We caught up with Jimmy Bannos, Jr. of Chicago’s The Purple Pig before his James Beard Foundation dinner to get his thoughts on the NYC foodie scene, why he wants to dine with Daniel Boulud, and how to make some really tasty lamb ribs.
Jimmy Bannos, Jr.
Sure, New York City winters are fairly frigid but it’s nothing compared to what our friends in Chicago experience. That’s why no one knows warming, comfort foods better than a Chi-Town chef like Jimmy Bannos, Jr. of the city’s The Purple Pig. Lucky for Manhattanites, Bannos is bringing his hearty fare to The Beard House for a James Beard Foundation dinner next week (Tuesday, December 13; members, $135; public, $175; tickets on jamesbeard.org). Guests will start off with hors d’oeuvres like a burrata cannoli with caviar or housemade porcelet prosciutto grissini, before moving on to mains like salt-cured beef prime rib with horseradish and broccoli variations and shirred eggs with truffles, winter squash, and guanciale, and finishing with caramelized white chocolate panna cotta with mango–macadamia nut praline.
Here’s what Bannos had to say about NYC food, having dinner with Daniel Boulud, a recipe for ribs, and much more:
What is your favorite place to eat in New York and what do you order there? JIMMY BANNOS: I always like to return to where I worked with Mario Batali. I'd have to say my favorite spot is Esca. Whenever I'm in NYC I'll go for lunch and order the crudo tasting and pasta. The maccheroni alla chitarra is a must—house-made pasta with sea urchin and crab. Esca has my favorite seafood in the city.
In your opinion, who is a rising-star chef to watch in New York? JB: Daniel Rose (Le Coucou). I haven't made it to his restaurant yet, although I'm dying to, but I've cooked with him in the past and he is fantastic. He's receiving a lot of well-deserved buzz right now and I think he is one to really watch.
If you could have dinner with any New York chef, dead or alive, who would it be? JB: This is such a fun question! I would definitely love to have dinner with Daniel Boulud. I've never worked in a French kitchen, always Italian, but as my career has progressed I've developed such an interest in French cuisine. I have a passion for discovering new techniques and lately have really been enjoying books about classic French chefs such as Boulud. This research has been so eye-opening and I'm learning so much. It's definitely influencing our cuisine at The Purple Pig at the moment. I would love to dine with him, that would be great.
What New York City neighborhood do you think has the best food scene? JB: West Village has such a high concentration of great restaurants. The whole area off of Bleecker Street has so many nuggets of gold.
What are you most looking forward to about the James Beard Foundation event? JB: This is my third time doing the dinner, and each year we present more evolved and creative food. It's difficult flying in from Chicago when you want to do super-technical food, but we look at this dinner as a chance to have fun and show off what we're all about. I'm looking forward to the chance to be creative and showcase all of the awesome new stuff we have going on.
Can you share one of your signature recipes with us? JB: Lamb ribs with harissa and treviso marmalade, pomegranate, radish, and lime yogurt (recipe below).
What kind of food does New York need more of? JB: I think the New York food scene has something for everyone. It's a really special place and I don't think it needs to be messed with too much.
Lamb Ribs with Harissa and Treviso Marmalade, Pomegranate, Radish, and Lime Yogurt
2 1/2 # treviso 2 cups of honey 2 cups of sugar 5 cups of balsamic 3 cups of orange juice 2 teaspoons of harissa sauce Salt and pepper
Sautee the treviso with oil, add sugar, di glasé the sugar with the balsamic, and cook the treviso with the balsamic for 20 minutes at low heat. In a blender, blend the treviso with the orange juice harissa sauce. Add honey, add salt, and pepper.
Braise with mirepoix, cinnamon, and chicken stock. Cook in the oven for 5 hours at 300 degrees. Cool down. Cold smoke for an hour. Deep fry, glaze with the harissa sauce, and then bake to order.
Lime Yogurt Sauce:
Greek yogurt Lime juice Lime zest Condensed lime syrup Salt Honey
Israeli cous cous Pomegranate seeds Dill Parsley Mint Radishes