Carl and Mark, part 2

So! We continue with five more recipes from The Minimalist’s “25 favorites.” This set includes one of the biggest cooking disasters I can remember—and perhaps the most delightful thing I’ve ever cooked:

Oh. My. Cod. This was magnificent. Black cod with miso. Broiled black cod fillets with just three ingredients: miso, sugar, and mirin. How did I not know? How could I have gone so long without eating this? This dish makes the whole thing worthwhile. The whole “learning how to cook” thing. Not that it wasn’t a worthwhile endeavor already. But this dish really seals the deal. And it took no time at all to put together. Cod, rice, salad. Why go out? Why go anywhere? BTW, I believe this was originally a Nobu recipe that Mark adapted.


Fennel and Celery salad. I’d had Winnie’s celery salad before and it was much like this. Fennel does add something nice to it. This recipe made me wish I had a mandoline. PS: The shaved Parmesan is very important.


More-vegetable-than-egg Frittata. This was quite good and is an excellent example of the Minimalist Way. This was a quick breakfast on a weekend morning. Versatile, easy, and very satisfying. Looking forward to making something like this with asparagus when they come around.


Crisp-braised duck legs. I could see how this might be good. It looks good. The sauce was excellent. The vegetables were great. And the duck was dry and cottony. Was it me, or was it Mark? Do I need to try this one again, or have I found a crack in the otherwise perfect canon of minimalist cuisine?


Braised Squid & Artichokes. Sure looks good, doesn’t it? I bounded home from the fish market to make this one as a special Friday night dish.

Well, it was an unmitigated disaster. It was so terrible. The squid was rubbery and Karl said it tasted like cigarettes. The artichokes came out like thorny hairballs because I’m an idiot. You’re supposed to trim them! The instructions explained how, and I misread. And it’s not like I haven’t prepared an artichoke before, either. But my mind was elsewhere. Coupled with the Marlboro squid, the whole thing was a deceptively good looking inedible pile of garbage that I sifted through for an occasional chunk of hairy artichoke heart while Karl made a bowl of cereal for himself. I wish I had watched this video on the proper, cooking school way to trim an artichoke. And I have to stop buying the squid from that chain-smoking fish monger down the block. Maybe next spring I’ll try this again.

OK, back to the kitchen. I’ll have recipes #11-15 of 25 in the coming weeks.

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11 Responses to “Carl and Mark, part 2”


  1. 1 HBoots April 27, 2011 at 7:37 am

    “tasted like like cigarettes” – that is hilarious! All the fish and veggies otherwise look amazing!

  2. 2 HBoots April 27, 2011 at 7:38 am

    “tasted like cigarettes” – that is hilarious! All the fish and veggies otherwise look amazing!

  3. 3 popcornsnaps April 27, 2011 at 10:38 am

    oh man i totally feel you on the artichoke disaster. i once bought these gorgeous baby artichokes from a farmer’s market, where they tried to convince me that they didn’t need to be trimmed, that they could be eaten whole. i cooked them and they were inedible tough shards of leaves. but they LOOKED GREAT! such a mess. :)

  4. 4 winyang April 29, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I’m making the cod tonight, Carl. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. 5 Carl Tashian April 29, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    awesome, let me know how it goes! :-)

  6. 6 winyang April 29, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Oh man, you are so right about this recipe. Motivated by the relative high cost of black cod, I also picked up monkfish and ocean perch fillets to test, and while the black cod is far and away the best — so luxuriously silky! — the others were just fine, and worthy of the recipe. This one is going into regular rotation.

  7. 7 Simple&Free July 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

    At our supermarket I can get “cod”… what’s the difference between that and “black cod”? Or does it matter??

  8. 8 Simple&Free July 13, 2011 at 12:23 am

    PS Carl this is a very fun blog. What will you do when you’re finished with The Adventures of Carl and Mark?

  9. 9 Carl Tashian July 13, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Yes, there is a big difference. This was the first time I’d heard of black cod. It is a total delicacy and is available only in the spring (as far as I know), and it might be hard to find. I found it in season at Whole Foods. It’s incredibly silky and just delicious. I paid around $25/lb for it, and it was worth every penny.

  10. 10 winyang August 18, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    @Simple&Free I tried the recipe some time later with regular ol’ cod, and while it was good, it just wasn’t spectacular like the black cod. Definitely a very big difference. (Cod also costs less than half of what black cod costs.)

  11. 11 leighgoodstuff October 9, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Nice project -and the food looks excellent – good work! Enjoyed reading these this morning!


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