If an ingredient is fresh and in season, is it best to prepare it simply, and without masking it's true flavor? Sounds simple, right? Answer's yes! When possible, shouldn't we be true to the ingredient and have it as pure and natural as possible?
I'm a big proponent of simple foods and dishes. And preparing ingredients simply.
When it comes to veggies? Why do too much to it? Why douse it with sauces? If I like the food, I want to taste the flavors of the food.
If the corn is fresh, I want it prepared simply. Steamed or grilled. A tad of salt and I don't even like butter on it. Asparagus? Just roasted please. (Ok, ok. I've recently become a big fan of the asparagus cooked in a light brown butter sauce too!) And when it comes to my favorites like bok choy and Chinese broccoli? Just simply stir fried with a tad of garlic. Yum.
Fruits in season? Nothing better than just eating them as is. Fresh off the tree! I could bite right into a fresh peach. Devour an entire bowl of cherries or strawberries. They're perfect. Don't need to do a thing to 'em.
But I recently had a conversation with a friend about crab. It was a few months ago and the height of Dungeness crab season in SF. And what did I realized? I don't really love fresh steamed crab. I mean, it's good. And I'll eat it. But not my favorite. Instead? I prefer it prepared in more of a Chinese style. Stir fried with ginger and scallions--and a goey sauce that I eat with my rice. Or even baked. With salt and pepper. Now we're talking.
Then I began to think about the foods that I do prefer not prepared so simply. There really aren't many. Crab was the biggie. And if that's the case. Am I a genuine crab lover? If I prefer the taste of it with these other flavors and seasonings, am I masking the true crab taste?
Well, regardless. I guess ultimately, I don’t care. I am a crab lover. I just like it the way I like it.