28 November 2014

The Taste of Black

What better way to celebrate that most American of inventions, Black Friday, than with a black cookbook.

Björn Lindberg had an idea to take photos of black food.  He loved color; he loved food so why not combine the two.  But he needed a partner in crime, so he explained his idea to Jonas Borssén.  Borssén began developing recipes and Lindberg photographed them.  In 1997 they published The Taste of Black.  It is the artistic of food porn.  

Now, I do love black food, but I must confess that most of "black" creations come from my love of charcoal as an ingredient.  There is no charcoal in these recipes, no dyes, no inedible combos of squid and bananas (though there are recipes for squid and also a banana chutney) so don't be tempted to dismiss this book are an aberration.  The recipes are solid and reasonably easy to add to your cooking repertoire.  Some are very familiar like this one.

Black Bean Soup

1 1/4 cup black beans, soaked overnight
1-2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3-4 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1/2 lb. spicy sausage, thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons jalapeño, finely chopped 1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon oregano or savory
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Begin by lightly frying the vegetables and sausage in a large casserole with a little oil. Drain the soaked beans and add them with the stock to the pot. Bring to a boil and skim thoroughly. Add all the spices except the oregano. Cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes or until the beans are completely soft. Add the oregano, salt and black pepper to taste. Serve in deep soup plates.

Once you see Lindberg's photographs of the food, you will never look at plating the same way again.   The utilitarian black bean soup has never been more radiant.  So enjoy your black Friday.

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