rattle those pots and pans

Today I met a terribly large, terribly vicious rattlesnake. He interrupted my hike (no, I suppose that I interrupted his sunbathing), and I nearly stepped on the little fellow. After a lengthy exchange of words, screams, rattles, and hisses, we had an equally lengthy staring contest, which he won with ease (my sister informed me that he would bite me, from ten feet away, if I maintained prolonged eye contact, so I gracefully resigned).

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I have begun to plot my revenge on this blight to society. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, most notably dry ice and Federal Express, you can experience the gastronomical glory of exotic rattlesnake meat... tomorrow! This delicacy, which allegedly tastes like a hybrid of chicken/elk/quail/alligator/frog legs, can be delivered straight to your doorstep-- AND it is available in both fresh and canned varieties!

Although a whole skinned rattlesnake can be prepared in a number of ways (be sure to try it fried, seared, roasted, and baked), I've decided to feature a recipe especially suitable for the rattlesnake virgin. This Spicy Rattlesnake Penne enhances the flavors of the meat while mixing it with familiar tastes so it doesn't have to "fly solo" for your first tasting. Enjoy! And remember: only you can save society from this vicious menace. Eat more rattlesnake.



1 lb penne pasta
1/2 lb rattlesnake meat
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28-oz can of plum tomatoes, drained
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (adjust to suit your tastes)
1 T oregano
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 c. Pecorino-Romano cheese

1. In a large pot, simmer rattlesnake meat with water and lemon juice for one hour. Separate meat from bones and discard the bones (unless you'd like to reserve them, perhaps to make a rattlesnake stock?)

2. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions (approximately 8-10 minutes).

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until garlic is golden, about one minute. Add oregano, basil, and tomatoes, crushing them gently with a wooden spoon, and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat until sauce begins to reduce, about 4-5 minutes. Add deboned meat and continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add meat and sauce to drained pasta and toss well. Top with cheese and parsley... serve and enjoy!


Daily Lit Bit, compliments of Ogden Nash:

A gourmet challenged me to eat
A tiny bit of rattlesnake meat.
Remarking, "Don't look horror-stricken,
You'll find it tastes a lot like chicken."
It did.
Now chicken I cannot eat.
Because it tastes like rattlesnake meat.

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