Surf 'N' Turfin' USA! in Part Two of His Culinary Road Trip across the States, JAMIE OLIVER Beefs Up a US Classic with Lobster and Juicy Fillet Steak and Rustles Up Some Sensational Salads
Byline: JAMIE OLIVER
Jamie's America PART 2
Although the dishes in my new book are the tip of the iceberg, it is a true snapshot of the delicious and diverse food that's being cooked in homes across America. I've deliberately gone off the beaten track, away from the predictably foodie places, to get you the real thing, and have had a lot of funny (sometimes odd and even slightly scary!) but mostly inspiring moments because of that.
Like a lot of other 'young' countries in the world (it's weird to think my house is twice as old), the US is built on wave upon wave of immigration. More than 300 languages are spoken there, and I knew if I kept my eyes open those gems of inf luence would come shining through in the food. If you were to take away any form of immigrant cooking, you wouldn't have those wonderful dishes that have evolved to symbolise America. The fact that this new country isn't bound up in cooking tradition the way so many other parts of the world are makes it really interesting to me from a food perspective.
Don't get me wrong, there's plenty to get excited about in countries like France, Spain and Italy, but to my mind the US is a metaphor for the rest of the world. The diversity in American cooking was a revelation to me. So although I went looking for 'quintessential American food', my conclusion is that there is no such thing: instead there's a wealth of seriously exciting dishes.
GREEN GOD SALAD
I've named this salad as a salute to the classic Green Goddess salad dressing, famous on the west coast of America. When you set out to make an amazing salad, it's worth putting the effort into having a good look for some interesting leaves of different shapes, textures and colours.
FOR THE SALAD
5 large handfuls of interesting salad leaves, such as soft round lettuce, oakleaf lettuce, radicchio, rocket, mizuna and dandelion
A bunch of small radishes, trimmed
2 handfuls of freshly podded peas
Optional: 2 handfuls of pea shoots
if you can get them!
Optional: a few edible flowers, such
as marigolds, pansies or violas
FOR THE DRESSING
1 ripe avocado, halved and stoned
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded
Juice of 2-3 limes
Extra-virgin olive oil
6 sprigs of fresh dill
6 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves picked
6 sprigs of fresh coriander, leaves picked
1tbsp soured cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: a small splash of tequila
FOR THE CRUNCHY TOPPING
1ltr vegetable oil
3 soft tortillas, rolled up and thinly sliced into 0.5cm (1/2 in) strips
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced about 0.5cm (1/2 in) thick
1 heaped tsp plain flour
Get a liquidiser or hand blender for your dressing. Scoop the avocado flesh into the liquidiser and add half the chilli, the juice of 2 of your limes and 3 times as much extra-virgin olive oil as lime juice (about 6 tablespoons).
Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and a pinch of salt and pepper, pop the lid on, and whiz till you get a smooth, shiny liquid. Add a splash of water or tequila to get it to the right drizzling consistency if you like, then taste. It's up to you to give it attitude, so add a bit more of anything you think it needs. I like to make my dressing slightly saltier and more acidic than it needs to be, because when it's added to the salad the flavour gets toned down a bit.
Next make your crunchy topping. Pour the vegetable oil into a large sturdy pan and heat it to 180C. If you don't have a thermometer, just add a small piece of potato to the oil. When it turns crisp and golden and floats to the top, the oil is ready. Make sure you concentrate and are very careful, though, because hot oil can burn badly.
Remove the piece of potato and carefully lower in the tortilla strips. …