Just about every story in our travel issue has me hungry to hit the road, but the profiled life I’d most love to live doesn’t actually involve roads: Jane Coxwell is private chef to designer Diane von Furstenberg and media mogul Barry Diller, who happen to spend half the year sailing around the world on an extravagant yacht the Eos.
Jealous? I sure am.
The yacht sleeps 34, including a crew of 22, but what I’m most envious of isn’t the extravagance (though the on-deck newspaper printer does set my heart aflutter). Rather I’m green with envy for the meals Chef Coxwell cooks up, using the world’s ports as her pantry. Whether they’re docked in Ecuador or Vietnam, the South African native hits local markets in search of ingredients and inspiration (see pic), and the results make me pine for a place at her table.
But while I haven’t gotten an invitation to set sail on board the Eos (it must have been lost in the mail!) I’m in luck nonetheless. Because Coxwell’s new book fresh happy tasty lets you cook your way around the world too. Here’s one recipe from the book that I can’t wait to make in the comforts of my own galley kitchen:
North African Salad
Sumac is one of my favorite spices. It’s zingy and fresh, and really makes this salad special.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large pita bread, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
Maldon or other flaky salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 English cucumber, seeded and diced
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1⁄2 red onion, finely chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1⁄2 garlic clove, minced
1 radish, thinly sliced
1⁄2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1⁄2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1⁄2 cup loosely packed fresh dill leaves (no big stems)
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
1 teaspoon ground sumac
1. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the pita cubes, and toast until golden. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
2. In a glass bowl, mix the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, scallion, garlic, radish, bell pepper, and herbs. Toss with the lemon juice, sumac, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add a little squeeze of agave nectar just to even out the lemony punch of the sumac. Check the seasoning and adjust to your taste.
3. Mix in the pita croutons when you’re ready to serve so they stay lovely and crispy.