Dana Slatkin

Tomato Feta Salad with Fig Balsamic Vinegar

photo credit: lbsgoodspoon.com

Announcing the winner of the August Cooking Contest! Katia Ratkovtitch, a student at the University of California at Davis, writes: “This is a simple yet absolutely fabulous tomato salad that I have been making recently. I’ve been really trying to capitalize on the deliciously fresh tomatoes this summer.”   This is the kind of recipe I wish I had come up with myself! It’s a riff on a classic that delivers unexpected punches like briny capers, tangy feta, and ambrosial Fig Balsamic Vinegar. Katia, who has been gravitating to the kitchen since the age of 9, says: “Cooking makes me happy, brings people together, and lets me explore the flavors of exotic lands when I don’t have the opportunity to travel.” … [Read more...]

Seared Fish with Simple Sauce

Seared Fish with Simple Sauce

It was grueling work for a California girl fresh out of college. My arms welted with burns and fingertips cracked, I dragged myself down the cobble-stoned street at 5 o’clock every morning to learn the ways of a French 3-star chef. Whether I was peeling grapes for hours or fending off cheeky post-pubescent boys in the kitchen, working as the only female apprentice in some of France’s grandest restaurants was the hardest year of my life. It was also one of the most instructive and worthwhile. I learned to make this exceptional dish, for example, from Michel Guérard himself. It embodies the kind of cooking he championed way ahead of his time — cuisine minceur, or light French cooking. All the flavors of Basque cooking … [Read more...]

Roman Artichokes with Lemon-Caper Dipping Sauce

Roman Artichokes with Lemon-Caper Dipping Sauce

One of my favorite ways to enjoy artichokes is to dip and slurp them simultaneously. This recipe was inspired by a summer visit to one of Aspen’s great outdoor restaurants, D19, which sadly will be reincarnated as another restaurant in the fall. Braising an artichoke combines sautéing and poaching in an aromatic broth, drawing out its subtle flavors while keeping it moist. Succulent and savory, the leaves practically melt in your mouth, especially when dipped into this lemony sauce. Though many chefs will pare the artichokes down to their cores, I hate to waste all those delicious leaves and lose an opportunity to eat with my hands. The thing that usually dissuades cooks from coming near an artichoke is all the trimming required. … [Read more...]