PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID A. LAND | June 1, 2009 | Food & Drink
Chef-Owner: Bouley, Secession
A recipe that can elevate a high-quality chicken to a French poulet de Bresse is rare. One that can be completely connected to the seasons and enjoyed in many different ways the next day (cold or warm) is also rare. This recipe for buttermilkthyme chicken fi lls the bill on both counts—and it happens to be healthy. You can enlist the help of your children, who will love using a Ziploc bag to cook with, and the dish can be made one to two days in advance. Minimal time is necessary for serving. So fi nd yourself a hen, some buttermilk, fresh herbs and Baggies, and let the fun begin!
BUTTERMILK-THYME CHICKEN WITH ROSEMARY APPLE PURÉE
5 6-ounce skinless chicken breasts
6 ounces buttermilk
2 ounces black-truffle purée
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 sprig thyme
1 teaspoon powdered orange peel (see recipe below; make the night before)
Place all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and place in a pot of cold water over a medium flame. Bring cold water to 175–185 degrees and cook chicken for 10 minutes. To test for doneness, remove chicken from bag and insert needle of thermometer into thickest point of breast—temperature should read 165 degrees. Remove cooked chicken from bag. Make two slices of the breast on a bias and plate with a dollop of rosemary-apple purée on the side. Pour remaining cooking juices over the chicken and serve.
FOR ROSEMARY-APPLE PURÉE
2 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples (peeled, seeded and diced) 1 shallot, diced
1 rosemary sprig
2 cups white wine Salt and pepper, to taste
Slowly sauté diced apples and shallot until they take on the faintest color. Add rosemary sprig and white wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer slowly until mixture has been reduced by three-quarters. Remove rosemary sprig and blend in a food processor until smooth.
FOR POWDERED ORANGE PEEL
1 quart water
4 ounces sugar
Peel the orange, keeping the skin as free of pith as possible. Add the peel and sugar to water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until fork-tender (about an hour). Remove peel and place on a sheet tray. Bake overnight in a low oven (125 to 130 degrees) or until dry and crispy. Grind into a fine powder and store in an airtight container.
Bouley, 163 Duane Street, 212-964-2525
Secession, 30 Hudson Street, 212-791-3771
Chef and Co-Owner: Le Bernardin
This halibut dish was a new addition to our menu this spring. I love it because it’s light but powerful, fresh and spicy. The simple sauce is enhanced by the richness of the toasted-sesame oil and the earthy braised daikon, and works well to highlight the fl aky, delicate halibut. The bright fresh baby radishes and crunchy turnips make the dish the very essence of spring, and it is a great blend of Asian-inspired flavors and French technique.
POACHED HALIBUT WITH DAIKON, BABY RADISHES AND TURNIPS IN A TOASTED-SESAME COURT BOUILLON
FOR COURT BOUILLON
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and sliced
1 scallion, sliced
3 ounces halibut scraps
2 star anise
4 cups chicken stock, reduced to 2 cups
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon toasted-sesame oil
Heat canola oil in a sauce pot. Add garlic, shallots, ginger and scallion and cook until they begin to soften but do not color. Add halibut, star anise and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and finish with sesame oil.
FOR BRAISED DAIKON AND GARNISH
3 cups of water
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, thinly sliced
1 pound daikon, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
8 baby red radishes
8 baby turnips
8 baby French breakfast radishes
1/4 cup radish sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 scallion, green part only, sliced on the bias
4 baby pea tendrils (optional)
Combine water, garlic and ginger and bring to a boil. Slice daikon and, using a 11/2-inch round cutter, cut out 12 disks. Season liquid with salt and pepper and cook daikon until tender. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch 4 baby radishes and 4 turnips for one to two minutes until crisp-tender. (Set remaining raw vegetables aside.) Plunge blanched radishes and turnips into ice water to stop cooking. Drain well.
8 3-ounce halibut fillets
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
Place a shallow casserole of salted water over moderate heat and warm to just under a simmer. Season halibut fillets on both sides with salt and pepper and place in poaching liquid. Poach fish until just warm in the center (test by inserting a metal skewer into the fish for five seconds—skewer should feel just warm when touched to the lip). While fish is poaching, heat sesame court bouillon in a small pot. Reheat daikon in cooking liquid. In a small bowl combine cooked and raw radishes and turnips with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Remove halibut from liquid and drain on a towel. Place 3 rounds of braised daikon down the middle of each deep entrée bowl and top with two fillets. Alternate radishes and turnips on top of the halibut. Sprinkle with daikon sprouts, a pea tendril and a few slices of scallion. Pour sauce around halibut and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Le Bernardin, 155 West 51st Street, 212-554-1515
More than any other ingredient, fresh fava beans, like the ones used in my fillet of skate recipe, bring back my Tuscan boyhood. I remember eating them during the summer as a teen. They are extremely versatile, and gently cooked or raw go well over fish or in a salad of tomatoes, raw artichokes and arugula, dressed with a vinaigrette of red wine and olive oil. Accompanied by a good bottle of rosé or white wine, a chunk of fresh caciotta Toscana and crusty bread, they also make a great afternoon merenda (snack). Fava beans in pasta sauce is one of my favorite preparations, especially when making a summery recipe like clams and fava sauce. The secret is to sauté the clams first with garlic in olive oil and then let them sweat in a dry white wine. The result is a saucy, tasty liquid in which you cook the fresh fava beans for three to four minutes until it’s absorbed. Toss with spaghetti or linguine for an incredibly flavorful dish.
The way the fava season travels in Italy is quite interesting. I start to find them in Sicily and the south around the second half of March, and by the first two weeks of April, they pop up in the Rome area. By the end of April they are all over Tuscany, and for a good six to seven weeks they become the must-eat product countrywide. Italians love fava beans!
FILLET OF SKATE WITH “GUAZZETTO” OF FRESH FAVA BEANS AND ARTICHOKES
3/4 quart vegetable broth or water
4 small artichokes, cleaned of the first layer of outer leaves, stems peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces fresh fava beans, peeled
3 shallots, finely chopped
6 leaves fresh mint, chopped
12 leaves fresh tarragon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Place a one-quart pot filled with vegetable broth (or water) over medium heat. When it reaches a boil, add artichokes. Cook over medium heat for up to 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Remove and set aside. Place olive oil in a large pan over low to medium heat. When it begins to shimmer, add fava beans and shallots. Cook, mixing gently with a wooden spoon, for five minutes. If beans get dry, add a bit of water. Halve artichokes lengthwise and add to beans along with mint and tarragon. Mix gently. After one minute, add wine and lemon juice. Cook for two minutes until wine is reduced. Add butter and mix gently until mixture is smooth and creamy. Set aside.
1 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 ounces unsalted butter
4 6-ounce skate fillets
Spread flour on a plate and dust skate fillets on both sides. Tap off excess fl our and season with salt and pepper. Place a large pan over medium heat and add butter. When butter stops foaming (and before it has begun to brown), add skate and cook two minutes per side. When fillets are done, place them on a prewarmed plate and top with fava beans and artichokes. Serve immediately.
Centolire, 1167 Madison Avenue, 212-734-7711
Chef and Co-owner: Waverly Inn
When the Waverly partners agreed to put a burger on the menu, I was honestly less than thrilled. To stake one’s reputation on, say, an elegant little bird of distinction (organically raised Hudson Valley quail, perhaps) or the pedigree of a Berkshire pork chop is one thing. But an eight ounce patty of ground beef? Still, I figured there might be some magic to be had here.
I thought the burger should reflect the restaurant itself: simple, graceful, a little sophisticated. Something that goes better with Bordeaux than a brew. After much experimentation with the meat (a little short rib here, a dollop of Black Angus beef there) I settled on hormone-free, all-natural, fresh-ground beef with an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio. Nothing fancy. Once I had the burger down, I tried every conceivable bun from every artisan bakery in town: Brioche, sourdough, seven-grain, potato dough, focaccia, ciabatta and everything in between. Nothing did the trick. I wanted a bun that tasted like the one I had at home as a kid.
Confounded, I went to the bread aisle at D’Agostino in the Village for some “homespun” inspiration. I bought anything that was round and could potentially hold a patty. After a tasting extravaganza, I finally hit the jackpot. When in doubt, simplicity rules. I scored with supermarket rolls that held up to the burger’s eight-ounce heft and didn’t fall apart when grasped. Bring on the frites—the Waverly burger has found its groove.
1 pound fresh-ground chuck
Fresh cracked black pepper
1 package of your favorite supermarket buns (seeds optional)
1 teaspoon soft butter
1 beefsteak tomato, cut in thick slices
Slices of high-quality cheese (optional)
Start a fire or preheat the grill (these burgers are also delicious cooked in a cast-iron skillet). Loosely form two patties, being careful not to overwork meat. Brush both sides with olive oil. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place burgers on the hottest part of the grill. (Don’t press down on the patties—this just dries them out.) Make one quarterturn and cook four to seven minutes, depending on how hot the grill is. Flip patties and repeat. Don’t try to peek at the side that’s cooking. With about two minutes to go, lightly butter the inside of the bun, top and bottom, and toast on the grill (a toaster will do if you’re using a skillet). Place patties on buns, top with tomato—and, if using, cheese—and serve.
Waverly Inn, 16 Bank Street
Chef and Co-Owner: The Spotted Pig, The John Dory
I love peas! There is nothing more English than peas (well, apart from cream teas). I love this recipe because it’s so simple—you can use fresh peas or frozen—and full of fl avor, and it doesn’t take long to make at all, once the bacon is cooked. It’s pure comfort food through and through.
PEA SOUP WITH SLAB BACON
1 piece of smoked slab bacon, about 10 ounces
5 cups water
1/4 medium-size carrot
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 rib celery
2 medium white onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Salt, to taste
20 ounces fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup cream
4 teaspoons crème fraîche
2 teaspoons good-quality olive oil
Place bacon in pot with water, carrot, diced onion and celery; cook until tender. Remove bacon and vegetables, reserving liquid. Discard vegetables. Flake bacon into bite-size pieces; set aside. In a heavy-bottomed pan, sweat chopped onion, butter and salt. Add peas and cook with onion until soft and sweet. Add stock and cream and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add bacon, check seasoning and serve, topping each bowl with a dollop of crème fraîche and a drizzle of olive oil.
The Spotted Pig, 314 West 11th Street, 212-620-0393
The John Dory, 85 10th Avenue, 212-929-4948
Food Critic: Insatiable-critic.com
I recall growing up in Detroit watching my grandmother, Celia, at the stove turning out marvelously crisp potato pancakes to eat with applesauce. We burned our fi ngers by grabbing too soon. I would never tarnish the golden light of that memory, but it could be that the smaller, miraculously crusty pancakes done by our friend Eddie Schoenfeld are better. (Forgive me, Grandma.)
I have always had a fear of frying, so even when I was doing my best show-off cookery, I would never have attempted potato pancakes. Eddie makes the agony seem worthwhile. All it takes to get him frying is to bring a cache of salmon roe from Zabar’s or Russ & Daughters to dinner. With actual kin scattered across the globe, we count our friends as family, and we’re often family to the Schoenfelds, watching as Eddie tends the sputtering skillet, occasionally snarling an oath or snapping, “Get out of the way” as he mops up with paper towels. Here, too, we burn fi ngers in eagerness to taste. (I guess that’s a given with potato pancakes.) Eddie, a masterly cook—most remarkably in all things Chinese—does the pancakes for Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, Passover and for no reason at all. Since fried pancakes are an à la minute delicacy and suffer in rewarming, each of us grabs a share (two or three, maybe four), then we sit down for dinner.
EDDIE SCHOENFELD’S POTATO PANCAKES WITH SALMON CAVIAR
2 medium-size baking potatoes (russet or Idaho)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 ounces salmon caviar
1/4 cup scallions or chives, finely cut
Peel potatoes and shred them using a box grater or food processor fi tted with grating blade. Place shredded potatoes in a mixing bowl. Add egg, fl our, salt and pepper. Mix well.* Preheat frying pan over high heat and add vegetable oil to a 1/2-inch depth. When oil is quite hot, turn heat to medium-high and gently place a heaping tablespoon of pancake mixture into oil. Slightly fl atten the pancake with a tablespoon. Pancake should be one to two inches in diameter. Cook briskly, moving them from time to time to make sure they don’t stick to the pan or each other. After two to three minutes, use a fork to pick up an edge to see if the bottom is golden brown. When it is, gently turn pancakes and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, till the bottom is golden brown. Continue making pancakes, taking care not to crowd them in the pan. Remove browned pancakes from oil and drain on paper towels. Dab with another towel to remove excess oil. To serve, top each pancake with a heaping teaspoon of salmon caviar and garnish with chopped scallion or chive. *Cook the pancakes as soon as the batter is made. As it sits, the grated potato exudes liquid. If too much liquid has accumulated in the pancake batter, spoon it away before making more pancakes.
Chef and Co-Owner: Annisa
My mother, who recently passed away, was a great cook. She made everything with passion. When I was young, even after her usual 12-hour workday at the hospital, where she was a doctor, she would cook at least four or five delicious dishes for us. Her steamed fi sh was one of my favorites, and it was one of the first dishes she taught me how to make. The following recipe was adapted for a fine-dining restaurant setting with individual portions, but is still simple enough to prepare at home. The flavors are complex and elegant, and the presentation will impress (while keeping things light and healthy). Or, try it family-style: Use a whole 1.5-pound fish, cleaned and with the flesh scored to the bone. Increase by four the amounts of soy, peanut and sesame oils, scallion and ginger julienne that are steamed along with the fish. Omit the sugar (my mother rarely used it—she was always intensely concerned with health). That’s how I prepare it at home. It’s the one dish I crave most often—just like Mom used to make.
STEAMED FILLETS OF POMPANO WITH GINGER AND SCALLIONS
FOR SCALLION OIL
1 bunch scallion greens, blanched, shocked and chopped
1 cup peanut oil
Salt and pepper
Place scallion greens, peanut oil, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain and discard solids. Set aside.
2 5-ounce pompano fillets, skin scored
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 dash sesame oil
Pinch sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon scallion greens, bias-cut
1 teaspoon ginger, fine julienne
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 ounces pea shoots
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 cup short-grain rice, cooked
Place fish on a heat-proof platter and season both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with soy sauce, peanut and sesame oils, sugar, ginger and scallion greens. Place in a steamer and steam until a toothpick is easily inserted into the thickest part of the fillet. Place a sauté pan over medium heat and add peanut oil, garlic and pea shoots. Season with salt, oyster sauce and a little water and toss until shoots are just cooked through. Prepare rice. To serve, place a ring mold of cooked rice in center of a plate. Top with the pea shoots and then fish fillets. Sprinkle fish with a pinch of scallion julienne and drizzle periphery with scallion oil, sesame oil and soy.
Annisa, 13 Barrow Street, 212-741-6699
photographs by Steven Richter (GREENE); Tatiana Fuentes/iStockphoto.com (PANCAKES)