The Cherry Pit Spit, Cicadas, Regional Italian Cuisine

Hosted by
The 15th Annual Sidewalk Sale of Used Books takes place at The Cook-s Library on Saturday, June 5, from 11am to 6pm. The Cook-s Library is located at 8373 W 3rd Street (between Orlando Ave and Kings Rd) in Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 655-3141. You-ll find great deals and hidden treasures.

To find out more about the International Cherry Pit Spit Competition, go to The farm also has a mail order fruit business.

Nigella Lawson has many books out including Forever Summer, published by Hyperion Books. She also writes for the London Times and the New York Times Dining Section. She is also the host of Forever Summer with Nigella Lawson on the Style Network. You can find her new product line, -Living Kitchen-, at Macy-s, Yoke in Silverlake, Anthropologie and Sur La Table.

Crostini del Mare
Makes approximately 25

  • Half a skinny baguette or 1 ficelle
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil, approximately
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus extra to decorate
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds mussels
  • 18 ozs Littleneck or Manilla clams
  • 1 Tablespoon Vermouth or white wine
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the bread into slices, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick: in other words, neither too thick, nor too thin. You need about 25 slices for the amount of chopped seafood topping here. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, dab the bread, on both sides, with the olive oil and sit these lightly oil-brushed slices on a rack over a roasting pan and bake for about 5-10 minutes, turning once. Frankly, it-s just a matter of cooking until the slices begin to turn gold, and this takes more time the fresher the bread. In other words, if you-ve got stale bread, use if for this. When the bread is toasted and gold, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool while you get on with the mussels and clams.

Put the garlic and parsley into a large saucepan with the oil and cook, stirring, over a low heat for a couple of minutes making sure it doesn-t color. Tip in the cleaned mussels and clams, turn the heat to high, add the tablespoon of vermouth or wine and clamp on the lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes, shaking the pan a few times to disperse the shells until they are all gaping open. Remove the lid and take off the heat so that the shellfish can cool a little, then pick out the meat with your fingers.

Chop the shellfish flesh finely with a mezzaluna or knife (you can use the food processor but be careful not to turn everything into undifferentiated mush), then spread onto the crostini and sprinkle over some more chopped parsley. Eat while still warm.

Lisa Sanchez a naturalist with Lancaster County Parks in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She spoke about eating cicadas and other edible bugs.

Celestino Drago is the chef/owner of Drago, Enoteca Drago and Il Pastaio.

If you-d like to find out more about the series of regional dinners taking place in June, call the Italian Trade Commission at 310-557-3017 or go online at