This is the story of a ‘gay, brown immigrant’ told through food…
There are few books that offer home cooks a new way to cook and to think about flavour—and fewer that do it with the clarity and warmth of Nik Sharma’s Season. Season features 100 of the most delicious and intriguing recipes you’ve ever tasted, plus 270 of the most beautiful photographs ever seen in a cookbook. Here Nik, beloved curator of the award-winning food blog A Brown Table, shares a treasury of ingredients, techniques, and flavours that combine in a way that’s both familiar and completely unexpected. These are recipes that take a journey all the way from India by way of the American South to California. It’s a personal journey that opens new vistas in the kitchen, including new methods and integrated by a marvellous use of spices. Even though these are dishes that will take home cooks and their guests by surprise, rest assured there’s nothing intimidating here. Season, like Nik, welcomes everyone to the table!
Nik Sharma is the writer, photographer, and recipe developer behind the critically acclaimed blog, A Brown Table. His meteoric rise in the food scene has brought him two IACP Digital Media Awards and a Saveur Best Food Blog Award finalist spot. Nik’s visual food column for the San Francisco Chronicle, A Brown Kitchen, runs weekly in print and online.
The following are recipe extracts from Season: Big Flavours, Beautiful Food by Nik Sharma, foreword by John Birdsall
I prefer homemade naan to the dense and doughy store-bought ones. It’s so easy to whip up; you just need to plan ahead so the dough has time to rise. I use whole-wheat pastry flour to make naan because it contains more fibre than all-purpose flour but less gluten, which helps produce a softer bread.
The naan dough is actually a twofer, because you can use it as a base for flatbread pizza. While the choice of toppings is endless, Margherita pizza sprinkled with nigella seeds is my favourite way to eat up all those colourful little tomatoes we grow in our backyard.
makes 4 flatbreads
- ½ cup [120 ml] whole milk, heated to 105 to 115°F [41 to 46°C]
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp plain full-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups [280 g] all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling out the naans
1. Using a fork, whisk the milk, egg, yogurt, butter, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly on the surface.
2. Put the flour in a large bowl or mound on a clean work surface and make a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mixture into the middle of the well. Using clean hands or a large wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour from the inside wall of the well into the liquid to form a sticky dough. Knead well for 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Fold the dough by grabbing it from the underside and stretching it and folding it back over itself. Rotate a quarter of a turn and repeat three or four times. Brush a large bowl with a little oil and put the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a d ark, warm place until doubled in size, about 4 hours.
4. Divide the dough into four equal parts and shape into balls. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough, one at a time, into circles about ¹/8 in [4 mm] thick and about 6 in [15 cm] in diameter.
5. To cook the naan, heat a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Slap a circle of dough into the hot skillet and cover the pan to trap the steam. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, flip the dough, and turn the heat to low. Cook, covered, until the naan blisters, with a few big bubbles, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining three circles of dough.
1. Before you cook the naan, in a small bowl, mix ¼ cup [60 ml] melted, unsalted butter or Ghee with 1 tsp minced fresh cilantro and 1 grated garlic clove. Cook the naan as above, brushing the mixture over the tops of the hot flatbreads. Cook, one at a time, for an additional 30 seconds. Sprinkle with flaky salt and serve hot.
the approach Naan can be seasoned in many different ways. Instead of garlic, you can try mixing butter or ghee with spices and herbs, such as Aleppo pepper flakes, urfa biber, crushed coriander, and oregano.
MARGHERITA NAAN PIZZA
makes 2 individual pizzas
- Dough of 1 recipe Naan (page 94)
- 2 tsp all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the pizza
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp nigella seeds
- 2 tsp dried red chilli flakes
- 2 tsp cornmeal or semolina
- ¼ cup [50 g] Ghee (page 268), melted
- 1 cup [185 g] cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
- 1 cup [160 g] grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 cup [80 g] shredded mozzarella
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
- 1 Tbsp flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
- Place a baking steel or pizza stone on a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F [260°C] for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape into balls. Cover one ball with a kitchen towel. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll the remaining ball into a circle ¹/8 in [4 mm] thick and 12 in [30 cm] in diameter. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
1. Crack the coriander lightly with a mortar and pestle, add the nigella seeds and chilli flakes, and set aside.
2. Prepare one pizza at a time: Flip over a baking sheet, wrong-side up, and place a sheet of parchment paper on the baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 tsp of the flour and 1 tsp of the cornmeal on the parchment to coat evenly. Place a rolled-out circle of dough on top of the paper and drizzle with a little melted ghee. Spread out half of the tomatoes over the dough. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella and 1 Tbsp of the spices in the mortar. Slide the circle of dough onto the preheated baking steel, discard the parchment paper, and shut the oven door. Lower the heat to 425°F [220°C] and bake until the edges of the crust start to turn golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Garnish with half the chopped chives and flaky salt, and drizzle with a little extra ghee. Repeat with the remaining circle of dough and serve the pizzas hot.
the approach I like to pair dishes, like a Margherita pizza, with bold, unconventional flavours, like coriander and nigella seeds. Using cracked coriander seeds, rather than ground, enhances the flavour of the chilli flakes. Nigella seeds pair well with tomatoes. A little sprinkle over this fresh tomato-topped pizza gives the tomatoes a fragrant, nutty flavour. You can also use olive oil instead of ghee if you prefer.
#SeasonCookbook publishes on 2nd October 2018, find out more here.