Desert Island Dishes: A Contest

Ilet Saint-Pierre

You’ve likely heard of Maldon sea salt, an English salt that comes in large, pyramid-shaped, flaky crystals, a format that makes them both very pretty, and easy to pinch and crush and sprinkle.

The Maldon Salt Company is a fourth-generation family business that’s celebrating its 130th anniversary this year, and they’ve invited me to participate in the Desert Island Dishes campaign* they’ve launched to mark the occasion.

The idea is to ask chefs and home cooks to play this little parlor game: “You wake up and find yourself on an empty beach; a castaway on a desert island**. Water is in good supply and there’s a handy cave for shelter just around the corner. Food is what you’re worrying about. Luckily, you’ve been given the miraculous option to create any dish in the world. The catch is: you’re stuck with it.” What would that dish be?

I love this sort of game, and in fact, we play a similar one on roadtrips with Maxence. (“If you could only watch a single movie for the rest of your life, would it be… Scarface or Blade Runner?” or “If you could only pick one vacation destination for the rest of your life, would you choose… Japan or Italy?” It’s as much fun to come up with the questions as it is to ponder one’s options.)

So I was happy to play along, and my answer — “Pasta with radish greens, briefly sautéed with garlic, topped with toasted almonds and a pinch of Maldon Sea Salt” — is printed on the side of Maldon Salt boxes now up on grocery store shelves across the UK, which is fun to think about.

{Read on for the contest details!}

Maldon Salt

And now I’d like to invite you to close your eyes, give it a think, and submit your own desert island dish in the comment section below, with the added challenge of trying to reduce the utensils you’d need to the most basic cooking kit you can. I’m hoping the list of your brilliant submissions will then read like a handy list of delicious-yet-minimalist dishes that we can all dip into for inspiration.

British food writer and restaurant consultant Thomas Blythe, who’s the resident tweeter for Maldon, and I will pick our three favorite entries, and these three participants will each receive a Maldon season box (containing a 125-gram box of Maldon sea salt, a 125-gram box of smoked Maldon sea salt, and a 40-gram box of black peppercorns) and a copy of the Desert Island Dishes cookbook, which contains desert island dish recipes from sixty great chefs.

You have until Wednesday, October 10 at midnight (Paris time or GMT+1) to participate, and the prizes can be sent to any shipping address in the world, so there are no geographical limitations. Do make sure you enter your email address correctly in the comment form, so we can get in touch with you if you win. I look forward to reading your entries!

Edit: The contest is now closed, thank you for your participation and your wonderful submissions! The winners will be announced next week.

* The campaign includes a weekly contest on the Maldon Twitter feed, and a series of videos in which guests discuss their desert island dishes.

** The photo above is of the Ilet Saint-Pierre, a magical islet off the island of Praslin in the Seychelles. Read more about our trip there in these two posts: Eating Our Way Through the Seychelles and The Victoria Food Market.

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