Late last year I started to receive Bon Appétit in the mail.
“Why am I getting this?” I asked Jon the first, second and third times the glossy cooking mag arrived. He had no idea.
Old-school secret admirerer? Postal delivery mishap? Local high school kid’s team fundraiser? Perplexed, I’d toss the magazines on my ever-swelling, coffee-table “to read” pile and forget about them.
Until earlier this spring.
There I was on the couch, comfy-cozy with a National Geographic (don’t laugh, it has beautiful photos and good writing) or one of the bits of Chris Ware’s mind-blowingly detailed Building Stories box when the cover of a Bon Appétit caught my eye. I grabbed it, thinking I’d zip through it and toss it into the recycling bin.
Instead, I read it front to back, dog-earring about 10 recipes in the process. Then I picked up another one and did the same thing, ripping out recipes this time, to put in a prominent kitchen spot.
Last month, I decided to try a few of these random recipes.
For our Fourth of July barbecue Jon and I made Spiced Salmon Kebabs, Baby Potato Salad (both from the June 2013 issue) and a kale salad (our creation). For the kebabs, I mixed chopped fresh oregano, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes into a spice potpourri. Jon got the grill going at about medium heat and cut the enormous filet of wild salmon Rox and I had purchased that morning into one-inch chunks. I sliced two Meyer lemons into thin, round, cheerful disks.
To assemble the kebabs, Jon stuck first a salmon chunk, then a folded lemon slice, then a salmon chunk (et cetera, et cetera) onto parallel bamboo skewers. This was a trick we picked up from the recipe’s handy introduction, which reads: “Thread salmon pieces onto two skewers so they don’t flip and spin every time you turn them on the grill.” Brilliant, will-do-it-forever advice.
Once finished, Jon painted the skewers with olive oil and sprinkled them with spice mix. They went on the grill for about 7–8 minutes and were absolutely fantastic: robustly flavorful (especially the warm nuttiness of the sesame) and filling without being heavy.
The Baby Potato Salad was also good—creamy, mustard-tangy, with a welcome non-mushy bite—although I ended up using fingerlings that I cut into chunks since I couldn’t find baby potatoes at Whole Foods.
Flecked with chopped fresh chives, the salad features a homemade mayonnaise dressing of egg yolk, white wine vinegar, kosher salt, vegetable oil and spicy brown mustard. Once again, I was reminded that mayonnaise is much less threatening when made at home with ingredients one can see, touch and relate to, rather than when spooned from a tub of too-white, too-smooth, Brylcreem-esque whip.
I’d definitely make this potato salad again. In spite of the dubious mustard seeds, Roxy even ate a few bites and pronounced it “mmmm good.”
Tomorrow: Brown Rice and Beans with Ginger Chile Salsa!