Be calm. God awaits you at the door. Rest in peace, author of those words, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The zest in your flattest literary character is a thousand times more potent than my hottest chile dish. Thank you for making my heart ache, page after page, for showing me “that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” (Love in the Time of Cholera) Each time I read one of your stories, I feel as though I get born into a character of yours, and through them, I can freshly imagine some new quality to birth into my future self—an experience that some call moral imagination—but which I recognize to be the organic conch call of truly excellent writing. The sound of your call, Marquez, will echo on through time because the very work itself has cut something like a river canyon into human experience.
Snapper with Charred Tomato and Pepper Salsa
Inspired by Food and Wine Oct 2013
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons minced red onion
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Ground white pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for greasing
Four-six 6-ounce, skin-on red snapper fillets
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or tomatillos if you like those)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a bowl, mix the peppers, jalapeño, olive oil, onion, lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
Butter a ceramic baking dish. Season the fish with salt and white pepper and arrange the fillets in the dish, skin side down. Scatter the 2 tablespoons of cubed butter around the fish and add 1/2 cup of water. Bake the fish for about 15 minutes, until just cooked.
Heat a cast-iron skillet. In a bowl, toss the tomatillos with the canola oil and season with salt and white pepper. Arrange the tomatillos in the skillet and cook over high heat, turning once, until charred, 2 minutes.
Transfer the fish to plates, top with the /tomatoes/tomatillos and salsa and serve.
This dish was as spicy and full of zest as one of my favorite characters from Love in the Time of Cholera,
“She would defend herself, saying that love, no matter what else it might be, was a natural talent. She would say: You are either born knowing how, or you never know.”
And if you do not know love, you have only to give birth to yourself again to find it.