City AM interview
By: Saskia Solomon.
I prefer the sound of a “final meal on Earth” to “Last Supper”, as otherwise it feels a bit too much like the night before an execution. I also like it because if I was religious, I’d feel as if I was going on to somewhere else, which would be nice.
My final meal on Earth would start with my favourite entree, which has often doubled as a main dish: goat’s cheese on toast. I had it first in Italy in 1995 while acting in Othello, my brother’s directorial film debut starring Laurence Fishburne and Keneth Branagh. We were shooting in the beautiful Castello Orsini near Rome, which had a little restaurant built into its outer wall.
The chef, Massimo, was this huge guy who prepared the most delicate meals, one of which was a goat’s cheese made from the milk of the goats in the next field, then aged for four and a half months in the local caves. He served it with slices of pears harvested from the garden and a handful of chopped nuts from the trees on toasted bread before drizzling the lot with the castle’s own honey. It was sensational. I’ve tried to recreate it in London, but it’s not quite the same. I guess I would have to get Massimo to make it for my final meal.
To wash it down, I’d want the bottle of Sassicaia ‘85 we drank at the wrap party – the finest wine in the world, as far as I’m concerned. Trouble is you have to open it for at least 45 minutes before drinking (though, in a way, the tension of waiting increases the enjoyment). Sassicaia is my favourite wine and, if I was allowed to, I’d drink it all day long.
Onto the main: I stopped eating meat for about five years. At the time we were living on a farm and kept cattle and sheep. I realised that if I wasn’t prepared to kill an animal, I didn’t deserve to eat it. I still love tuna, though. There’s a particular tuna dish that reminds me of steak. Ottolenghi’s recipe is the best: you get a big piece of tuna, cut it up into blocks and sear it on both sides before smothering it in mustard. Then you cover it all with pistachios to form a crust before popping it in the oven for eight minutes. I’ve left it in for longer because some people don’t like it when it’s a little raw, but I love when it’s still pink on the inside. It’s velvety and scrumptious. I would cook this myself, as I have done for many friends over the years.
For this poignant meal, I’d want the tuna to be accompanied by one of my wife’s brilliant salads. Quinoa, pomegranates, walnuts, maybe some rocket. We grew our own rocket last year, which was so much better than anything I’ve ever bought.Dessert’s simple. Dairy coats the throat, not good for a stage actor, so I tend to cook with coconut milk, which works very well in dark chocolate brownies – a popular treat in my house. I find it’s best made a day before serving; that way it’s a little bit chewier on the outside and still soft on the inside. If I’m being good I’ll add a few tart raspberries for balance. Absolutely delicious.
Last Supper guest Nathanial Parker is starring in The Mirror & The Light at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End