Agretti, The Italian green chefs are fighting for.

Otherwise known as saltwort or friar’s beard – or “land seaweed”, in Japan – agretti can cause mini stampedes in the markets of Umbria and Lazio as Italians dash to get hold of bundles of fleshy, needle-shaped leaves – traditionally served with oil and lemon – in its short early-summer seasonal window. Now it is migrating north, and growing awareness of the plant is provoking a similar battle to obtain seed to cultivate on British soil.

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Moral Morels

n 2017, the United States Forest Service spent close to $2.5 billion fighting and containing wildfires. It was the most expensive year on record. Governors in Montana, Oregon, and California declared states of emergency. Blazes cost the state of California alone nearly $700 million. By the end of the year, more than 71,000 fires had been recorded and 10 million acres leveled nationwide.

It was a historic, destructive season. Some say the worst ever.

But after all the tallying, the requests for federal aid, the agricultural losses, the hundreds and hundreds of homes and businesses left in need of rebuilding, comes something else—something sort of miraculous. Mother Nature is as swift in replenishment as she is in annihilation: When a wildfire departs, a treasure rises, literally, from its ashes. Morel mushrooms.

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Pacific Northwest Bouillabaisse

The ritual of eating a traditional bouillabaisse today is always the same. First we place two to three slices of oven-toasted French bread which have been rubbed with garlic in the bottom of our soup plates; then we top each slice with freshly grated Gruyere or Cantal cheese and top it with a dab of rouille. Then and only then do we ladle in the steaming hot aromatic fish bouillon. One or two more plates of this and – with the necessary refurbishments of garlic bread, cheese and rouille – we can can turn our attention to the fish… – Robert Carrier

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The delicious and versatile fava bean

Spring has slowly been coming to the Pacific Northwest. Sure, we’ve gotten our miner’s lettuce, fiddleheads and wood sorrel. Yes, the halibuts have come and spring king salmon are making their legendary runs up the Columbia River. Even morels have started poking their curious honey combed heads through the forest floors. But what has been noticeably missing has been one of the oldest and most loved harbingers of spring; the fava bean. Since time immortal, favas have been appreciated for their buttery texture and nutty flavor. They have appeared on tables across the globe from Egypt to Mexico and all point between. The tendency may be to complicate with elaborate recipes but true lovers know they are best appreciated eaten simply.

Our three recipes and photos!

Are Columbia River salmon the Best King Salmon in the World?

No other river captures the heart and soul of the Pacific Northwest quite like the mighty Columbia River, known to native tribes as Wimahl, Nch’i-Wàna or Swah’netk’qhu. Its story encapsulates thousands of years of human history, interweaving tales of native Americans, discovery, exploration, hydroelectric energy, logging and unparalleled fishing within its waterways.  The Columbia River is the fourth longest in America, stretching an unprecedented 1,243 miles from its headwaters in the Canadian Rockies to the end where it flows turbulently into the Pacific Ocean, near Astoria, Oregon.

Sous Vide Satsuma A5 Wagyu to Perfection!

True confession: I am a closet sous vider. I come from the last of the old guard that rejected sous vide in favor of more classical techniques. I was first exposed to sous viding when I did a stage for Joel Robuchon in Paris in 1996. He had a pork belly dish I vividly remember, the ultimate Petit salé aux lentilles, a melt in your mouth dish of cured pork belly served over creamy lentils. Petit salé is far too bourgeois for most diners of a three star Michelin restaurant and I am convinced the dish was not actually on the menu but there only for gastronomic regulars in the know. Each morning at Robuchon a plastic tub was filled with warm water and a strange device attached. The machine gently hummed while vacuum-packed bags of cured pork belly were lowered in. All throughout prep and service, the machine circulated water heated to a precise temperature around the packets.  It felt like Christmas whenever someone ordered it. Time stopped. Everyone’s attention was fixated on the opening of that one single package and I always wondered who was on the other side of the swinging kitchen doors eating it. Since then, every “modern” kitchen I have worked in had at least one such circulator.