Chef Marcus Samuelsson has had many homes. Born in Ethiopia, he was raised in Sweden by his adoptive parents. He now lives with his wife in Harlem, N.Y., and owns restaurants around the world, from Harlem’s Red Rooster and Marc Burger (Chicago and Southern California), to Norda in Gothenburg, Sweden.
His palate ranges as widely as his restaurant empire, as do the dishes he prepares for friends and family. His latest cookbook, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home, celebrates those meals.
"A simple, satisfying meal at the end of a busy day or what you make on the fly when friends show up are some of my favorite things to eat," Samuelsson says. "At home, you grab whatever you’re feeling, and that kind of fun, spontaneous cooking is what I wanted to share in the book."
His salmon with dill recipe is the Swedish equivalent of American meatloaf, while his doro wat tostados are a playful pairing of a traditional Ethiopian chicken stew and Latin street food. Other entries include a South African curry, a Vietnamese sandwich, fish tacos, and rib-eye steaks rubbed with coffee and chocolate.
"I love to travel and discover new flavors, walk the streets wherever I am and taste, taste, taste," says Samuelsson, winner of multiple James Beard awards. "I’m inspired when I am at a new table, whether that’s at a friend’s home or in an amazing restaurant."
Samuelsson may run kitchens worldwide, but he’s not always at the stove at home. His wife, Maya, also born in Ethiopia, dazzles him with the dishes that she prepares. "She’s an amazing cook, especially Ethiopian home cooking," he says. "I like to be her sous chef. I learn a lot. I still can’t figure out why her doro wat is better than mine."
When not in the kitchen or looking for inspiration at a farmers market, he’s often walking or taking a morning run. "But the best is when I can play soccer with my friends. I try to make that happen as much as possible."
Makes 4 servings
4 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4½ tsp chili powder
1 tbsp coriander seeds, finely ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, finely ground
freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-oz) skin-on salmon fillets
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1. In a mini food processor, blend 2 tbsp of the olive oil, the lemon juice, mustard, dill, garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, and ¼ tsp pepper into a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl.
2. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and brush half the paste on the fillets. Cook 4 minutes, then add the butter. Continue to cook, spooning the oil and butter over the salmon, for 2 minutes. You’ll see the color changing as the salmon cooks from the bottom. Flip the salmon and brush the remaining paste onto the other side. You just want the heat to kiss the salmon on this side, so take it out after a few seconds. Let the salmon rest a few minutes before serving.
381 calories, 34 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, 28 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 83 mg cholesterol, 183 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 66%
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