How and Why to Eat Well

Food is the new record collection: I can tell a lot about someone by what's in their pantry.

As popular as cooking is, though, it's still somewhat of a lost art, because as Nigella Lawson says, it's easier to impress people with food than it is to give them real pleasure with it. You could say the same of music, really. Flavor is a valuable thing, and like most valuable things it takes care and attention to create.

In my own kitchen, I'm a traditionalist, and like my grandmothers before me, I don't mess with The Way It's Done. The only seasoning I use aggressively is salt. Everything else is, as musicians say, buried in the mix.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Swordfish has a high mercury content, so if that's a concern, try this recipe with skewered prawns, diver scallops, or halibut steaks.

Serves 4

4 swordfish steaks, 6-8 ounces each
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon mild powdered red chile
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder

Trim and discard any skin on the swordfish steaks. Rinse and pat them dry with paper towels. Place them in a glass baking dish. Combine the salt, pepper, chile powder and garlic and set aside. Coat the fish on both sides with the olive oil, then sprinkle the spike mixture evenly over the fish on both sides. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Grill the steaks for 5-7 minutes per side, or until the fish is just opaque in the middle. Serve with the salsa spooned over the top of the fish.

Serves 4

2 limes
2 small or 1 large ripe avocado
1 mango, peach or other soft pitted fruit (or substitute pineapple)
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon powdered red chile
Pepper and salt to taste

Gently grate the zest of one of the limes and place it in a small mixing bowl. Slice and squeeze both the limes and stir in the honey, green onion, salt and pepper. Dice the avocado and fruit and add them to the lime juice mixture, tossing very gently to coat well. Transfer the salsa to a serving dish, sprinkle the chile powder over the salsa and allow to steep at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.

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