This week we’re up to #22, Amanda Hesser, food writer and longtime food editor of The New York Times Magazine, on Gourmet’s list of the 50 Women Game Changers in the world of food. Thanks to Mary from One Perfect Bite for organizing a group of us cooking and blogging our way through this list, one dish at a time. Check back every Friday for another story and recipe from the list.
I do admit that I’m one of those lightweights who goes straight for the magazine section of the Sunday New York Times. And not for the crossword. I go for the pretty pictures, the ads, and the recipes. It’s Sunday, give me a break. Amanda Hesser’s column Recipe Redux (from 2006–2011) was one of my favorites. If you’re not a NYT reader, this column highlights vintage recipes from the Times’ archives, and asks modern chefs to reinterpret them with their own contemporary flair. The New York Times has been printing recipes since the mid 1880s, and so this column explores the breadth and evolution of American food history in a wonderfully hands on way. Hesser has an acerbic wit, and so it’s fun to read her comments about past (and present) food trends, foibles, and crazes.
Interestingly, Hesser says that she was surprised that readers “almost universally preferred the old recipes to the new. The techniques were often simple and approachable, and the sentimental value of classics like chocolate mousse is immeasurable. The column, then, somewhat to my surprise, demonstrated that despite our hunger for the new, new, new, we’re even more ravenously interested in the old, old, old. But when you think about it, it makes sense: if we always had new types of food at home, we would lose touch with an essential part of our personal histories.”
I chose one of the recipes from the Recipes Redux column, and, not surprisingly, I chose the vintage 1980s recipe for Spicy Orange Moroccan Salad over the contemporary interpretation. This salad will kick start your taste buds into gear for the upcoming citrus season. It would also be wonderful with blood oranges, pink grapefruit, or a mix of citrus.
1980: Spicy Orange Salad, Moroccan Style
(This recipe appeared in an article in The Times by Craig Claiborne.)
3 large seedless oranges
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine or sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
? cup chopped parsley
12 pitted black olives, preferably imported Greek or Italian.
- Peel the oranges, paring away all the exterior white pulp. Cut each orange into wedges. Cut each wedge into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
- Place the cayenne, paprika, garlic, olive oil and vinegar in a salad bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and whisk to combine. Add the oranges, parsley and olives. Toss gently to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 4.
This salad is a winner. The salty tang of the Greek olives with the sweet juiciness of the oranges and the hint of cayenne pepper is taste I want to return to a lot this winter. I’m looking forward to lots of variations of this salad when all the beautiful citrus starts coming into season in the next weeks.
I served this with lemony minted couscous and spiced lamb meatballs with a yogurt dipping sauce.