Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Frying Like a 6 Year Old, Salting Like a Man

Once in a while you come across a chef whose culinary acumen exceeds your wildest anticipation, whose sense of style outshines your most lurid food fantasies.  Their accomplishments are legendary, their followers legion, and their place in the pantheon of food history vouchsafed by critics and public alike.  Then there are those chefs who toil in obscurity, seeking not fortune or fame, but the more ephemeral limelight of the home cooked meal.  But when they are good, they are very good.  These are the chefs whose unstoppable energy, unflappable enthusiasm, and indefatigable zeal can recast for diners the very tapestry of cooking itself.  They make cooking more personal, dining more passionate, and reveling in the flavor of food more intimately bound up in life’s vital force.  These are the chefs that provide you with the olive oil and lemon simplicity of fresh fruit de mer pasta that you absently lick from your lips as you gaze into the glittering harbor from a Mediterranean piazza, or the tartiflette you wolf down in the fluorescent-lit kitchen of a motorcyclist you’ve picked up with somewhere on a long road trip through the heart of your incorrigible youth.  I know one such chef, a creature of cunning and instinct, a booming and uncontrollable beast whose unprovoked antics make Chef Gordon Ramsay seem like a snoozing churchmouse by comparison. But we tolerate him out of adoration for his genius in the kitchen.

Here is a chronology of the chef at work, making the eternal masterpiece that is a fried egg sandwich.

“Put some eggs in this bowl and mix them with a spoon.”

Continue Reading »

Salt Block Scallops with Szechuan Peppercorns and Citrus

Sautéeing on Himalayan salt blocks creates exponentially more flavor than sautéeing in a conventional skillet.  This is because a salt block cooks your food in two ways. At a blazing 500 degrees or higher, the heavy block of salt has enormous thermal mass, sizzling away moisture to produce a thick crust of rich, concentrated flavor.  At the same time, the Himalayan pink salt itself sets to work, bursting cell membranes, intermingling juices, and breaking loose new flavors that in turn sizzle away to make for even more concentrated flavors.  Want to make the most of this miracle of cooking chemistry?  Balance out the scallop’s rich buttery flavors with a spritz of citrus and reinforce everything with the lip-tingling spice of Szechuan peppercorns. You’ll not have another scallop that’s this fun to cook, impressive to serve, or tasty to eat.

Continue Reading »

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Black Truffle Salt – Recipe

Recipe for Black Truffle Salt and Soft Scrambled Eggs

Try to remember the first time you heard about the combination of truffles and eggs.  I was on an airplane, flying out for a week-long visit with my nana. Ice melted slowly into the puddle of O.J. remaining in the clear plastic cup.  My legs dangled from the chair, toes still inches from the floor, making me feel uncomfortable next to the impeccably dressed woman sitting next to me, who inexplicably took me on as a close confident, lavishing me with stories of shopping expeditions through the souqs of Cairo or scuba diving on Australia’s great barrier reef.  Breakfast was served; scrambled eggs and sausage with fruit salad.

“Oh God, what I wouldn’t do for some truffles,” moaned the woman in a tone that made my nine-year-old mind tingle in an odd new way.  “What’re truffles?” I asked. She explained to me the mysteries and seductions of the tuber, and I was at once disbelieving and flushed with anticipation; how could such a thing exist, and where could I get some? The decades since then have occasioned a long list of truffle experiences. There was the unrecoverable bliss of “first truffle,” a cirrus of black truffle over hand-cut pasta noodles.  There was the gold-miner’s delight of “truffle I found myself” pulled from moist loam in the southwest of France and stuffed into roasted guinea fowl. There was the madness of “best truffle,” an opulent scramble of white truffles and eggs served at the now-closed March Restaurant in midtown Manhattan.

Eggs are indeed a recurring and inescapable medium for savoring the truffle, and the miracle of black truffle salt is that you can concoct the living experience almost as easily as you can conjure the treasured memory.  This recipe for truffle salt and scrambled eggs includes the option for serving them somewhat fussily in cups of their own shells to give this decadent dish some visual pizzazz.

Continue Reading »

Osso Bucco with Sel Gris Gremolata

Osso buco with Sel Gris Gremalata

Man Ray.  Some names were just tailor made for greatness.  If my parents had thought to name me Man instead of Mark I might actually have made something of myself.  Picasso.  Nobody named Picasso could not be great, if you know what I mean.  The name, Osso bucco has that air of irrefutable deliciousness. Veal shank braised in aromatic herbs, spices, and vegetables, a bit of wine and the incredible mouth feel of veal bone marrow that dissipates slowly through the flesh, marrying everything in buttery richness, by any other name would be as glorious.  So how do you salt a Picasso?

The classic approach to seasoning osso bucco is to add sel gris up front, with the intention of letting the salt do its magic, slowly permeating the meat, helping to tenderize it and develop its flavors.  In truth, the cooking method is sufficient to tenderize the meat, and the minerals naturally present in veal are enough to flavor it, especially since braising concentrates natural flavors.  The cast of characters such as mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery) supporting the osso bucco don’t need salt to cook properly, though they can definitely use a touch for emphasis.  With these facts and thoughts in hand, we can lightly deconstruct the immaculate osso bucco and approach salting it with a fresh perspective, salting less up front and adding a noble salt (like Piran Sel Gris) to its garnish of gremolata that traditionally tops Milanese dishes, providing us with a new name for perfection

Continue Reading »

Roasted Lemon Chicken with The Meadow Sel Gris

Lemon Chicken recipe with the gourmet artisan sea salt sel gris, gray salt, gros selCoarse, crunchy salts like sel gris (coarse sea salt) should be a legally required addition to roast chicken.  The real question is, should the salt go on before you tuck the bird into the oven, or after you have carved it and set it on the table?  Before you don your finest wrestling gear to settle the matter with violence, consider the possibility that both are great.  The former delivers extra-crackling skin bristling with popping brittle bits of salt.  The latter lets subtler flavors of whatever seasonings you put on the skin shine forth, and then complements them with a more unctuous crystalline crunch.

Lemon chicken shows very nicely with a touch of The Meadow’s house sel gris rubbed in the poultry’s cavity, and a more generous amount of this warm, supple salt sprinkled at the end, lending a lush mineral crunch to balance the dish’s aromatic citrus zestiness and juicy sweet-sour acidity.  The Meadow’s sel gris is coarser than French sea salt’s such as sel gris de Guérande or sel gris de l’Ile de Noirmoutier, but it is also milder and somewhat silkier,making it a delicious alternative to these briny-minerally French classics. Free salt for anyone who sends me a photo of themselves in full wrestling attire.

Continue Reading »

Recipe of the Week – Sole with Herb Butter and Fleur de Sel de I’lle de Ré

Filet of sole with Fleur de Sel de l'Ile de Re

When our firstborn came onto the scene he was a terror.  Not the misbehaving kind of terror, which usually does little more than wreck your sense of personal dignity and bury your life’s dreams under a three-year blanket of hard domestic labor.  For one, he rarely slept.  Entire nights might be passed watching the moonbeams glide across the deep space blue of his staring eyes, which seemed preternaturally aware of his surroundings, calling every move we made into question.

But most insidiously — he ate.  He ate early and he ate often, with unflappable abandon.  One night, not more than a few handfuls of months into life, sitting in a baby chair clipped onto the side of the table, he watched as I put the finishing touches on a romantic meal for my honeybunny and me.  Wine chilled, candles lit, salad tossed, baby staring with evil innocence from his edge of the table, I served up filet of sole with herb butter, scattered with a luscious French fleur de sel. Honeybunny and I clinked glasses.  Her eyes twinkled.  The aroma of fish, herbs, and butter filled the air.  Then the baby lunged for the closest plate, and devoured the fish before our eyes.

Fleur de sel has no higher purpose than to grace the buttery-moist flesh of sole.  The excellent fleur de sel from Ile de Ré, France, with its mineral sheen of a full moon, underscores the perfection of each of the other elements in the dish, defining their features in the most loving light.  Sole is so delicate that the grassy pungency of fresh herbs must be suffused in butter to preserve the balance of the fish.  The fundamental soleness of the sole is truly a wonder to taste—full to bursting but hard to grasp—like insomnia that set you dreaming as you stare at a child’s moonlit face.

Continue Reading »

« Prev - Next »