I made a very simple dinner this evening for Susie and me. [Yes, we eat that early, if you are taking note of when this was posted. But then, we get up before five a.m.] I put a yam in the oven at 425 degrees and just let it sit there for the better part of an hour. I steamed some baby spinach. And I pan seared a lovely piece of tune quickly over very high heat on both sides, so that it was absolutely raw inside. The tuna was served with a dip of chopped up ginger and garlic in soy sauce. With this I drank a moderately priced Cabernet, and Susie, as is her wont, drank Procesco. I used no herbs or spices, no salt [of course], and certainly no butter. The honest truth is that it was better -- tastier -- than what we can get at almost any restaurant.
The secret to delicious cooking is buying very fresh ingredients and then cooking them so that their natural flavors emerge. The principal reason that the dinners I cook in France are better than the dinners I cook in Chapel Hill is that I can buy better ingredients in Paris -- including some, such as fresh cuissses de canard -- that are not available here.
I try to make the plate attractive when I bring it to the table, but "presentation" is not my primary concern. Taste is. Since Susie is insistent about wanting a green vegetable with every meal, I do my best to comply.
One of my favorite kitchen appliances is my mandolin -- a devise that allows me to slice vegetables very, very thin. The virtue of sauteing vegetables that have been mandolined is that the thinness of the slices allows the natural sugars to emerge during the cooking process. A single large Vidalia onion mandolined into a large pile of very thin slices will, if cooked slowly for long enough, virtually melt into a delicious mush. Something quite similar happens to zuccini [or courgettes, as we say in France] or bok choy.
With baroque music on the Bose radio/CD player, we have a delightful evening meal.