Niçoise Redux

Sometimes a salad is just so good you have to blog about it twice. And so, my friends, I invite you to join me on a virtual journey back to the French Riviera as we revisit the Niçoise, deconstructed and put back together.

Deconstructed Niçoise

I’ve been known to grumble on this blog about food trends. I never want to see another red velvet cupcake or Korean beef taco again. More

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Combating Watermelon Fatigue

One of the best and worst parts of summer is the watermelon. Sure, everyone loves watermelon, and nothing says summer like a cold, sweet slice on a hot afternoon. That’s the good part. The bad part is that even the “mini” ones are larger than a child’s head. And the big ones are the melon equivalent of a Cruise America RV.

By some point into the summer — usually early to mid July — I begin suffering from watermelon fatigue. My kids insist on watermelon, so I buy the smallest one I can find. And then people begin showing up with them. More

Salvaging the Most Boring Pepper on Earth

People have found all sorts of creative uses for green bell pepper across an array of pan-cultural preparations. You’ll find large chunks of it dominating entrees in cheap Chinese restaurants; lengthy slivers in pasta primavera at Olive Garden and Buca di Beppo; long-simmered squares floating in albondigas soup at your favorite Mexican dive. Among the world’s varied peppers, ranging from the tiny fiery pequins of Mexico to big sweet Hungarian peppers to vibrantly hot thai chilies, green peppers are not my favorite.

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But even the most pedestrian vegetables can have their moment to shine. And so I humbly present the green bell pepper, re-introduced and all dressed up for its ascension to glory. More

In Awe of Niçoise

Like a wayward lover, I can be accused of shifting allegiances toward salads. It’s just that there are so many great salads, and I have so much love in my heart. On this very blog alone, I’ve swooned for Caesar, gobbed praise on Cobb. But today I’ve got a new cruciferous crush — the noble Niçoise.

La Grande Motte, France

As a boy of 12 or so, I visited the French seaside development of La Grande Motte — not far from Nice. I remember a large shopping mall, strange pyramid-shaped buildings and boats. More

The American Series, Pt. I — Fried Chicken

To kick off my new series of posts on classic American dishes, I chose the most iconic dish of them all — fried chicken. While I’m not convinced anyone will ever do a better fried chicken than the Colonel, I thought I’d give it my best.

If you begin to research the origins of fried chicken, you quickly find yourself wading in some murky waters — with references to everything from Vietnam and West Africa to medieval Europe, the existing literature flavored with converging allusions to homesteading, the Deep South, the Civil War, slavery, industrialization… which makes sense. Throw some flour on chicken and put it in some oil. What could be more elemental? More

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