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I can’t really pinpoint how or when my friendship with Chef Dan Kluger began – but I think it was simply because I couldn’t stop eating at ABC Kitchen. My go-to lunch spot! Or maybe it’s because we love the same style food? (We share a deep admiration for Franny’s in BK.) Or it could be the social media praise I kept lavishing? Then again, maybe it’s our DJ connection? I recently found that Dan was a DJ himself and I’m sure he found it amusing every time I brought my foodie DJ’s in (i.e. my husband & friend Chelsea Leyland) …Regardless of how we met, from the moment Dan’s food hit my palette I knew his food, was my food – totally swoon-worthy.
As Dan protests, he cannot live without chilies, acid (citrus and vinegar), fresh herbs, and killer quality extra virgin olive oil! It’s a flavor profile that I pretty much repeat in every dish I make. Dan plays with flavors so brilliantly – balancing heat, crunch and acid in a way that is always vibrant and clean. More than once I’ve run home to try and play a la Dan. That’s what I LOVE about this food. It inspires. It pushes you to get creative. And it always makes you want to take another bite. And another.
Cooking with Chef Dan was a massive honor. I must confess, I was a ball of nerves. Was I holding my knife correctly? Dan was very patient, truly passionate and nice enough to take me into his professional kitchen and let me play…pIus I did get some very helpful tips for chopping herbs and testing the readiness of your fish!
Together we set out to make three dishes, starting with a summer halibut. We used so many surprising components to make this dish – from the punchy herby mixture to the textural element of nuts, and the sweet and seasonal tomatoes, slow roasted with a pungent wine vinegar tang that elevated the dish, making it refined and bold. Dan has an amazing commitment to seasonal eating – using local purveyors to make sure he gets the freshest and the best ingredients. Something I love! All Dan’s amazing highlights of flavor resulted in a halibut that was refreshing and vibrant.
All Photography by Chloe Crespi
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