I am heading out of the country tomorrow to visit my family in Sichuan for the first time in way too many years, so I am dashing this little post out before I leave. I am procrastinating on my packing.
When I am creating recipes there are always a variety of elements that inspire and impact the final result. Sometimes it’s a cuisine that I have been obsessively reading all about and eating at restaurants. What I love the most about living in New York City is that there really isn’t another city in the world with the same density and variety of restaurants contained within such a small space. Recently I have been obsessively exploring Sri Lankan cuisine. This all started with some client work where I adapted and shot a superb Sri Lankan fish curry. In the 2 months since I shot the curry, that dish has been on repeat in my kitchen making regular appearances for weeknight dinners. I will be sharing that recipe in a later post. From the fish curry, I then remembered one of my absolute favorite Sri Lankan dishes, Black Pork Curry, and well I absolutely had to recreate it. I am very close to perfecting my recipe, so stay tuned.
The second and equally important inspiration for me has always been the visual – the raw ingredients that nature has generously provided us. As a photographer, when I see something gorgeous, I literally itch to shoot it. If i cannot shoot it, I get anxious. Who knows if another opportunity will come around!
This salad, came about from my need to photograph radicchio. So when I hosted a Middle Eastern inspired dinner for my birthday in January, I created this salad for the occasion along with several other delicious dishes, I will be gradually sharing. I specifically wanted to shoot treviso tardivo radicchio. As you can see from these photos, the treviso tardivo is a deep oxblood chicory with feather like segments. I hope you can see why I HAD to photograph these. I wanted to create a moody atmosphere to complement these deep tones. There is something so gothically romantic about them.
To cut through the bitter radicchio, I added the bright tang of pomegranates and one of my absolute favorite citrus fruits, pomelos. The translucently blushing filaments that make up the pomelo segments have always fascinated me. They are like some unknown sea creature that hijacked a land citrus fruit.
This is a sturdy salad with the radicchio standing up well to the onslaught of acid and oil. It is the sort of salad that actually improves with time. When I served this during my birthday several of my friends, who were not usually fans of the bitter radicchio, commented with surprise at how much they like this salad. By allowing the radicchio to marinate in the citrus dressing, the biting flavor is mellowed slightly without loosing any of the crunch important in a salad. This is a truly simple recipe that I hope showcases the best flavors of the ingredients that make up the whole.
Make sure you follow me on Instagram to see me eat all of the spicy things in Sichuan!