Paula Wolfert

Ajvar
Rating: Unrated
1
Proust had madeleines; Paula Wolfert has eggplants. Her love of nightshades was seeded in her childhood, and this is her best guess at her grandmother’s recipe for a Balkan eggplant spread she often made when Paula was growing up. Tangy and only faintly garlicky, it’s an ideal accompaniment to just about anything: grilled skewered meats (like the sausages that follow), grilled fish or vegetables, or spread on bread in a turkey or tofu sandwich. —Emily Kaiser ThelinExcerpted from Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life  Slideshow: More Eggplant Recipes 
Advertisement
This is Paula’s brilliantly approachable take on one of the most iconic restaurant dishes ever invented, the gargouillou of chef Michel Bras of Laguiole, France. Paula introduced Bras to the United States in an article she wrote about him in 1987. Like all her favorite chefs, he elevates the humble peasant foods of his region. Gargouillou is traditionally a Laguiole vegetable soup flavored with ham. Bras deconstructs it, blanching the vegetables separately, tossing them with crisped pancetta, and garnishing them with foraged flowers and weeds. That version has since spawned dozens of homages around the world. But when Paula published this recipe in World of Food in 1988, its name was little known, so she called it Spring Vegetables in the Style of Laguiole.In Paula’s home-cook adaptation, the vegetables are sequentially blanched in the same pot, starting with the ones that need the most water. The process yields a pleasingly intense vegetable stock for the sauce. Don’t let the long list of vegetables intimidate you. In fact, Paula wrote, “There is no precise way to execute the following recipe; the fun is playing around with it.”—Emily Kaiser ThelinExcerpted from Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life Slideshow: More Vegetable Recipes 
A Madrid chef who dares to experiment with paella inspires an American cook
Toulouse-Style Cassoulet
Rating: Unrated
7
Although there are innumerable versions of cassoulet, most are based on a stew of white beans and various forms of pork. The dish gets its name from the pot it's traditionally baked in, the cassole (see Note), which is often shaped like a wide inverted cone to insure the greatest amount of luscious crust. This version by acclaimed cookbook author Paula Wolfert includes duck confit and the French garlic sausages that are a specialty of Toulouse. More French Recipes
Advertisement
This "bread" is Tangier's version of socca, the chickpea flour–based pancake of Nice, France, but it's much thicker and more custardy, like flan. Moroccans eat it by the slice on the street, sprinkled with cumin or smeared with harissa, but it's also delicious spread with cold salads, like Fresh Tomato and Caper SaladMore Moroccan Recipes
Any thick, beefy fish will work with this dish, such as sea bass, bluefish, or tuna; I make it here with swordfish. The fish is cooked at low temperature in an aromatic broth spiked with tomato, garlic, and oregano, allowing it to absorb the rich flavors while still remaining moist and succulent.
This "bread" is Tangier's version of socca, the chickpea flour–based pancake of Nice, France, but it's much thicker and more custardy, like flan. Moroccans eat it by the slice on the street, sprinkled with cumin or smeared with harissa, but it's also delicious spread with cold salads, like Fresh Tomato and Caper SaladMore Moroccan Recipes
Any thick, beefy fish will work with this dish, such as sea bass, bluefish, or tuna; I make it here with swordfish. The fish is cooked at low temperature in an aromatic broth spiked with tomato, garlic, and oregano, allowing it to absorb the rich flavors while still remaining moist and succulent.
Sweet Cherry Clafoutis
Rating: Unrated
New!
Most chefs in France's Limousin region say that this creamy cake tastes best made with unpitted cherries. If this is too rustic for you, pit the cherries, roll them in sugar and freeze them; the frozen sugar grains seal the fruit, so juice doesn't stain the batter. Purists insist on local black cherries, but Paula Wolfert thinks you can use any bold-flavored fruit, like apricots or plums.Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips
Aged goat cheese is a key ingredient in this creamy soup from the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco. Paula Wolfert uses Midnight Moon by Cypress Grove, but goat Gouda also works well. The recipe for the spice blend makes more than you need, but any extra is excellent tossed with roasted vegetables. Slideshow:  Moroccan Recipes 
Advertisement
This is the most forgiving and delicious duck recipe you’ll ever find. By slow-cooking duck with aromatics until it’s as tasty and tender as confit, then broiling it until the skin is shatter-crisp, Paula Wolfert manages to play to all of the bird’s strengths. If you’re feeling lazy, you can simply serve the duck with the strained pan juices and forego the stock and olive sauce altogether. If you’re feeding a crowd, you can cook three ducks in a large roasting pan, increasing the onions and aromatics slightly and allowing just a little more cooking time. And you can prepare the dish two days ahead and finish it off at the last moment. Just be sure to have the butcher cut the duck for you—that’s the only step that can be tricky. Slideshow: Great Recipes from Paula Wolfert 
Semolina Pancakes
Rating: Unrated
1
Every morning, cafés in Marrakech serve these crêpes, called begrhir, drizzled with honey or spread with apricot jam. Cooking the crêpes on only one side leaves a lacy network of tiny holes, perfect for catching the sweet toppings; the fine semolina provides a lovely sandy texture. Paula Wolfert adapted this recipe from one in the book La Pâtisserie Marocaine by Rachida Amhaouche. More Recipes by Paula Wolfert
Here's a refreshing salad that will stretch a couple of cups of young leaves to feed six. Purslane is also wonderful on its own, simply dressed with garlic and olive oil. Terrific Green Salads
Paula Wolfert visited the kitchens of Dar Yacout, where the cooks still use charcoal fires to make dishes like lush and smoky roasted-eggplant salad. Chef Coverage from F&W Editors  More Recipes by Paula Wolfert
Potato Gnocchi
Rating: Unrated
5237
You can dress up perfect gnocchi in as many ways as you can sauce pasta, garnishing them with an unheated pesto sauce as the Ligurians do, or tossing them with foaming butter and slivered sage leaves as the Piedmontese do. You can mix them with a chunky tomato sauce or smother them in a wild boar ragù. Paula Wolfert finds that a little olive oil added to the dough makes for a silkier consistency, but it is optional. Slideshow:  More Gnocchi Dishes 
The Provençal stews called daubes are cooked in wide-bellied, narrow-necked earthenware pots (daubières). The lids are specifically designed to trap moisture during cooking. Dutch ovens or bean pots are perfect stand-ins for a daubière. More Stew Recipes
Pistou de Marseille
Rating: Unrated
New!
This is the first version of soupe au pistou that Paula Wolfert ever loved. She learned the recipe in the '70s from Claude Thomas, her neighbor in Tangier, who was writer Paul Bowles's French translator. Thomas's trick was to use a ratatouille-like mixture as a base for the hearty soup. Here the soup starts with a sautéed mix of eggplant, onions, garlic, peppers and zucchini. More Warming Soups
Advertisement
Many Mediterranean cooks use clay pots to cook foods without added liquid. In Sicily, the method is called affogato and the pot is an earthenware tegame. In Paula Wolfert's adaptation of a specialty she enjoyed many years ago at the Ristorante Circolo Uliveto, in the Sicilian town of Trecastagni, she substitutes an easier-to-find cazuela for the tegame. She uses it to cook coarsely chopped broccoli rabe (ideally the young, leafy kind) with grated pecorino cheese, briny olives and meaty anchovies, then folds the mixture into boiled pasta and bakes it. More Great One-Dish Pastas
The late Armenian cookbook author Arto der Haroutunian, who taught Paula Wolfert this dish, caramelized cauliflower on the stove before baking it with eastern Mediterranean flavorings: chopped tomatoes, plumped raisins and Marash red pepper flakes. You can use any cazuela or flameware pot, but Wolfert likes the unglazed black La Chamba roasting pan from Colombia, which she says imparts sweetness to the dish. More Vegetable Dishes
Paula Wolfert learned a chicken dish called chaariya medfouna from a private cook named Karima, left. "Chaariya means noodles," Wolfert says. "Medfoun means a surprise or something hidden.” In Paula’s adaptation, the steamed noodles cover tender chunks of lamb spiced with cumin. More Recipes by Paula Wolfert
Since this type of couscous tends to be slightly dry, you may want to serve it the traditional way, with glasses of buttermilk. Slideshow:  Couscous Recipes 
Burhan Cagdas makes ground-meat kebabs (kofta) from hand-chopped lamb mixed with diced lamb-tail fat. In place of the fat, Paula Wolfert uses crème fraîche, which keeps the meat rich-tasting and meltingly tender. More Middle Eastern Recipes
Fresh Tomato and Caper Salad
Rating: Unrated
New!
When guests sit down to the dinner table, Moroccan hosts often set out small salads to eat with bread or on their own. Paula Wolfert found this salad in Essaouira, along the Atlantic coast. She says it's rare to see capers in Moroccan salads, even though the country is one of the world's leading suppliers. Slideshow:  More Moroccan Recipes