Good morning. It is the chef Paul Prudhomme’s birthday, and he’d have been 80 had he survived the illness that led to his death in 2015. Prudhomme, as William Grimes put it in his obituary for The Times, “put the cooking of Louisiana — especially the Cajun gumbos, jambalayas and dirty rice he grew up with — on the American culinary map.”
His blackened redfish was so popular, in fact, both in his restaurants and in others that followed, that it put a deep strain on the fish’s population in the Gulf of Mexico. And I might make that dish tonight in his honor, though redfish — some call it ocean perch — is probably not in the cards for me, given that I live in the Northeast. I’ll use fluke or flounder, maybe porgy, instead. (Any firm white-fleshed fish will do.) Serve that with a bowl of dirty rice (above) from the New Orleans-based chef Isaac Toups and you’ll be in clover.
It’s fiery, though. You may prefer a spinach and tofu salad, or some melted pepper ricotta toasts. You could make summer squash fritters with garlic dipping sauce or this Provençal tomato and squash gratin. (I just got my first ripe tomatoes off the plant I’ve been tending — sliced one and ate it for lunch, in a sandwich on toast with mayonnaise. This is a good use of an excellent tomato.)
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Now, it’s nothing really to do with broiled chicken or mapo tofu, but I do want to recommend to you my former colleague Diane Cardwell’s excellent new memoir, “Rockaway: Surfing Headlong Into a New Life.” She’s a brave one. Good read.
I loved this graphic short story, if that’s how to put it (it’s a comic, and not actually graphic): “Ned,” by Jillian Tamaki, in the Virginia Quarterly Review.
Likewise, Donovan X. Ramsey on the political education of Killer Mike, in GQ.
Finally, thanks to the invaluable Stacks Reader, I discovered this remarkable 1959 profile by W.C. Heinz of the hockey player Gordie Howe. It ran in The Saturday Evening Post and begins: In five hours Gordie Howe would play hockey with the Detroit Red Wings against the New York Rangers. Now it was 3:30 in the afternoon, and he was sitting at the kitchen table in his new home in a residential suburb fourteen miles northwest of downtown Detroit. He was eating the meal on which he would play—steak, peas, lettuce, fruit jello and tea.
“When we play those Saturday afternoon TV games,” he was saying, “I just play on my breakfast eggs. Once, when I was with Omaha, I played on a milkshake.” It just gets better and better and better from there. I’ll be back on Wednesday.