It has taken me a week to get my food system in place and my considerations have vastly changed from a pre-COVID 19 world. For NYC living, math based on food square footage, is largely dictating grocery lists – how do we maximize refrigerator, freezer and shelf stable in a way that’s productive. In addition to your staples, these ingredients are helpful to have on hand. No Parmesan for your pasta? Add some miso from the extra depth of umami! Here’s what I am stocking up on and why.
It’s holiday season and we’re doing Brussels sprouts. Let’s move past childhood horrors of questionable aromatics, and give thanks to the cooks and chefs out there who have been doing some pretty transformative things with these green globes.
A few weeks ago, I met Trudie Styler at the launch of her product line ‘Il Palagio’, sourced from her garden in Tuscany. Honeys that range from mild and unimposing, such as, Acacia to fuller bodied honeys, like chestnut and thousand flowers. Wines whimsically named after Sting’s songs – Sister Moon and When We Dance. Olive oil so pure, leaving you to decide where to apply it; skin or salad? As the conversation progressed, Trudie shared how she and their family chef, Joe Sponzo, gather ingredients from their backyard for evening supper be it at The Lakehouse in the U.K or Il Palagio in Italy. And a cook book was born – The Lake House Cookbook. With the bounty this British countryside home has to offer, there are many hearty dishes, such as, roast chicken with corn and broad beans, rolled lamb and pies and tarts to keep company with on rainy days. Trudie and Chef Joe shared their recipe for Apricot tart. The tart from it’s very almond shell alone hints at something of pastoral origins – textured and rustic, topped with dreamy pastry cream and delicate apricot halves. Recipe adapted from The Lake House Cookbook for Apricot tart Ingredients Almond nut crust ½ cup whole almonds, with skin ½ cup + 2 tbsp. unsalted butter 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. sugar ¼ tsp. pure almond extract 1 cup + 1 tbsp. flour Pastry Cream 2 egg yolks 2 ½ tbsp.superfine sugar 1tbsp. flour 1/2 cup milk 1/4 vanilla bean, scraped and reserving bean and pods Apricots 1 1/3 cups sugar 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 3 pounds ripe apricots, halved and pitted (If they are not ripe, wrap them in a brown paper bag and leave in the oven for a day) Method Crust 1) Pulse almonds in food processor until chopped. Add butter, sugar and almond extract and pulse until combined 2) Add flour in 3 batches, pulsing 30 seconds after each addition. Once it forms in to a dough ball, wrap in plastic shaping in 6” disc. Chill for 1 hour 3) Butter and flour 10” tart tin. Remove chilled pastry. Place it in tart shell and press down and out to spread it over base and sides. Refrigerate 2 hours 4) Once chilled, remove shell and prod with fork throughout shell. Line shell with pie weights or uncooked beans and bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Reduce temp to 325F and removing lining and beans, bake another 15 minutes until golden-brown Pastry Cream 5) Place yolks and half the sugar in a small bowl. Sift flour and mix thoroughly. Heat milk in a saucepan with remaining sugar and vanilla pod and bean. Bring to boil, stirring. Add a ¼ cup of hot milk to temper mixture and stir constantly. Remove from heat and add remaining milk. Return to medium heat and whisk until it bubbles and thickens for 10 seconds. Remove from heat and cover surface with plastic wrap to avoid skin formation. Chill on iced water/ refrigerate for 20 minutes Apricots 6) Remove the apricot skin by peeling back with a knife. Remove the pit Assembly 7) Remove tart shell from pan on to serving plate 8) Spread pastry cream evenly over the bottom of pastry. Arrange apricot halves faced down in a circular pattern
THE CURRY CLUB SEASON 1, DAY 1 Being a British born Indian is not something I ever thought about until I left it’s windy shores. The aromas on the streets, the curry flavored chips in the grocery stores (targeting the British population of kids), an array of Indian microwave meals (perhaps not the healthiest of choices) and best of all – PUB CURRIES. My friend and well-regarded Chef, Jason Hicks (remember that Toad In The Hole story?) mentioned that a real pub would always have a ‘mean’ curry – something that he had always wanted to bring to his menu. As I spoke to more and more British expats, I realized that they all missed the ritual of a ‘beer and a curry’. The local Indian joint was a quick fix but not a replacement for what their palates had cultivated a taste for. Anglo-Indian curries are different. Whilst they use the same ingredients as the authentic Indian dishes, it is a completely different calculation of flavor. In the Anglo-Indian dishes, spices are coaxed to a lesser extent, fresh ingredients are given a more gentle treatment, there is a heavier usage of nut pastes, cream and coconut milk and in addition to using dried fruits, there are also hints of British ingredients that would be highly uncharacteristic in an Indian dish. Overall, the dishes are milder with movement of sweet and spice in tandem with one another. However, the Brits don’t wimp out when it comes to heat levels and there are certain dishes that are made even spicier than their originals, such as vindaloo. There was clearly a gap that needed filling here and after my conversation with Camilla, the idea crystalized. It was time to bring these pub curries to the city – in a pop-up kind of way, it would be called ‘The Curry Club’. A few months later, the series was launched. The first Curry Club is taking place as we speak at The Jones Wood Foundry in collaboration with Chef Jason Hicks. The concept made a place for itself in the New York Times as well as many other media outlets. To name a few: Time Out, Gothamist, Serious Eats, Village Voice, Strong Buzz. Each Monday for the month of November, a popular British curry will hit the menu. Last night we did a Goan Shrimp curry topped with fava beans and served with rice pilaf and artisanal rosemary naans hand made by Tusi NYC. Of course, no pub curry would be complete without popadums and chutneys – our chutneys, if I may brag, were homemade tomato and mango-ginger. ‘Smooth with a gentle hum of spice’ was how patron, Carmen Taton, described it – We’d like to agree with you Carmen. Recipe for Goan Shrimp Ingredients 400g shrimp (deshell and reserve shells, devein and keep tails on) Shrimp stock 2 TBSP. Oil 400g Shrimp Shells 1 TSP. Garlic, minced ¾ Tsp. Salt 1 cup white wine 8 Cilantro stems Pinch of saffron 2 bay leaves 4 peppercorns Goan Shrimp Curry 1 ½ TSP. mustard seeds 24 curry leaves 2 whole dried chilies 1 ½ medium onion ¾ TBSP. Ginger, minced ¾ TBSP. Garlic, minced 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk (13.5 oz can each) Serving Butter runner beans, ½ a cup, boiled, shocked and skins removed (with a gentle rub, they slip right off) A few sprigs of cilantro Method Stock 1) Heat oil, sweat garlic until soft, add shrimp shells and sauté until they turn red. Add wine and remaining ingredients and reduce until it is like syrup. Add 4 cups of water and reduce by half. Strain and reserve stock Curry 1) Make wet paste of the ginger, onion, garlic 2) Heat oil, add the mustard seeds, when they start sputtering, add curry leaves and red dried chilies 3) Add wet paste, fry over moderate heat to cook out raw taste 4) Add coconut milk and reduce until it coats back of a spoon (like green curry), 5) Add shrimp stock and reduce until it lightly coats the back of a spoon (like a Thai green curry) Serving Toss the butter beans in butter and a pinch of salt. Chop the cilantro and use both as a topping for the curry
France is getting busy. And why not? After-all, this Saturday is one of the most important national holidays of the year for them. It is this July 14th back in 1789 that brought democracy and freedom to it’s people, a time when the aristocracy fell from grace and were forced to surrender their all-entitled ways, The French Revolution was in full swing. No longer was a man confined to a predestined future regardless of his social standing, life was now giving way to merit and equal opportunity. July 14th, the day liberty was found is also known as Bastille Day. Fast forward to 2012, the Champs Elysees will be lined with kids sitting on their parent’s shoulders, the elderly and the French youth as they watch the procession marching down the wide street. The French don’t acknowledge the event from a simple festivity point of view, but rather, are fully immersed in the history of it all. They remember the works of Voltaire, Beaumarchais and Didierot and they discuss it and what times were like at the times of Louis Quatorze. Across the pond, right here in NYC, the same conversations are taking place at French café, Le Moulin A Cafe. The café has a subtle entrance and feels like you have just ‘stumbled upon it’ the way you would in the streets of Bordeaux or St. Paul De Vince. It is home to the French, Francophiles and the local community. No gimmicks, no fuss, just simple rustic furniture, some really great pastries imported from France and a mélange of newspaper readers, morning re-groupers and people catching-up over a cup of coffee and morning politics. This week there is an unusual addition of color to the otherwise ‘antique white’ café through flags and streamers. The vibe is similar to that of July 14th’s Champs Elysees. Why of course, with a holiday this important, café partners N’Diaye, Colonna and Lecuq didn’t want their NYC French community to miss out whilst wanting the local community to be part of something that is so important to them. They will be celebrating Bastille day the whole week and what better way than to do it with pastoral cheeses, charcuterie and a glass of Cote Du Rhone? I have spent my morning performing my case study on all things Bastille and have had to taste a variety of cheeses and meats, what can I say, it comes with the job! Why not jump on board and celebrate Bastille day too. If you can’t get on a flight to come to Le Moulin A Café, here is how Lecuq put the meat and cheese board together with some of his tips and details: Plating Arrangements Never display an even number of cheeses. They should be one of the following: 3, 5 or 7. Cheese Follow the sequence in order of: least to most sharp First cheese Lecuq suggested a cheese from Normandie (produces the Grand Cru of all cheeses). It is a soft camembert which continues to ripple and drip on the board as you speak. Secondcheese Franche Comte – a hard cheese with a notch up in strength. It is made in the Fort Des Russes, a military bunker. Third cheese My shining star – Roquefort. With it’s distinct blue ash that has been collected from caves and mountains, this cheese sends the palate to a frenzy with its sharp, salty and sour edge. The Meat Lecuq suggests selecting the meat to fulfill the following three criteria: livers, ham and sausage Livers A fine country pate Ham Prosciutto di Parma and not Prosciutto Parma (a huge difference, the former comes from Parma, Italy and the latter does not) Sausage A salami spiced with fennel
Like people, nations also possess personality traits. Some are exhibitionists, others are guided by ‘joie de vivre’ and some are simply subtle and understated. Surrounded by neighbors, each with their own unique strengths lies a country that is humble and quiet. Belgium. When one thinks of Belgium, we think of her in light of the finest of chocolate, the sweet smell of waffles, and that classic combination of ‘moules et frites’. Yet, she has excelled in so many areas that are unknown to most of us. She has churned out talents like Rene Magritte – painter and theorist of surrealism, George Remi of Tin Tin, Plastic Bertrand and George Lemaitre -inventor of The Big Bang Theory. But her work is not done and today Belgian artists are making waves on the global art scene. There is a lot to express and the Belgians are certainly doing it by way of food and art. Navigating Belgium, culinary excellence is the only option when a country as small this is home to three distinct cultures and languages: French, Flemish and German. Order your food and expect to receive food that is prepared using the finest of techniques but presented without the fuss and frill. Order a beer and there is a good chance that it was made by the hands of a Trappist monk. I strolled over to meet owner of Belgian gem ‘Petite Abeille’ in Stuy Town, Yves Jadot. The restaurant certainly echoes the Belgian sensibilities and sense of humor. There are portraits of Tin Tin plastered all over the walls, happy and very European blue and white checkered table cloths and an impressive display of over 50 Belgian ales. As I spoke with Jadot, it became clear that Belgium has exported a very limited view of its cuisine and culture. “People around the world that seek good food will often go to France, but has anyone ever wondered where the French go? Belgium!” said Jadot. The critics have certainly recognized the craft behind the dishes at Petite Abeille and have not held back in sharing their excitement. Yet the food does not aim to dazzle, it aims to comfort, satisfy and provide nostalgia with native dishes of Stoemp Saucisse (mashed potato and leek with sausage), Carbonnade Flammande (Flemish beef stew), macaroni and cheese made with a sauce bechamel and the famous ‘mitraillette’ sandwich (literal translation -machine gun). I couldn’t understand what could warrant any sandwich to be termed ‘machine gun’. And then it became clear, the sandwich was truly loaded. Also known as the hangover sandwich, this demi-baguette is intensely filled with hamburger, salted fries and sautéed onions. Just one warning, if you nurse a hangover with the mitraillette, both may soon become a habit. Ingredients 1 Demi-baguette 1 tsp butter 2 small beef burger patties 1 cup of French fries, seasoned with salt Ketch-up ¼ cup of Sauteed onions Method 1) Butter and toast the baguette on a frying pan until golden. Smear one side with ketchup 2) Layer the inside of the baguette with the sautéed onions, beef burgers and French fries Serving Suggestions Perhaps a nice cozy bed to jump right back into
My friend and trusted voice in food media, Shivani Vora, hosted a soiree of desert tasting by Fernanda Capobianco of Vegan Diva and wine pairing by Alexa Elman. The spread looked like it had been shipped from the finest French Patisserie in Paris. Chocolate was definitely the prevailing theme, but there was also an assortment of the non-cocoa variety, such as cookies with a hint of curry, carrot cake and macaroons. As I chomped my way through the fifth dessert, something became apparent to me. The desserts were decadent (AKA buttery) and yet they didn’t leave behind that unappealing residual mouth feel. The palate felt clean as opposed to waxy. I felt perplexed by it after all, on a cause and effect level, it didn’t make sense. I took my questions directly to the source itself ‘Vegan Diva’, brain child of Capobianco. It was simple, her desserts were Vegan, but thoughtfully vegan. Apparently, she was right. I have had many vegan deserts before, and they have never tasted like this. Creamy and soft as opposed to hollow and generic and cookies that would crumble like any sable cookie should, the deserts made me question everything I knew about pastry and quite frankly science. Fernanda was kind enough to open her factory doors to me where I witnessed a very alternative pastry kitchen. Jars of what looked like brown gravel but turned out to be brown sugar, bottles of coconut oil, the finest of maple syrup and bins filled with spelt, it was clear that this lady had a vision and despite the odds, she was ‘going for it’. The result; a sweet scent of donuts, chewy macaroons, and of course what we later whipped together with her Pastry Chef Milena Molina, airy chocolate mousse, spiced with cayenne and cinnamon. It was surprising how the amalgamation of dairy free chocolate, tofu and cane juice could yield such a creamy and gourmet experience that could rival it’s non vegan counterpart. It really was. Not only is Vegan Diva available at the gourmet retailers, it is also served at Francois Payard – one of the cities finest French Patisseries. Don’t be afraid to make this dessert as it is the most approachable dessert you will ever make and check any preconceived notions you have of vegan deserts (especially the tofu) at the door, because this is the real deal. Ingredients 2 ½ packages of extra firm Mori-Nu Silken tofu 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract Pinch of kosher salt 1 cup Sucanat (dehydrated cane juice) 2 cups vegan, kosher and non-dairy chocolate chips 2 tbsp canola oil 1 tsp chili powder 1 tsp cinnamon powder Method 1) In a large food processor, combine tofu, Sucanat, vanilla extract and salt. Process for 7 minutes until all ingredients are fully incorporated 2) In a double broiler, place chocolate chips and canola, melt ingredients slowly so the chocolate doesn’t scorch. Stir constantly. 3) When chocolate has fully melted and is smooth and silky, place in food processor with all ingredients and process 5 minutes, incorporating everything from the sides of the food processor 4) Refrigerate for 4-5 hours. Serve topped with raspberries or cocoa nibs
It was a bone chillingly damp day and all I could think of was comfort. After a full on conversation with my friend from London, her accent left me with a craving for British Comfort because believe me, it never fails to provide just that. I grabbed my brolly (umbrella for those unfamiliar with the U.K. slang) and off I headed with appetite in my stomach and a UK state of mind to the Jones Wood Foundry. The Jones Wood Foundry is a hidden gem on the Upper East Side that serves British fare in the historic neighborhood of Jones Wood, before it became the Upper East Side. The moment I walk in, I take a deep breath and think ‘home’ and this moment; this place is nothing less than a mecca for me. Everything from the smell of the restaurant to the trinkets and treasures evoke memories of Wellington boots, football Sundays and tea-dunked digestives. I hang out with Chef Jason, partner and Executive Chef, where he is already in conversation about the match of the day with his friend and team member Stu. For Jason, the restaurant isn’t trying to carry out a theme, but rather, its his way to be self-expressed, reflecting his childhood in Stratford-Upon Avon, birth place of Shakespeare and his own culinary journey. It’s not about labels and drama, but rather, a place for locals to hangout, grab a beer and enjoy his honest dinner of ‘meat and 2 veg’. He calls his food simple, I call it amazing with slow braises, savory pastries and no-nonsense deserts. Jason had promised to open his kitchen doors and share a recipe with me and today I was asking for it. I demanded the recipe for his toad in the hole as I have never ventured there from my own kitchen before. Toad in the whole is a sausage that is dramatically engulfed by an oversized Yorkshire pudding (pop-overs) and topped with caramelized onions. The unity yields crispness, sweetness, saltiness and softness. When the next damp day comes around, I say ‘bring it on’. Ingredients 10 oz. All-Purpose Flour 6 eggs 2 ½ tsp salt 1 ½ cup milk ½ cup of beer Beef drippings or lard Breakfast Sausages Method Batter 1) Beat eggs, salt, milk, beer and flour on high speed. Pour through a strainer to remove any lumps 2) Allow to rest for at least 1 hour (12 hours for best results) Toad in the hole 1) Brown the sausages on a skillet, set aside on paper towels 2) When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees and heat the baking dish (pyrex glass dishes work well) 3) When hot, add 1 tablespoon of beef drippings or lard. Place the sausages in the center and pout in the batter 2” higher than the sausage. Bake until golden brown and crisp (abt 20-25 mins) Serving suggestions Top with carmelized onions and parsley for a rcih touch and serve with mushy peas or mashed potatoes Pearls of wisdom To experiment with sausages other than breakfast sausage will give you a different dish completely. Breakfast sausages or Walls sausages from a local British specialty store have the correct seasoning and will ultimately offer up that true British flavor.
This month, I was invited to John Mooney’s restaurant at Bell, Book and Candle. I met him at the FRIED event during the New York City Wine and Food Festival, where he humbly stood at his bare-boned table offering fried chicken and collard greens. Since I had been hopping from one fried chicken stand to the next, sampling the different chefs take on the dish, diminishing returns were kicking in and this was my eighth drumstick. I couldn’t lie, amongst the several that I had tried, this was my favorite. Neither seasoning-smothered nor oil- drenched, there was honesty to the taste and as I later learnt,the honesty was not just in the food. John Mooney has an interesting story. With the respect that is earned by those who really ‘know there their stuff’, he was invited to India to open the countrysfirst ever organic restaurant ‘Pure’. Pure was launched at one of the landmark hotels in Bombay ‘Taj Lads End’. His clients included industry bigwigs, such as, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. It would be fun to center this post on the Indian glitterati, but it has never been about fame or fortune for John. As I waited for John at his restaurant ‘Bell, Book and Candle’, it was apparent that this was going to be a less conventional interaction. From the name of the restaurant (means ‘casting out of the Catholic religion’) to the 1950’s art hanging on the walls, it felt like something ‘alternative’ was on the cards. Alternative it was. Without trying to be different and having conviction in what should be available to people, John has the most unique restaurant in the country. The menu at Bell, Book and Candle is simple and the flavors are very special. But this is no accident. The restaurant is the first in the country to source 60% of its produce from it’s rooftop garden, a term they coin, ‘roof to table’. Breathlessly climbing up 4 steep flights of stairs, John opened the door to an outdoor space filled with many aeroponic towers growing all kinds of herbs and vegetables from sage to tomatillo. According to Mooney, the aeroponic system mitigates the negative effects of pollution as unlike soil, the roots are protected in nutrient enriched water. And the price? Mooney is definitely ‘on to something’ and it comes without the premium of price. His dishes are of mid-price range, because to him, this should be something everyone has the right to enjoy and not just a select few. His humble joint bears witness to all kinds of notables, who are left inspired and wanting to recreate this modern garden of Eden for their restaurant or community. John is a chef that is anchored by his values, his desire to look out for his community in the West Village and the desire to put great food on the table. With the motivation of a home cook, one can expect the food to be outstanding, accessible and nurturing. After hanging out at the front of the house, it was time to grab our aprons and go to the kitchen to make seared halibut served with vegetables and bacon sauté . With a slight nudge of the fork, the fish tenderly broke apart. It was a perfect meal with the sweetness of the corn, the saltiness of the bacon and the sweet and tart flavor of the tomatoes. Ingredients Halibut 2 fillets of halibut Salt & Pepper Vegetables ¼ cup of Fava beans (or canned chickpeas) ¼ lb bacon, cut in to lardons (½ “ strips) ¼ cherry tomatoes 1 tbsp fresh chopped chives and chervil Corn Puree (adapted from John Mooney’s recipe) 1 leek (white and light green parts only), chopped 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 medium Yukon Gold potato , peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 4 cups yellow or white corn kernels 1 small bay leaf Few sprigs of thyme 3 cups chicken stock ¼ cup of milk Method Corn puree (make ahead of time, you will only need 2 tablespoon, the remainder can be used as the base for another sauce or soup) 1) Sweat the vegetables, until tender 2) Add the bayleaf and thyme. Cover with chicken stock 3) Allow the sauce to reduce by ½. Add the milk and allow to thicken 4) Puree the vegetables and continue to thicken until it has the consistency of oatmeal Cooking and Assembling the Dish 1) Heat a frying pan (one that isn’t non-stick) on high, large enough for the fillet of halibut, season the fillet with salt and pepper. Add oil to the pan and place flesh side down. Cook until it is almost done and then sear the other side. Repeat with the second fillet 2) In a separate sauté pan, melt a knob of butter on high heat, sauté the bacon, add the cherry tomatoes and fava beans, cook for a couple of minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons for corn puree and season with salt and pepper. Add the fresh chervil and chives. Serving Suggestions Serve with a nice white, such as, Pouilly Sur Loire Pearls of Wisdom To get a nice sear on the fish, make sure the pan is hot enough
Over the summer, Passport Pantry’s Unsworn went through the kitchen doors of Le Souk. There was a lot of buzz around this North African gem filled with amber lanterns and tiny mosaics when it first opened in 2001. A few years later, the restaurant went through a period of discretion as it quietly reinvented itself. The result of this recreation: An exotic menu with a sexy vibe and a sense of humor. How did bachelor and executive chef ‘Marcus Jacob’ pull this off? As I entered, I was warmly greeted by his business partner and wife, Lamia Jacob. There was my answer. Full of life, charm and wit, Lamia is the perfect ambassador of the Moroccan mystique. Marcus and Lamia create the restaurant menu and when they have a conflict, she reminds him that she is always ‘right’. Despite the growth of their business, Marcus is a ‘hands-on’ chef and is as passionate today as he was when he started the business. The restaurant is fun and yet it’s genesis came about from a more serious observation post September 11th. After the attacks in NYC, Marcus became cognizant of a curiosity growing amongst New Yorkers regarding the Muslim culture. Through the medium of food, he wanted to demystify this seemingly obscure culture and he became very popular, very quickly. Today he serves up creative Moroccan fares, such as, Moroccan paella and a tagine of duck with kumquat jam and toasted cumin seeds. As we went in to the kitchen, he revealed the recipe he was about to make ‘spiced lamb burgers’. With a vivid taste of the southern Mediterranean, the burger has a hazy flavor of cumin and nutmeg that is brightened up with a generous pinch of parsley. Ingredients 1lb ground lamb 1 medium onion, finely diced 1 medium sized tomato, finely diced Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped Salt, ½ tsp Pepper, ½ tsp Cumin, ½ tsp Nutmeg, pinch 2 burger buns Method 1) Combine all the ingredients and make 2 patties from the mixture (1/2 lb each) 2) Cook on the grill or a hot sauté pan brushed with oil for approximately 6 minutes on each side until medium 3) Throw the buns on to the same pan to absorb some of those valuable juices and other lamb remnants Pearls of Wisdom Cut all burger ingredients as finely as possible but refrain from using the food processor as excessive moisture leaches from the ingredients. Marcus’ Secret Marcus strongly recommends cooking the lamb to at least medium. This allows the various burger mixture components to cook through, such as the tomatoes and onions.
Today is the launch of unsworn. Witness how chefs become unsworn to secrecy and unravel a recipe as well as a kitchen tip. Today’s unsworn takes us behind those clandestine curtains of Cipriani’s on 5th Avenue and in conversation with executive chef ‘Piero Minicucci’. Showing up at his kitchen, I was a little concerned as our prior conversation on the phone was ad hoc (for which I was wholly responsible). However just a couple of minutes in his kitchen, I realized that Piero was anything but ad hoc. He was fully prepared. The assortment of ingredients in preparation of his final dish lay in a logical sequence. Like a true technician, he was meticulous and ready to execute. Piero’s choice of dish hit the spot for this furnace of a day: Salmon carpaccio with a lush bouquet of radicchio and green and white asparagus. These wafer thin slices of fish were mildly sweet yet salty, slightly grassy yet vibrant and served with a full bodied salad. So what brought this chef to New York? Once a little boy running through the peaceful hills of Marches, Italy he is now a chef in one of the most unforgiving food capitals of the word: New York City. What brought him here? Did it all really stem from that little boy who made gnocchi with his grandmother to avoid Sunday Mass? As they say behind every successful man is a woman and for Piero, it was none other than his Nonna Olga. Join us today as he shares his recipe on salmon carpaccio and don’t miss his secret from the kitchen. Ingredients 1lb of salmon fillet with skin on 1oz sugar (cane) 1oz sea salt 1 teaspoon of honey 1 tsp white pepper corns 1 tsp whole black peppercorns ¼ bunch of dill ¼ bunch of chives 1 head of radichhio 2 stems green asparagus 2 stems white asparagus Olive Oil 2 slices of whole wheat bread White Asparagus cooking solution Ingredients 1 tablespoon all purpose flour 1 pinch of salt 1 lemon 4 cups of water Method Salmon 1) Sprinkle salmon flesh side up with salt and sugar. Drizzle the honey. 2) Sprinkle with black and white peppercorns and lay sprigs of dill and chives over the top of the salmon 3) Cover the fish with parchment paper and lay weights on the fish (such as canned tomatoes) over the top. refrigerate for 48 hours Salad 1) Trim asparagus ends and peel the stems. Reserve the peels of the white stems 2) Green asparagus: Blanche the asparagus by cooking in rolling boiled and salted water. Place in ice bath when tender. Remove on paper towels 3) White asparagus: Create a bleaching solution by bringing the flour(mix a little water with flour and then combine with the rest of the water to avoid lumps), water, lemon juice and lemon, salt, asparagus peels to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until tender. Shock in an ice bath and drain on paper towels. 4) Chope the asparagus into 1” pieces on the bias 5) Thinly slice the radicchio and toss with the asparagus in a the olive oil Assembly 1) Grill the pieces of whole wheat bread and serve with the plate of sliced salmon. Stack the salad in the middle of sliced fish. Pearls of Wisdom Use your longest and sharpest knife to slice the salmon to get clean pieces Piero’s Secret Piero often cooks vegetables that oxidize (go brown when cut) in a bleaching solution to prevent them from losing their color, such as the white asparagus, artichokes