A few years ago, as I was perusing one of Nigel Slater’s many cookbooks, I wondered aloud to a British friend what it was that made him so popular and amazing.
“Reading his recipes makes you feel like you’re sitting in his cozy kitchen with a glass of decent red wine, waiting for delicious food,” my friend said, guardian reporter Alexandra Topping.
Slater joins the ranks of British luminaries such as Diana Henley, Jotam Ottolenghi and Simon Hopkinson. When his new book (another one!) arrived, I set it aside while I perused his fresher competition. After meeting my family, though, I found a few things to try cooking with my mom and realized for myself why he’s so beloved – it’s smart, creative food that makes me want to make more vegetable.
One night, my mom and I marinated chicken in za’atar (his favorite combination of ingredients and techniques) and grilled it, served it with tahini and yogurt dressing, and a big salad. We made three legs for three people and everyone wanted me to cook them a little more so there would be leftovers. Next, we made delicious pancakes, mixed the herbs into the batter, wrapped them around mushrooms sautéed with thyme and crème fraîche, and then sprinkled the entire pancake with parmesan cheese. marvelous.
“His books are like balm for the soul,” Topping said. “This is the life you wish you had. There’s not a lot of butter or cream or melted cheese in Slater’s recipes. I love him.”