Barb Boose Publications Director, Marketing and Communications March 15, 2013Friday recipe: food for thought and for dinner How was it that Charles Darwin was a geologist when he proposed the theory of evolution? How was architect Mick Pearce able to use lessons learned from termites to design an attractive, functioning office building in hot Harare, Zimbabwe, that uses no air conditioning? The answer: They tapped the intersection where different fields meet, taking existing concepts from each to produce extraordinary new ideas. What did you do to get your last bright idea?That’s the premise of Frans Johansson’s fascinating 2006 book, The Medici Effect. It’s named after a fifteenth-century Italian banking family that drew people from a wide range of disciplines to Florence, resulting in “a remarkable burst of creativity,” the effects of which Johansson says, can still be felt today. He describes how each of us can do the same to find “intersectional ideas and make them happen.”The basic approach is to break down the “associative barriers” we use to find order, group things and create structure in our environment. Often helpful in everyday life (when your dining guest wants pesto, say, you know to pick up some fresh basil, olive oil and pine nuts on the way home), these barriers can block innovative thinking. Johansson suggests countering them by doing one or more of the following:Expose yourself to a range of culturesLearn differentlyReverse your assumptionsTake on multiple perspectivesWork in interdisciplinary teamsAll of which is a long way to get to today’s recipe by chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson, another innovator Johansson notes in The Medici Effect. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, Samuelsson for years has blown the minds and tastebuds of New Yorkers by drawing from different cuisines to assemble surprising but highly palatable dishes (you say “pesto,” he says “dill”).That in turn led me to check out one of Samuelsson’s books, New American Table, which has recipes like latkes with apple-horseradish sauce, proscuitto with feta and watermelon, smoked salmon-pear blankets, and coffee-cured duck salad with cranberry vinaigrette. While today’s recipe is a bit tame in comparison, I hope it inspires you to break down some associative barriers and birth some brilliant ideas.Chorizo-style meatballs with tomatillo-avocado salsa From New American TableMeatballs:1/2 pound each ground lamb and ground pork (I substituted 1 pound of ground turkey)2 garlic cloves, minced1 teaspoon mild chili powder1 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon ground cuminFreshly ground black pepper1 teaspoon dried oregano1 teaspoon smoked paprika2 tablespoons olive oilSalsa:3 tablespoons olive oil2 garlic cloves, minced1 serrano chile, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped1 shallot, finely chopped2 tomatillos, finely chopped1 ripe avocado, halved, peeled, pitted and cut into cubes1 red onion, finely chopped1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely choppedJuice of 1 lime2 cilantro sprigs, finely chopped (optional)4 drops Tabasco1 teaspoon saltFreshly ground black pepperTo make the meatballs, mix the ground meat with the garlic, chili powder, salt, cumin, pepper, oregano a paprika in a large bowl. With wet hands to prevent sticking, form the mixture into 12 two-inch balls.Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, add the meatballs and sauté until cooked through, about four minutes on each side. Transfer to paper towels to drain excess oil.To make the salsa, heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add the garlic, chile and shallot and sauté until fragrant, about two minutes. Add the tomatillos and sauté until softened, another three minutes.Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Fold in the avocado, onion, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the meatballs. Leave a Reply Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.