Cooking from memories, an Italian-inspired menu from David Tanis and more.
By Sam Sifton
Good morning. I was in the Florida Keys earlier this week, visiting with friends of the Key West Library and looking for fish on the cold-snapped flats south of Saddlebunch, and this weekend all I want to do is cook from the memories of the food I had there.
For instance, the roast pork at El Siboney on Stock Island, with yellow rice, black beans and sweet plantains, the meat softer and even silkier than a traditional pernil. (In our recipe, Von Diaz tents the pork loosely with foil for an hour of cooking. I think I’ll wrap it tight for two hours and see if that achieves the desired result.) Also, the chicken-fried chicken with mashed potatoes, white gravy and blistered asparagus served at the Geiger Key Marina: crisp-soft-salty-sweet. (I’ll use chicken thighs in place of the cube steak in this recipe for a more traditional chicken-fried steak, then keep the skins on for these mashed potatoes and use a heavy hand on the salt for the roasted asparagus.)
And definitely I’d like to attempt a version of the salami and hot honey pizza that Rafe Halpern serves at the Seaside Cafe at Southernmost House in Key West. For that I’ll need pizza dough; a sauce of canned tomatoes simmered with diced salami and garlic; some shredded chunks of low-moisture mozzarella and grated pecorino; and a healthy drizzle of honey heated through with red-pepper flakes at the end. (Here’s how to make pizza, if you want to try it yourself.)
That’s me, anyway, borne back ceaselessly into the past. It was uncharacteristically cold while I was visiting, and those meals brought warmth. You may prefer to cook something less improvisatory. For that, take a look at this awesome dinner menu from our David Tanis: mozzarella with charred radicchio and salsa verde, followed by rigatoni al forno with cauliflower and broccoli rabe (above), and Italian almond cookies for dessert.
Or you could try these awesome vegetarian Swedish meatballs, in which mushrooms, chickpeas and bulgur conspire to deliver the texture of ground beef in a velvety mushroom gravy. Serve over generously buttered noodles, of course.
Maybe a potato-Cheddar soup with quick pickled jalapeños? A baked Alfredo pasta with broccoli rabe and lemon? Creamy vegan polenta with mushrooms and kale?
And absolutely, if you want to send a message to the universe about the seriousness of weekend cooking, try your hand at eggs Benedict on Sunday, maybe with the addition of some warmed-through fresh crab. That’s delicious, too.
There are thousands and thousands more recipes to cook this weekend waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. You do need a subscription to access them, just as you need a subscription to watch — and perhaps to deride — “The Gilded Age” on HBO Max. Subscriptions support our work. If you have one already, I thank you. If you don’t, I hope that you will subscribe today.
We are always nearby, if you need help with anything. Just write: [email protected] Someone will get back to you. Or if you need further inspiration, visit us on our social media accounts: YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. That’s fun scrolling.
Now, it’s nothing to do with cardamom or beets, but you should read Claire L. Evans in The Verge, on her search for Susan Headley, an early computer hacker and phone phreaker who was then known as Suzy Thunder. It’s a wild ride.
I write in the Times New Roman font and brook no exceptions, but R.E. Hawley, in The New York Times Magazine, still has me reconsidering Garamond.
The London Review of Books put together a lovely collection of writing from its archives, all about the pleasures of party-going. It’s worth diving into: “Delicious Sponge Cake.”
Finally, in The Times, Isabelia Herrera wrote about Raveena’s latest single, featuring Vince Staples: “Secret.” (I could listen to Staples rapping “Pretty women on Sunset” about 10,000 times.) Give that a listen, and I’ll see you on Sunday.
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