We’re calling today’s recipe article “cookbook radar” simply because we missed this wonderful cookbook when it first came out in 2012. It might not have been on our screen because of its rheumatoid arthritis story line: chef Mullen is a sufferer, and his “hero food” opened the door to his restored health. We don’t have arthritis, we thought, and so it fell from our “want” list.
What a mistake.
Real food anchors every page of this book—fresh, vital foods cooked with a disarming simplicity that lets their freshness and flavor shine through, rather than the complex masking techniques employed by many chefs when they detour a simple piece of fish or a handful of young leeks into some weird alternative universe that hides an ingredient’s “essentialness” completely.
Mullen’s Tertulia restaurant in New York City honors his love for Spain with small grilled dishes (tapas) and larger dishes, such as a whole grilled fish. His 130-recipe first cookbook is as full of love as his restaurant. The narrative text is a love story, and declarations such as, “I remember just when I fell for parsley...” abound. You will READ this book, and drool at the photos. To get a more intimate connection with Mullen’s personality, you can view several videos at his publisher’s website.
So get out the Albequina or Picudo Spanish olive oil, pick a fresh lemon, grab some garlic, and get ready to be transported—to Spain...and to health. Here’s the simplest of samples, as originally shared in Goop:
Crispy Tuscan Kale on the Grill
(try with fresh spring asparagus, too)
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 bunches Tuscan kale, stems and all, washed and spun dry
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat grill to high. In a very large mixing bowl combine oil, vinegar, garlic, zest and lemon juice and mix well. Add kale. Season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to evenly coat kale.
Lay kale leaves flat on grill, side by side, in a single layer. Grill until crisp (about 2 minutes). Turn and grill for another 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining leaves. Pile on a large platter and serve immediately.
- Hero Food via Amazon
(...and enjoy several articles online that capture Mullen’s style nicely)
- Chef Seamus Mullen’s Favorite Tapas Recipes via Arthritis Foundation
- Food Hero, Seamus Mullen via Goop
- Chef Seamus Mullen's Secret Weapon to Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis via Bon appétit
- Seamus Mullen F&W Star Chef via Food & Wine