psilakis keeps the menu straight-forward and the ingredients ultra fresh, as is typical of casual Greek food. Appetizers, perfect for sharing, range from the spreads platter for two ($9.95) with warm, moist pita bread, the house-made Cypriot sausages ($7.50) and the succulent grilled octopus over bean salad ($9.95).

Entrees feature outstanding options. The lamb shank ($15.95) is particularly tender and flavorful and the orzo it is placed on is perfectly cooked without being mushy as many versions are. The dish of sheep’s milk dumplings with Cypriot sausage and pine nuts ($13.95) is simply heavenly.


The wine list at Kefi is somewhat limited but offers a great selection of Greek wines, both by the bottle and the glass. The wait staff is helpful about the menu and its Greek dishes and with Greek wine recommendations.

Note that tables for two are very small, so opting for dinner at the bar is an enjoyable option for patrons.

505 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10024