There are some chefs who have a knack for taking apparently simple dishes, ones you think you know, and making them, well, fussy. There are days when this causes nothing but blustering, snorting, and throwing up of the hands because, what the heck you don’t have time to reduce that then add water then blend part of it then reduce again!!!!!! Pffffffffft. But on those lovely days when you aren’t in a rush, that’s when you discover, or perhaps rediscover for the umpteenth time, that this very fussiness is better described as technique, and while it asks you for more effort, it is in fact in the service of nudging a simple dish toward transcendence.
Two chefs that I think are great in this way are Suzanne Goin and April Bloomfield. I’m awfully partial to those two ladies, at least as far as I can make out from their fantastic cookbooks. And they’re endearingly frank about the fussy aspect, Suzanne Goin joking that the job of a chef is to take something and then ask themselves, “stop. wait. how can I make this more complicated?” while April Bloomfield actually refers to her recipes as “my fussy recipes.” Fussy, but so, so good.
There was actually one week awhile back where I cooked all of our dinners from either Sunday Suppers at Lucques or A Girl and Her Pig. I say awhile back, but now as I think of it I realize that it must have been several years ago! (erp.) It was definitely pre-baby. Back in those days when I didn’t even know what busy or tired really were, ha (busy and tired is sure most days now, hence the quick snaps of leftovers for lunch because it was the only chance I had to photograph these meatballs). Anyway, I guess it’s still fresh in my mind because we truly ate like kings. It was a great week. Not one that’s going to be repeated any time soon, sadly.