Good morning. Ligaya Mishan scored her friend Francine Turone’s recipe for escovitch (above) for us this week, and it’s a stunner: a fish recipe cooked for years only by instinct and memory, now memorialized through reporting and testing for all to enjoy.
Francine is from Kingston, Jamaica, where the dish is canon, but hers is not a canonical escovitch. There are raisins in there with the traditional garlic, allspice, vinegar, carrots, onions and fiery Scotch bonnet peppers. They’re a nod both to her husband’s birth in Milan and to her memories of a family meal in Venice of sarde en saor — deep-fried sardines dripping with vinegar and piled high with onions, raisins and pine nuts. Some add sugar to their escovitch, after all. “There was room for more sweetness,” Francine said to Ligaya about her addition. “Jamaicans, don’t come at me.”
So that’s on the docket for this weekend for sure, a dish to make on Saturday and serve the following day. (As Ligaya notes, escovitch is an echo of “escabeche,” a Spanish cooking technique introduced to Jamaica by colonists in the late-15th century, which uses vinegar both to cook fish and to preserve it, an important technique in a warm climate. It’ll be fine sitting out.)
I’d like to make Millie Peartree’s new recipe for roasted chicken thighs as well. They’re brined with maple syrup, cider vinegar and spices that deliver a tangy sweetness to the dish, which I think would go well with mashed potatoes and braised celery.
It might be great to make Eric Kim’s recipe for spinach-artichoke lasagna while you’re at it: frizzled jarred artichokes and wilted baby spinach in a béchamel sauce that’s creamy with cottage cheese. I could see setting that up for the freezer or fridge, then deploying it next week on an evening when all I want is comfort without the work.
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Now, it’s neither a cookbook nor really anything to do with food, but if you need a novel to go along with the escovitch, as some do, you really can’t go wrong with Marlon James’s towering “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” from 2014.
Of course you should read Kelefa Sanneh on Fivio Foreign, in The New Yorker, even if you’ve never heard of Fivio Foreign. You should always read Kelefa Sanneh.
Finally, take a look at these photographs of remote Triangle Island off the northern coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, by Ryan Tidman in Canadian Geographic. The tufted puffins are cool! See you on Sunday.