This soup of pasta and clams is a Sardinian classic that’s all about simplicity. It relies chiefly on the flavor inherent in the soup’s two main ingredients: chewy, toasty spherical fregula, and arselle, the small, briny, succulent hard-shell clams found along the coast.
Recipe introduction by The Splendid Table Managing Producer Sally Swift:
I know cooking a whole fish can be intimidating, but it's the cheapest and simplest way to acquire the best fish in town. You can look at a fish and instantly tell how fresh it is when it's whole and the skin and bones will help flavor the fish without having to put in any extra work. Yes, you do have to watch out for bones, but we're all adults here and we can chew our food. But if you are feeling squeemish about deboning, watch the video below.
When we were shooting the photos for my last book, Dorie’s Cookies, lunch was a highlight of the day, as each of us took turns cooking. One morning, Claudia Ficca, the food stylist, announced that she’d bought some salmon and had an idea for lunch: salmon burgers. Like everything Claudia does, these are special. They get a supersized helping of zip from lemons, capers, two kinds of mustard, scallions, lots of dill and Greek yogurt, which adds tang and, most important, moisture.
Jacques Pépin made this dish with Francis Lam during our recent visit to Pepin's home-studio kitchen. Listen to their conversation about the dish and check out their in-depth interview about Jacques's storied career and thoughts on current food media. Also see The Splendid Table Jacques Pépin Collection for many more recipes from Jacques.
If you like falafel (fried chickpea patties usually sandwiched in a pita pocket), you’ll love this healthier baked twist on that theme. The flavor profile of the fish cakes, like falafel, comes from a tasty puree of chickpeas, lemon, and spices. Adding mackerel gives a healthy seaside twist to this fusion sandwich.
To roast a side of salmon that was silky throughout and evenly browned across its surface, we salted it for an hour, which helped the flesh retain moisture and protein (which would otherwise seep out unattractively during roasting). Placing it on a greased aluminum foil sling ensured that it was easy to transfer to a serving platter. For cooking, we set the salmon on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet to encourage air circulation around the fillet. Evenly brushing the salmon's surface with honey encouraged rapid browning. We found that a three-step cooking process gave us the best results. First, we preheated the oven to 250 degrees to warm the entire oven, which ensured that cooking happened quickly and evenly. Second, we broiled the fillet until it just began to brown. Third, we again turned the oven heat to 250 degrees to allow the fillet to gently cook through.
Grilling paella lends the dish subtle smoke and a particularly caramelized crust and makes it a great dish for summer entertaining. In place of a traditional paella pan, we cooked ours in a large, sturdy roasting pan that maximized the amount of socarrat, the prized caramelized rice crust that forms on the bottom of the pan. Building a large (7-quart) fire and fueling it with fresh coals (which ignited during cooking) ensured that the heat output would last throughout cooking, but we also shortened the outdoor cooking time by using roasted red peppers and tomato paste (instead of fresh peppers and tomatoes), making an infused broth with the seasonings, and grilling (rather than searing) the chicken thighs. To ensure that the various components finished cooking at the same time, we staggered the addition of the proteins—first the chicken thighs, followed by the chorizo, shrimp, and clams. We also deliberately placed the chicken on the perimeter of the pan, where it would finish cooking gently after grilling, and the sausage and seafood in the center, where they were partially submerged in the liquid so that they cooked through; once the liquid reduced, the steam kept them warm
Fresh Pacific halibut is a seasonal splurge. It needs very little to enhance its flavor—in fact, it’s almost a sin to fuss too much with it. I like to prepare it simply: pan-seared until golden and crisp with a quick sauté of sweet, garlicky cherry tomatoes on the side. Depending on how long you cook the tomatoes, they can be firm and fresh or soft and jammy. I usually aim for somewhere right in between, but they’re delicious either way.