EyeSwoon

the bite: Samin Nosrat

By Natalie Goel
Portrait by Grant Delin
Illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton

She may rack up impressive experience and accolades at freight-train pace, but it’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat author Samin Nosrat’s upbeat, curious, un-self-serious demeanor, as much as it is her vast knowledge base, that make us so excited to follow along with her cooking adventures. Take one scroll through her Instagram feed and we dare you not to geek out over apricot season or char-grilled veggies right along with her.

A Chez Panisse alum, Samin is hailed by Alice Waters as “America’s next great cooking teacher”. Since releasing her aforementioned joyous cooking manual Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking in fall of 2017, the book has gone on to win the prestigious 2018 James Beard award for Best General Cookbook and become a New York Times bestseller. Samin has also scored a regular New York Times cooking column, a fitting development for the former English major and Michael Pollan journalism student, (who was also his cooking teacher).

We caught up to Samin to see what else she’s up to these days, (yes, she has even more exciting news!), and soak up some of her kitchen wisdom. Read all about it below, and learn the method for making Silky Sweet Corn Soup, a tutorial you can adapt to all sorts of yummy veggies.

Smooth Soup Suggestions: Recipes from Samin Nosrat of Salt Fat Acid Heat on EyeSwoon

NAME: Samin Nosrat  

PROFESSION: Writer, teacher, cook

PHILOSOPHY ON FOOD? Taste is paramount!

A LITTLE ABOUT THE RECIPE YOU’RE SHARING WITH US? It’s more than just a recipe–master it and you’ll have a hundred soups at your fingertips. The key is using the right fat (butter is more Frenchy, olive oil is more Italiany, ghee for Indian flavors, and a neutral tasting oil for anything else!), cooking your onions through until they are tender, and using the freshest produce you can get your hands on. Then, adjust the salt and acid and you’ll have an elegant, delicious soup made with whatever vegetable you’ve got on hand!

ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TOOL? Cast iron pan!

THREE INGREDIENTS YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT? Parmesan cheese, Calabrian chile paste, and salt!

Smooth Soup Suggestions: Recipes from Samin Nosrat of Salt Fat Acid Heat on EyeSwoon

QUIRKY FOOD HABITS? I love American cheese so much.  It just melts so unbelievably beautifully. I will always choose American if it’s an option.

MIDNIGHT SNACK? Honeycrisp apple and peanut butter!

SOUNDTRACK IN YOUR KITCHEN? Michael Kiwanuka, Solange, SZA, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Kacey Johansing, and Khalid

I CAN NEVER RESIST… Buffalo milk anything–soft serve, ricotta, ice cream, mozzarella, butter.  So so so so good!

THE RECIPE OR MEAL YOU ARE KNOWN FOR? Buttermilk-Marinated Roast Chicken

BIGGEST SINGLE INFLUENCE ON YOUR COOKING STYLE? Being Iranian has certainly fueled my obsession with all things acidic and herby.

MOST SWOON-WORTHY RESTAURANT? Rochelle Canteen in London!

Samin Nosrat photo by Grant Delin

THEY SAY YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. WHAT ARE YOU? Salty and spicy, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet.

TRIED-AND-TRUE ENTERTAINING TIP? Serve dishes that are delicious at room temperature!

COOKING TIP THAT OFTEN SURPRISES YOUR STUDENTS? If a dish is falling flat but it doesn’t need any more salt, add a little acid–a squeeze of lemon, a drop of vinegar or wine, or a crumble of feta cheese will usually do the trick and add the contrast the dish needs to come to life.

BEST PART OF PUTTING THE COOKBOOK TOGETHER? My collaboration with illustrator and all-around amazing human Wendy MacNaughton.

WHAT’S NEXT? The book is being adapted into a docu-series, so we’re traveling all around the world to show how good cooking everywhere is more similar than it is different, and how Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat are really the universal elements of good cooking!

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Silky Sweet Corn Soup

Samin Nosrat, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

  • Ingredients

    • Serves 6 to 8 (10 cups)

      • 8-10 ears corn husks, stalks, and silk removed
      • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter
      • 2 medium yellow onions sliced
      • Salt
  • Method

      1. Fold a kitchen towel into quarters and set it inside a large, wide metal bowl. Use one hand to hold an ear of corn in place upright atop the kitchen towel—it helps to pinch the ear at the top. With your other hand, use a serrated knife or sharp chef’s knife to cut off two or three rows of kernels at a time by sliding the knife down the cob. Get as close to the cob as you can, and resist the temptation to cut off more rows at once—that’ll leave behind lots of precious corn. Save the cobs.
      2. In a soup pot, quickly make a corn cob stock: cover the cobs with 9 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the cobs. Set stock aside.
      3. Return the pot to the stove and heat over medium heat. Add the butter. Once it has melted, add the onions and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are completely soft and translucent, or blond, about 20 minutes. If you notice the onions starting to brown, add a splash of water and keep an eye on things, stirring frequently, to prevent further browning.
      4. As soon as the onions are tender, add the corn. Increase the heat to high and sauté just until the corn turns a brighter shade of yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Add just enough stock to cover everything, and crank up the heat to high. Save the rest of the stock in case you need to thin out the soup later. Season with salt, taste, and adjust. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
      5. If you have an immersion blender, use it to carefully blend the soup until it is puréed.
      6. If you don’t have one, work carefully and quickly to purée it in batches in a blender or food processor. For a very silky texture, strain the soup one last time through a fine-mesh sieve.
      7. Taste the soup for salt, sweetness, and acid balance. If the soup is very flatly sweet, a tiny bit of white wine vinegar or lime juice can help balance it out.
      8. To serve, either ladle chilled soup into bowls and spoon salsa over it to garnish, or quickly bring the soup to a boil and serve hot with an acidic garnish, such as Mexican-ish Herb Salsa or Indian Coconut-Cilantro Chutney.
      Recipe Notes: Variations

      Follow this method and the basic formula I described above—about 2-½ pounds of vegetables or cooked legumes, 2 onions, and enough stock or water to cover—to turn practically any other vegetable into a velvety soup. The cob stock is unique to corn soup; don’t try to replicate it when making any of the variations. Carrot peel stock won’t do much for a soup!

      And there’s no cooking whatsoever required to make Chilled Cucumber and Yogurt soup! Just purée seeded, peeled cucumbers and yogurt, then thin with water to your desired consistency.

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