Why I Haven’t Written Lately, With a Recipe for James Beard’s Salade Orientale

So, it turns out that updating a blog regularly is like a full-time job. And considering how my full-time job has turned into two or three full-time jobs at the moment, the blog has fallen aside. Here’s just one thing I’ve been up to lately, extolling the culinary virtues of James Beard and his cookbooks. You might say that I’ve been impersonating James Beard. No, that’s not quite right. But I did film this segment of the new Cooking Channel‘s new series Food(ography). Hosted by none other than Mo Rocca, the topic of this episode was American cookbooks. And I was asked both to cook a recipe of Beard’s (I chose Salade Oriental from Beard on Food) and to discuss Beard’s significance in the context of other American cookbooks and food. Watch it now.

Here’s the recipe, verbatim, from Beard on Food:

“Salade Orientale is not just a salad but an elaborate one-dish meal. To serve eight, cook 1 1/2 to 2 cups rice until bitingly tender (not mushy). Drain and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss gently with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil, using two forks. Leave to cool. Meanwhile, cut 1 1/2 cups cooked shrimp into smallish pieces, leaving a few whole ones for garnish Combine with 1 cup crabmeat and, if you like, 1/2 to 1 cup mussels, which have been steamed with white wine and water (or used the canned mussels from France or Scandinavia). For an alternate seafood mixture, you might have bite-sized chunks of cooked lobster or lobster tails or raw bay scallops with either shrimp or mussels. To either seafood mixture add 1/2 cup finely cut celery, 1/2 cup finely chopped green or red onion, and 1/2 up peeled, seeded, and finely diced cucumber. Toss with the rice and a vinaigrette sauce made with 4 parts olive oil to 1 part wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon, 1 tablespoon prepared mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the whole shrimp, and serve on greens. ”

Click here to order your copy of Beard’s personal, eccentric exploration of food.


Filed under Food for Thought, Taste Tidbits, What's for Dinner?, Why Can't People Cook?

2 responses to “Why I Haven’t Written Lately, With a Recipe for James Beard’s Salade Orientale

  1. Arthur Kluger

    Well done! How do you get rice “bitingly tender” when you use a rice cooker? Less water?
    Have fun in Japan. Oh, how I envy you.

  2. jane bauer

    Just sitting here doing some work with the Food Channel on in the background. Thought to myself…I know that voice. Voila…it was you. Great job, you are great in front of the camera.
    I was writing an article on kohlrabi and when the camera showed a page from American Cookery it was the page on kohlrabi. So I ran up to my cookbook loft and pulled the book. Thank you for the insight…and now I am quoting the cookbook:)

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