If I could choose my last meal on earth, it would probably have something to do with seafood. Can we start with some raw oysters? With a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, or a tiny glass of champagne. Then a fragrant salad, something fresh and in season. And then a large salted fish. Maybe a seafood broil, or a bouillabaisse. There should be a cheese platter, and hunks of hearty bread to soak up all the broth and sauces. And wine, good wine. A full, dry Cabernet should be involved. Ooh and mussels in some sort of butter or white wine broth. I could also do with fresh sashimi, the finest in all the land. With a side of crab legs.
You get my drift.
Now if I could only have one ethnic food type for the rest of my life, it would probably be Italian or Mediterranean, for the way they do their seafood and wine. And their olive oil. And the way they do their vegetables. In a lot of ways, I think great cuisine is marked by how well they do their vegetables. I could make love to a good vegetable dish. Korean food is another example of a cuisine that is brilliant with all the ways they treat their vegetables. We'll probably get into this another day.
More recently, I've also been appreciating the way Middle Eastern cuisine elevates their food with various spices, thanks to Yottam Ottolenghi and my friend, Elizabeth. (Remember these lamb meatballs?) Yottam is a genius with spices and vegetables. It's truly inspiring. Elizabeth introduced me to zataar and I introduced it to Sloane and now Sloane asks where the "taar" is when I make her eggs in the morning.
Don't worry, I'm getting somewhere with this. So the other night, which also happened to be my birthday night, I watched Elizabeth make fresh tagliatelle (it's a type of pasta) with saffron spelt flour. You know how I was harping on Italian food up there? Well, you should notice I didn't mention pasta, because that's not what initially draws me to Italian food. But fresh, handmade pasta? Now that's a different story. It's a different language. I've made this one of my grown up life goals, to make great pasta from scratch, so my eyes were probably in the shape of hearts as I watched Elizabeth get to work. The tagliatelle went into a spiced butter sauce to make a variation of this Ottolenghi recipe. Notice the sauce is just butter and shallots with a variety of spices - cinnamon, coriander, tumeric, paprika, ginger - but the combination of all of these gives the sauce almost a meaty flavor. All of it tossed with pine nuts and parsley, and it was heavenly.
I should also say, we started the meal off with this savory and salty toast that has my mouth watering as I type this. A piece of toasted Sub Rosa bread, smeared with garlic, topped with tomato, red onion, sardines and capers, with a glass of Cabernet. Just that right there could be a serious contender for my last meal ever.