Roasted Mackerel with Radicchio, Black Olives, Red Peppers and Rosemary

I have three rules when cooking and eating fish: 1) eat sustainably; 2) only eat it if it’s fresh; and 3) do as little as possible to it. When I was younger and possibly more obsessive-compulsive than I am now, I strictly limited myself to five ingredients when cooking fish, not including salt. Yes, it was an unnecessarily lunatic culinary flourish, but it also taught me to respect the fish. The mark of a well-prepared fish dish is that two hours after you’ve eaten it, the flavor that you remember is the fish, not the accompaniments or the sauce. Continue reading

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Aubergine, Slow-Roasted Tomato, and Chickpea Tagine

I regard the aubergine – that great, glossy, globelike sex organ of the nightshade – with something akin to worship. I didn’t always feel this way, however. Growing up in pre-culinary revolution New York, I only ever encountered the aubergine in eggplant parmigiana, in Bronx Italian restaurants. There, sliced thin, breaded, fried, and concealed under masses of garlicky tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, the aubergine was flabby and insipid. Why order it when you could have pasta? Or clams casino? But the aubergine crept up on me. I first comprehended the Power of the Aubergine Continue reading

Basque Roasted Pepper, Garlic, and Tomato Soup

I think everyone in London woke up today thinking, “Cripes, it’s winter.” It was COLD, RAINY, and WINDY. Since it is, in fact, technically still summer, I refused to turn on the heat, even though my flat was freezing and my elderly arthritic cat was looking at me reproachfully. Instead, wearing a hoody over my pajamas and big ridiculous fluffy slippers, I decided to make soup. Continue reading

Cuban Black Beans

Okay kids, these beans are spicy! And they taste like they have meat in them even though they don’t! What’s the trick? Actually, I haven’t figured that out yet, although I think it has something to do with the dash of vinegar that goes in at the end. Anyway, they are freaking delicious, and if you put some Ibrahim Ferrer on the old iTunes and dim the lights (or squint) you can almost imagine you are in Havana. Buen provecho! Continue reading