photos & recipes : m. charles

HEAD TABLE is a collection of favorite articles and recipes from the FOODIE.CH ™ contributing editors.

In honor of the Milan Design Fair (april 22-27 2009), we've created recipes inspired by memorable designs/ designers of our time.

photo (L) : m. charles ; photo (R) : maarten baas

Blackened Catfish inspired by Maarten Baas (

Maarten Baas is a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven in Holland. Baas created a series of furniture called Smoke, where iconic design pieces are burned and preserved with and epoxy coating.

  • 2 pangasius catfish filets
  • 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp of paprika
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder or 1 tsp of finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of white pepper
  • 1 tbsp of dried Provençal herbs pepper
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tbsp butter

  1. 1. Set out two plates: one for olive oil, the other for the combined spices.
  2. 2. Dip catfish in olive oil covering both sides. Than dip the fish into the spices, spreading the mix on both sides evenly.
  3. 3. In a very hot skillet, cook catfish in melted butter until edges are very browned. Do this on both sides until catfish becomes dark in color.
  4. 4. Remove from skillet and serve immediately.

VINI VERGANI recommends: Roero Arneis DOCG Camestrì, 2008
Producer: Marco Porello, Canale, 100% Arneis
Degustation notes: Straw yellow color with viridescent reflexes; presents itself with mild bloomy notes and aromas of ripe fruits in the nose. Fresh on the palate, thanks to a well balanced tannin, supported by a rich body and a great texture.

photo (L) : m. charles ; photo (R) : l 'Abbate

Smores inspired by l'Abbate sofa Attesa n.2 (

Attesa n.2 is a big hit with owners of small spaces due to it's size and look.

  • half a bar of 65% chocolate
  • 4 large marshmallows
  • 4 graham crackers or digestive cookies
  • open source flame (gas stove or torch)

  1. 1. melt 65% chocolate and pour into center of a plate
  2. 2. melt marshmallows over open flame on a skewer
  3. 3. place in chocolate sauce than add graham cracker on top. serve

VINI VERGANI recommends: Grappa Nizzae
Producer: Berta Distillerie, Mombaruzzo, 100% Barbera
Degustation notes: Opulent notes of apricots, ripe cherries, chocolate and vanilla. Elegant on the palate, round, rich in content with a long finish. It's distinct character makes this Grappa rather impressive.

photo (L) : m. charles ; photo (R): ligne roset

Pan Seared Tuna with Lemongrass Soya Sauce and Pecorino Crustini
inspired by Ligne Roset Tanis 2008 (

Based on the 1953 'CM 141' Desk designed by Pierre Paulin, Ligne Roset re-issued this lovely piece in 2008

  • 150 gr of yellowtail tuna
  • pecorino or parmesan, sliced
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp lemon grass syrup
  • a sprinkle of cracked black pepper
  • olive oil

  1. 1. Fry sliced pecorino in hot olive oil on both sides for 1-2 mins or until air bubbles start to form. Remove from pan and set aside to harden. NOTE: Be careful when removing cheese from the pan. can be scalding hot
  2. 2. Cut tuna into 4 cm x 6 cm x 5 cm cubes. in hot oil, add pepper and sear the tuna on 4 sides for approx. 2 min on each side.
  3. 3. Mix soya sauce and lemongrass together which will be used as dipping sauce for the tuna.
  4. 4. Plate tuna with pecorino and serve.

VINI VERGANI recommends: Alto Adige Müller Thurgau DOC, 2007
Producer: Kettmeir, Caldaro, 100% Müller Thurgau
Degustation notes: Light straw yellow color; intense but moderate aromatic scent of nutmeg, stinging nettles and white peaches. Fresh on the palate, full-flavored, pleasant and lasting.

photo (L) : m. charles ; photo (R): jean prouvé

Fried Cassava with Black Bean Chile Sauce inspired by Jean Prouvé Chair (1950)

Jean Prouvé's classic cafeteria chairs have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the last few years with their soft lines and durable materials.

  • 1 medium sized cassava
  • 1 can of black beans in water
  • 1 small green chilies
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • pinch of white pepper
  • olive oil, for frying

  1. 1. Peel, wash and slice cassava into thick strips.
  2. 2. Boil for 10 mins or until cassava softens but not separates. strain and set aside
  3. 3. Pour can of black beans into pot until boiling. Reduce heat and add chili & cream and simmer for 5 mins.
  4. 4. Puree mixture together until creamy smooth (add more water if necessary)
  5. 5. In hot olive oil, fry cassava until golden brown on each side. place on paper towel to remove excess

VINI VERGANI recommends: Val di Cornia DOC Ceppitaio, 2007
Producer: Russo, Suvereto, 55% Sangiovese, 45% Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Cannaiolo, Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon
Degustation notes: Deep dark purple color, vigorous in the nose. Well dosed 'toasting', that doesn't overwhelm the fruit. Dense and mellow on the palate, beautiful texture, well timed finish. .

photos : m. charles ; new museum nyc

Blueberry Sponge Cake with Lemon Creme Fraiche inspired by the New Museum NYC

Designed by architects Kazuyo Sejima, Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA and Gensler, the new museum re-opened in 2007 with high praises from the design community worldwide. it's a marvelous yet subtle structure stands like a modern day pisa, minus the worry of collapse

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 125 gr blueberries, pureed
  • tsp of lemon curds
  • 1/2 cup of creme fraiche
  • 1 bread baking tin

  1. 1. Beat yolks of egg with sugar and lemon juice.
  2. 2. Beat the whites of egg stiff.
  3. 3. Fold in half of the egg whites into the sugar and yolk
  4. 4. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together. Add flour mix slowly into the mix
  5. 5. Add the remainder of beaten whites, stirring lightly.
  6. 6. Lastly add blueberry purée to mix and stir until blueberries are swirled.
  7. 7. Bake in an ungreased bread tin on medium heat for 35
  8. 8. Remove from oven and let cool. Than remove cake from tin and cut cake into squares removing crust.
  9. 9. Beat creme fraiche until it is firm but smooth. Stir in lemon curds and serve with cake .

VINI VERGANI recommends: Grappa Teroldego à la carte
Producer: Villa de Varda, Mezzolombardo, 100% Teroldego
Degustation notes: Clear, wide and stimulative aroma of rasberries and blueberries. Perfect harmony of flavor and scent, full of character. Finish with fine notes of almonds.

Milano notes
If you are heading to the Design Fair, there are couple of places you can visit:
Salone satellite is where all the young designers display their work at the fair.
Bar Rosso, the original campari bar where you'll find most of the designers and artists have an after-fair drink.
Zona Tortona is where the fun happens. Stop by the Elle Decor Italia bar where they serve fresh food and drinks.