Franglais: Saffron-Soaked Clam Bouillabaisse

RECIPE: Saffron-Soaked Clams Bouillabaisse
Saffron-Soaked Clam Bouillabaisse

Saffron-Soaked Clam Bouillabaisse

Get the whole story at The Huffington Post.

There are only some people who will love you when you have shells in your hands and broth dripping from your elbows. They are your friends. And I am not above bribing them to my table with a steaming, teeming Frenchified clambake.

A full table is, after all, as vital as a full plate or a full stomach. Because a table is like a recipe. One person is exotic and spicy like saffron, another sweet like orange and fennel. One has the salty humor of briny shellfish, and another the acerbic wit of dry white wine. As for my friends, they are like a brimming bowl of seafood stew: perfect together, and I just can’t get enough. When I’m away from them, I feel hungry. But with them, I always happy…happy, of course, as a clam.

There was a dining room in college that had a famous stone hearth that read “Ubi Amici Ibidem Sunt Opes“: where there are friends, there are riches. And even though this is a recipe for clams, and not pearly oysters, I think there is treasure here. Bouillabaisse is a peasanty and exotic maritime stew from Marseilles, full of today’s catch and timeless spices, all bought for a king’s ransom. This is a pot full of the finer things in life; but with a table crowded with riches, I think I can afford it.

Clams Bouillabaisse is a streamlined version of the traditional Marseilles fisherman’s stew. A pot of liquid gold broth, gilded with saffron, sloshing with fennel, shallots, and garlic, white wine and tomatoes and sweet sea clams. And orange, for sunshine. I love this dish because it is social and sharable, yet casual. It is messy and simple, but sophisticated, and fifteen minutes of labor and a couple bottles of wine win you hours at a long, summertime feast. To cut cost, I replace half the clams with mussels. Bon app, mes amis!

Saffron-Soaked Clams Bouillabaisse
serves 4 to 6

Saffron-Soaked Clam BouillabaisseINGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 shallots, diced

  • 1/2 fennel, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 1 teaspoon saffron

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes

  • 4 pounds clams (Note #1)

  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter (optional) (Note #2)

  • 1/4 cup fennel fronds, roughly chopped (or an equal amount of flat-leaf parsley)

  • Zest of 1 orange


  1. Heat the olive oil in a wide pan with high sides on medium-low heat. Add the shallots, fennel, and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes: until fragrant and translucent.

  2. Add the wine, saffron, and bay leaf. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to let the saffron start to steep in the liquid.

  3. Add the tomatoes and clams. Cover, and steam until the clams just open, about 5 minutes.

  4. Take the pan off the heat, and shake in 1 tablespoon cold butter (optional).

  5. Toss in the fennel fronds and orange zest, and serve immediately with baguette that has been grilled, drizzled with olive oil, and rubbed with cut fresh garlic.


  1. To clean the clams, put them in a large bowl of water, with a few tablespoons of flour stirred in. Put them in the fridge, and for the next hour, the clams will spit out all the sand they've been saving up inside their shells. Then, give them a quick scrub, and throw away any open shells. They're all ready to go.

  2. Adding cold butter to a sauce at the very end adds body and gloss. I highly recommend it, but you could certainly go without.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Eat, Fish, Franglais, Main Courses, Recipes, Series

French in a Flash: Five Heads of Garlic Roast Chicken

RECIPE: Five Heads of Garlic Roast Chicken
Five Heads of Garlic Roast Chicken

Five Heads of Garlic Roast Chicken

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

I hate summertime. Loathe it. So when I see the date is August 26, I know there’s only a handful of days left until September, and even though September is technically summer—come on, we all know that it’s fall. It’s when all the fall stuff starts to happen: back to school, super-thick fashion magazines, and apple season. It’s my favorite month.

Suddenly, the wheels all start to turn again. Everyone is back from vacation, schedules become routine, and the hectic part of life reemerges. Fall is not only a change of mindset, but a change of “mouthset.” I’m done with my summertime grazing of tomatoes (the season’s only redeeming feature) and seafood. Fall requires dinnertime, and what I call “feature meals”—a sort of culinary centerpiece around which everyone can huddle for a quick hour in the evening, amid the resurrection of homework and emails and schedules. It’s the kind of meal that wafts upstairs from the oven; a magnet that calls “dinnertime” without your having too. It’s comfort food.

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Categories: Cheap, Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes, Series

The Secret Ingredient (Chorizo) Part II: Chorizo Burgers with Manchego and Paprika Slaw

RECIPE: Chorizo Burgers with Manchego and Paprika Slaw
Chorizo Burger with Manchego and Paprika Slaw

Chorizo Burger with Manchego and Paprika Slaw

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Mexican chorizo, as opposed to Spanish, is raw, and can be bought in sausage links, or just in a package (pictured in the procedure) as ready-ground sausage meat. I tend to do unorthodox things with my secret ingredients, and I thought a chorizo burger might be the perfect American makeover for chorizo. Of course, as chorizo is pork, that means you have to cook it all the way through. I combine it with ground beef, and melt Cordobes or Manchego over the top, and crown with a cool slaw stained with the smoked paprika in the chorizo. The bun soaks up all that delicious chorizo oil. A summer grilling holiday.

Chorizo Burgers with Manchego and Paprika Slaw
serves 2
Chorizo Burger with Manchego and Paprika SlawIngredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef

  • 1/3 pound fresh (Mexican) chorizo

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/8 pound Cordobes or Manchego

  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 clove garlic, grated

  • 1 scallion, finely sliced

  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

  • 2 big white, crusty rolls


Preheat a grill pan on medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, use your hand to gently just combine the beef and chorizo meat.  Season with salt and pepper, and divide and shape into two hamburger patties.  Rub the outside with the olive oil, and place on the hot grill.  Cook 6 to 8 minutes per side.  Once you flip the burger, place slices of cheese on top to melt.

Meanwhile, make the smoky paprika slaw by tossing the cabbage with the mayo, paprika, garlic, scallion, and lemon juice and zest.

Slice the rolls in half horizontally, and place on the grill cut-side-down for 1 to 2 minutes.  Then, build the burger by piling the bun with the burger and its melted cheese, and the slaw.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series, The Secret Ingredient

French in a Flash (Classic): Profiteroles (with Strawberry Ice Cream!)

RECIPE: Profiteroles
Strawberry Profiteroles

Strawberry Profiteroles

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

I read every comment posted on my recipes, for better or for worse. And I noticed that some of them said things along the lines of, “Thanks Kerry, we like this pissaladière pasta, but how do I make pissaladière?” And that was one of my original goals for this column: to show people how to make French food fast, and easy. And what is French food without the classics? So, here is the first is the series of canonical French classics, without the fuss, that I will be peppering into French in a Flash.

I begin with the end: dessert. French pastries are legendary, and, for the most part, they are best left to patisseries. I find nothing wrong with buying a beautiful tart on the way home from the subway. But some French baking is so easy, and so different from what we’re used to making, that things like profiteroles become homemade pantry-staple bombshells. All it takes to make the world’s most elegant ice cream sandwich is flour, butter, water, and eggs. French food may be fabulous, but it’s hardly exotic or esoteric to the American pantry. Add chocolate chips and store-bought ice cream, and you’re done.

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Categories: Chocolate, Desserts, Eat, French in a Flash, Frozen, Pastry, Recipes, Series, Vegetarian

Franglais: Black and Bleu

RECIPE: Black and Bleu

Black and Bleu

Get the whole story at The Huffington Post.

Food to me is all about comfort. The comfort of knowing that your heart is still beating and your clock is still ticking because you’re hungry. And if you’re hungry for food, you’re hungry for life. One of the most terrifying things I can imagine is a woman who has lost her appetite. Dead girl walking (and not eating). The horror.

But sometimes, to be fair, life can really punch you in the face. And those are the days you need a little more comfort than others. And in my mind, those days when the subway never comes or your dog mistakes your closet for the toilet are the days that earn you free hedonistic, bacchanalian license in the kitchen. How good could life be, after all, without a few little sins?

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes, Series

The Secret Ingredient (Chorizo) Part I: Chorizo-Steamed Mussels and Clams with White Beans

RECIPE: Chorizo-Steamed Mussels and Clams with White Beans
Chorizo Seafood and White Beans

Chorizo Seafood and White Beans

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Chorizo is one of those secret ingredients that makes for no-effort cooking because it already has so many secret ingredients within itself. Of course, it is perfect just sliced up and stuck on a skewer with a slice of manchego, or grilled to a charred black on a grill, eaten just as is. That is how I most often eat it. Another phenomenal way to eat chorizo is the way it is served at Brindisa in Borough Market in London: halved, grill-charred, and served on a ciabatta roll with baby arugula, roasted piquillo peppers, and extra virgin olive oil. It leaves me breathless.

The best part about those chorizo sandwiches in Borough Market is the red grease that runs down your hands when you eat it, and it’s that red grease that makes chorizo the perfect secret ingredient. It is full of two delicious things: smoked paprika, and garlic. Well, and, of course, pork fat. With those three things in a dish, how could you go wrong?

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, The Secret Ingredient

French in a Flash: Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with Chermoula

RECIPE: Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with Chermoula
Roasted Chermoula Shrimp Cocktail

Roasted Chermoula Shrimp Cocktail

Get the whole story on Serious Eats.

One of the best things about living in a strange place for a long time is getting to know not only its dominant, namesake cuisine, but all the other little cuisines that make up the culinary mosaic of the neighborhood. New York is the perfect example of this. What is New York cuisine? An old, terrific, dark-wood steakhouse, maybe. But that is hardly representative of New York. Instead, I grew up on great plates of Italian pasta, broccoli in black bean sauce from the Chinese takeout, and avocado rolls from my neighborhood sushi place. In London, I have discovered great Bangladeshi food. And in France, historical conquests and waves of immigration have brought us my personal favorite, Moroccan.

Moroccan is my personal favorite because my Mémé, my grandmother, was born in Casablanca and moved to France as a teenager. What I love about France and Morocco is the two-way street that seems to arch like a great bridge over Spain. Mémé already spoke French, and was used to French fashions and customs, when she arrived in Europe, because they were so prevalent in Morocco. And when I am in France, I find that Moroccan cuisine, like Mémé, must have booked a one-way ticket to Paris, because it is everywhere, from the merguez-frites stands, Paris’s answer to New York’s hot dog-on-the-go, to refined establishment couscous houses.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Easy, Eat, For a Crowd, French in a Flash, Individual, Recipes, Series