• 8 ounces of acini di pepe (frog-eye pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Quart of home-canned gooseberries
  • 1 cup whipping cream
You've probably had some version of frog-eye salad at a smorg somewhere. It's right in there with glorified rice, if you know what I mean. Somehow this dish went bad in regional culinary culture. Think about it: the basic ingredients are pasta, fruit, and whipped cream, and those are all good things. The problem is that inexplicable impulse to dump in a can of this and a bag of that, and then to resort to imitations instead of using what you know is good. So I'm trying here to redeem this corrupted classic and make it into a regional feature, instead of a regional joke. All you have to do is get back to basics and use real ingredients. Then, to make it distinctive, use real local ingredients. At our house this means gooseberries, put up in quart jars. Other berries would be good, too, but the gooseberries make it tangy.
  1. Cook the frog-eyes according to package directions.

  2. Drain, rinse in cold water, and put them in the frig to drain and cool thoroughly.

  3. Make the pudding: whisk flour, salt, sugar, egg, and gooseberry juice (about a cup) in a saucepan, cook over low heat, stirring steadily until it thickens. Chill in frig.

  4. Whip the cream in a large, cold bowl and leave it in the bowl.

  5. Add and mix the pasta, the pudding, and the gooseberries.

  6. You might put some berries or cherries on top for color.