The First Hardcovers of In the Garden of Beasts Come off the Presses; Launch Date Nears; Erik Cooks Fabulous Catfish Dish for Dinner

Okay, so at the moment I’m a little hard up for news. But, the first hardcover copies of In the Garden of Beasts did arrive at my house–though the book won’t go on sale until May 10–and much to my delight it looks great. I keep wiping fingerprints off the cover, which is the kind of guarding behavior that would have gotten my dear departed dog sent to her rug, but that my family long ago learned to recognize as one of my indelible personality flaws.

The catfish was good too. I love catfish, in all cooked forms. Blackened, reddened, breaded, pankoed, whatever. I ad-libbed this one: In a large cast-iron pan at medium-low heat sauté a couple of catfish fillets in olive oil, then in a smaller pan, also cast-iron, sauté some chopped garlic (I go way heavy on garlic) until it just starts to brown, then squeeze in a couple of inches of anchovy paste and add a tablespoon (or two) of Thai red pepper paste, stir for about a minute, turn up the heat, deglaze with a quarter cup of white wine, stir in a cup of coconut milk, reduce heat to medium and cook until reduced by half, add salt and pepper if nessah, then pour over the fishies and serve. Lovely. Goes great with basmati rice.

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Erik Larson is the author of six New York Times bestsellers, most recently The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, which examines how Winston Churchill and his “Secret Circle” went about surviving the German air campaign of 1940-41. Erik’s The Devil in the White City is set to be a Hulu limited series; his In the Garden of Beasts is under option by Tom Hanks, for a feature film. He recently published an audio-original ghost story, No One Goes Alone, which has been optioned by Netflix. Erik lives in Manhattan with his wife, who is a writer and retired neonatologist; they have three grown daughters.

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