Just a quick post to gush about a single dish.
I recently read a book my daughter loaned me (thanks, Erin) called Blood, Bones & Butter — a memoir by Gabrielle Hamilton, chef/proprietor of New York’s much-lauded Prune restaurant.
What a fantastic read. I rank her right up there with fellow chef-turned-writer Ruth Reichl — and a notch above Anthony Bourdain (sometimes his smart-assness gets to be just a little too much). If you love food and/or good writing and/or a great story, go for it. The tale is very personal and compelling. And I love Gabrielle’s relationship with food. No molecular gastronomy. No pretty little frou-frou dishes. A total disregard for trends. Instead, just simple, flavorsome real cooking.
Anyway, back to tonight’s dinner …
After reading the book, I started combing the web for the author’s recipes. (I’m waiting for a special, indulgent occasion to try one particular pasta entree that calls for 1/2 stick of butter per serving! The time will come, I’m sure of it.)
Tonight I made Gabrielle’s Soft Zucchini with Harissa, Olives and Feta, slightly modified by food blogger The Wednesday Chef (thanks again to Erin for recommending her as well).
The usually timid squash was brought to life with the just-right, back-of-the-throat heat of the harissa paste, the sharp pepperiness of the flat-leaf parsley and the assertiveness of the olives and feta. The dish was pungent and earthy, but with flavors not from my corner of the globe.
I served it with bread for a complete dinner, as The Wednesday Chef recommended. It was nothing short of awesome. I think it’s going to become one of my winter-time standards, perking up the cold, dark season’s staid root vegetables and fruit from afar. An added bonus: It’s super quick and easy to throw together.
I didn’t read my fellow blogger’s full description of the dish until after I’d prepared and eaten it tonight. Interesting that she and I both made it just after the annual falling back from daylight saving time.
Even if you’re not a vegetarian, and even if you think the dish is odd-sounding, I urge you to give it a go. You won’t be sorry.
P.S. The orangey-brown cube you see in the upper right-hand side of the photo is some leftover roasted butternut squash I threw in.