Some years ago, I had a great idea for a food club that would lead to a best-selling cookbook that would lead to a hit Food Network show, lucrative product endorsements and so on.
For some reason, the Stinky Food Club never took off. In fact, my wife and myself remain its only two members.
Still, our enthusiasm for odiferous eats remains strong, and I suspect many other cooks and diners feel the same, at least to some degree. Because our sense of taste is intimately tied up with our sense of smell, it only stands to reason that the stronger the smell, the stronger — and better — the taste.
Throw open the windows, try a couple of these recipes, and see if you agree. The Stinky Food Club has plenty of openings.
Roasting garlic mellows its flavor. Spread the roasted cloves on a piece of bread or toast like you would a pat of butter.
1 head garlic
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Using a sharp knife, cut about ¼ inch off the top of the head of garlic, exposing a bit of each clove. Don’t peel the rest of the head; once roasted, the cloves will easily slip out of the papery exterior.
Set the garlic on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and wrap the foil around the head. Roast in a 400-degree oven about 30 minutes or until the point of a knife easily penetrates a clove.
Chicken Liver Pate
Organ meats aren’t for everyone, which is probably why chicken livers remain one of the best bargains in supermarket. The sauteed and flambeed livers in this recipe are also delicious eaten on toast or bread before being processed into pate.
1/2 lb. chicken livers
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup shallots, minced
Kosher salt and pepper
2 tablespoons brandy, vermouth or other liqueur (or to taste)
Heat butter in skillet, add livers and shallots, cooking until livers are lightly browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add liqueur and ignite with a lighter, letting the flames burn down. Cool slightly, then process in a blender until smooth, adding more melted butter and/or brandy if a creamier texture is desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill or serve with bread at room temperature.
A classic Caesar Salad dressing contains three strongly
scented ingredients: garlic, parmesan cheese and mashed anchovies. My wife likes to take it over the top by adding a few whole anchovy filets to the salad as well.
1 tin anchovy fillets packed in oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg yolk, coddled (see directions)
Juice of 1 small lemon
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided use, plus more for tossing croutons
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
1 half loaf good bread, torn into pieces
1 large head romaine lettuce, rinsed, drained and torn into pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
To coddle the egg yolk: Bring a small pan of water to boil. Carefully lower the egg into the water and cook for 1 minute. Remove egg and place in an ice bath for 2 minutes.
To make croutons: Toss bread pieces with enough olive oil to lightly coat. Toast in a 400-degree oven for 5 minutes or until lightly brown and slightly crunchy.
In a bowl, mash anchovy fillets. Add garlic, egg yolk, lemon juice and mustard. Whisk in olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in grated Parmesan.
When ready to serve, toss together lettuce, croutons and dressing. If desired, use a vegetable peeler to carve off thin slices of Parmesan as a garnish.
Clay Pot Salmon
This recipe uses what’s probably the most pungent ingredient in our kitchen — nuoc cham, or Vietnamese fish sauce — delicious when mixed with sugar, lime juice, chiles and other ingredients. The dish’s title refers to the type of cooking vessel traditionally used in Vietnam; any heavy-bottomed pot with a lid with work. The recipe’s caramel sauce also makes an excellent marinade for grilled pork with the addition of two cloves minced garlic.
Salmon or catfish filets
1 teaspoon chile paste, such as sriracha
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce (available in the Asian section of many supermarkets)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 shallots, minced (or 1/4 onion)
To make caramel sauce: In a small heavy skillet or saucepan, cook sugar over low heat, stirring frequently, until brown. Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce, being carefully to guard against splattering. Return mixture to heat and gently cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, add shallots and pepper.
Add sauce to large heavy bottomed pan with chile paste and enough warm water so that there’s about ¼ inch sauce in pan; stir to combine. Add fish filets. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until fish is done and flaking easily, turning fish in sauce once. Serve with rice.