No Recipe Recipe: What to Cook for Your Boyfriend’s Parents, Part I

RECIPE: No Recipe Recipe: Charred Fish with Spicy Fresh Raw Herb Sauce
Charred Fish with Spicy Fresh Herb Sauce

Charred Fish with Spicy Fresh Herb Sauce

I’ve just got back to London last week, and I’m staying at the Mr. English family house.  The only thing his father said to me as I walked through the door with, count them, four giant suitcases was, “At least now we’ll have some proper food.”  As he helped me hoist my Samsonites up the stairs, I figured that was something I could take care of.

Charred Fish, Fresh from the Oven

Charred Fish, Fresh from the Oven

The weather here in London has been spectacular–light till late, powder-blue skies, and breezes as blustery as a gorgeous sunny day can muster.  For our first dinner out in the back garden, I did a simple charred fish with the world’s easiest summer sauce, with some olive-oil smashed potatoes.  I started with whole sea bass that I found at the supermarket, still on the bone.  I rubbed it down with just a touch of olive oil, and sat it under the broiler until the outside was charred and the inside tender and flaky.  To pour over it, a fresh sauce of mint and chives and parsley from the garden, with slivers of fresh hot chili, and a glug or two of olive oil.  If you could smell the mix of all those fresh chopped herbs, you would be halfway to the supermarket by now.  As soon as those fresh herbs hit the hot fish, and the olive oil starts to cascade in little rivers into all the nooks and crannies, it just smelled like England to me–gardens, and seasides.  A smart thing to do this time of year would be to roast some asparagus alongside the fish as it cooks, just until they’re tender.

Olive Oil-Smashed New Potatoes

Olive Oil-Smashed New Potatoes

If you need a hit with the in-laws, give this a go.  It was so easy, super fresh and seasonal, and there was nothing left in the end.  Mr. English is still raving, so I hope (fingers crossed), that I made a good impression.

No Recipe Recipe: Charred Fish with Spicy Fresh Raw Herb Sauce
serves 2 to 3

Charred Fish with Spicy Fresh Herb SauceINGREDIENTS

  • 2 smallish whole sea bass, gills, guts, scales, and fins removed (have your fishmonger take care of that)

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 lemon

  • 1 handful fresh mint

  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 10 chives

  • 1 small chili


Get your broiler nice and hot.  Rub the fish down with a little bit of olive oil, inside and out, and season inside and out with salt and pepper.  Slice half the lemon thinly, and stuff the cavity of each fish with some lemon slices.  Park the fish on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil until the outside of the fish is charred and the inside is flaky and opaque--about 7 to 9 minutes per side, depending on how big your fish is.  You'll want to place your oven rack on the second position down from the broiler, not just under it or the fish will burn.

Meanwhile, chop the herbs and chili nice and fine.  Mix them together in a bowl or mug with the juice of the remaining half a lemon, about 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper.  As soon as the fish comes out of the oven, put them on a plate, and pour all the sauce over them.

Olive Oil-Smashed New PotatoesON THE SIDE

Empty a big bag of new potatoes in a large pot, and cover with about an inch of water.  Bring to a boil, and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender.  Drain, and put the potatoes back in the pot.  Add salt and maybe some remaining parsley and a few spoonfuls of olive oil (to taste), and light crush the potatoes with a masher or fork.  They will be drier than mashed potatoes--like potato crumbles.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Recipes

Waste Not, Want Not: What to Do with Leftover Pizza Dough

RECIPE: Scrap Garlic Buttons
Pizza-Crust Garlic Knots

Scrap Garlic Buttons

I know we are few and far between, but I’m one of those insane individuals who thinks the crust is the best part of the pizza.  I know I risk pizza-palate revenge from the rest of the pie, but I can’t tell a lie.  It’s the truth.  I’ve even eyed some of those other people’s gnawed off crusts that they leave forlorn in the pizza box.  It’s taken a lot of willpower to resist those scraps.

So, when I was working on this mini pissaladière recipe for a new project, I got to thinking about those pizza crust scraps.  I was cutting out little discs of dough, and I had all this delicious half-white, half-wheat pizza dough left on the counter, that I would stare at, and then throw out.  And then I thought, who do I think I am?  No, I didn’t rescue the dough from the trash, but the next time, I cut it up into chunks, and through them in a scorching oven, just after the pissaladières were done.  After about the time it takes to warm up a New York slice, I had these homemade, Little Italy garlic buttons that I tossed with grated garlic, olive oil, coarse salt, and parsley, because I was being fancy.  They reeked to high heaven of delicious, sweet garlic, that just cooked onto the rolls with the heat they still had on them from the oven.  Is it wrong to say they eclipsed the main event?  No!  Because the crust is always the best part.  Just look at that crispy golden crust on the outside, and the sheen of the olive oil.  Who could throw this stuff out?

Next time you have some pizza dough in the house (who am I kidding–go out and buy some), here’s what you have to do with it:

Scrap Garlic Buttons
just me!? okay, it depends on how much dough you use.

Pizza-Crust Garlic KnotsProcedure

Take however much pizza dough you have, be it scraps, or a whole-pound ball.  Cut or tear it into 1 to 1 1/2-inch chunks, and roll them around a little in your hands to tuck in any edges.  Put them well-spaced in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 500 degrees (make sure you preheated!) just until they're nice and golden and crisp on the outside.  Like pizza crust.  Then, grate some garlic with a Microplane onto the hot dough buttons, and toss with olive oil, coarse salt, and if you want, some chopped parsley--all to taste.  The heat from the dough will cook the garlic, and your house will smell like a scene from Goodfellas almost immediately.


You can buy pizza dough at any pizzeria or supermarket.  In the supermarket, you may have to look in the refrigerated section, the freezer section, or the bakery section.

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The Secret Ingredient (Curry) Part I: Curried Sweet Potato Chips

RECIPE: Curried Sweet Potato Chips
Curried Sweet Potato Chips

Curried Sweet Potato Chips

Get the whole story on Serious Eats.

You know in cartoons, when there is some odor drifting down some alleyway, and the animator makes it come alive, and it twists and turns, stalking the Elmer Fudd or Bugs or Daffy, and becomes this living being on the screen? I always imagine that smell to be curry. It is so pungent and strident—it has to be a living thing of its own. Made mostly of yellow, earthy turmeric, smoky cumin, and grassy coriander, plus a hint of something with heat, curry powder doesn’t take any prisoners. What else has that much personality, or makes such an impression?

I love these sweet potato chips, because they mix that spicy heat and earthy fire with the sweetness of sweet potato. It’s such a simple mix—that slightly sugary, crispy crunch of the potato, the salt, and then just that take-no-prisoners curry powder. Consider this a fresh, homemade take on Terra Spiced Sweet Potato Chips. But you get to eat these still hot, and fresh, almost like perfect Indian-American street food. They disappear quickly—which, of course, will only leave you standing in front of the fryer, making another batch.

Curried Sweet Potato Chips
serves 4 to 6

Curried Sweet Potato ChipsINGREDIENTS

  • Canola oil, for frying

  • 1 large sweet potato, extremely thinly sliced on a mandoline

  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder


Heat 2 inches of oil in a high-sided cast iron skillet to 350 degrees F.  Fry the potato chips in batches until golden, about 90 seconds.  Drain on paper towel.

Mix together the salt and curry powder.  While the potato chips are still hot, season with the curry salt.  Serve right away.


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Categories: 15 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Cheap, Easy, Eat, For a Crowd, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, The Secret Ingredient, Vegetarian

WORKING GIRL DINNER: Spicy-Sweet Ginger Salmon with Sugar Snaps

RECIPE: Spicy-Sweet Ginger Salmon with Sugar Snap Peas
Spicy-Sweet Ginger Salmon with Sugarsnaps

Spicy-Sweet Ginger Salmon with Sugarsnaps

Sorry about the delay with Working Girl Dinners!  I’ve been having some trouble getting last week’s Veggie Chili on YouTube, but this week’s recipe is definitely worth the wait.

I have discovered the greatest ingredient of all time.  Ever.  Hands down.  Bar none.  GINGER JAM.  Go out and buy it right now.  It smells like the sharp, spicy pickled ginger that comes with sushi, but it has all the sweetness of jam, and it’s thick, and sweet, and spicy, and fragrant.  It’s so good.

What I love about it most is that when you cook with it, as with this salmon that has ginger jam, salty soy sauce, and nutty, heady toasted sesame oil, is that when you put it in that super hot oven, it bubbles up and caramelizes and gets even sweeter and more delicious.  It basically sears your fish for you, without your having to do any work at the stove.

I love this recipe.  I just mix together three ingredients, slather it over the salmon, toss some sweet, tender, crisp sugarsnap peas alongside, and 15 minutes later, my house smells like upscale hibachi, and I have I think my favorite Working Girl Dinner ever, with no clean up.  I’m serious–you have to try this.  And if you have leftover ginger jam, don’t worry.  I’m so obsessed with it, that it’s this month’s Secret Ingredient over at Serious Eats.  I’ll get you three more recipes to use up that jar (before you go out an buy another!).

Spicy-Sweet Ginger Salmon with Sugar Snap Peas
serves 2

Spicy-Sweet Ginger Salmon with SugarsnapsINGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons ginger jam

  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, plus 2 teaspoons

  • 2 6-ounce fillets boneless, skinless salmon

  • ½ pound sugar snap peas

  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

  • Salt


Preheat the oven to 450°F.  Cover a small rimmed baking sheet in foil, and lightly spray with cooking spray.  In a small bowl, whisk together ginger jam, soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil.  Rub it all over the salmon, and place the salmon on the baking sheet.  Toss the sugar snap peas with the rest of the sesame oil, the sesame seeds, and a touch of salt.  Scatter next to the salmon on the baking sheet.  Bake 13-18 minutes, in the center of the oven, until the sugar snaps wrinkle lightly and turn golden around the edges, and the salmon just has some golden edges.  Put on the broiler.  Take the sugar snaps off the baking sheet, and set aside.  Broil the salmon on the upper rack of the oven, just under the broiler, until the jam starts to bubble—about 3 minutes.


You can easily make this more more people.  Just use a bigger baking sheet, and you can cook for up to 4 or even 6.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Watch, Working Girl Dinners

Franglais: My Mama’s Pesto-Chèvre Pizza

RECIPE: Pesto-Chèvre Pizza
Pesto-Chèvre Pizza

Pesto-Chèvre Pizza

Get the whole story at The Huffington Post.

If I were running a marathon (which I wouldn’t be), I assume there would be markers to let me know where I was along the track.  In the road of life, my mile markers are meals.  Anywhere I’ve ever been, at any time in my life, the way I remember a place is by what I ate there.  Which is why most of my early memories, and photos, are of me stuffing my face.  Year 6, dissected lobsters at Malaga off of First Avenue.  Year 8, deconstructed chicken fingers and waffle fries and Best Health black cherry soda at Ottomanelli’s.  And Year 10, down in Chapel Hill, the best pizza this New Yorker had ever had.

Continue reading

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Easy, Eat, Franglais, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, Tarts, Quiches, Pizzas, Vegetarian, Vegetarian

French in a Flash: Aligot (Mashed Potatoes with Melted Cheese)

RECIPE: Aligot


Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Aligot is the ultimate comfort food—think, ski lodge, by the fire, warming and filling you up. It’s kind of like a potato fondue: mashed potatoes whipped with melted cheese until it gets gooey and smotheringly delicious. I like eating it with just a light green salad alongside. Continue reading

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian

(I’M OBSESSED) Franglais: The Bouillabaisse Po’ Boy

RECIPE: Bouillabaisse Po' Boys
Bouillabaisse Po' Boy

Bouillabaisse Po' Boy

Get the whole story at The Huffington Post.

If you loved my list of where to go in New Orleans, then you’ve got to make this, and bring some New Orleans to you! Continue reading

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Eat, Fish, Franglais, Main Courses, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series