Julian says he fell in love with me because of my writing. He many have stayed because of the food. Here's the meal I made for him on this birthday (big Eddie Huang LTO birthday on Thursday). It's a simple dish of uber-minimal technique and little acts of love.
Red Cabbage Slaw Recipe: Julian and I don't like diddly salads, all water and air. This thinly-sliced cabbage is a thicket of vegetation that captures and suspends the ingredients' juices. Think big manicotti vs. small elbows, a shelf vs. a card catalog. Toss with roasted corn, scallions, radish, carrots, sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the cabbage wilt and the flavors to circulate within its matrix. Add edamame for a drier, nuttier type of crunch.
Sweet Potato Fry Recipe: Here's a no-fry steam+dry trick that makes a fresh yet supple fry. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wedge sweet potatoes and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. Add a tablespoon or two of water for a softening steam. Bake for another 30 minutes, then turn off oven. Keep the fries in the cooling oven until you serve, ideally in 20 minutes. The exterior will crisp up while the interior stays juicy, an optimized cross-breed that has the slow-cooked sweetness of roasted sweet potatoes, and the lightly lacquered snackibility of a fry.
Scallops Recipe: Buy very fresh scallops. Leave them out on your counter and bring to room temperature while you cook. This, theoretically, will dry them out so they're more likely to sear. Unless you're impatient like me and crowd the pan. At the last moment, pan fry with olive oil and salt. Serve barely cooked, just enough until they go pearly. Serve with a wedge of lemon and the buttery pan juices, a type of seafood gravy.
Photo by Julian, from his side of the table.