For FALL 2010's delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the NEW ISSUE of our online magazine FEAST--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.feastofbooks.com/

Between issues, read our blog posts as we and our special guests share thoughts, ideas, and recommendations about books, art, food, film, and travel. We love to hear from our readers, so please post a comment! Thanks-- Rosemary Carstens, editor

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Snax Online is undergoing a redesign and will be moving to a new location. Check back from time to time for a link. In its new format, this blog will cover a wider range of topics but also its usual five. In the meantime, keep up with what's happening in the world of books, art, food, film, and travel at http://www.FEASTofBooks.com --

See you in 2011!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Platter of Figs . . . the JOY of eating!

A Platter of Figs and other recipes, DAVID TANIS. Artisan 2009. Six months of each year, David Tanis is head chef at Chez Panisse in Berkely, California, where he’s worked since the 1980s for legendary Alice Waters. The other half of the year he’s in Paris preparing meals in a 6x10 foot galley kitchen in his 17th century apartment.

This book was conceived from Tanis's belief that the best meals are simple, easily prepared, and served without too much fuss.
A meal should not take all day to make. The “platter of figs” symbolizes the idea of eating with the seasons and is a metaphor for the food Tanis enjoys most: fresh, abundant, luxurious, fleeting, and innately beautiful.

Twenty-four seasonal menus designed for 8-10, easily halved or increased, includes such enticements as “
Salmon on My Mind,” “Yellow Hunger,” “A Simple Morrocan Supper,” and “Slow Beef.” For each section, Tanis writes as much about eating as about cooking, about his inspirations, techniques, and infinite joy in the kitchen.

This is my favorite cookbook so far this year! Here’s a selection from the book that is simple yet superb. Bon appétit!

Sea Scallops a la Plancha

One of the delights of the winter season is the availability of good shellfish
, especially sea scallops. Ask your fishmonger for freshly shucked scallops, often called “diver” scallops. A good way to cook them is a la plancha, on a hot griddle or cast-iron pan, which caramelizes the exterior and keeps them juicy inside.

1 pound large sea scallops, about 16

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Green Sauce (recipe follows)

Lime wedges

Remove the “feet”—the tough muscle that attaches scallops to their shell—and discard (or add them to a fish stock). Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Heat a large griddle or cast-iron skillet to nearly smoking. Add the scallops in one layer, being careful not to crowd them. Brown the scallops well, letting them cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the scallops over and cook for another 2 minutes.
Put the scallops on a platter and spoon a little green sauce onto each one. Surround with lime wedges.

Green Sauce:
Put 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems roughly chopped, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 sliced serrano chile, and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground, in a blender. Season lightly with salt and add 1 cup olive oil. Blend to a smooth puree. Makes about 1 cup. (Excerpted from A PLATTER OF FIGS by David Tanis [Artisan Books]. Copyright 2008. Christopher Hirsheimer, photographer)


sibylle said...

I like the idea of foods that are easy to make. Please post more recipes!!

Jerrie Hurd said...

I sooooo want this book. My idea of treating myself is to buy a new cookbook. I have three now that I have yet to cook from. Maybe this one need to join the ranks.

Andrea Meyer said...

Ahh, brings back wonderful memories of a dinner at Chez Panisse!

Anonymous said...

Yummy. Can't wait to try this. Karen Lin

Suzanne said...

That sounds truly wonderful...a perfect summer dish. Easy and yet beautifully presented.

Melanie Mulhall said...


Now this is my idea of cooking! I am a cook. We rarely eat out at my house (a handful of times a year) for a number of reasons: the cost of eating out; the questionable nutrition in many foods served in restaurants (dripping with sauces, for instance); and the fact that most of the food I prepare at home just tastes better than that found in restaurants. This chef has the right idea, I believe. Good food doesn't require much fussing with. It stands on its own.

Thanks for introducing us to this cookbook, Rosemary.