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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

Cooking Class With Super Star Chefs

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Pastry chef and Top Chef: Just Desserts judge Johnny Iuzzini.

© Trump Hotel Collection
Jean Georges pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini.

With the finale of Top Chef: Just Desserts last week, pastry fans across the country will miss their weekly fix of handsome judge Johnny Iuzzini. Those considering a major holiday splurge can now get up close with the Jean Georges pastry chef and his powerhouse boss, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, in New York City. The Trump International Hotel & Tower recently launched a $9,999 Culinary Master Course package that includes a three-night stay, a private cooking demo by JGV and a personal pastry class with Iuzzini (plus breakfast at Nougatine and a three-course dinner at Jean Georges). While booking the demo, guests choose themes tied to Vongerichten's restaurants: Jean Georges (French), JoJo (Mediterranean), ABC Kitchen (organic and local), Spice Market (Asian) or Perry Street (New American). For the hands-on pastry session, Iuzzini teaches the basics of cake baking, tuiles, ice creams and sorbets.

An intimate demo with chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

© Trump Hotel Collection
An intimate demo with chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

 

Chefs

John Besh: Stop Beating Up Fish

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Chef John Besh

© Courtesy of John Besh Restaurant Group
Chef John Besh knows fish.

New Orleans–based chef John Besh released his second cookbook this week: My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking, a collection of simple, comfort-food recipes. The longtime Louisiana booster has also been making moves to support Gulf seafood. In the New Year, Besh will open his ninth restaurant, Borgne, which emphasizes the region’s coastal cuisine. He shared recipes for shrimp bisque and swordfish picatta in this month’s Food & Wine, and even features a chapter in his new book called “How to Cook a Fish.” Since this "What Not to Do"series revolves around disaster prevention, we asked Besh to describe the worst offenses you can commit against seafood.

1. Buy bad fish. The easiest way to foul a fish dish is to not have a relationship with your fishmonger. If you don’t know where the fish is coming from and when it was caught, you’re making the first mistake.

2. Over season. You can mask a fish's delicate flavor with too many spices. We're in this day and age when everyone has a can of something they love to shake over food. But not all cans are created equal, and fish requires restraint; a little touch of salt will go a long way. An exception would be a really firm fish that's great for grilling, and can also handle heavier seasoning.

3. Cook it like chicken. People beat up fish by treating it like chicken or beef. Fish should be cooked as little as possible. When you overcook it, it pulls apart and gets very dry, since there's not that much fat. People who don’t like rarer fish can cook it, but no more than medium. You can test for doneness the same way you would with any other meat—to the touch. You want to cook it so the flesh slightly springs back when you push on it with your finger. Beware of carryover cooking, which is when food continues to cook even though it's been taken off the heat. Unlike meats that take 10 to 20 minutes to rest, fish are made to be eaten straight from the pan.

4. Disregard the style of fish. The texture will tell you how to cook it. A white, light, flaky fish like sole is easy as sin to overcook. Sole is meant for a little flour and brown butter in a pan—a squeeze of Meyer lemon and you’re in business. If you grill something delicate, you’ll taste the smoke instead of the fish. Mahi mahi and tuna, on the other hand, are great for the grill.

5. Make a heavy sauce. Fish are delicate, and when they’re fresh, you should be able to taste the sea. Fish have a lot of flavor and you want to sauce them in a way that will elevate the flavor, not steal the show. Vinaigrettes are under-rated; grilled salmon needs just a citrusy, sweet-sour vinaigrette. Lemon and butter are two things that white flakey fishes crave.

Related: John Besh's New Orleans Recipes
Quick Fish Recipes
Thanksgiving Recipes

Recipes

Mario Batali’s Chicken with Piquillos

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Chicken Dance spotlights a fantastic Food & Wine chicken recipe every day.

Chicken with Piquillos

© Quentin Bacon
Chicken with Piquillos

Today Mario Batali, America's fiery, red-headed master of Italian cooking, chatted with Food & Wine Facebook fans about his new cookbook Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours as part of our Kitchen Insider series. While Batali owns 19 restaurants, he's a huge supporter of cooking at home. Batali learned this recipe for Chicken with Piquillos from home cook Pilar Sanchez, who prepared the dish with chickens that were raised in her yard in Asturias, Spain. Birds from the market will also taste delicious in the peppery sauce.

Related: Fast Weekday Meals
Vegetarian and Pescatarian Mario Batali Recipes
Mario Batali's Recipes for the Grill

Wine

Napa's First Film Festival

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F&W's November issue spotlights this great event, kicking off next week.

Napa Valley Film Festival

© Courtesy of Napa Valley Film Festival
Napa Valley Film Festival


This month's Napa Valley Film Festival runs November 9 through 13 and will screen 75 entries, some in winery cellars. A few even have a food or wine theme; for instance, Jiro Dreams of Sushi documents an 85-year-old Tokyo chef. A party at Robert Mondavi kicks things off. napavalleyfilmfest.org.

Related:
Where to Stay in Wine Country
California Wine Guide: Napa

Cooking

Parisi's Foolproof Herb-and-Lemon Roasted Chicken

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Chicken Dance spotlights a fantastic Food & Wine chicken recipe every day.

Roasted Chicken Recipe

© Antonis Achilleos
Herb-Roasted Chicken

Food & Wine’s Senior Recipe Developer Grace Parisi kicked off a live Thanksgiving chat series on Facebook today. For three more Tuesdays in November from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, she will answer questions about prepping, cooking and preventing disasters on F&W’s fan page. A holiday-dinner expert, Parisi also excels at streamlining the classics like this luscious roast chicken rubbed with herb butter.

Related: More Grace Parisi Recipes
Great Roast Chicken Recipes
Thanksgiving Recipes

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.