My wife and I travelled to Nashville about a month ago and had a terrific time. Neither of us are huge country music fans, but we’d heard so much about the city’s burgeoning food scene and it’s deep recording industry heritage, that we decided to give it a whirl. We spent most of our first day at the quite excellent Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame and were having such a great visit that we totally lost track if time. Before we knew it, it was mid-afternoon, we were weak with hunger, and needed to nosh. Looking for something quick and cheap we popped down to the lobby level and grabbed a few fish tacos at Bajo Sexto. To be honest, we weren’t exactly expecting stellar fish in land-locked Nashville, but the tacos we had there were among the best we’d ever eaten! Light, fresh, crisp, boldly flavored, and washed down with a well chilled, locally brewed IPA, we were both in heaven. While that lunch wasn’t the best meal we had in Nashville (more on our amazing meal at The Catbird Seat in a later post), it absolutely inspired me to put fish tacos on my to-make list when we got home. This recipe is the result of that inspiration.
Fish & Seafood
I fell in love with this dish when I first saw it published in Bon Appetit a couple years ago. In fact, I found the photo of the dish so striking that I cut it from the magazine and pinned it to the bulletin board in my kitchen, along with a handful of other drool-worthy food shots to act as a small art installation decorating the space while my home was staged for sale. For the LONG 2 + years it took me to sell the house I looked longingly at the shot of this dish everyday, but for some damned reason never got around to cooking it until a few weeks ago. Such a shame, because this dish is so flavorful, and SO easy that I’m sure it’ll become a regular in my dinner rotation.
How many of you have ever made your own pasta? I know it can seem a bit daunting, and with high-quality dried and fresh pastas available everywhere these days, many of us can’t be bothered with making it from scratch. But can I tell you something? Once you experience the ritual of making your own and then taste how clearly superior it is to ANY store bought brand, you’ll be a pasta maker for life.
Fresh off the success of our parchment baked fish with fennel, I thought I'd toss a similar recipe your way so that you could totally master your parchment baking technique. Inspired by my friend Amelia's comment on our fish post, I thought an Asian spin on this shrimp would be fun. Given that most of us here at Oui, Chef like foods that bite back, I decided to spice this dish up by adding some sliced jalapeños and a touch of sambal oelek (Asian chili paste).
As winter beats a hasty retreat here in the Northeast, my thoughts are turning to vibrant, fresh and lighter spring dishes. While this gazpacho sauce is certainly something that you could make year round, it's bright-green hue just screams spring, don't you think?
I first saw this recipe in Bon Appétit a few years back, and the sauce looked so beautiful that I knew I'd have to try it one day. Be careful not to over-process the sauce as the crunch from the cukes adds a welcome texture to the finished dish, but by all means play with the other ingredients to make this plate your own. Feel like adding basil, tarragon, thyme, or dill to the sauce? Go ahead….I'll never tell.
It's not often that we find halibut here on the east coast, so when I do come across a beautiful piece it's cause for celebration and a little star treatment. Like cod, which we've got coming out our ears around here, halibut is a mild fish but a bit denser and meatier. The flavor is so delicate that I hesitate to coat it with anything but a little salt and pepper, preferring instead to cook it atop some aromatics that will perfume rather than overwhelm the fish.
Baking fish in parchment is a fabulous technique that I'd read about for years but didn't try myself until just the other day, inspired by having seen my chef-friend Jody Adams cook some this way in a recent cooking class I attended. Jody, who along with her husband Ken write and shoot the fabulous home-cooking blog, The Garum Factory, prepared a similar dish in her class, and from the first bite I was hooked.
Every year around this time I am sure to find my wife standing before our open refrigerator slowly shaking her head side to side, shoulders slumped forward, already wearied by the enormity of the task ahead. You see, my wife is big on advance planning, and about three weeks before Thanksgiving she starts to concern herself over the ability of our fridge to handle the seasonal onslaught of cooking that accompanies our holiday entertaining.
I love curries, and I mean all curries. Thai, Indian, Pakistani, Cambodian, you name an ethnic cuisine that boasts a curry and I'm all over it like…..well….
Like curry on rice!
It doesn't matter to me whether the curry is a long braised Indian lamb curry, or a quick to the table Thai version like this one here, there is just something special about the spice blends that define curries that I find very appealing. Some are scorching hot, others not so much, but one thing all curries share is a complexity and depth of flavor that I find absolutely addiciting.
This meal came together on the fly the other night in an effort to rid our fridge of some produce before we left town for a week. We had some purple romano beans (did you know they turn green when you cook them?…neither did I), some baby potatoes, half a box of organic chicken stock, and a green olive pesto that had been in residence so long that it was practically part of the family.