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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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.

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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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Savor the Flavor of Eating Right + Chipotle Vanilla Smoked Salmon

Eat Well Edibles National Nutrition Month Recipe

We all need food to survive. But food is about more than just eating.

In my opinion, life is better with food prepared with a focus on freshness and flavor, made with love, and taken in good company — even if the food is repurposed leftovers and the company is your cats. It’s about pleasure as much as fuel, embracing nourishing options and healthy practices, not restriction or austerity.

All of these things bring me great joy. To me, this year’s National Nutrition Month® theme Savor the Flavor of Eating Right matches my own beliefs that if you relish the present, you nourish the future. With a focus on making healthy eating synonymous with eating well, the theme encourages creativity and exploration of new foods, cuisines, and cooking techniques to keep taste buds happy.

Brined chipotle vanilla salmon

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