by Zehorit Heilicher, Tastemaker in Residence
An international congress of flavor is convened on my shelves; the sweet and savory, the salty and the spicy, promises of local and far-flung recipes fill my cookbook collection. Whatever mood I might be in – there is a cookbook for it (NOT an app!) I can take a cruise down the Mississippi river to savor gooey Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations (Nancie McDermott and Becky Luigart-Stayner ), or I can travel to the Far East with Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia (Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid). If I am home sick there is always Jerusalem (Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi). My cookbooks are travel companions, mood enhancers and mood lifters – For the life of me; I would not be able to choose a favorite.
My deep love and appreciation of cookbooks turned into a debilitating challenge when I first started working on my own cookbook. How can I do justice to the lore, aromas and legacy that I was fortunate enough to have in my life? How could my recipes and stories live up to my own favorites? Can I chart my cultural culinary journey through recipes and anecdotes?
In the late Maya Angelou’s words: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” I guess my cookbook (work in progress) is my song. Here is an overture.
Cumin Salmon with Mango Salsa
Cumin, the king of Middle Eastern spices, joins Southwestern flavors to create a true melding of east and west: warm spices, cool salsa and mild heat – YUM!
2 lbs. salmon fillet, cut into Individual
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 tsp. ground cumin
2 medium limes, juiced
Salt and pepper
- Turn on broiler to heat.
- Place salmon fillets on greased cookie sheet or a sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil on each.
- Season each fillet with salt, pepper and 1/2 a teaspoon of the cumin. Evenly pour the lime-juice over fillets and place in the preheated oven.
- Broil 5" away from heat for 8-12 minutes, depending on salmon thickness. Serve immediately.
- The salmon can be cooked on the grill: use a whole salmon fillet, skin instead as directed, then place on medium high grill, skin down. Cook for 7-8 minutes with grille covered. Remove from heat and remove skin before cutting and serving.
Mango Black Bean Salsa
2 medium mangos, cut 1/4" dice
14 oz. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 small red onion, diced fine (optional
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 tsp. oriental chili garlic paste, (such as Dynasty)
1 large lime, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix gently.
- Refrigerate salsa at least 1 hour to let the flavors bloom.
- Serve as dip with chips, or as an accompaniment to grilled chicken, meats or fish.
Refrigerated, the salsa will last about 5 days.