Ever since my shitty main course at Bread Street Kitchen (to be fair: it was soft opening), I have been slowly shifting my home-chef loyalties from Ramsay to Jamie. The way I’m starting to see it: Jamie teaches you how to use leftover meat, and is a sweetheart to chickens, whilst Ramsay tells you that your gourmet meat is raw and throws it in the bin. Now that’s just wasteful.
So I came across a recipe for panzanella by Jamie here:
Panzanella is a Tuscan salad that uses tomatoes and leftover bread. Not much, you say, but the dressing of vinegar, anchovies, and good extra virgin olive oil, gives this loaf something to get soaked about. Wikipedia references the 16th-century artist and poet Bronzino, who actually calls the salad “another pleasure of this life” (“altro piacer di questa vita”) and I’m not one to disagree.
The red onions Jamie recommends in his recipe, are macerated till heavenly sweet and soft by the red wine vinegar. This, combined with the strong saltiness of the anchovies, is something the poor Caprese would cry home to his mama about, basil leaves tucked between his mozzarella balls.
I served this salad with a whole roasted chicken – crispy, but still moist because of a whole forked lemon that I stuff inside its cavity like no tomorrow. You might’ve noticed the Aquarius in the corner of that photo – my go-to drink when I’m hungover. If I can make a dinner like this when I’m hungover, there is no way anyone could screw this up. Stale bread, tomatoes, and dressing – get it done!
God love vinegar soaked carbs.
Been a while – finally back in Hong Kong for summer, after a pretty grueling year in London. But you don’t want to hear about this. I come bearing pictures of food, and hope you will forgive me for my absence.
My mama went to Tai Po market (I, admittedly, was still jetlagged and slept in till 3) and picked up some glorious seafood. Had some razorclams, mussels, prawns and squid. In Tagalog, you call squid ‘pusit’, which my boyfriend prefers because it sounds naughty, and it makes him giggle when I ask him if he likes pusit. Yes, we are children.
Despite the lame anecdotes, this post will hopefully be a little more informational than usual, as I feel I’ve learned a thing or two about preparing and cooking seafood that could be useful to you too. Definitely no ‘master’, but I do feel a little more experienced with my seafood skills.
Seeing as this is a new blog and your love could go either way, I hope to win the reader’s favour by posting some of my dinner the other week. Cheap trick, I know, but I’m all for whoring around my food – especially with my Nikon DSLR and amateur photography skills, bow chica wow wow. I’ve only recently started changing the aperture for my photos so that the food looks a little more professional with the selective focus. Not that it really matters as I only ever post on Facebook so I have easy access to the album when I need my fix.
The Tai Po Hui Market and Cooked Food Center is banging. You can get some really fresh fish on the first level for cheaps – this particular fish was HK$60, serving at least 4. (I apologise, I’ll be more specific about which fish next time; to be honest I was just really desperate to make a Chinese-style steamed fish with this steamer I found in the depths of our kitchen.)