Like many restaurant fanatics, F&W's Kate Krader has become addicted to ever-spicier, -funkier and -tangier flavors. What does this mean for roast chicken?
I have a crystal-clear memory of one of the most perfect dishes I've ever eaten. It was a little potato gratin, served in a polished copper dish. The crispy mahogany-brown potato rounds on top glistened with duck fat; inside, the gratin was mashed-potato-tender. It was the late '80s, and I was at La Caravelle, an elegant, old-school French restaurant in midtown Manhattan that's now long gone.
Today, it isn't hard to find an exceptional potato gratin. Considering the heirloom potatoes that are out there now and the reverence for butter, lard and all those other fats, we are probably in the golden age of potato gratins. The problem is that I'm no longer so interested. When a dish isn't laced with chiles or some kind of fermented paste or doused with vinegary sauce, I can pass it by. I've accepted the fact that I crave a hit of fire, acid or funk in my food. The question I'm working through: Is this an evolution or a devolution?