What a week it has been. The good news is, the kids are back in school and summer is almost over (good for those of us in the business). The bad news is … well, it’s what everyone’s been talking about.
Scunny was a legend; hell, he is a legend. His is a tale that will be told for years to come.
With a heart as big as the ocean, the man could find plenty of time to play his trademark role.
Whether it was Scunny and Egg in front of the Greene Turtle during a snowstorm in their birthday suits (antiquated evidence forthcoming but not verified) or posing as a health inspector and scaring the living crap out of local chefs, he always seemed up for a good laugh.
But then there was the other side.
I remember the first year I worked for him in Baltimore. He confided in me how much money he put in his pocket the first year Nacho’s was open. He wasn’t bragging. On the contrary, he was very matter-of-fact when he told me that it was only after having given back to the community in the process. I still don’t think he saw it as anything but a given duty.
That was just before he pinned me to the ground (two former broken-neck guys trying to outman each other in O’Donnell Square in good fun).
People just don’t talk like that anymore. The dude was an anomaly from the get-go. And I am happy to have had the honor to work for him and let him mentor me.
When I saw him at the White Marlin Open recently, our conversation was on the Believe in Tomorrow Foundation, a charity equally fond in our hearts, although we didn’t realize it until then. He did not know that I donate chef-dinners and I didn’t know that he was one of BIT’s largest donors. The guy just didn’t stop.
All seriousness aside, though, I feel as though I want to erupt into an eloquent and irreverent diatribe as did John Cleese at Graham Chapman’s memorial (not only was it scathingly brilliant, but it set certain precedents in Great Britain). It was a worthy and fitting sendoff.
But as I often spin off-topic (although today for better reason than on the average week), I must come back to the kids … and the food. School is back in session and it was time to do our annual duty.
Every year, the missus and I provide two treats for our kids — a nice “School Starts Tomorrow Eve” dinner and an ice cream cake after the first day of school that reads “179 left to go.” We succeeded on both counts.
And what a dinner it was.
I ordered crab legs from www.crabplace.com and they were unbelievable. After scouring the local stores, I decided to go big, and they were very honestly the best crab legs I have ever eaten.
They were quite a surprise, not having purchased from Crab Place before. In the end, I had no use for the steak and baby backs that were on the table. The latter went untouched.
As we finished our meal, I looked at my wife and kids — my family. Life is such a fickle beast. All we can do is live, love and try to make someone’s life a little better, however small our efforts may seem to us.
“To know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded” … Ralph Waldo Emerson
• Put water in big pot
• Force aforementioned water to become hot
• Steam legs until they are also hot
• Slather picked leg meat with butter and tangy butter sauce (recipe follows with clever French moniker)
• Chase it down with your choice of beer, white wine, lemonade, iced tea or water
1/2 750 mL bottle Sauvignon Blanc
1/2 shallot, finely minced
1/2 fresh lemon
4 ounces cold butter
• Place the wine, shallot and lemon half in sauce pan and bring to a slow boil
• Reduce to a simmer and allow to reduce to 1/4 cup.
** do not keep it boiling. Doing so can result in a raisin-type taste with hints of “really burnt and disgusting.” Slow and low
• Cut the cold to cool butter into chunks
• Pull pan off the heat and start incorporating butter with a whisk
• When the butter is fully incorporated, it will be creamy
2 ounces whole salted butter per person
• Melt the butter in a pan
• Remove the foam from the top
• Strain the pure oil from the pan and discard milk solids
• Or, if you really want some flavor in which to dunk your crab legs, keep gunk in the butter
• Cook until foaming subsides (be careful) and remove from heat
• You will now have a glorious dipping butter that will serve you well
• If you want to go the extra mile, let the butter cook a little longer until it just starts to brown. It adds a nutty flavor that cannot be rivaled by mere mortals. You will be a culinary god amongst your crustacean-crushing crew