Jody Adams is the co-owner and chef of Rialto in Boston, and has been part of the city’s culinary scene since 1983, when she worked under chefs Lydia Shire and Gordon Hamersley. Upon opening Rialto, the Boston Globe quickly awarded the restaurant four stars, the newspaper's highest rating. In 1993 Food & Wine magazine named Adams “one of America’s 10 best new chefs,” and in 1997, she received the James Beard Foundation’s “Perrier-Jouet Best Chef Award: Northeast.” In 2004, Gourmet named Rialto one of "world’s best hotel restaurants." And in 2006, Adams was recognized with the "Women Chefs & Restaurateurs' Golden Whisk Award." She recently opened her latest venture, the homey Chestnut Hill eatery Red Clay. She is the author of the cookbook In the Hands of a Chef.
This is an ode to my childhood and culinary innocence. My mother read—and cooked from—Elizabeth David and M.F.K. Fisher, but Saturday lunch often meant tomato soup with Saltines, and eggplant Parmesan was still exotic ethnic food.
I look for ways of exploiting contrast, especially in the same ingredient, as contrast expands the experience of flavor. I want people to think, “Hmm… I never noticed that before.” In this case, the delicate texture and mild flavor of fresh fish meets the sturdy texture and meaty flavor of its salted variant. It’s all still cod, with a pancetta seatbelt.
I love rack of lamb, perhaps because when my kids were little they called it “lamb on a stick.” But the whole mustard-crumb-crust business is messy, and after you’ve made the crumb mixture and packed it on, you still run the risk of serving a rack that resembles a car with loose fenders. This is an easy rack of lamb: Marinate, sear, roast, then serve it on a salad with a great anchovy dressing.
Two birds with one stone: any excuse to make lemon curd, and a reliable recipe for a killer portable dessert. If Meyer lemons are available, use them for the curd.
I know that pineapples aren’t a New England fruit, but it has always seemed that they ought to have been because they figure so prominently in the Federalist doorframes and fanlights of the Providence neighborhood where I grew up. Rum, lime, and ginger have that same double-edged cultural quality, able in one stroke to evoke the Caribbean, or the Yankee clipper trade.