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.

Continue reading

Clams with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon + Angel Hair

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Though our Midwestern constitutions don’t always feel at home in the South, we fully appreciate just how lucky we are to live on the Atlantic shore where seafood is not only abundant but caught-that-morning fresh. Today’s bowl of goodness features briny sweet NC littlenecks, but takes its inspiration from memories of travelling to two other coastal areas.

First are Roaring Water Bay mussels that we steamed in a heady Sligo County brew with bacon and cabbage. A feast taken watching the moon rise over the inky black waters of Baltimore, County Cork, Ireland. The other, cherrystone clams cooked with garlic, chillies, lemon and a splash of a local white wine. In the postcard village of Lubec, ME, perched at the northeastern tip of the US, it was a meal prepared in the shared kitchen of our inn and enjoyed in our room overlooking the Quoddy Narrows and Canada in the distance.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Spicy Calamari Stew with Garlicky Croutons

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Our first taste of the autumn chill has arrived. The days break foggy and crisp, and though the afternoon sun is still quite warm, bracing morning and evening winds prompt yearnings for warm, soul-satisfying foods.

This recipe for a tomato-based calamari stew with chillies and herbs more than satisfies. Sometimes ladled over a small mound of grains, I served these bowls with cubes of homemade ciabatta bread tossed with olive oil and garlic and baked briefly until crisp and golden.

A simple yet elegant meal that feels like one foot in summer, one foot in autumn, and an arm in winter.

Spicy seafood chowder Continue reading