My neighbor invited us over to watch the Lakers-Boston basketball finals and I asked if I could bring something over to feed everyone. Of course I got the nod to bring a main dish to the party, and they added that it’s okay to try out something different on them.
Given the green light to try something new, I realized I had a hankering for lots of garlic. I then eyed a can of Burgundy snails (escargot for you Francophiles) in the pantry and a package of vermicelli pasta. Now the taste was rounding itself out quite nice but I needed to add some substance to the dish and remembered some great spicy Italian sausage that I just got at the meat market.
Well, if you’d ever had baked snails in garlic butter, this was what I was going after for flavor, add the pasta as filler and sliced, spicy Italian sausage and you got a winner.
I got so involved with my pasta dish that I didn’t realize the game had already begun. So we hurried over next door with my big bowl of pasta, neatly wrapped in plastic (great idea to keep it warm as well as in the bowl). Dropped off the pasta on the kitchen counter and joined my comrades on the sofa to cheer on our favorite team (I’ll let you guess which one).
Soon, someone started to dish up the pasta and pass the plates around to all the gang. We were so wrapped up in the game, we didn’t really talk much about the garlicky bowl of noodles that I brought over with me.
Fast forward to the conclusion of the night, everyone had a great time, they all appreciated the special dish that I brought over and then they started to ask, “what kind of mushrooms were in the pasta, they were delicious?”
I didn’t understand right away what they meant until I got it, they thought the snails were “mushrooms”!
Well I explained what they really were and I apologized to the group for not communicating that important fact before we ate.
Of course I was forgiven by the gang, but I couldn’t help thinking how similar this situation is in the work place. My miscommunication was based on perspective. From my perspective I thought it was totally normal to put snails in a pasta dish with lots of garlic. From my friends perspective, mushrooms made more sense to go in this pasta dish. So they saw and tasted what they wanted to see and taste. Even though if you look and taste mushrooms and snails side by side, you could see the differences, taste the differences. But through our filters called perspective they were one in the same!
So it was a great reminder to me how important perspective is to effective communication. In our workshops, this is about the time I mention to the class, if you want to clean up your “perspective filters”, ask clarifying questions. And keep asking until you have a sense of what the other person’s perspective looks like (and tastes like!)
So I guess the qualifying question I’ll get next time I’m invited to bring over an unrecognizable ingredient is, “Is that snails in this dish?”
Italian Sausage and Escargot in Garlic Vermicelli
1 lb vermicelli pasta
8 quarts salted water, boiling
12 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 small can of Burgandy snails (available in fine grocery stores or on-line)
½ cup of olive oil
to taste Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
4 Italian sausages, cooked and sliced
½ cup of white wine
1 cup of Kangen water (more on that later) or chicken stock
4 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
3 tablespoons of finely chopped green onions, cut on the bias
Drop you vermicelli into the pot of salted boiling water. Make sure your pot is big enough to hold the vermicelli and water no more then ¾ way up the pot. Cook until just al dente.
Meanwhile, drain, rinse and dry your can of escargot snails. Give the escargot snails time to marinate in the chopped garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Five minutes to marinate is okay, ten is better.
Heat your largest saute pan to medium heat and add the marinaded snails with garlic and oil to it. Cook gently for 4 minutes then add the sliced, cooked sausages to the pan. Cook another minute and add your white wine and Kangen water (or chicken stock). Simmer until the moister reduces by half it’s volume in the pan. Add the final 4 tablespoons of butter and swirl the pan, incorporating and emulsifying the snail mixture. Add the chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the cooked pasta, slide into a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped green onion. Serve with or without grated Parmesan cheese.
Remind your guests what they are eating!
Filed under: communication | Tagged: communication, escargot, garlic, pasta, perspective | Leave a Comment »