It is time again to bring out The Chicken-Fried Pork Belly Salad, which I created in August 2007 in the midst of my fury at the chief icon of American restaurant food: The Chicken Caesar. Today’s post was sparked by Sam Sifton’s NYTimes magazine column on the Caesar salad, which addresses the fact that few dishes are truly authentic, and he uses the Caesar salad as an example. For me putting a chicken breast on a perfectly good Caesar is an emblem of American mediocrity, a lack of imagination, and our fear of food (The Shame of the Chicken Caesar Salad). But Sifton, while he makes the unconscionable error of failing to include my Chicken Fried Pork Belly Casear in his list of famous variations, does us a service by telling us a freeing truth: Read On »
Posts Categorized: Appetizers
Great foie gras fun going on in this household ever since del Grosso asked me to write about the foie gras au torchon he and Pardus’s created for Hudson Valley Foie Gras. It’s an excellent product. And it was fun showing people that serving foie gras doesn’t require a Catholic-length production, but can be simple and casual. Sometimes, though, you do want to elevate it, make it yourself and serve it to people you care about. So herewith, a step-by-step slideshow of the foie gras au torchon, one of the greatest culinary preparations known to man. I first learned about the torchon—which means dish towel in French, because the foie is traditionally wrapped in a dish towel (love that this culinary luxury is wrapped in a lowly towel)—while working on The French Laundry Cookbook. I Read On »
Foie gras has a reputation for being fancy. Many don’t understand what it is. When I served my dad a seared slice of foie gras, the liver of a fattened duck, he looked at it surprised. “I thought foie gras was pâté,” he said. Often foie gras is made into a pâté, but not always. Foie gras can be sliced and seared in a very hot pan, no oil, crisp on the outside, molten within. It can be roasted whole. Or it can be made into a torchon as Bob del Grosso described on Monday, with a product he and Chef Pardus developed for Hudson Valley foie gras, and served cold. Either way it doesn’t taste like liver, at all. It’s sweet and fatty, more like butter than liver. To make a “torchon” (French for Read On »
This is not just a guacamole recipe and preparation, it’s a broader lesson about aromatics and acid and using seasonal foods. It’s avocado season, so they’re really good now! And they will be all summer long. Avocados are one of my favorite fruits; they’re kind of like butter, a ready made sauce—all you have to do is adjust texture and add flavors. I recently offered this mortar and pestle to followers on OpenSky (more on OpenSky here), and it makes a gorgeous service piece in addition to being a practical cooking tool. I mash garlic and salt to a paste, then add minced shallot (yes shallots!). Then I add lime juice. This is one of those great all-purpose techniques I use in many preparations, from mayo to vinaigrettes. First, the juice dissolves the salt so Read On »
Potato latkes for the holidays? New topping combinations and favorite classics, via NYT.