Salt-Baking a Whole Fish

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

As with many topics of culinary history, the origin of cooking foods encased in salt is up for debate. Several cultures lay claim to the invention — from the Iberian Spaniards and Portuguese, to the Mediterranean Italians and Greeks, and further east to the ancient Persians and Chinese.

Whatever the truth, salt-baking, or salt-roasting, has stood the test of time. Similar to tagines and clay pots, this centuries-old method traps steam heat to infuse moisture, amplify flavor and retain nutrients. So remarkably tender and succulent are the foods cooked inside these paradoxical salt igloos, that this otherwise humble technique has even been likened to the light-years-more-high-tech magic of sous vide.

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Quick Weeknight Sole and Sausage Gumbo

Eat Well Edibles Grow Well Recipe

Once upon a time we made Gulf seafood gumbo for four on a twilit beach in Corpus Christi with only a butane burner and cookware borrowed from a rental kitchen. Grey-blue crests and frothy white caps crashing behind us, visibility at that time of night zero save a flashlight and the dome light of our truck bed, crude sand walls built to prevent the struggling, wind-whipped flames from going out.

The inexplicably successful bowls of steaming hot gumbo were well-earned (and quickly finished) — at that moment, seriously superior to every other gumbo, anywhere, anytime. Forevermore, it will be a meal that instantly transports us back to that night on that beach.

Mardi Gras — or Fat Tuesday, if you prefer — falls on the last day of February this year. Because it’s a weeknight, I’m sharing a quick-fix version of our New Orleans classic that goes from cutting board to table in just about 30 minutes.

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Whole Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Lemon and Herbs

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

I consider myself lucky to be an early riser. It grants me a calm head start to the day, and an opportunity to pause and reflect as the sun climbs up over the horizon.

Like watching birds, one of the easiest ways to keep a finger on the pulse of the changing seasons is to watch the gradual movement of the sun. Standing in the same window every morning, I see it in a slightly different position, literally inching across the sky toward due east ahead of the equinox later in the month.

It’s a subtle signal that summer and its generous edible offerings have a deadline, and each year this ticking clock lights a fire beneath me. I scramble to gather as much of the remaining fresh, seasonal flavors as I can, then light an actual fire to turn them into a few last gloriously summery meals.

Mahi-mahi pre-stuff

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Smoked Salmon Kedgeree with Spinach, Green Peas and Leek

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Paella, risotto, biryani, bibimbap, fried rice, arroz con pollo. The world over, fluffy grains of rice shine in familiar classics — from Spain to Japan and nearly every culture between.

A product of the British occupation of India, kedgeree takes its origin from a simple rice and lentil dish called khichari. The Anglo-Indian colonials, apparently fond of rice dishes with lots of garnishes, often served small plates of cold cooked fish, onion, and hard-boiled eggs alongside more mildly spiced versions of khichari in their homes. Eventually everything merged into one bowl, the smoked fish and/or egg replacing lentils, and kedgeree was born.

Kedgeree with salmon

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