Where some chefs see trash, Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly saw a signature dish: a salmon fish head, marinated in miso, maple syrup and garlic. At the NYC spot Chez Sardine, the dish represents the restaurant’s guiding principle—a Japanese izakaya infused with a trippy, gonzo spirit. “We sell more than a dozen a night,” says Brunet-Benkritly, adding that most diners need some help figuring out where the best bits of meat are. Here, his guide to getting the most out of each head.
For advanced eaters only. The eyeball resembles a soggy blob of fat—with a dark chewy pupil at the center. “It’s not my thing,” he says.
“Not as big as the steak-like cheeks on cod, but still a nice, firm section of meat. Our salmon are all from very cold water, so they are nice and fatty.”
An underrated section, the jowl becomes crispy and chewy, “like fish jerky.”
Collar & Neck
A good area for the squeamish diner—there’s a lot of meat here, and it doesn’t take too much excavating to retrieve it. “You’ll see grilled fish collar at a lot of Japanese restaurants.”
“I like to start here: Just tear away the fin and eat it like an artichoke—you can scrape off the salty-sweet marinade with your teeth.”
Related: Recipes for Whole Fish
Sustainable Seafood Guide
Fish and Seafood Recipes
Ways to Act Like a Chef
Instead of selling mass-produced garden tools that break after a season, stores are now stocking beautiful implements that last.
Japanese Trowel This enameled trowel is marked like a ruler. $20; brookfarm
Ash-Wood Spade Blacksmiths in Holland make this DeWit spade for dividing perennials, removing weeds and planting bulbs. $38; shopterrain.com.
Copper Hand Fork The tines on this Austrian hand fork deposit copper in the soil, which helps repel slugs and snails. $59; williams-sonoma.com.
Hori Hori Knife This Japanese tool has one straight edge, for weeding, and one serrated edge, for dividing plants. $35; williams-sonoma.com.
Hand-Forged Hoe The long handle on this hand hoe helps to reach around plants and dig at weeds. $42; ashfieldtools.nedjames.com.
Extra-Strong Hoe Part pickax and part hoe, this lightweight tool is great for weeding and pulling large stones out of the ground. $30; kaufmann-mercantile.com.
Sharp Shears Produced for more than 280 years in Sheffield, England, these Burgon & Ball steel garden shears are easy to use. $53; kaufmann-mercantile.com.
Garden Hod This harvest basket is made from reclaimed lobster traps. $45; planetnatural.com.
Related: American Artisans We Love
Beautiful Kitchen Tools
F&W's Garden Guide
Summer Produce Guide
Pair with salty snacks and raw shellfish.
2012 Medici Ermete Quercioli Reggiano Secco Lambrusco ($12) Excellent Lambruscos like this one offer bubbles
plus the backbone and
fruit of a red wine.
NV Zardetto Spumante Rosé ($17) Prosecco producer Fabio Zardetto turned to the little-known Raboso Veronese grape variety for this currant-scented bottling.
2012 Bellenda San Fermo Brut Prosecco ($19) Bright nectarine notes and an exotic spiciness make this Prosecco far more interesting than many on the market.
2011 Miguel Torres Chile Santa Digna Estelado ($20)
The Torres family produces this crisp sparkler from grapes purchased under
Fair Trade standards.
NV Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut ($22) There’s an appealing, toasty richness to this California bottling. Though it’s pale gold in hue, it’s almost entirely made from Pinot Noir.
Related: Champagne Guide
Light Summer Wines
Terrific Wine Cocktails
The Why Guys
Iconoclastic restaurant pro Jason Hammel (Chef and Owner of Lula Cafe, Chicago) questions conventional wisdom to push the dining scene forward.
Why should we expect recipes to turn out the same every time?
I had a grandmother who could really bake. Her lard-soft pumpkin cookies would greet me at the door, always tasting exactly the same. But their consistency didn’t become a marvel until she died, and I was left to my own devices with a recipe on an index card. Not one of my batches tasted the way I remembered. I soon realized that the recipe alone would never bring back a flavor I had lost. And it got me thinking about my life as a chef. Were recipes necessary? In my kitchens, hcooks always carry a notebook with them. Inside are lists of ingredients, reading like poetry: Leeks, melted/Riesling/goat butter/chopped dill. These become sauces and vinaigrettes. They are guides and inspirations, meant to be explored. Following a chef’s vision is what teaches young cooks to taste and learn and interact with ingredients. An over-wintered leek will not behave the same as a hot summer leek; it won’t need the same amount of wine, butter or dill. Instead of writing down measurements, we should teach how to explore the craft of cooking with our senses. When I imagine my cookbook, I see words and images, not cups and ounces. I would write my grandmother’s cookie recipe this way: Creamed sugar and lard/1 small can pumpkin, 3 eggs, some nutmeg/A simple frosting/Lined in parchment in a red Tupperware container almost out of reach/Sun coming in from a mountain road/The cookies baked gently, remaining soft, so that they stick to your fingers and you haveto lick them off, one by one.
Related: How to Become an Intuitive Cook
Famous Chefs Get Nostalgic About Summer Foods
Favorite Cookie Recipes