THE SWISS CHEESEMAKER’S FONDUE /94 A BETTER CHOCOLATE TART /50
amily Gatherngs Meals and celebrations, together around the table and around the world
NEW YEAR’S IS BETTER IN PARIS (What isn’t?) AN EARTHY, EXTRAVAGANT HUNTERS’ FEAST Korea’s Mother Sauces Perfecting Pot Roast An Obsessive’s Guide to Cooking with Chestnuts
THE ART OF THE TART:
Cranberries, honeyed pistachios, and a nutty frangipane filling P. 56
DEC / JAN 2017
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124 M Y FAT H E R ’ S C H O W D E R A daughter inherits a secret recipe and an appreciation for her creative heritage by Shane Mitchell
10 6 T H I S Y E A R I N PA R I S An expat rings in New Year’s with oysters, champagne, and a toast by the Seine by Dorie Greenspan
T H E B R E A K AWAY CHEESEMAKERS High in the Swiss Alps, making L’Etivaz cheese is a way of life by Christopher Bagley
D E E R C A M P DAY S In Minnesota’s northwoods, a feast of wild rice, venison, and roast duck to kick of hunting season by Amy Thielen
10 4 D O T ’ S RU M TO PF Reviving tradition with a grandmother’s decades-old rum recipe by Max Falkowitz
116 92 LESSONS FROM THE KITCHEN COUNTER The endless rewards of teaching your kids how to cook by Jack Hitt
6 S AV E U R . C O M
T H E F R A N T O I A N A’ S TA B L E Making the rustic, traditional soup of Italian olive oil millers in Tuscany by Micah Fredman
Illustrations by JULIETTE BORDA
118 THE SPIRIT HUNTER Seeking the world’s most exceptional small-batch spirits by Leslie Pariseau
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CONTENTS EAT THE WORLD Colombian Fizz Kola Román in Cartagena / PAGE 15 The Language of Paella Valencia, powered by rice / PAGE 18 Hot Dog Wars Two franks, one river, a years-long feud / PAGE 20 The Unvanquishable Tucker’s Cincinnati’s comeback kid / PAGE 22 The Baby Pineapple Express Brooklyn’s best fruitmonger / PAGE 26 Dinner by Dalí The Surrealist’s cookbook / PAGE 34 Obsession: Chestnuts Beyond the open ire / PAGE 38 The O.G. of Nouvelle Cuisine Roger Vergé’s legacy / PAGE 44 Hall of Fame of Hogs A uniquely American pig / PAGE 48
The Art of the Tart / PAGE 50 Perfecting the world’s most elegant pastry
A Roast in Every Pot / PAGE 59 Pot roast may be winter’s most comforting dish
Looking for Jangs / PAGE 64 Crafting Korea’s foundational lavors 64
Why is Hatch, New Mexico, the green chile capital of the world? Find out at saveur.com/hatch How to eat Greece like a local: Follow our Kefalonia adventure at saveur.com/greece Starting your holiday shopping? Head to saveur.com/gift guide for plenty of ideas from our food-obsessed editors.
THE RECIPES APPETIZERS & SIDES
Ssamjang (Korean Barbecue Paste) 72 Warm Paprika Kraut 86 Wild Rice with Roasted Buttered Onions 90 Cheese Gougères 110 Salmon Rillettes 113 Zuppa alla Frantoiana 117
Soupe de Chalet 103 Seafood Soup with Ginger and Yuzu Kosho 113 MEAT & POULTRY
Braised Beef Shank with Roasted Radishes and Flaxseed Relish 60 Rich Beef Bouillon 62 Jeyuk Bokkeum (Spicy SEAFOOD & Stir-Fried Pork Belly) 72 VEGETARIAN Birch Syrup and Soy Chestnut Tortellini with Sauce–Glazed Roast Shallots and Sage 40 Duck 86 Doenjang Jjigae (Ferment- Spice-Rubbed Venison Loin ed Soybean Stew) 68 with Red Wine Sauce 90 Pajeon (Scallion Pancakes) 74 DESSERTS & DRINKS Fondue de Chalet 102 Chocolate Ganache Tart
with Sea Salt and Espresso Beans 52 Lemon Meringue Tarts 54 Almond Frangipane Tart with Cranberries and Honeyed Pistachios 56 Beet Kvass Gimlets 88 Black Cofee Spike 88 Wood-Roasted Apples with Burnt Cinnamon Caramel 89 Rumtopf 105 Marquise au Chocolat 109 Swedish Visiting Cake Bars 114 Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops with Orange and Ginger 114 Honey-and-Tea Jammers 115
COVER AND P. 77: PHOTOGRAPHER: WILLIAM HEREFORD; FOOD STYLING: STACY ADIMANDO, KRISTY MUCCI; PROP STYLING: ALLIE WIST; MODELS: SANDRA RIEDER VIA RED MODEL MANAGEMENT; BETTY LEIGH C/O MSA MODELS; HAIR/MAKEUP: AZRA RED; WARDROBE: JOSHUA LIEBMAN
8 S AV E U R . C O M
JASON LANG; FROM DALÍ. LES DINERS DE GALA, TASCHEN © SALVADOR DALÍ. FUNDACÍO GALA-SALVADOR DALÍ, FIGUERES, 2016; RYAN LIEBE
The holidays are almost here and we’ve got you covered. Visit saveur.com/holiday for our complete recipe guide.
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Adam Sachs CREATIVE DIRECTOR Richard Baker FEATURES EDITOR Sophie Brickman EXECUTIVE DIGITAL EDITOR Max Falkowitz SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR Leslie Pariseau
Sundays we make blueberry pancakes. Standing on chairs, the kids are tall enough now to peer into the wide castiron pan and watch as the batter hits the bubbling butter. William, 5, helps measure the ﬂour—and helps himself to whatever bits of raw batter and blueberries he can scoop, lick, or steal. Julia, 3, tenderly arranges the berries on the face of the pancakes as they rise, placing them according to a pattern of her own devising, sometimes hitting her mark, sometimes the ﬂoor. The pancakes are pretty O.K. We love them beyond reason. Family food traditions are like that: They don’t have to be special to feel special. I’d like to report that there are other sacrosanct routines we adhere to at our house—but the truth is there aren’t. Not yet anyway. We love to cook for and around and even sometimes with each other. And there are meals good enough to repeat: Last New Year’s we roasted a pair of geese on a spit in the ﬁreplace. Friends brought champagne and we watched the birds drip their tasty fat into a pot of apples and prunes while they spun. There are more geese planned for 1 0 S AV E U R . C O M
this year, a taste to look forward to, a tradition in the making. In this issue we get to know some groups of families and some bands of friends that come together like family. In L’Etivaz, Switzerland (p. 94), Chris Bagley treks between chalets to meet a collection of cheesemaking families, bound by a shared respect for tradition and their love for a nearly forgotten way of life. In Paris (p. 106), Dorie Greenspan toasts New Year’s by the Seine with a rotating cast of relatives and regulars. (Please adopt us, Dorie.) And when saveur executive digital editor Max Falkowitz discovered his late grandmother Dot’s rumtopf pot, he found that some family traditions can be revived with a deep scrub, quick consultation with Google Translate, and a healthy splash of rum (p. 104). Who knows what dishes my kids will recall, what traditions they’ll carry on? For now, we’re scrambling to pack lunches in the morning and rushing home to improvise dinner together when we can. For now, the familial totems and rituals are habits to be formed, works in progress. For now, we’ve got blueberry pancakes. These Sundays, they’re enough.
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EAT THE WORLD P O P C U LT U R E
Colombian Fizz Kola Román is Cartagena’s refresher of choice STORY & PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALLIE WIST
In Cartagena’s Old City, heat presses into alleyways and sunlight streams over cobblestones. People move languidly and salty ocean breezes slip past handsome colonial buildings. Ducking the high-noon humidity, city dwellers seek respite in cool bakeries. There is a
Denit Vallejo, Teresa Zurek Román’s housekeeper and close family friend, presents a bottle of Kola Román at Casa Román.
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Clockwise from left: Cartagena’s Old City; Sergio A. Londoño Zurek, the Román family’s archivist; a snack shop in the city’s Getsemaní neighborhood.
saying here that goes something like this: “All a man needs are pan y Kola Román.” Bread and Cartagena’s beloved, omnipresent soda. Despite its frivolous appearance—tapered glass, ﬂashy logo, crayon-pink hue—Kola Román is deeply embedded in the rituals and identity of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. “It’s become knitted into our society,” says Sergio A. Londoño Zurek, a descendant of the Kola Román founder and the keeper of his family’s archives. “This is an important part of our culture, and an important part of Cartagena.” In 1834, while on his way to Peru, Manuel Román was shipwrecked of the coast of Colombia. Saved by local ﬁshermen, he made his way to Cartagena, where he fell in love and decided to stay. In the colonial city center, Román opened Laboratorio Román, a pharmacy that introduced Colombians to the European fad of ﬂavored carbonated waters around the turn of the 20th century. At the time, soda was considered a remedy meant to heal everything from fatigue to indigestion. The pharmacy sold Dry Kola, ginger ale, and a “champagne” soda called Kola Román, which was originally sourced from the United States. But in 1934, Henrique Román, Manuel’s grandson, redeveloped the recipe into the vanilla-ﬂavored soda that today can be found everywhere from beachside stands to high-end restaurants in the Old City.
1 6 S AV E U R . C O M
Here, along the coast, Colombians drink Kola Román straight or mix it with beer in a cocktail called refajo. Some even cook with it in dishes like platanos ententación: plantains simmered in soda with clove and sometimes whole vanilla beans. At Casa Román, the family’s lush, Moorish-style mansion, Sergio’s mother, Teresa Margarita Zurek Román (Manuel’s great-great-granddaughter), cooks a platter of radiant platanos—sticky, salty-sweet tropical comfort food brightened with the vanilla-scented fuchsia ﬁzz. “For me,” says Sergio, “this ﬂavor tastes like home.” More on Kola Román in Colombia: saveur.com/kola
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The Language of Paella In Valencia, rice and culture are intertwined BY MATT GOULDING
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snail-studded dry rices of Alicante’s interior. Paella, though, is the undisputed king of the Iberian rice world. Here, it’s a way of life. Baptisms, weddings, family reunions: They all are powered by paella. Born and raised in Alzira, 30 miles south of Valencia, Mercedes cooks a version true to her town: Beyond the traditional base of sofrito, chicken, and rabbit, she adds pork ribs, blistered red peppers, and meatballs peppered with caramelized pine nuts and sufused with the scent of cinnamon. The rice itself is a textbook study of taste and texture: ﬁrm but swollen, generously seasoned, not the rusty color of restaurant rice, but the brighter yellow of Valencian homes, where a few shakes of food coloring is obligatory. I’ve had near-perfect restaurant paellas, soul-soothing soupy rice, highfalutin arroz meloso made by Michelin-celebrated chefs. But this is different: tradition forged in the comfort of the home, a communion between food, friends, and family. “I must say, I’m pretty happy with how it came out,” she says, pulling out her smartphone to take pictures of the empty pan. “You’re not going to ﬁnd a paella like this in a restaurant.” Adapted from Grape, Olive, Pig (Harper Wave/Anthony Bourdain Books, November 2016).
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o fundamental is the role of paella in Valencian life that an entire language has developed around it. To pagar una paella, literally “to pay a paella,” is to make a bet. When kids are acting up or being indecisive, parents might say: ¿Què farem, paelleta o arròs caldós? “What should we make, paella or soupy rice?” Most important of all is the word comboi, which Valencians use to describe the entire paella experience: the ritual that surrounds cooking and gathering to eat, drink, and be merry. To fully understand comboi, you need to be born into the culture, a luxury life never aforded me, so I did the next best thing: I befriended Salvador Serrano, a native Valencian, and begged him to take me home with him. I have lived in Spain for six years, but it isn’t until I enter his mother’s kitchen in Xeraco, Valencia, where she’s just about to scatter rice into a bubbling pan of meat and vegetables, that I begin to understand its rice culture. Mercedes Caballer Tarin represents the best of the Valencian character: huge-hearted, opinionated, hospitable, as devout in her faith as she is in paella. What makes Spain home to one of the world’s most underrated rice cultures is its remarkable breadth of rice-based dishes—from soupy, seafood rices of the coast to the rabbit- and
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E AT T H E WO R L D
Hot Dog Wars Reports from the front lines of a frankfurter feud STORY & ILLUSTRATIONS BY HAWK KRALL
hey call them steamed, but they’re really fried,” John Fox says of the Easton-style dog. Fox, a North Jersey postal worker, is the undisputed hot dog savant of our time. For years he’s appeared regularly in articles, in books, and on TV programs relating to the history and nuance of sausage grinds and tube-steak legends. The Easton dog—dressed with yellow mustard, raw onions, and a pickle spear, then wrapped in wax paper so the components steam and commingle together, a kind of frankfurter en papillote—is found mostly among Delaware River border towns around Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and Easton, Pennsylvania. New York City and Chicago may get all the attention, but Jersey is America’s true hot dog heartland. There are no fewer than six distinct regional styles of dog in the Garden State, from the deep-fried “Italian” dogs stufed into ﬂufy “pizza bread” at Jimmy Buf’s to the Greek chili–topped “Texas” wieners of Paterson. Loyalties run deep here, and divisions strong—though diferences in individual styles are not well known outside their home territory. Which is why I’ve asked Fox to shed some light on Easton’s claim to hot dog fame—and on the decades-long family feud that’s become an essential part of its history.
2 0 S AV E U R . C O M
It begins with Jimmy Makris, who in 1910 opened a stand called Jimmy’s Hot Dogs on the Phillipsburg lot where Jimmy’s Doggie Stand now sits. Makris pioneered the shallow-fried, waxpaper-steamed Easton dog, and his 4x6-foot stand proved so successful that he hired some help to feed the crowds: first his nephew, John Apostolopoulos, then fellow Greek immigrant Frank Bounoutas. After Makris died in 1983, John and Frank opened a new location in a strip mall across the river in Easton, making a handshake deal to split the business 50-50. But as both men were approaching retirement age and had no agreement in writing, the question of succession got dicey. For 11 years, Fox goes on, the Apostolopoulos and Bounoutas families
Belgian-style wheat ale brewed with coriander and orange peel.
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series of ﬁres, ﬂoods, runaway trucks and trains. Sophia says she has no dog in the
2 2 S AV E U R . C O M
THE UNVANQUISHABLE TUCKER’S A beloved Cincinnati landmark rises from the ashes BY KEITH PANDOLFI
oe Tucker doesn’t want to talk about who started the ﬁre in his restaurant last year because he’s already forgiven him. The guy’s gone now anyway, of to God knows where. “He had his problems,” Joe told me as I swiped a biscuit through a bowl full of grits. “I guess we all do.” Spoken like a true saint. But if you know this guy, even a little bit, it’s not too surprising. Joe and his wife, Carla, are the closest thing to saints
fought a vicious public battle over the Jimmy’s name— all while working together side by side. Customers saw “yelling, cursing, and derogatory comments.” Local media reported on threats of violence that required the police to intervene. When a protracted lawsuit between the families couldn’t be resolved, a judge put the business up at public auction. Loyal Jimmy’s customers, fearing it might close forever, waited on hours-long lines for a ﬁnal taste. In the end, out of spite as much as anything else, Frank Bounoutas bought the business for over four times its appraised value of $80,000, cutting the Apostolopoulos family out completely. The lines today aren’t quite as long at Jimmy’s Doggie Stand, but on this sunny Tuesday, it’s impressively packed. The Phillipsburg Jimmy’s Hot Dogs stand shuttered in 1990; a few years ago, Sophia Malatos and her husband, Nick, brought it back to life. They have no relation to either the Apostolopoulos or the Bounoutas clans but know them both through the Greek Orthodox community. “So now there’s two Jimmy’s,” Fox says, waiting for a dog. Someone in line notices John’s T-shirt (tommy’s doggies, another Jersey favorite) and asks, “Have you been to the Easton Jimmy’s? It’s the real deal, the original.” Sophia Malatos joins us at a picnic table on the edge of the Delaware. “We put onion in our oil and cook in a castiron pot,” she says. “That’s a little thing we’ve always done here.” The fry job on the hot dog is gentle, nicely crisp and salty with a juicy pickle and soft bun; three perfect bites. Sophia and Nick never worked for the original Jimmy’s, but they’re well versed in its history, thanks in part to an amazing collection of memorabilia gifted to them from a local historian. That includes photos going back to the 1900s and a newspaper interview with Jimmy Makris, chronicling how his business survived an accidental stabbing, plus an improbable
all work for each other’s business, and then some go out on their own to build something to pass down to their families. We only want everyone to have success.” We cross the river and stop in for more research at the Jimmy’s in Easton. No one from the Bounoutas family is at the stand when we arrive. Later, by phone, they turn down all my requests for comment. The furthest I get is a quip from Polly Bounoutas: “Me and my husband, Frank, have been here 25 years. We have only hot dogs, chips, and chocolate milk, that’s it. What else do you want to know?” Back home in Philadelphia, I finally manage to get James Apostolopoulos on the phone. James is John’s son—Jimmy Makris’ grand-nephew—a 25-year veteran of the original Jimmy’s Hot Dogs and the only living blood heir to a family legacy that he’s now been ousted from. “The business was meant to be passed down to the next generation,” Apostolopoulos says. “The Greeks have always been like that.” As for Jimmy’s Doggie Stand, he’s quick to stress that the Malatos family have “no connection to the original business,” but he doesn’t have hard feelings. “Everybody needs to make a living.” Which is why he’s recently been scouting locations to open a hot dog stand of his own. Even if he can’t use the Jimmy’s name, he plans to serve the original family recipe because, he says, “Hot dogs are in my blood.” See more of Hawk Krall’s illustrations at saveur.com/ illustrated-america
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I’ve ever met. I’m Catholic so I go looking for saints. But my attendance at church is sparse these days, and it’s at Tucker’s where I feel the spirit in me. The restaurant has been feeding Cincinnati’s tired, poor, and huddled masses since Joe’s parents, the late E.G. and the still-kicking Maynie Tucker abandoned the hills of Kentucky for the hills of Cincinnati and opened their first restaurant in 1946. They soon became the go-to mom and pop for Appalachian migrants and black factory workers. In more recent years it’s been a favorite of art students, gangbangers, and punk rockers; P&G execs, politicians, and monks from nearby St. Francis church. It didn’t matter who you were at Tucker’s—everyone was treated the same. Carla helped the neighborhood kids with their homework; Joe took them to Reds games if their grades were good. My mom lef t Cincinnati for Florida back in 2001. A decade before that, my dad passed away. So aside from old friends, the city where I grew up has no roots for me now. But then again, there’s Tucker’s. Joe, with his beat-to-hell Bengals cap and black, flour-stained T-shirt, remembers my name whenever I pop in, no matter how long it’s been. Carla does, too. And while the place looked back to its pre-fire self when I paid a visit
last August, the Tuckers were still sorting things out—with the restaurant, and with their lives. Maynie’s in her mid 90s now, requiring more of Joe’s time to help her out. Carla’s father was sick with cancer. Despite all that, Joe and Carla have a restaurant to run. When I arrived, the dining room was filled with people who’d shown up for what was billed as a “friends and family” get-together, a thank-you to all the people who’d helped raise Tucker’s from the ashes. And there were a lot of people to thank: loyal customers and fellow restaurant owners who fronted bills, raised money, volunteered time, and even sold T-shirts to make sure the place reopened. One of them was Kathleen Norris, the founder of a big-time real estate company, and a devoted regular. After watching the Tuckers struggle to hire the right people to reopen, she took the reins, helping them find a reputable architect and other contractors, many of whom did their work pro bono. One of those contractors was Jim McMahon, the owner of a design company, who restored the stainless-steel stools, counters, and flattop. “Real nice guy,” Joe told me, with an accent that’s retained its sweet Appalachian roots. Joe swears he’s going to pay him back one day, but I doubt Jim is in any rush. A few booths over sat Chris Heckman—a stay-at-home dad who’d
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C OCO A
An intensely chocolate, flourless cake enhanced with a touch of espresso and complemented with a sweet espresso whipped cream.
Serves 16 Prep Time: 30 min. Total Time: 3 hr. 10 min. Ingredients: Espresso Cake 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder 1 tablespoon hot water ¾ cup LAND O LAKES® Butter 6 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate baking bar, broken into small pieces 1 cup sugar 3 large LAND O LAKES® Eggs ½ cup unsweetened cocoa Espresso Whipped Cream 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder 1 teaspoon hot water 1 cup LAND O LAKES® Heavy Whipping Cream, chilled ¼ cup sugar 2 tablespoons powdered sugar ⅛ teaspoon extra-fine edible glitter
4. Place butter and chocolate in 2-quart nonstick saucepan. Melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in espresso mixture. Add sugar; combine with whisk. Whisk in 1 egg at a time. Whisk in cocoa. 5. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Place springform pan in center of large roasting pan. Fill space around springform pan slowly with 1 inch of hot water. Bake 40-45 minutes or until center of cake is set. 6. Remove springform pan from roasting pan. Place onto cooling rack; cool completely for 2 hours. 7. Combine 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder and 1 teaspoon hot water in bowl; set aside. 8. Beat chilled whipping cream and ¼ cup sugar in chilled bowl at high speed, scraping bowl often, until stiff peaks form. Stir in espresso mixture. 9. Combine powdered sugar and edible glitter in bowl. 10. Remove sides from springform pan; place cake on serving plate. Place stencil on top of cake. Lightly dust top of cake with powdered sugar mixture. Carefully remove stencil. 11. Serve with espresso whipped cream.
Land O’Lakes, a farmer-owned co-op since 1921, offers high-quality dairy products.
Instructions: 1. Heat oven to 350ºF. 2. Wrap outside of 8- or 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Butter bottom and sides of pan. 3. Combine 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder and 1 tablespoon hot water in bowl; set aside.
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made a weekly ritual of taking his son, Otto, to Tucker’s for French toast. After the ﬁre, Chris launched a GoFundMe campaign that raised $18,000 toward repairs. “With so much gentriﬁcation going on in this neighborhood, you can’t aford to lose a place like Tucker’s,” he told me. “The new restaurants opening here are expensive, but Tucker’s is an every week kind of place.” This isn’t the ﬁrst time the people of Cincinnati have shown their love of Tucker’s. Years ago, when Joe and Carla’s 7-week-old grandson, Adam, died of SIDS, they held a fund-raiser to give them time of to grieve. They
held another after Carla was shot in the shoulder a few years back (a drug dealer entered the restaurant to kill of a rival and hit her instead). When riots in Over-the-Rhine threatened to destroy the business in 2001, neighborhood kids stood guard, making sure no one messed with Tucker’s. They knew that, unlike the factories and the bakeries and the groceries that had abandoned this area decades ago, this white Appalachian–owned business had always been there for the mostly black families who remained—for all families, really. Sometimes, though, things take
their toll. Joe’s quick to mention that he’s a recovering alcoholic. He fell of the wagon after Carla got shot, but he’s been back on three years running. But who doesn’t have their demons? Everyone has struggles and a hunger for something real. The Tuckers are here to assuage that hunger. Someday, they hope their children, and their children’s children, will do it, too. So how could Cincinnati not save Tucker’s? How could a city turn away a family that accepts its people no matter who they are; no matter what they’ve done? How can a city look away from a family that always forgives?
The Baby Pineapple Express The fanciest little fruit shop in Brooklyn specializes in fresh, exotic inds from around the world BY SOPHIE BRICKMAN
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merican Airlines Cargo Building 79, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica, New York: 5 A .M. Mitch Spitz is waiting for his apricots. “A box of fruit is like a woman who goes out at night,” Spitz says. “She puts on her jewelry, her makeup, but in the morning you know what you’ve got.” A forklift deposits a pallet of fruit at his feet with a thud that echoes through the dreary, industrial space, the cavern hung with signs warning against elemental hazards: in bound dangerous goods…look out
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MATT TAYLOR-GROSS
Mitch Spitz, produce specialist, makes an earlymorning fruit run to JFK.
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for forklifts…spill response kit. Spitz is on the lookout for subtler perils. “Some sellers, they pack the nice stuf on top,” he says. “The only way to tell if it’s good all the way through is to turn it over and check from the bottom.” He opens a box, holding a lightly blushing specimen gently up for inspection. The apricots, almost cartoonish in their plumpness, their sunrise colors, seem the Platonic ideal of all apricots down to the bottom of the box. A small quick poke conﬁrms they have just the right ﬁrmness. “The fruit you ﬁnd in big stores, in your Whole Foods, your Fairways?” Spitz asks, rhetorically. “It’s bred for the store buyer, not the consumer. It looks good on the shelves. It’s hard, good for piling into displays, but it’s taken away too early from its mother.” He opens up a box of seedless grapes and delicately lifts out a bunch. “But this, this you gotta handle like a baby.” Behind a chain-link fence, other huge containers await pickup. “Shoes from Italy, bodies, who knows,” Spitz posits wearily. Guns N’ Roses’ “Hell’s Bells” plays angrily over the speaker sys-
tem. Snug in their boxes, those perfect apricots exist in a little cocoon of apricot perfume. They were on a tree, soaking up the northern California sunshine, just 48 hours prior. The Orchard, Coney Island Avenue, Midwood, Brooklyn: 11:30 A .M. Mitch Spitz, 56, cellphone glued to his ear, is walking a loop around the center fruit display of the Orchard, the small but beloved fruit purveyor his father opened in 1957. He’s talking to a customer, his patter like an auctioneer’s: “Yep, ﬁrm, very sweet nectarines…some orange honeydew, very good, very good…multicolored
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radishes, yes, yes of course.” Mitch’s father, Danny Spitz (aka Danny Pineapple), was an orphan who grew up in a group home and then bopped around foster care before taking a job in a local grocery store and, over the years, working his way up in a series of specialty food shops. During a trip to California, he happened upon the food of the gods: a baby pineapple, nothing like the standard canned Dole slices on the shelves of his local corner store. Moved by what he’d tasted, the purity and promise of it, he ﬂew straight to Hawaii with nothing but the clothes on his back, went to the market, and ate them at their source. A born businessman living in the jet age, he saw an opportunity and in time was ﬂying crates of the pineapples direct to the East Coast. In 1957, having expanded his network of producers, he opened the Orchard, specializing in the best-quality fruit the world could ofer—blueberries from New Zealand, specialty melon from the Caribbean. Long before locavore was a word, before people cared about carbon
Oregon Blue Organic
Clockwise from far left: Fruit must be picked up a couple of hours after it lands at JFK, which results in many early-morning runs for the Orchard team; loading up the van; apricots, on their trees in California just two days prior, snug in their boxes; as the storeâ€™s neighborhood has changed over the years, its clientele has become increasingly religious; fresh pineapple awaiting happy customers.
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footprints, Danny Pineapple’s only requirement was that his customers get the ﬁnest produce available, and it’s a guiding principle that his son— 32 years in the business and, after his father passed away recently, now the only Spitz at the helm—upholds daily. Standing by a display of buttery avocados, blueberries the size of quarters, plums with ﬂesh the color of a Crayola purple marker, Spitz plays equal parts big-talking salesman (“I can tell you the quality of a piece of fruit from across the room”) and produce gumshoe (“There was an article in the Times saying no one could ﬁnd greengage plums? I found ’em”). On this particular Friday, the store is bustling, rows of neatly packed brown bags ready to go out for delivery, a ravaged spread of bagels and schmear set out in the back for the employees (“It’s a tradition I like to keep alive for my dad,” says Spitz), phones ringing, UPS guys dropping of mangoes and berries, a revolving door of customers greeting Spitz with a hearty handshake and leaving with a “Good Shabbos.” (In recent years, the neighborhood has become increasingly Orthodox.) “That’s Mark,” Spitz says, noting a neighborhood regular. “He likes his grapes to be ﬁrm and crunchy, and his melons super sweet. After all these years, I know exactly what my customers want.” Produce is a challenging, lowmargin business, even if you’re hawking cheap, last-of-the-truck, woody asparagus to clientele who don’t care much about quality. Selling perfect specimens of fruit, be they $25-per-pound cherries from Australia or $20-per-pound soursop from the Caribbean, requires the alignment of myriad unmanageable factors—weather, water levels, and airport schedules being just a handful. The product must be moved efficiently, and customers must be willing to pay a pretty penny (or one thousand of them) for it. “It’s expensive, sure,” admits Spitz. “But these days, a pack of Twinkies will run you a few dollars, and that’s not even natural.” Most people who taste his fruit don’t leave empty-handed.
There have been a few disasters. Years ago, in the depths of winter, melons from the Dominican Republic arrived at JFK and mistakenly sat under the heat lamps in the cargo building, resulting in thousands of dollars lost and pallets of cooked melon jam. But after decades in the business, Spitz seems to have things running pretty seamlessly. It doesn’t hurt that many of his customers remember him from when he was a young boy helping out at the store, or that they rush to praise his dad. One regular, Moshe, wearing a yarmulke, glasses, and full gray beard, comes in for three pack-
The apricots are the Platonic ideal of all apricots, down to the bottom of the box. ages of kiwi berries around noon. They’d arrived the day before from Washington state, tiny baby kiwis tinged with red. “I’ve been coming here for 10 years,” says Moshe. “The fruit is the best in Brooklyn. Mitch’s father, well, his father was a wonderful guy.” Searching for the best way to praise the Pineapple Prince, he adds: “He held the fruit very delicately.” At around 1 p.m., Arthur Schwartz, Jewish food authority, arrives with a friend who had requested an impromptu food tour of the neighborhood. The Orchard was a no-brainer stop for Schwartz. “Would you look at the size of those blueberries?” he asks no one in particular. Nearby, a local, longbearded Talmudic scholar pays for four perfect apricots ($37.50) with a $100 bill. Half an hour later, a young doctor (red hair, scrubs) runs in, breathless, to place an order for berries and melon after his shift at a local hospital. He’s been away all summer, and it’s his ﬁrst time back in a while. “Welcome home!” Spitz booms. To get behind the scenes at the Orchard, visit saveur.com/orchard
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o Salvador Dalí, food was an endless bufet of symbols and sight gags, a metaphor for pleasure and pain, sex, and politics. As a child, Dalí wanted to be a chef, and as an artist, he was always hungry. “Beauty will be edible,” he once said. “Or will not be at all.” Dalí’s dietary obsessions—lobsters, eggs, sea urchins—inspired many of his Surrealist set pieces. Even the melting watches in his seemingly food-free masterpiece, The Persistence of Memory (1931), were modeled on oozing Camembert. Bread, above all, fed the artist’s imagination. Baguettes popped up in his paintings along with pan Catalan and “sodomized” Portuguese bread crumbs—intentionally inscrutable and nonsensical, in classic Dalí fashion. In Paris, he befriended the famed Parisian boulanger Lionel Poilâne and commissioned a birdcage, a chandelier, eventually an entire set of bedroom furniture baked out of bread. “What man cannot do,” went another Dalí koan, “bread can.” This fall, Taschen published a handsome facsimile edition of Les Diners de Gala, a cookbook the artist wrote in 1973. Named after his wife, also a legendary gourmand, it’s one of the most unusual recipe books ever created, a bit like Escoier on acid. Today, signed copies sell for as much as $25,000. I once sat at the
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Swans’ heads, barbed wire– trussed chickens, and other Surrealist creations BY STEPHEN HEYMAN
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DalĂâ€™s Surrealist cookbook is full of non-recipe recipes (Joan of Arc atop a tower of crayish; a whole cooked ish with the body of a woman) mixed in with images of the master himself dining at Parisian restaurants. Fantastical illustrations indicate, among other things, a new way one might fry eggs (see page 36).
New York Public Library for hours, ﬂipping through Dalí’s illustrations of dishes and meals in a kind of terrified thrall. Crayfish towers are topped with the torso of Joan of Arc, her amputated arms gushing blood. Chickens are trussed with barbed wire. A swan, its head chock-full of human teeth, is served on a pastry dish. Dalí is there, too, pictured at the swanky Parisian restaurant Maxim’s, wearing a plush velvet suit, holding a golden scepter, surrounded by a Rabelaisian feast of his own devising. As for the recipes themselves, they’re a gas—designed to amuse and repulse in equal measure. Steaks are baked for hours; boiled brains mushed into avocado toast; tuna, caviar, and lamb shoulder slathered in béchamel. Dalí’s Surrealist cuisine was a bit like his Surrealist art: The outlandish jokes and self-spooﬁng persona concealed tremendous technique. That’s evident in Dalí’s more straight-faced recipes—for a champagne sorbet or celery au gratin—which are full of anachronistic charm and fairly easy to pull of. My new dinner party staple is Dalí’s roast leg of lamb ﬂavored with madeira, brandy, cloves, and garlic. It’s a crowd-pleaser, even without the entertaining art-world backstory.
Dalí often spoke of wanting to consume the things he loved—from Antoni Gaudí’s architecture to his wife’s beautiful face. Perhaps this is why he held gastronomy in such high regard: Most of its creations could be safely ingested. “It does not seem enough to devour things with our eyes,” he once wrote. “Our anxiety to join actively and efectively in their existence brings us to want to eat them.”
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FROM DALÍ. LES DINERS DE GALA, TASCHEN © SALVADOR DALÍ. FUNDACIÓ GALA-SALVADOR DALÍ, FIGUERES, 2016.
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Explore Shem Creek with camera equipment supplied by Nikon
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eventeenth-century English writer and gardener John Evelyn called chestnuts “lusty food for rusticks,” an apt description for their toothsome, savory flesh and those determined enough to harvest it. Chestnuts appear fleetingly each autumn, their meat unlocked only once their interior armor has been scored, roasted, and flayed by nimble fingers. In France, Italy, Japan, and Turkey, sweet chestnuts (distinct from the inedible horse chestnut) are celebrated every October and November when they drop from trees to the cool forest floor, collected and turned into everything from flour to purée to marrons glacés (candied chestnuts). In parts of southern Europe, even wild boars feast on the fallen seeds,
Chestnuts Roasting over an open ire is only the beginning BY LESLIE PARISEAU AND KATIE WHITTAKER
unwittingly flavoring their flanks and bellies for meat eaters. If you fancy yourself a rustick, grab a (very specific) pan and get roasting. For everyone else: We’ve compiled a list of our favorite chestnut products here, each of which perfectly captures the lusty fragrance and taste of the season. Meet a chestnut vendor in New York City at saveur.com/chestnuts 1. Dried Available only after they’ve fallen in October, fresh chestnuts can be found at American farmers’ markets or online. Dried chestnuts (rather than the preserved kind, which can be soggy) are available yearround. Rehydrate by boiling them for up to 45 minutes before using for baking or cooking. $14; nuts.com
3. Flour Like almond lour, chestnut lour is a glutenfree alternative and often used in pastries or breads to add a savory richness. We integrated it into a classic pasta dough recipe for tortellini with ricotta and chestnut purée. $9; kalustyans.com 4. Honey Rich, savory, and intensely aromatic, chestnut honey is a staple in Italy come midsummer. This particular miele di castagno by Mario Bianco is made near Piedmont and the Valle d’Aosta and is labeled by vintage year. Pair with blue cheeses, ricotta, and slices of warm, buttered brown bread. $20; madrose.com
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2. Spreadable Made from fresh and candied chestnuts, this sweet, creamy spread can be swiped into a crêpe and dusted with powdered sugar or slathered on hot toast with a sprinkle of cinnamon. We like Clément Faugier from the Ardèche region of France. $7; kalustyans.com
On St. Kitts, the only thing we love more than a good laugh is a great meal with friends and family. Our rich culinary culture fuses island ingenuity with Old World traditions. Pull up a chair and make yourself at home.
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5. Candied In Europe, the fattest chestnuts are saved to make marrons glacés, crystallized lumps of toothaching nutty sugariness. In Turkey, chestnuts are candied and preserved in thick, conit-like syrup like the popular brand Kafkas Bursa from Bursa. $13; kalustyans.com
pinches ground nutmeg
For the sauce: 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter 1 large shallot, minced Pinch kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper Juice of 2 lemons (cup plus 2 Tbsp.) 6 large sage leaves
6. Roasting Pan Old-fashioned brass chestnut roasters can be found on eBay and at antiques markets. But this modern, perforated pan will also do the trick. First, score each nut with an X, then put them in the pan over medium heat on the stovetop, shaking regularly so they don’t burn. After 30 to 35 minutes, the skins will curl back. Take them of the heat, and cradling them in a dish towel while still warm, press a knife blade lat onto each shell to loosen and peel. $25; amazon.com
1 Make the pasta: In a large bowl, add the all-purpose ﬂour, chestnut ﬂour, and salt; stir brieﬂy to combine. Form a well in the center and add the eggs and egg yolks. Using ﬁngers or a fork, break up the eggs and begin to stir them into the ﬂour, starting with smaller circles and growing the circles wider. Continue mixing until a dough forms.
2 Turn out the dough onto a lightly ﬂoured work surface and incorporate any remaining crumbs from the bowl. Knead, dusting lightly with more ﬂour as needed, until the ball of dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or ideally overnight. 3 Make the ﬁlling: In a food processor, add the ricotta, chestnut purée, salt, and nutmeg; process until smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container up to 1 day.
MAKES ABOUT 40 TORTELLINI; SERVES 2 AS A MAIN COURSE; Photo P.42
Active: 1 hr. 30 min. • Total: 2 hr. 5 min. These fresh tortellini are made from a mixture of all-purpose ﬂour and subtly sweet chestnut ﬂour, then stufed with pungent, savory chestnut purée and ﬂufy ricotta. Resting the dough overnight gives the tortellini a saturated brown color and deep, complex ﬂavor.
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For the pasta: 1 cup all-purpose ﬂour, plus more for dusting 1 cup chestnut ﬂour ¾ tsp. kosher salt 2 large eggs 2 large egg yolks For the ﬁlling: ¾ cup ricotta ¼ cup unsweetened chestnut purée ½ tsp. kosher salt
5 In a medium pot of boiling, salted water, add the tortellini. Let cook,
Chestnut Tortellini with Shallots and Sage
4 Set a small bowl of water next to a clean workstation. Retrieve the dough and slice into 5 pieces. Wrap 4 of these back in the plastic wrap. Working on a lightly ﬂoured surface, roll out the dough as thinly as possible. Cut out rounds using a 2-inch cookie cutter. Working one round at a time, place a scant ½ teaspoon of ﬁlling in the center. Very lightly wet the rim of the round with water, then fold the ends over the ﬁlling to meet and form a half-moon shape; press together ﬁrmly to seal. Lightly wet both of the pointed tips, then fold them together to meet and form a ring. If desired, fold the top curved edge of the ring down to cover some of the bump. Set on a lightly ﬂoured baking sheet and repeat with the remaining rounds and pieces of dough. (At this point you can freeze the tortellini on the baking sheet; once frozen, store in resealable plastic bags or containers. Boil from frozen.)
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stirring occasionally, until the pasta ďŹ‚oats to the top, 4â€“5 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to a large serving bowl or 2 individual bowls.
6 Meanwhile, make the sauce: Working quickly, in a medium saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Heat until bubbling, then begin to swirl the pan until the
butter is starting to lightly brown and smell nutty, 2â€“3 minutes. Add the shallot and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the smallest bits are just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, sage, and the remaining butter and cook, stirring to incorporate the butter, just until melted. Turn of the heat, then pour the sauce over the pasta; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.
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Coltello Kitchen Faucet
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A P P R E C I AT I O N
Remembering Roger Vergé BY ALEX HALBERSTADT
One night in September, in the kitchen of a Manhattan event space called the Lighthouse, David Bouley sliced into a black mission fig. Nearby, Daniel Boulud and Emeril Lagasse fussed over a tray of subrics d’epinards, a spinach dish that split the diference between a soulé and a croquette. Le Cirque’s Mauro Maccioni agitated a porcini risotto with rosemary, poached figs, and
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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY – JAMES STANFIELD
The O.G. of Nouvelle Cuisine
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squab confit, while Argentine chef Francis Mallmann rolled back the skin on a salt-roasted striped bass with a serving fork, peering at the enormous fish over a pair of owlish reading glasses. It was a peculiar scene. About a dozen renowned chefs cooked side by side; the windowless kitchen was crowded with more multimillionaires in white than a summer wedding in Sag Harbor. The dishes were part of a long, sentimental menu celebrating the life and cooking of Roger Vergé (pronounced ro-JAY vair-JAY), the vastly influential pioneer of nouvelle cuisine, who died in 2015. He named his culinary philosophy “cuisine of the sun.” Many chefs in attendance apprenticed at Vergé’s storied restaurant in Provence, Le Moulin de Mougins, and at times the kitchen took on an air of a class reunion. “He was a knight,” Mallmann told me. “The most gentle, happy cook I’ve ever met.” The rotund, grinning Patrice Boely, a sous-chef at Le Moulin for more than 10 years, lately of Nashville, recalled a dinner he and his boss cooked in Zaire for the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Bouley related one of his mentor’s favorite stories: Sometime in the late 1960s, Vergé gave his neighbor Pablo Picasso a lift to Avignon. While he drove, the
It is instructive to remember that “happy” in Vergé’s happy cooking referred to his diners. chef complained about his creative struggles with a new menu; he wanted it to be perfect. “Who do you think you are?” Picasso interrupted. “Creativity only comes from making mistakes.” The dinner at the Lighthouse was impressive if muddled (imagine a novel written by 20 bestselling authors), but the admiration for the late chef appeared genuine. Film producer Shep Gordon, who described himself as a Vergé “groupie,” said that he first visited Le Moulin “after I won the Cannes Film Festival.” He was drawn to Vergé because he seemed to be the
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happiest person he’d ever met. What was Vergé’s secret? “He lived to serve others…” Gordon started to tell me, his eyes skittering across the room, before exclaiming, “there’s Mike Myers!” and walking briskly away. The dining room looked out onto megayachts bobbing in the Hudson; video screens cycled images of Vergé posing with Sylvester Stallone and Liza Minnelli. An auctioneer called out bids for getaways to Napa Valley, reminding guests that the $995-perticket event was intended to endow a scholarship at the Culinary Institute of America. While Michael Douglas took the stage to tell a rambling story about models, I wondered whether Vergé’s legacy had anything left to teach us. Gastronomy, after all, tends to absorb its influences and soldier on, ever in search of the new. Vergé’s place in fine dining history is secure: Like the Troisgros brothers, Paul Bocuse, and Michel Guérard, he relied on vegetables and broths in place of cream and butter to create a lighter style of cooking. He used Mediterranean and North African influences to cast traditional ingredients in novel roles and lend his dishes a more colorful palette. Today’s parsnip purées and celery-root reductions can be traced back to Vergé’s kitchen. Yet his most enduring idea might have been cuisine heureuse—happy cooking. In his first cookbook, he wrote that this style was meant to be “the antithesis of cooking to impress.” Vergé often criticized what he saw as the extremes of late-period nouvelle cuisine: small portions, high cost, mild flavors, and pretentious plating. Today, when many chef-driven restaurants depend on technique, expense, and self-congratulatory sourcing to build reputations, the notion of prioritizing deliciousness and harmony sounds almost radical. It is instructive to remember that “happy” in Vergé’s formulation referred to his diners. Lagasse, who worked with Vergé in Provence and Paris, reminded me of this as he put the finishing touches on canard au poivre vert. “Sure, he was influential, but what made Mr. Vergé special was his devotion to people,” Lagasse said. “This man could take an eggplant and turn it into gold.”
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Red Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic
2. Using kitchen twine, tie the chicken’s legs together and tuck the wings under its back. Roast the chicken and vegetables until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh reads 165°—about 1 hour. Transfer the chicken to a rack and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 4 to 6
Pair this roast chicken recipe with the Petite Sirah from our summer collection—a wine that holds its own against grilled meats and is warm, rich, and bold.
Ingredients: 1 (3– to 4–lb.) whole chicken 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika 1 tsp. dried basil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 8 pearl onions, peeled and halved 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise 1 head garlic, halved crosswise 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise 1 zucchini, thinly sliced crosswise 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 lemon, halved 1 bunch thyme
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Instructions: 1. Heat the oven to 400°. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, rub with the paprika and basil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the pearl onions, carrots, garlic, fennel, and zucchini around the chicken and drizzle everything with the olive oil. Squeeze the juice from the lemon halves over the chicken and vegetables, and then place the spent halves and thyme inside the chicken.
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E AT T H E WO R L D
HOGS Is the Red Wattle America’s tastiest heritage breed? BY ALEX TESTERE
In the late 1970s, H.C. Wengler, a Texas pig farmer, stumbled upon a clan of cinnamon-colored pigs ambling around the eastern part of the state. He herded them home, and bred them with his Duroc hogs, an American powerhouse breed known for its adaptability and quick growth. The result was the Red Wattle, so named for the distinct pair of furry protuberances that dangle from their jowls. How the pigs got to Texas is a mystery. One story suggests they hitched a ride across the Atlantic with French colonists near the end of the 18th century; more recent ﬁndings indicate that the original stock might have arrived courtesy of Spanish farmers. The original breed was
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favored for its lean, ﬂavorful meat, and long, productive life span—perfect for a hungry band of colonists. While the modern hybrid still makes for eicient livestock, its culinary merits are what keep the breed alive. Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill House has served a Red Wattle pork chop since opening eight years ago, and the restaurant’s chef Mike Poiarkof says, “It’s the porkiest pork you can get, the purest expression of how a pig should taste.” Their deliciousness is matched only by their scarcity: According to a 2014 report, only about 300 Red Wattle ofspring are registered annually, placing the hogs on the Livestock Conservancy’s threatened-species list along with the St. Croix, a tropical-climate sheep, and the Ancient White Park, a British cattle breed. Ironically, preserving the species requires eating it. More demand equals more production. “Every time we lose a breed,” says the conservancy’s Jeannette Beranger, “we lose a small piece of genetic diversity that we can never get back.” So you can do your part, and have your pork chop too. Red Wattle shoulders, chops, loins, and bacon are available online from Heritage Foods USA, a Brooklyn-based butcher that sells cuts from a variety of heritage breeds. store.heritagefoodsusa.com
TWENTY20 / TRAVIS HOOD
HALL OF FAME OF
The Art of the
Put on a pedestal by discerning pastry chefs, the tart is a satisfying challenge for the perfectionist baker BY STACY ADIMANDO PHOTOGRAPHS BY RYAN LIEBE 5 0 S AV E U R . C O M
D F R A N G
he view of the tart as too uphill or too technique-oriented to make at home has always been the greatest obstacle to home bakers,” says Maury Rubin, owner of Manhattan’s City Bakery and author of the slender yet canonical Book of Tarts. Rubin is one of a passionate tribe of bakers that puts the tart, above all other pastry, on a pedestal. He’s not wrong about the tart’s daunting reputation; defined by their delicate, crumbly shells, open-faced designs, and a precise ratio of dough to filling, tarts demand close attention and reward practice. If cookie baking is like dropping coins into a jukebox—pleasure found easy and cheap—constructing tarts is like conducting a symphony. They require the unity of many elements: crust, baking, filling, and decoration. Therefore, tarts encourage a perfectionist approach; a good one is an artistic and culinary triumph, a mediocre one defeats the purpose. Still, Rubin assures, you likely already know some fundamentals of tart baking. “What might be seen as making
C H O C O L AT E G A N A C H E TA RT W I T H E S P R E S S O B E A N S A N D S E A S A LT
P R I M E R | The Art of the Tart
‘fancy French pastry’ is actually, from a technical perspective, identical to making cookie dough.” You cream butter and sugar, add eggs, and slowly blend in ﬂour. The real work starts once the drone of the mixer blade fades: coaxing dough into a pan before it overwarms; forming ﬂuted columns of buttery crust; stirring curd into a glossy surface, placid as lake waters; shingling frangipane with roasted fruit or fresh berries; mixing a silky, seasalted ganache. The trick is practice, which eventually results in perfection. These basic tenets of tart wisdom will get you there: Obsess about ingredients. From a tangle of taut red currants to voluptuous poached pears, a tart’s topping is its ﬁrst impression. Source fruits at their peak that are similar in size for even baking. Choose the highestquality cream, chocolate, eggs, and butter for the most dramatic ﬂavors. Play with dough. There are two classic mother doughs in tart baking: pâte sucrée, which is lightly sweet, buttery, and crumbly (like a shortbread cookie) and its savory sibling, the ﬂaky pâte brisée. (Some bakers designate a third category, pâte sablé, which is shorter and crumblier than
brisée or sucrée.) Learn these ﬁrst, then improvise by adding ﬁnely ground nuts, dried or fresh herbs, citrus zests, cocoa powder, minced candied ginger, or interesting ﬂours like rye, buckwheat, or corn. Premeditate. Work in advance by making and refrigerating dough overnight, or lining and freezing tart pans a few hours before baking. Set out equipment and ingredients before getting started. When a few seconds can mean the diference between a lumpy ﬁlling and a smooth one, organization is key. Style freely. Forget the jam-shellacked fruit decoration and high-piped toppings of tarts past. Slice plums thinly or make a whole poached pear the central adornment. Experiment with subtle dustings of cocoa powder or confectioners’ sugar, whipped cream, free-form meringue, coarsely ground salts, and edible ﬂowers (not all on the same tart, of course). Pare down. Tarts are about restraint. Overhandling dough can result in a tough crust. Overﬁlling the pan will make for a cakey crust rather than a buttery, crisp one. And too many ﬁllings or garnishes will muddle ﬂavors. Resist the urge to keep adding more.
3 Essential Tarts to Try Chocolate Ganache Tart with Sea Salt and Espresso Beans
SERVES 8–10; Photo P.51
Active: 45 min. • Total: 1 hr. 30 min. (plus cooling time)
A touch of egg is the simple, secret ingredient in this luscious tart’s ﬁlling. Just a little gives the combination of chocolate and cream a sliceable, fudgy consistency. The crumbly cocoa-laced crust can be pressed right into a ﬂuted pan, no rolling pin required. Swap out espresso beans for toasted nuts, chopped brittle, granola, or crushed peppermint candy. Just don’t eliminate the sea salt; it adds a bright, irreplaceable contrast to the decadent ﬁlling. FOR THE CRUST:
1 ¼ 2 1¼ 2 ¼
stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar large egg yolks cups unbleached all-purpose ﬂour Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder tsp. kosher salt
FO R T H E F I L L I N G :
1 1 10
large egg plus 1 large egg yolk cup heavy cream oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (use a bar, not chips), chopped tsp. orange-ﬂavored liqueur, such as Cointreau tsp. pure vanilla extract
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tsp. kosher salt
FO R T H E T O P P I N G :
Flaky sea salt Tbsp. dark-roasted espresso or cofee beans, ﬁnely chopped or crushed Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)
1 MAKE THE CRUST: In the bowl of a standing mixer ﬁtted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping down the bowl as needed with a spatula. Beat in the egg yolks, scraping down side of bowl as needed to incorporate. 2 In a separate medium bowl, sift the ﬂour, cocoa powder, and salt. Beat the ﬂour mixture into the egg mixture on low speed in three batches, stopping as soon as it’s incorporated. Form the dough into a ball with your hands, then ﬂatten it slightly into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until slightly more
ﬁrm, 30 minutes or up to 1 day (if dough is very ﬁrm when you remove it, let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes). 3 Remove the dough and reserve a golf ball–size piece. Place the remainder in the center of a 13x4-inch ﬂuted rectangular tart pan or 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough across the bottom and up the sides of the pan to form a very thin (⅛-inch) layer, making sure the dough is not too thick in the corners. Dock the bottom of the dough about every 2 inches with the tines of a fork, and place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Freeze until ﬁrm, about 10 minutes. 4 Set a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 375°. Bake about 8 minutes; check to see if dough has pufed up, and if so press it back down using a spatula or by poking with a fork (if holes form, you can patch them later with the reserved dough). Bake until set, about 15 minutes more. Remove. While the crust is still hot, gently patch any holes with
emisweet e, use a s t c a c a o h c a n a g rcen siest 0 to 60 pe the glos ith ACHE For v e r c h i p s ) w i t h 5 f l a v o r ) . S t i r w s N A G S U O d e le l n b i ( b m GORGE r u = a b ausing re; less rsweet b or bitte o = grainy textu n t o o m u c h a i r , c o o l s . i ca dc (more ca k can mix bakes an a; a whis ’s surface as it l u t a p s a t t the tar to form a
By deinition, a tart is not a tart without a tart pan. Start with a 9-inch round pan and build your collection from there FLUTED TART PANS The friendliest option for home bakers, the fluted pan has grooved sides to lend flair without added effort. Many have removable bottoms, which ease transportation from counter to oven to table. Look for a fluted pan with low (Â¾- to 1-inch-tall) edges, which temper urges to overfill and make for easier rim removal. TART RINGS Favored by professional bakers, these bottomless, smooth metal circles (also called lan rings) allow for the lattest, thinnest dough possible and a striking minimalist look. However, the lack of a bottom means there is no room for error when building, transporting, and baking dough.
TO BAKE A PERFECT TART SHELL, USE A BOTTOMLESS TART RING, PERFORATED SHEET PAN, AND SILPAT [NONSTICK BAKING MAT]. TOGETHER, THEY ELIMINATE AIR POCKETS BETWEEN THE SHELL AND PAN, AND ALLOW AIR TO CIRCULATE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE SHELL, ENSURING THE CRUST IS COOKED INSIDE AND OUT.
William Werner, Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco
pieces of the reserved raw dough (the residual heat will fuse them together). Let cool completely in the tart pan. Crust can be made up to 1 day ahead. Once cooled, wrap in plastic wrap. 5 MAKE THE FILLING: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolk. 6 In a medium pot over medium heat, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer. Set a medium heatproof bowl inside the pot (be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water); add the cream and chocolate to the bowl and cook, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, just until the chocolate is melted and glossy. Quickly remove the bowl and set aside. To temper the egg so it does not scramble in the chocolate, whisk 1 tablespoon of the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Repeat. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in the orange liqueur, vanilla, and kosher salt. 7 Quickly pour the chocolate filling into the prepared tart shell set on a baking sheet, tilting the tart pan as needed to help evenly distribute and fill the corners. Bake until the filling is just set but slightly jiggly in the center when the pan is shaken, about 20 minutes. 8 Remove and let cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle the tart generously with sea salt and lightly with chopped espresso beans if using. Transfer the tart pan to a cooling rack. Let cool completely. Carefully remove the fluted rim, then slice the tart and serve with whipped cream if desired. Tart can be made ahead. Once fully cooled, wrap in plastic wrap. After 1 day, store in the refrigerator.
Tarts encourage a perfectionist approach; a good one is an artistic and culinary triumph, a mediocre one defeats the purpose.
cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting Tbsp. heavy cream
FO R T H E F I L L I N G :
Lemon Meringue Tarts MAKES SIX 4¾-INCH TARTS; Photo P.50
Active: 1 hr. 30 min. • Total: 2 hr. 30 min. (plus cooling time) “The single best gauge of a bakery’s quality is its lemon tart,” says Maury Rubin. “There’s a dance to balancing the sweet and tart ﬂavors appropriately, and in a good bakery the ﬁlling will never taste buttery or eggy—it will taste like lemon.” This recipe, adapted from Rubin’s book and infused with lemon zest for extra citrusy ﬂavor, is the ideal. Alternatively, lemon juice and zest can be swapped out for equal parts lime.
1 ½ 4 1½
cup granulated sugar Finely grated zest of 1 lemon cup freshly squeezed lemon juice large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
I PREFER USING FRUIT WITH BEAUTIFUL STEMS AND POACHABLE FRUIT WE CAN ADD FLAVORS TO— USUALLY LIQUORS LIKE AMARETTO, KIRSCH, FRANGELICO, AND RUM.
FO R T H E C R U S T:
Tbsp. (6½ oz.) unsalted butter, cut into 13 pieces, softened slightly but still cool cup confectioners’ sugar large egg yolk
5 4 S AV E U R . C O M
Tzurit Or, Tatte Bakery, Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts
FO R T H E M E R I N G U E :
6 1 1
large egg whites tsp. cream of tartar cup granulated sugar
1 MAKE THE CRUST: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar at medium speed to combine. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg yolk, and beat until well blended. Scrape down the bowl and add half of the flour; beat on low speed until crumbly. Stop the machine, add the remaining flour and the cream, and beat on low speed just until a dough forms. 2 Turn out the dough and shape it into a ball, then flatten the ball slightly into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or up to 1 day. 3 Dust a work surface with flour. Cut the chilled dough into 1-inch pieces; using the heel of your hand, knead the pieces back together into a smooth disk. Keeping the surface well floured, shape the disk into a 12-inch-long log. Cut into 6 equal pieces. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
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ked, tention. Undercoo p. requires full at um rd cl Cu d an RD n CU ke ED ic OS th COMP ll over Overcooked, it wi eep up curd sw to k is wh it will be runny. a g ttomed pan usin move Cook in a heavy-bo s. At the exact moment it boils, re er. er in rn ra co d st fine-mesh from sides an and pass through a at he e th om fr rd the cu
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4 Remove one of the dough pieces and transfer back to the well-ﬂoured work surface. Using your ﬁst, squish the dough into a disk, then roll using a rolling pin to form a very thin (⅛-inch) round. Center the round over a 4¾-inch ﬂuted tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom, or a tart ring. Run your ﬁngers around the inside of the pan or ring several times, easing the dough into the edges to avoid tearing. Be sure the dough ﬁts against all the sides and nooks of the pan. Trim excess dough from the top edges. Dock the bottom of the dough sparingly with the tines of a fork. Transfer to a baking sheet and freeze for at least 10 minutes or until ﬁrm. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, refrigerating the scraps as you work in case they are needed to patch any holes. 5 Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the pastry is light golden brown and the interior is dry, 12–15 minutes. If the bottoms of the shells puf up as they bake, tap them down lightly with your ﬁngers or the back of a fork as often as needed. Remove and let cool in the tart pans completely. 6 MAKE THE FILLING: In a medium bowl, rub together the sugar and lemon zest with the palms of your
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5 6 S AV E U R . C O M
AT CHEZ PANISSE, WE SPRINKLED OUR CRUSTS WITH ‘MOON DUST,’ A COMBINATION OF CRUSHED AMARETTI COOKIES, GROUND ALMONDS, AND FLOUR, WHICH KEPT THE PASTRY FROM GETTING SOGGY WITH FRUIT JUICES. NOW, I USE A COMBINATION OF FLOUR, A LITTLE SUGAR, AND A GROUND NUT TO SUIT EACH TART.
Claire Ptak, Violet Cakes, London
hands until fragrant. Set aside. 7 Using a ﬁne-mesh strainer, strain the lemon juice into a medium nonreactive saucepan. Set the strainer in a medium heatproof bowl next to the stove. 8 In the saucepan, add the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar mixture, and whisk to combine. Add the butter, and set the pan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly all over the bottom of the pan and into the edges, until the butter is melted and the mixture is thickened slightly, 3–5 minutes. At the very ﬁrst sign of a boil, quickly remove the pot from the heat and strain the lemon mixture into the prepared bowl. 9 Using a large spoon, ﬁll the tart shells with the lemon cream. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. 10 MAKE THE MERINGUE: In a standing mixer ﬁtted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium-high, and mix for 1 minute. With the motor running, gradually add the sugar in small (1–2 teaspoon) increments. Once all the sugar has been added, continue beating the egg whites until stif, glossy peaks have formed. 11 Carefully unmold the tarts. Place a generous dollop of meringue in the center of each. Caramelize the meringue with a kitchen torch if desired. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 1 hour. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
Almond Frangipane Tart with Cranberries and Honeyed Pistachios SERVES 8; Photo P.51
Active: 40 min. • Total: 1 hr. 25 min. (plus chilling and cooling time) Frangipane, an almond-based pastry ﬁlling, has a nutty fragrance and a consistency between buttery pound cake and airy sponge cake. In Frenchstyle fruit tarts, this classic ﬁlling is often studded with poached or fresh fruits. In summer, you can swap out the cranberries in this tart for halved pitted
P R I M E R | The Art of the Tart
apricots, fresh pitted cherries, or sliced plums. Syrup-poached apples or pears, halved ripe figs, or quince would be delicious in cooler months. FO R T H E A L M O N D F R A N G I PA N E :
¼ ¼ 2 1 ¾ ⅛ 3 ¼ ¼
cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar cup plus 1 Tbsp. (3.5 oz.) almond paste large eggs stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature tsp. pure vanilla extract tsp. ﬁnely grated orange zest Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose ﬂour tsp. baking powder tsp. kosher salt
WE USE WÜTHRICH, A EUROPEAN-STYLE BUTTER FROM WISCONSIN, BECAUSE IT HAS A HIGHER FAT CONTENT AND LESS MOISTURE, MAKING THE DOUGH CREAMIER TASTING AND EASIER TO WORK WITH. PLUGRA BRAND IS ALSO A GOOD, WIDELY AVAILABLE OPTION.
FOR THE CRUST:
1 ¼ 1 1¼ ¼
stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened cup plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar large egg yolk cups all-purpose ﬂour tsp. kosher salt
FO R T H E F R U I T A N D T O P P I N G :
3 ¼ 1
Scant ¾ cup frozen cranberries, fully thawed in a strainer Tbsp. sugar cup raw unsalted pistachios, ﬁnely chopped tsp. honey Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
1 MAKE THE FRANGIPANE: In the bowl of a stand mixer ﬁtted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar, almond paste, and 1 egg on medium speed until blended. Add the butter, vanilla, and zest and beat until smooth. Scrape down the bowl, then beat in the remaining egg. 2 In a separate bowl, brieﬂy whisk the ﬂour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat at low speed until just absorbed. Transfer to a storage container, cover, and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. 3 MAKE THE CRUST: Add the butter and sugar to the clean bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and ﬂufy. Scrape down the bowl, then beat in the egg yolk. Combine the ﬂour and salt, then add to the bowl, beating on low speed until just incorporated.
Sandra Holl, Floriole Café and Bakery, Chicago 4 Place dough in a 9-inch round ﬂuted tart pan. Using ﬁngertips, press the dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan to cover in a very thin (⅛-inch) layer; trim and reserve any remaining dough. Dock the dough every 2 inches with a fork. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet; freeze for 10 minutes or until ﬁrm. 5 Meanwhile, set a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 350°. Mix the thawed cranberries with the sugar; toss well. 6 Retrieve the baking sheet and the frangipane. Add the frangipane to the center of the tart crust, and using an ofset spatula, spread to evenly ﬁll all the way to the edges. Individually place the cranberries on the frangipane in a pattern you like, leaving room between the berries. Discard excess sugar or juices from the bowl. 7 Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 40 minutes. (If frangipane looks pufy in patches, don’t worry, it will settle.) Remove the tart and let cool 5 minutes, then carefully transfer the tart pan to a rack to cool completely. 8 In a small bowl, mix the pistachios with the honey using ﬁngers. Top the tart with small clusters of the honeyed nuts. Just before slicing, unmold the tart and dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.
FLAWLESS FRANGIPANE Fra ngipane can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container ; it’s far easier to spread and smo oth once chilled. During assembly, there’s no need to push fruit into the filling: While baking, the frangipane wil l rise up and blanket it as it browns.
S E AS O N TO TAST E
A ROAST IN EVERY POT
Braising never goes out of style— but it can be improved upon BY MITCHELL DAVIS & LAURENT GRAS Photographs by Heami Lee
“W BOWL: OWLS IN BOWLS
hat were you cooking?” a neighbor asked. For hours, the rich aroma of beef braising in wine had wafted from the kitchen, under the door and into the hallway of the Manhattan apartment where we were working. Tenants waiting for the elevator had, apparently, begun to salivate. Pot roast has that efect. Just about every carnivorous culture has a thing
S E AS O N TO TAST E
for braising meat, the universal method of transforming tough-but-tasty cuts into succulent morsels. Patience, more than fancy cuts, is what you need to melt connective tissue and amp up umami, the distinct meaty ﬂavor that results when protein breaks down into glutamic acid. When done right—long and slow, with lots of patience— braising brings lesser cuts into the spotlight. And when applied to a crosscut beef shank (most shank meat ends up ground in hamburger), braising can turn an understudy into a showstopper. Mitchell grew up on brisket, the preferred pot roast for full brisket cut from the kosher-able forequarter of the cow (the hindquarter, where you get loin and rump, is diicult to kosher due to the complex laws of kashrut) weighs upwards of 10 pounds. Perfect for a family afair, a cut this size will feed 12 or more, especially when paired with traditional Jewish sides like pan-fried potato pancakes, kasha, and noodle pudding. (From their absence on the Jewish table you’d think green vegetables were dii-
book about Jewish food, Rhapsody in Schmaltz, Talmudic scholar and humorist Michael Wex reminds us that until Texans started smoking it, brisket was “a pariah cut dear only to those who had no other choice.” And yet, with enough onions, garlic, tomato products, seasonings, and cooking liquid— which, occasionally, might have included a can of Coke—Mitchell’s mother could make a brisket that her children considered as toothsome as ﬁlet mignon. In Provence, Laurent’s grandmother made a daube of wild boar, which hunters would parcel up for the neighbors to share. She marinated the (unkosher-able) wild pig’s meat at room temperature in a wine-ﬁlled, screen-enclosed garde-manger for days before adding aromatics. She’d then seal it in an earthenware daubière, the distinctive vessel with an indented cover. Into the lid’s indentation would go water to mitigate the a wood ﬁre, allowing for an even, moist braise. Historically, anything cooked in a daubière—artichokes, celery, goose—would be considered en daube, though sometime in the
6 0 S AV E U R . C O M
France, Waverley Root notes that, surprisingly, white wine was traditional in daube de boeuf à la provençale. But more on that later. Long before then, sometime in the 18th century, a heavily spiced, red wine–soaked braise known as boeuf à la mode (essentially, “stylish beef”) became fashionable in France, so much so that it was exported to England and to America, where it became known as alamode beef. Hannah Glasse’s largely plagiarized classic British cookbook from 1747, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, includes a recipe that calls for a leg of mutton
Braised Beef Shank with Roasted Radishes and Flaxseed Relish
Active: 1 hr. 30 min. • Total: 5 hr. 30 min. (plus optional chilling time) A low and slow braise is the best way to transform tough cuts of meat into fork-tender morsels. This version, made with a crosscut whole beef shank, is cooked in white wine and rich homemade beef bouillon layered with vegetables and aromatics for added complexity. Crunchy
roasted radishes and a funky laxseed, herb, and vinegar relish balance the pot roast’s richness with acidity and texture. FOR THE BEEF: One 4½-lb. bone-in beef shank Salt ¼ cup plus 3 Tbsp. canola oil 10 garlic cloves, peeled 8 large shallots, peeled and
S E AS O N TO TAST E
3 2 1 3 ⅔
sliced ½ inch thick (3½ cups) lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (3½ cups) dried ancho chiles, halved and seeded dried guajillo chiles, halved and seeded bottle (750-ml) dry sauvignon blanc cups Rich Beef Bouillon (recipe follows) cup small taggiasca or niçoise olives, drained Seeds and pulp of 2 passion fruits (3 Tbsp., optional)
FOR THE RADISHES: 2 large bunches round red radishes (1½ lb.), washed, dried, very large leaves trimmed 3 Tbsp. olive oil Salt Freshly ground black pepper FOR THE RELISH (OPTIONAL): ¼ cup laxseeds ½ cup lat-leaf parsley leaves, thinly sliced 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar 6 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced on the bias (⅓ cup) Olive oil, for drizzling Salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 If making the relish, soak the laxseeds in ⅓ cup water and set aside for at least 2 hours. 2 MAKE THE BEEF: Meanwhile, season the beef generously all over with salt. Use immediately or refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to overnight. 3 In a large (6-quart) Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed, ovenproof pot, heat the ¼ cup canola oil over high heat. Once very hot, carefully add the beef and cook, turning as needed, until deeply browned on all sides, about 20 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate and discard the fat from the pot. 4 Set the pot over medium heat (do not clean it out). Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons canola oil over low heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and softened, about 6 min-
utes. Add the mushrooms and dried chiles and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a plate. Add about one-third of the wine and the beef shank to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until the liquid is almost fully evaporated, about 20 minutes. Repeat this process two more times, adding onethird of the bottle of wine to the pot each time. 5 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°. Add the prepared vegetables, half of the olives, and the passion fruit pulp to the pot. Pour in the bouillon and bring to a simmer, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook, basting or lipping the meat and bone every 30 minutes, until the meat has pulled signiicantly away from the bone and shreds easily, about 3 hours. Remove the pot from the oven. Raise the heat to 350°. 6 Remove the beef from the pot and transfer momentarily to a rimmed platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove all of the solids from the braising liquid to a bowl. Discard any large pieces of chile that are still tough. If the sauce in the pot is not well reduced, place the pot back over medium-high heat and simmer the sauce until it is rich and dark. Add the remaining vegetables back to the pot, and stir in the remaining olives. Carefully add the beef back to the pot and cover to keep warm. 7 MAKE THE RADISHES: On a large baking sheet, spread out the radishes and greens in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper, tossing and rubbing to coat. Transfer to the oven and roast until the radishes are crisp-tender and the greens are frizzled, 10–12 minutes. 8 MAKE THE RELISH IF DESIRED: Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the parsley, soaked laxseeds, vinegar, and scallions. Drizzle the relish lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste; stir well. 9 Transfer the meat to a deep rimmed platter, and spoon some of the braising liquid on top. Spoon the rest of the liquid and the vegetables around the beef. Serve hot, sliced or shredded into portions, with the roasted radishes on the side and the relish for spooning atop the beef.
or piece of beef, wine or ale, mushrooms, and an assortment of spices. In fact, spices may be responsible for the dish’s rise to fashion; the 18thcentury spice trade brought exotic ﬂavors from abroad into the limelight. By 1796 when Amelia Simmons wrote American Cookery, America’s ﬁrst cookbook, alamode had become a verb. Simmons gave directions for two diferent techniques to alamode a round of beef. One involved curing the meat with saltpeter and steaming it for several hours (similar to corned beef); the other bathed the joint in claret and sealed it in a pot with bread dough and braised it for hours and hours. To update the traditional pot roast—to make it more stylish, if you will—we chose a beef shank, crosscut like osso buco. It’s an impressive piece of meat, large enough to feed up to six, that any good butcher should be able to provide. We use white wine, whose acidity renders the finished dish bright and balanced. To build layers of ﬂavor, the meat is put in a covered pot to which the wine is added in small quantities and reduced to almost dry before adding more. The steam and the acidity help tenderize the meat. A rich stock and aromatic vegetables are added last to keep the ﬂavors distinct and true. Then the whole thing goes in the oven to braise until the meat becomes perfectly tender. Like a couture dress, every piece of meat takes some personal attention; the exact length of cooking time and seasoning required difer from one to the next. But the end result is always à la mode.
Keys to the Ultimate Braise THE CUT Chuck roast or chuck shoulder is a common choice for pot roast. In this case, however, we used a crosscut beef shank, which often ends up as ground hamburger. It usually requires that you special order it, but any good butcher should be able to provide this cut upon request.
S E AS O N TO TAST E
BRAISE AND REDUCE Braising can be as simple as placing all of your ingredients in a pot, covering it, and cooking over low heat until tender. But to bring out the best of this beef shank, we braised in stages. To create a concentrated reduction and introduce fat-cutting acidity, we added white wine in stages (red can add meat-toughening tannins and muddy lavors). With each addition, the pot is covered to produce an acidic steam, which helps break down collagen and connective tissue and build lavor.
STANDARDS OF STOCK Following reduction, a rich bouillon rounds out the braise’s lavor, adds complexity, and boosts the aromatics in the braise itself. A stock is enriched by being boiled twice with meat and aromatics, then strained. In traditional French kitchens stocks can be reboiled two, three, or four times. To save time, efort, and ingredients we start with a store-bought stock. The short ribs used for the second boil can be removed and reserved for another meal, seasoned, seared in hot duck fat or oil, and served with a strong mustard dressing, or taken of the bone and tossed into a meat sauce or salad.
AROMATICS AND ACIDITY Shallots, chiles, olives, herbs, and mushrooms added to the inal braise bump up the dish’s umami—a funky lavor that adds depth and complexity, and is found in foods like sundried tomatoes, dried wild mushrooms, soy sauce, and miso. A little fresh passion fruit adds additional acidity and complexity without the distraction of lemon or other citrus. A splash of good apple cider vinegar would also work.
RELISH AND RADISHES We wanted accompaniments that would cut through richness and provide texture. Bright acid and fresh vegetables are key. We incorporated herbs and scallions into a salty, tart relish bulked up with sinewy, slippery laxseeds. Likewise, crunchy roasted radishes, with their bitter greens intact, balance the luscious lavors of braised meat.
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Rich Beef Bouillon MAKES ABOUT 4 CUPS
Active: 35 min. • Total: 5 hr. 35 min. (plus optional overnight resting) Unlike stocks, which are often incorporated into dishes like sauces or stews, bouillon—which comes from the French verb for “to boil”—is a fortiied broth that can stand on its own. This version, which starts with beef broth, is enriched, thickened, and deeply lavored by simmering beef short ribs for several hours. We add a touch of soy sauce and tomato for umami. Use it as a braising liquid, then reduce it into a rich, shiny sauce. 2½ 4 1 1
lb. bone-in beef short ribs Salt cups low-sodium or unsalted beef broth Tbsp. soy sauce large, ripe tomato (8 oz.)
1 Season the short ribs all over with salt. If possible, allow to sit overnight
in the refrigerator, or use immediately. 2 In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven over high heat, add the ribs, working in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding. Cook, turning as needed, until well browned and even slightly charred, 20–30 minutes. (Alternatively, you can roast the ribs in a 425° oven on a parchment paper– lined sheet pan, 30 minutes per side.) 3 Transfer the ribs to a large pot if needed, and add the beef broth, soy sauce, tomato, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer; let simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 hours. Add 4 cups water and bring back to a boil; reduce to a simmer and let cook until the stock is rich and lavorful, about 2 hours more. 4 Strain the stock through a inemesh strainer. Reserve the meat for another use.
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The snow-covered mountains outside the village of Jukjangmyeon in eastern Korea. Opposite: Boiling soybeans in large iron pots called gamasot at Jookjangyeon, a jang producer nearby.
In Jukjang-myeon, Korea, at the source of the countryâ€™s funky, umami-rich, foundational mother sauces BY MATT RODBARD PHOTOGRAPHS BY JASON LANG
A mesmerizing (and deeply flavorful) swirl of gochujang aging at its source. Below: Sampling doenjang in the company’s jangwon, or “garden of sauces.”
6 6 S AV E U R . C O M
Right: A jang-filled seafood feast in Busan, including soy sauce– marinated raw crabs and a fermented soybean soup (see page 68 for recipe). Below: Early in the jangmaking process, blocks of soybean paste are wrapped in rice stalks.
oday the forecast calls for China dust,” our interpreter says cheerfully. A lingering smog often chokes this eastern coast of Korea, though for now the air is bracing, clear. It ’s December and we’ve set off predawn from the beach town of Busan, driving north through national parks, past Pohang (a steel town called the “Pittsburgh of Korea” with a Steelers soccer team to match) and ending up in the village of Jukjang-myeon. Our van turns down a long gravel driveway, and we are greeted with the pleasant perfume of burning oak. Hooni Kim, a Korean-American chef, jumps out to stretch his legs and points at a large building in the distance. Smoke curls out of an open window. “This is the sign that doenjang season has started,” Hooni says, walking toward the plume. A fermented soybean paste, doenjang is one of three fundamental jangs (or “thick sauces”) of Korean cooking. Gochujang gets all the press: fiery, slightly sweet, composed primarily of sweet rice paste and pulverized chile flakes. Ganjang is a lighter type of soy sauce, used to season vegetables. Doenjang is a critical pantry paste, best used in combination with other things, or manipulated during cooking rather than squirted on at the end like a hot sauce. Doenjang is also the key ingredient in ssamjang, the spread 67
Doenjang Jjigae (Fermented Soybean Stew) SERVES 4; Photo P.67
found on all Korean barbecue tables—the sauce you’re told to slather on the glistening meat that is then wrapped in lettuce leaves with a bit of rice. It’s the driving force behind classic soups and stews, and many Koreans eat it daily. Most of the doenjang we see in America is decidedly massproduced, imported by the shipping pallet and stacked in K-town supermarkets in ubiquitous brown tubs. At Hooni’s restaurant in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, Hanjan, I’d tried a diferent kind of doenjang. Over a plate of “fresh kill” chicken skewers and a bottle of Mâconnais chardonnay, Hooni introduced me to a brown, puttylike condiment that turned out to be as salty, deeply intriguing, and full of funk as a cave-aged cheese. I’d sampled plenty of doenjang over the years, having written a Korean cookbook and traveled to the country a handful of times. But this one startled me. Tasting it was transporting, spiritual. “Doenjang is like wine,” Hooni had said of this stuf. “Both depend so much on the terroir, and the ﬂavors change and mature over time.” It’s produced in small batches by traditional means, eschewing any additives and preservatives, aged in clay pots open to the seasons, and prized by those who know the diference between a handmade product and an industrial substitute. And so Hooni and I have made our way here to see the real thing made at the source. Jookjangyeon was founded in 2010 by wine importer Michael Jung. He happened upon jang making after his father had done business with some of the Jukjang-myeon villagers and was sent a couple of jars of doenjang and gochujang as a thank-you. “I knew it was special from the ﬁrst time I tasted it,” he recalls of his ﬁrst encounter with the doenjang that changed his life. He soon invested in the villagers’ operation, building a state-of-the-art production facility, and started making trips to Europe and the United States to spread the word. He and his wife, Sarah Bue, are hands-on in virtually all aspects of their operation, particularly during the critical December– February production season that we have dropped in on. “I’ve imagined this room and smelled it in the pictures,” says Hooni, visiting for the ﬁrst time during the winter production. We’re led into a barnlike space billowing with smoke and steam. In it we ﬁnd 16 giant iron pots, called gamasot, each 4 feet wide and heated with ﬁres using wood cut from the surrounding forest. Boiling yellowish-brown soybeans in water—lots and lots of locally grown soybeans—is the ﬁrst step in making doenjang. At Jookjangyeon they go through around 15 tons a season. Once the soybeans have been boiled for six hours—with a squad of middle-aged village women utilizing nondigital cooking methods and miraculously not burning a single bean in the process—the remaining water is drained away and the mash shaped into toaster-size blocks called meju. These blocks harden like drying cement and are then wrapped in rice stalks (which transfer vital Bacillus subtilis bacteria to 6 8 S AV E U R . C O M
Active time: 25 min. • Total time: 3 hr. 5 min. (plus overnight steeping) It took chef Hooni Kim one year to perfect his recipe for dashi, which he uses as the base of this everyday Korean stew. Gochujang adds a subtle layer of heat to the broth, and doenjang boosts its richness and silkiness. For the dashi: 6 pieces dried kombu (about 1 oz.) 6 dried anchovies, heads and black innards removed 3 dried shiitake mushrooms (about ½ oz.) For the stew: ½ cup doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste) 2 Tbsp. gochujang (Korean red chile paste) 2 Tbsp. soy sauce 1 Tbsp. gochugaru (Korean red pepper lakes) 6 garlic cloves, minced 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (1 cup) 2 medium onions, diced (1½ cups) 2 medium zucchini (1 lb.), cut into ¾-inch cubes 1 lb. silken tofu, cut into ¾-inch cubes ½ lb. beef brisket, very thinly sliced into 2- to 3-inch strips 1 long green chile,
thinly sliced on bias long red chile, thinly sliced on bias bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces Steamed rice, for serving
1 Make the dashi: In a large pot, add 4 quarts cool water, the kombu, anchovies, and mushrooms. Cover the pot and let steep 12 hours at room temperature. 2 Uncover the pan and set it over medium heat. When the broth begins steaming, adjust the heat to maintain this temperature. Let cook, never allowing the dashi to reach a full simmer, for 1 hour 20 minutes. Then continue to cook, tasting every 10 minutes until the broth tastes rich and has the aroma of the ocean without the saltiness on your tongue, 10–40 minutes more. Strain. 3 Make the stew: In a large pot, bring 8 cups of the dashi to a simmer (reserve the remaining dashi for another use). Whisk in the doenjang and simmer 20 minutes. Whisk in the gochujang until incorporated; simmer 10 minutes more. Add the soy sauce, gochugaru, and garlic and simmer 10 minutes more. Add the potato and simmer 10 minutes. Add the onion and simmer 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and simmer 5 minutes. Add the tofu, brisket, and peppers and simmer 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more soy sauce or salt if necessary. 4 Remove the pot from the heat, and add the scallions. Cover and let the stew rest for 3 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.
Racks of meju, blocks of fermenting soybean paste, a key component in the production of jangs.
the bricks) and hung to air-dry for 15 days at 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 percent humidity. “Mold gets me excited!” Jung yells over the hum of giant fans that run day and night in the meju room. Visitors are required to wear head-to-toe sterile plastic jumpsuits to prevent outside contamination. As with wheels of Comté cheese slumbering in a cave, the white dust that gathers on the surface of the meju blocks indicates that the bacteria has done its job and advanced fermentation is under way—which ultimately translates to profound ﬂavor. In the production of supermarket jangs, meju is speed-aged using high temperature and pressure to cheat time. In some cases whole soybeans are not used at all; instead an extract void of the valuable oil is used with wheat ﬂour and other ﬁllers. “The ﬂour is to fake stickiness and texture,” says Bue with a frown. “But in a blind taste test, which we have done, many Koreans know the diference.” At Jookjangyeon, they take aging a step further and trim the rice stalks from the blocks, then age them in a heated room for an additional 22 to 25 days, which produces blue and green molds. Jung’s face lights up as he describes them. “This is like the blooming of the ﬂower,” he says about the process he calls three-dimensional fermentation. In doenjang production, the meju blocks are only the ﬁrst half of the process. For the rest of the story, we need to step out of the aging room and ascend a steep hill to one of the company’s jangwon, which in Korean translates to something close to the “garden of sauces.” The wind is swirling and tiny snowﬂakes start to fall as Jung begins to explain the real jazz of jang making. We are in a ﬁeld with hundreds of large earthenware pots called jangdok, 2 feet high, ﬁlled with doenjang, gochujang, and ganjang and weighing hundreds of pounds each.
his is a spiritual place for me,” Hooni says, standing amidst the ﬁeld of aging pots. Jookjangyeon has about 3,500 of these vessels scattered throughout the property, each costing about $300 and made of porous, breathable clay. In the hot and humid summer months, salt crystals gather on the outside of the jars so frequently that workers have to wipe them of residue weekly. While I had read extensively about meju production, I was still puzzled as to how exactly the aged bricks were ultimately turned into jang. Each farm has its own method, and some keep the process a secret. Weather, time, and much trial and error. Jung stresses that the location of the jangwon was selected precisely for the availability of sun and breeze, which helps in the years-long fermentation process. I press for more details and lean in close while he describes the methods. (I am later told this was the ﬁrst time he’s discussed them openly.)
7 0 S AV E U R . C O M
Workers at Jookjangyeon enjoying a lunch break. The farm goes through 15 tons of soybeans per season.
A Guide to Jangs Chef Hooni Kim on three essential Korean sauces
DOENJANG: Because of the natural fermentation process, doenjang has the same sharp, funky smell as a strong cheese, such as Raclette or Taleggio. There are two types: jae rae sik, which is darker, aged, and concentrated in lavor, and the lighter, sweeter cong. I recommend using both in your stews, for a variety of lavor notes.
GANJANG: Korean soy sauce, ganjang is the liquid byproduct of making doenjang. Traditional and artisanal Korean soy sauce is very similar to Japanese and Chinese soy sauce in taste but contains no added wheat. It is highly fermented, so it has a rich, tangy lavor and is perfect for seasoning soups and stews.
GOCHUJANG: This sweet, spicy, funky paste epitomizes the essence of Korean lavorsâ€”add a dollop to anything bland and transform it immediately. Itâ€™s the strongest, most assertive ingredient used in Korean cooking, so use it sparingly, or try to neutralize the lavor slightly by adding sesame oil. 71
3 ½ ½ 3 2 1
Jeyuk Bokkeum (Spicy Stir-Fried Pork Belly)
ginger, minced garlic cloves, minced lb. pork belly, sliced ⅛ inch thick lb. pork shoulder, sliced ⅛ inch thick Tbsp. vegetable oil tsp. toasted sesame seeds, for garnish scallion, thinly sliced, for garnish Steamed rice, for serving Lettuce or perilla leaves, for wrapping (optional)
Active: 20 min. • Total: 2 hr. 15 min. (plus marinating) Bokkeum is an umbrella term given to dishes—often made with inexpensive, stronglavored cuts of meat—that are stir-fried over high heat. Pork belly is the most popular version, but other classics include octopus, mackerel, and dried anchovies. The sweet and spicy gochujanglaced marinade helps the meat caramelize as it cooks. 1
2 2 1 One
small white onion, puréed in a blender or food processor cup gochujang (Korean red chile paste) Tbsp. gochugaru (Korean red pepper lakes) Tbsp. honey powder or brown sugar Tbsp. mirin Tbsp. light soy sauce ½-inch knob of
1 In a large bowl, add the onion, gochujang, gochugaru, honey powder, mirin, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and 1 tablespoon water; stir to combine. Add the pork, stirring to coat, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. 2 Let the pork sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. In a large cast-iron skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until lightly smoking. Add the marinated pork, as many slices as will it in one layer, and up to 2 tablespoons extra marinade if you have any. Cook, turning frequently with tongs, until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Pour out any excess fat, rinse or wipe the pan clean, and repeat with any remaining pork. 3 Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish the meat with the sesame seeds and scal-
Exactly 47 blocks of meju are added to each empty jangdok, along with precisely ﬁve red Korean chile peppers and a handful of dried Korean dates called jujubes. At the end, ﬁve lumps of charcoal are tossed in for ﬁltration but also, as Jung stresses, “to prevent bad luck.” The pot is ﬁlled up with salt water, which has been measured at around 18 percent salinity. For 60 days it sits out in the ﬁeld, exposed to changes in the atmosphere from clouds and sun to rain and snow. At the end of the period, the liquid, which has turned inky, is drained of and the meju is broken down—like a kid smashes a milk-logged graham cracker at the bottom of a glass. The drained-of 7 2 S AV E U R . C O M
lion. Serve with steamed rice and lettuce or perilla leaves for wrapping if desired.
Ssamjang (Korean Barbecue Paste) MAKES ¾ CUP
Active: 5 min. • Total: 5 min. While this thick, spicysweet paste—a combination of doenjang and gochujang—is primarily used to glaze barbecued meats or as a condiment for lettuce wraps, it can also be a dip for cold vegetables like carrots, cucumber, or Korean peppers. The inclusion of walnuts is chef Hooni Kim’s personal touch, which adds earthiness and gives the sauce more texture. 5
2 1½ 1 1 1 1 2
Jookjangyeon utilizes over 3,500 jangdok, or earthenware pots, for aging jangs year-round, through humid summers and frigid winters.
Tbsp. doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste) Tbsp. gochujang (Korean red chile paste) Tbsp. coarsely chopped walnuts Tbsp. rice syrup or corn syrup Tbsp. minced white onion Tbsp. sesame seeds Tbsp. sesame oil Tbsp. sliced scallion garlic cloves, minced
In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients; whisk until well combined. Use the sauce immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
liquid is ganjang (Korean soy sauce), which is collected and aged in its own jangdok for up to a year. The solid that remains is doenjang, and once a week for a minimum of one year and up to three, the lid is removed for an entire day and a screen placed over the thick paste so bugs and dust don’t collect. I press to ﬁnd out what this weekly airingout process is all about, and how speciﬁcally it shapes the ﬂavor of the doenjang. “The garden needs its sun,” Jung says, vaguely with a smile. Hooni and I are invited to join the staf for a late lunch in the room with the gamasot. The ﬁres are still roaring and the workers are cooking haemul pajeon, scallion and
squid pancakes, atop the same massive iron lids they use while boiling the soybeans. Spread out on the plastic folding table is a bibimbap with seasoned bean sprouts, toasted seaweed, bracken fern, and beef atop nurungji—the toasted rice at the bottom of the pan that resembles Spanish socarrat. And there’s a shallow bowl of ssamjang resting next to a platter of raw carrots, radish, and garlic. A plastic garbage can is packed with ice and bottles of water and Korean firewater called soju. In Korea, soju is a necessity at every meal, even when it’s followed by the kindling of giant fires. But Hooni is focused on the brown condiment in the bowl, which he slathers on a leaf of lettuce and pops into his mouth with great pleasure. “I am so happy right now,” he says with a raise of the glass. Doenjang, like soju, is a product Koreans take seriously. And this is doenjang worth savoring and toasting. “Gun-bae,” says Hooni, before shooting back the soju and slathering ssamjang on another leaf.
Pajeon (Scallion Pancakes)
Active time: 1 hr. 10 min. • Total time: 1 hr. 10 min. These crispy fried scallion pancakes from chef Hooni Kim, traditionally paired with a refreshing makgeolli, or Korean rice beer, can be a vehicle for any number of ingredients. Instead of, or in addition to, the scallions, you can ill pajeon with garlic chives, ramps, chrysanthemum leaves, small squid, shrimp, thin slices of Korean chile, or julienned carrots. To get the pancakes as crispy as possible, make sure the batter is very cold and the pan smoking hot and slicked with plenty of oil. For the pancakes: 2 cups all-purpose lour ½ cup cornstarch 2 tsp. baking powder 2 tsp. sugar 1 tsp. kosher salt ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper 2 Tbsp. soy sauce 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic (from about 3 cloves)
2 2 3
Tbsp. doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste) large egg yolks, beaten cups ice-cold club soda bunches thin scallions, green and white parts cut into 2-inch batons (7 cups) cup grapeseed or canola oil, for frying
For the dipping sauce: 4½ Tbsp. soy sauce 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. mirin 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. rice vinegar ½ tsp. sesame oil
1 Make the pancakes: In a medium bowl, combine the lour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper; stir to blend. 2 In a separate small bowl, add the soy sauce, garlic, doenjang, and egg yolks; whisk to combine. Add this mixture and the club soda into the dry ingredients. Whisk about 10 times, then transfer to the freezer and let rest 10 minutes (this will
help any remaining clumps incorporate). 3 Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk the soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Set aside. 4 Retrieve the batter and fold in the scallion pieces. If the batter is too thick, add more club soda, ¼ cup at a time, and mix well. 5 Line a baking sheet with paper towels, and set it next to the stove. 6 In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat ½ cup of the oil over high heat. Once shimmering, carefully add 1 cup of the batter to the center of the pan. Using a spatula, spread to form a 7-inch pancake; avoid letting the batter touch the sides if possible (to prevent the edges from burning before the center is cooked through). Lower the heat to medium and cook until
the bottom of the pancake has set, 2–3 minutes. Gently slide a spatula under the edge of the pancake and lift it, tilting the pan so some of the hot oil runs underneath the pancake. Cook until the bottom is crispy and deep golden brown, 2–3 minutes more. Carefully lip the pancake, being careful not to let the oil splash, and cook on the remaining side until golden brown and cooked through, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, letting the paper towels absorb any excess oil. 7 Place the pan back over high heat, and add 2–3 tablespoons more oil if needed. Repeat the process until all the batter is used. To keep the inished pancakes warm and crispy, set them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a low (200°) oven. Cut each pancake into pieces and serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
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A community of cheesemakers. A gathering of hunters. Families that cook together and cooks who become family. Our collective values are reflected by the meals we share, the traditions and recipes we inherit and pass on, and the friends we choose to invite around our table. In this season of celebrations, we pay a visit to a variety of familiesâ€”some related more by kind than kin.
DEER CAMP DAYS 7 8 S AV E U R . C O M
Each year, deep in Minnesota’s northwoods, Amy Thielen invites a close-knit band of friends to hunt her land, and fortifies them with lusty, late-fall dishes that rival any Thanksgiving table Photographs by MICHELLE HEIMERMAN and MATT TAYLOR-GROSS
Dawn breaks outside of Amy Thielen’s cabin, which her husband built mostly by himself without any power tools—just a handsaw, a shovel, and a healthy dose of determination.
he saturated blue night sky dilates rapidly to chambray like an old TV coming to life. After color, we get sound. The ﬁrst shot from the woods detonates from a distance, sounding like the low beat of a pillow-stufed bass drum; the next two, as sharp as rim shots, crack of a lot closer to the house. A bolt of excitement rolls through me, equal parts greed and reverence, two feelings that merge during our annual deer hunting weekend as naturally as sour mix and whiskey, and I think, I hope that was one of ours. Our band of deer campers, as I call our hunting party, have been settled in their cold, open tree stands for over an hour, so it’s possible. I’ve been awake much longer, having risen before dawn on the most ceremonious of days, the deer hunting ﬁrearm-season opener, to send them of with a proper breakfast. I don’t get up to cook this early unless it’s a holiday, which is tell-
ing; after seven ritualistic seasons that’s pretty much what this weekend has become. In true holiday fashion, the morning meal contains enough riches to raise the body temperature by a few degrees: a couple of skeins of smoked sausage that I pan-steam until the bottoms darken and the juices evaporate into a ropy caramel; a leaning tower of buttered toast; tar-dark cofee, two thermoses’ worth. After breakfast our hunters—my husband, Aaron, ﬁve of his friends, and one of their teenage boys, all of whom were so festive and raucous last night—silently draw on their safety-orange regalia, each donning their own unique arrangement of bright vests, overcoats, and chaps. Glowing like neon signs in the dark 8 0 S AV E U R . C O M
Thielen (above) digs into her larder (at left), packed with canned tomatoes, pickles, and loads of other fermented items she harvests during warmer times, to add freshness and acidity to hearty, cold-weather dishes. Opposite page: Thielen makes cofee spike (see page 88 for recipe), a Midwestern hair-of-the-dog, with juniper and whiskey.
house, they pick up their riﬂes from the garage and tromp out to their various stands in the trees to sit and watch and wait. It likely won’t be long. Our 150 acres swarms with what some of my neighbors refer to as “too many deer.” From my driveway, I usually see only the does. They cock their heads at me, as if trying to discern my species, and then come to their senses and jump into the woods in three graceful, storybook arcs, their white ﬂufy tails ﬂipping up deﬁantly behind them. But the fall hunting season coincides with the mating season—more elegantly known as the rut. This is the time of year that the does lose their reticence and the bucks, generally as elusive as ghosts, let down their guard and show themselves. Gripped by the mating instinct, the bucks grind the musk gland at the base of their antlers against trees until the bark is rubbed raw; they paw roughly into the ground, leaving behind divots and pheromones, a trail of crumbs for cute young does to follow. During the rut, even the shrewdest bucks get sloppy. The horniest among them get the sloppiest, and the most starry-eyed get strung up on the high beam between our son’s playhouse and our thickest oak. If it sounds brutal—well, unfortunately, most protein gathering is. Even when one is armed with a riﬂe (patently unfair human advantage), bringing in a deer is not a given. It takes dedication, and preseason tracking, and skill. And a little luck. When Aaron comes in for his midmorning cofee break, he reports that he saw not a single deer from his 10-foot-high tree perch but witnessed a number of loud, drunken crashes through the leaves that all turned out to be squirrels, and that around the same time that his toes began to freeze and go numb the sun started to melt the snow and the woods fell silent. And it was peaceful. After a few cold hours of sitting, surveillance turns into meditation. I imagine our seven hunters, together with the 10 hunters on our neighbor’s land, hands clasped on riﬂes, standing watch like ushers over a hushed crowd of observant animals ﬁdgeting in the dry underbrush. As rituals go, hunting is simultaneously singular and plural, individual and communal. It’s like woods church. hroughout my childhood, the ceremonies practiced during deer hunting season dawned on me peripherally, like someone else’s religion. I grew up in this town—Park Rapids, Minnesota, an hour-and-a-half drive due east from Fargo—in a nonhunting family, squarely in the cultural minority. The only red meat my mom ever set on our table
Thick-cut caramelized onions are not only pretty— they are perfect with the wild rice (see page 90 for recipe) that Thielen’s husband harvests by hand from a nearby creek.
was beef. If my dad ever took a walk in the woods I don’t remember it. It would have been rough going in his wing tips. We lived in town, in an aspirationally suburban island within a coniferous sea of outdoorsy northwoods folks, most of whom possessed deep freezers ﬁlled with their own venison. But I clearly remember the signs of the season. Then as now, two weeks before the oicial ﬁrearms opener, you could see it coming. Bludgeoned target bucks stood as lawn decoration in front yards across town. Bright orange hats curled up on the dashes of passing trucks like cats in a warm nook. Bakeries sold doe-eyed deer cookies and cupcakes topped with tiny plastic riﬂes, and the farm and ﬂeet store hawked pink camouﬂage lingerie. (Even though plenty of women
IN TIME, MY MENU HAS GROWN MOSSIER AND EARTHIER, DARKER, HEAVIER IN FLAVOR, THICKER WITH PLACE.
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hunt, the deer hunting merry widow joke never dies.) Men started wearing knives on their belts, and school absenteeism, for both students and teachers, was largely ignored. So when I sat at my fourth-grade desk and watched the kid across the aisle needle a column of numbers into the soft skin of his forearm with a Bic pen, and asked him about it, he looked at me with bewilderment. “Countdown to deer hunting opener,” he said, turning back to his calendar tattoo, sucking in his spit in great anticipation. “When I will be ab-sent.” I was curious: boys—hunting—venison. In that order. When, 20-some years later, Aaron suggested that we put our land to good use by hosting deer camp, I agreed, my curiosity piqued. I didn’t want to hunt myself—I enjoy butchering and won’t hesitate to trim a deer liver or butterﬂy a heart, but I remain squeamish about guns and their cold metal triggers. Basically, I’m one of those hypocritical kinds of carnivores who’d rather not turn out the lights if I can get someone else to do it for me. Aaron and his friends, including his bandmate Darrin Bruse and his two brothers, who grew up hunting with their departed dad, are drawn to the historical romance of the deer hunting tradition. My collection of old cookbooks is what reels me in. Fernand Point, for example, includes pages of venison and wild bird recipes, with multiple variations of murky, gutsy pan sauces. All of my American books over 50 years old contain entire chapters devoted to game. I realize that the meat I eat shouldn’t be a narrow multiple choice, but should reﬂect the wider aperture of what surrounds me: bear, wild ducks, rabbits, and mostly venison. Ever since we moved back home to this cabin in the woods, eight years ago, I’d wanted to crack the mystery of what they ate in the mythical hunting shacks and forest huts I’d always heard about. Were all hunters like our neighbors, keeping a steady diet of venison steaks and fried potatoes, or were some of them more ambitious? I’d heard stories of sourdough, homebrew, and braised deer hearts with wild rice, and other camp cooks who, like me, didn’t hunt but instead worked the stove. I turned to my favorite deer-shack photo from an old book of heartland cooking, in which a plaid-shirted gentleman fried potatoes in one black iron pan and slipped a venison roast into the wood oven in another. Give these hunters glasses of wine in place of their canned beer, and the scene could pass for a secret Basque cooking society. Figuring that any holiday this revered had to revolve around food, I swiftly appointed myself
EVER SINCE I MOVED BACK TO THIS CABIN IN THE WOODS, I’D WANTED TO CRACK THE MYSTERY OF WHAT HUNTERS ATE IN THEIR MYTHICAL SHACKS.
camp cook and began dreaming up the menu. None of us can take of the traditional week for the hunt, so we pack our harvest into a single long weekend. This torques the pressure to bring in enough deer to share among us during the weekend, but still, we are loose about it, as casual as family. The hunting day may look like a lot of napping, snacking, and coffee drinking, but the preservation of energy is an art—and we’re fairly regimented about it. n time, my menu has grown mossier and earthier, darker, heavier in ﬂavor, and thicker with place. This year we have teak-colored teriyaki ducks. Fried onions imprinted with the cast-iron pan. A winy sauce for the venison so dark it looks like it might taste rusty. Apples roasted right in the coals of the campﬁre. Spiced cofee spike, fragrant with whiskey, should anyone’s toes remain stubbornly cold after the hunt. And, as always, if we get a deer, I will make fresh deer liver pâté and strive to have it made, chilled, and on the table before they ﬁnish cleaning the carcass. In the kitchen, Beth, one of our hunter’s wives, and I fret over the hunt. Just in case we don’t have a deer in time to harvest the backstraps I need for our Saturday dinner, I’ve mined my deep freezer for feral animals, thawing two meticulously plucked wild ducks our neighbor Kenny gave me a few weeks back. I also forage my cupboards, ﬁnding treasures I’ve been putting aside all fall: fermented pickles, fermented beets, homemade sauerkraut, our own birch syrup, the wild rice that Aaron harvested from the creek. These jars are a record of my days, the nuts in my cave, and they cost me nothing but time, so I squander freely. As with hunting, our feast always contains an unpredictable wild card. When I reach up into the cavity of one of Kenny’s ducks, I ﬁnd it: a cache of gizzards from his entire hunt, the ruby jewels from at least 10 ducks. I rub them with salt and herbs and set them to cure while I look around for a bunch of fat in which to slow-bake them. I fry onions until they’re tarnished and sweet and tip them out over a taupe pile of our own wild rice. I go down to the garden to grab some rutabagas, yanking the last two corpulent ones from a row full of runts. I dip into my back pantry and pull out my fermented beet kvass. When it’s mixed with vodka and lemon the cocktails glow a radioactive magenta,
This room used to comprise the entirety of Thielen’s house, every last detail of which is a labor of love: The walls are lined with half-logs her husband salvaged from his job at a nearby sawmill, and Thielen designed the tablecloth herself at a local wool manufacturer.
A HUNTERS’ FEAST
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Birch Syrup and Soy Sauce–Glazed Roast Duck SERVES 6—10
Active: 20 min. • Total: 55 min. (plus overnight marinating) My take on traditional teriyaki uses a bit of birch syrup in addition to mirin (sweet rice wine). Compared with maple syrup, birch is more feral—darker, less sweet, and more acidic—and I prefer it for cooking. It also doesn’t hurt that we can harvest it at home: Every spring we tap the silver birch trees in our yard and boil down the syrup over a wood ire. You can ind birch syrup online, or use maple. (If doing so, omit the teaspoon of sugar.) ½ ¼ ¼ One 1 Two
cup soy sauce cup birch syrup cup mirin 2-inch piece ginger, inely grated (2 Tbsp.) tsp. sugar 3- to 4-lb. ducks, or substitute chickens Salt Freshly ground black pepper
Warm Paprika Kraut
1 Rub the ducks lightly with salt and pepper. In a large resealable plastic bag or two, combine the soy sauce, syrup, mirin, ginger, and sugar. Add the birds and refrigerate for at least 12 hours but preferably 1 day, turning occasionally. 2 When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325° and set a rack in the center. Remove the ducks, reserving the marinade. 3 In a small skillet, add the marinade and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid is reduced to ¼ cup, about 12 minutes. 4 Add the ducks and marinade to a roasting pan (you can tie the feet with twine if desired). Roast for 10 minutes. Baste the ducks, then raise the heat to 425° and roast, basting every 10 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the breast reads 130° and the ducks are well browned, 20–25 minutes. (Tent feet as needed to prevent overdarkening.) Remove and let rest 5 minutes; carve and serve. 6
MAKES 4 CUPS; Photo P.88
Active: 50 min. • Total: 1 hr. 45 min. This hearty, chicken stock– braised kraut is smoky, spicy, and well balanced, with sweet onions, garlic, and bacon fat nicely contrasting the brightness and brininess of jarred sauerkraut. If you prefer the end result even more sour, feel free to add a splash more brine from the jar.
thick slices bacon (6 oz.), cut into thin strips Tbsp. unsalted butter large Vidalia onion, halved and thinly sliced (1 cup) tsp. kosher salt large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced (1½ cups) Freshly ground black pepper
FOOD STYLING BY AMY THIELEN AND ERIN HAEFELE
and as the hunters straggle in, creaky from the cold but happy, they accept them like a cure. They bring with them the word we’ve been waiting for: Todd got the ﬁrst deer, a buck. Hallelujah, we rejoice. Todd, the oldest Bruse brother, is an actor, a fermentation ﬁend—he loves my kvass—and wears a hat made from the fabric of his father’s favorite La-ZBoy chair. He’s been moping for years, quite vocally, about not getting a deer, so this is a big one. When Todd brings me the ﬂoppy fresh venison liver, the color of a black eye, things get serious. This is not just seasonal food, but urgent food. Even two days’ sitting in the fridge turns deer liver bitter, but if trimmed and cubed and immediately sautéed with bacon, brandy, and butter, the liver tastes uncommonly sweet and minerally. As the juices pool on my board I realize that in comparison, my daily cooking is rather bloodless. This weekend deﬁnitely rights that wrong. When we sit down at the table, I look around at our crew, their plates crowded with more side dishes than at Thanksgiving, nibbling on birch syrup–glazed duck legs like lollipops, and on lettuce dressed with duck pan juices and dark coins of gizzard conﬁt. Rough and unpredictable and just a shade too blessedly decadent, this weekend perfectly captures the complications of the woods around us. I understand the devotion behind deer camp. I see the romance. In the glow from the oil lamps, goodwill ﬂows through me from my head to my toes. In fact, my feet overﬂow with it, turning red and overheating, as they often do after such epic meals. I wonder, is their pulsating due to the triple punch of ruby-red things I’ve consumed—red venison and liver and red wine—or a surplus of salt or, fear of fears, the ﬁrst twinge of gout? It’s always hard to tell. I ask my tablemate to my left to squirt the cook some more merlot from the box, if you please, and I shuck of my socks by hooking each down with one toe. (I’ll ﬁnd them tomorrow morning, beneath my chair.) Shortly after dawn tomorrow, we’ll trim the meat and make big batches of merguez, spicy Italian, and plain venison ground with a constellation of backfat, and scrub my kitchen down to the nub, before commencing the ﬁnal peg in our weekend, the champagne toast and division of meaty loot among coolers; that’s everyone’s favorite ritual. The last-minute liver pâté, the hawking of backroom ferments, the general excess of cooking and overeating (and inevitable sock-shucking) are mine.
Obviously, this menu is heroic, but valor is the point of Deer Camp weekend. Just as for Thanksgiving, gratitude is best expressed by an overcrowded plate, at least two too many vegetables, and a rowdy crew wedged elbow to elbow around the table. —Amy Thielen
Wild ducks like Thielenâ€™s tend to be smaller than domesticated, so adjust cook time accordingly. And depending on how rugged youâ€™re feeling, keep the feet, neck, and other extras for a stock that will put chicken to shame.
Beet Kvass Gimlets MAKES 2 COCKTAILS
Active: 15 min. • Total: 7 days (or more for further fermentation) To me, a izzy fermented cocktail feels like it mitigates the overindulgence of the weekend. Kvass is a fermented drink traditionally made from rye, but in this version, I use beets, which lend their beautiful red color to the inished cocktail. For the beet kvass: 7 very small beets, peeled and chopped ½ large apple, cored and diced One 2- to 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks 1½ tsp. canning salt 1½ tsp. sugar For the gimlets: 4 oz. vodka 1 oz. fresh lemon juice Ice 4 1 1 2 2
2½ 2 1
garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.) tsp. tomato paste tsp. minced fresh rosemary tsp. sweet smoked paprika tsp. hot smoked paprika, or substitute ground cayenne to taste cup dry white wine packed cups inely shredded green cabbage packed cups goodquality brined sauerkraut such as Bubbies brand, drained but not rinsed cups chicken stock bay leaves Tbsp. inely grated raw white potato
1 Heat a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly crisp on the edges, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a dish. Pour out all but 2 table-
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spoons of fat from the pan and discard. Add the butter, onion, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add the red pepper, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly darkened and fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Add rosemary and both paprikas and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Stir in the white wine and bring to a boil. Let reduce slightly, then add the cabbage; cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted. Stir in the sauerkraut, chicken stock, bay leaves, and reserved bacon. Partially cover the pot and bring to a gentle simmer; cook until the cabbage is tender and the mixture is saucy, 35–40 minutes. Stir in the potato and cook until tender, 1–2 minutes. 2 Remove the bay leaves from the pot and serve.
1 Make the beet kvass: Clean and sterilize a 1-quart glass jar.
Black Cofee Spike MAKES 1 CUP; Photo P.80
Active: 10 min. • Total: 30 min. (plus 2–7 days steeping) This is a darker, richer, cream-optional variation of homemade Bailey’s—a popu-
2 In a large bowl, toss the beets, apple, and ginger. Transfer to the jar and add the salt and sugar; shake to combine. Add water so that it comes up 1 inch from the rim of the jar. Tightly seal, and shake thoroughly to dissolve the salt and sugar. Set aside, but repeat the shaking a few times in the next few hours. 3 Taste the kvass after 7 days (remember that pressure will have built up beneath the jar lid; open over a sink). It should taste pleasantly sour and have a slight natural carbonation. If not soured to your taste, replace the lid and let ferment up to 1 week more. Strain, bottle, and chill. 4 Make the gimlets: In a cocktail shaker illed halfway with ice, combine 3 ounces of the prepared beet kvass, the vodka, and lemon juice; shake vigorously to chill, then pour into two ice-illed glasses. Serve immediately. Extra kvass will keep izzy in a sealed container for up to 10 days.
lar below-the-kitchen-sink Midwestern recipe—which we use to spike hot cofees. With rosemary, juniper, and whiskey, it adds both woodsy lavor and punch. This recipe will keep for up to 1 month bottled in the refrigerator.
1 1 One 10 3 1 1¼ ½ ¼ 4 1 2 ¼
cup oat groats or whole barley Tbsp. black peppercorns 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and diced juniper berries whole cloves large stick cinnamon cups whiskey cup maple syrup cup molasses oz. dark chocolate, chopped (½ cup) tsp. pure cofee extract (optional) sprigs rosemary tsp. ine sea salt or kosher salt Hot black cofee, for serving Half-and-half, for serving (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to 400°. Once hot, heat a large castiron pan over medium heat. Add the oats and stir. Transfer to the oven and bake until the oats turn the color of a light
Wood-Roasted Apples with Burnt Cinnamon Caramel SERVES 8
Active: 1 hr. 15 min. • Total: 1 hr. 40 min. Cooking time will vary according to the apple variety you choose, but be sure to use a sturdy, very tart apple such as Honeycrisp or Zestar, two Minnesota varieties I love. The smokiness and char from the wood ire, together with the theater of roasting apples over the hot coals, really makes this dessert, but in a pinch you can roast the apples on a baking sheet at 400° uncovered for 30–35 minutes. For the caramel: 6 cinnamon sticks 1 cup heavy cream 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped 1 cup sugar 1 Tbsp. maple syrup 6 Tbsp. (¾ stick) unsalted butter 1 Tbsp. rye whiskey ¾ tsp. kosher salt
cup of cofee, about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside. 2 In a blender, combine the toasted oats, peppercorns, ginger, juniper berries, cloves, and cinnamon. Blend briely to break up the spices. Add the whiskey, maple syrup, and molasses, and blend on high until roughly combined. Transfer to a storage container.
3 Set a small bowl of water with a pastry brush next to the stove. In a medium (4-quart) saucepan, combine the sugar, ¼ cup water, and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Let cook, brushing the perimeter of the boiling sugar with the wet pastry brush to help dissolve any crystals
with nonstick cooking spray, rubbing to coat evenly.
clinging to the edge, until dark amber, about 8 minutes. Add the cream mixture and the butter and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat, until the clumps of caramel dissolve, about 10 minutes. Add the rye whiskey and salt and simmer for 1 minute more.
apples in the melted butter and then the sugar, and place each in the center of a doublelayered foil square. Fold up the edges loosely (so that you can check them later).
7 Peel the top inch of each apple. Using a melon baller, scoop out the stem and seeds, leaving at least the bottom ½ inch of the seed cavity intact and leaving an opening for the ice cream on top. Roll the
3 Fill a medium saucepan with an inch of water and bring to a simmer; place a heatproof bowl on top (make sure it does not touch the water) and add the chocolate. Cook, stirring occasionally, until smooth and melted. Add to the whiskey mixture, then stir in the cofee extract, rosemary sprigs, and salt. Let steep at room temperature at least 2 days but preferably 5–7; strain, then chill before using. 4 To serve, add 1–3 tablespoons to a serving of hot black cofee, adding half-andhalf if desired.
For the apples: 4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter ¼ cup sugar 8 large, tart apples (3 lb.), such as Honeycrisp or Zestar Nonstick cooking spray To serve: Vanilla ice cream
1 Make the caramel: Lay the cinnamon sticks directly on the lame of a gas burner set to medium-low heat. (Alternatively, you can toast the sticks in a dry cast-iron pan over medium heat). Using tongs, rotate them to toast evenly, allowing for some burnt spots but not many, and blowing out any ires as you would with a marshmallow. 2 Transfer the toasted sticks into a small saucepan, and add the heavy cream and vanilla bean; bring to a simmer. Turn of the heat and transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let steep until cool.
4 Into a medium heatproof bowl, pour the caramel through a ine-mesh sieve (you should have about 1½ cups). Set aside. (Caramel can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours, or covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.) 5 Make the apples: When ready to serve, prepare a wood ire in a ire pit (or a charcoal ire in a grill). 6 Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and place the sugar in a medium bowl. Lay out 8 double-layered squares of aluminum foil (about 16 inches each), and spray each lightly
8 Rake the ire to make an even bed of glowing red coals. Nestle the apples into the coals and let cook, rotating twice during cooking to expose diferent parts of the apple to the hottest spots, 20–25 minutes. Apples should be tender and gently charred, but not falling apart. 9 Remove to a dish and let rest until the foil is cool enough to handle. Unwrap the apples (reserve the cooking juices) and set each one in the center of a shallow bowl. Reheat the cinnamon caramel as needed, adding any accumulated applecooking juices if desired. 10 Top each apple with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a generous dollop of warm cinnamon caramel, and serve immediately.
Spice-Rubbed Venison Loin with Red Wine Sauce SERVES 6
Active: 25 min. • Total: 50 min. Good venison is buttery and beefy, hardly gamey at all. I like to freeze then wetage wild venison to allow its ibers to relax, thawing it in its vacuum-sealed package in the refrigerator for at least a week. Because the loin is so lean, it is best cooked over a steady push of medium-high heat—not high heat, which creates a bull’s-eye efect. To help the outside caramelize, I add malted milk powder to the spice rub, which also adds a subtle, nutty richness to the inal sauce. 2
Wild Rice with Roasted Buttered Onions
Active: 15 min. • Total: 50 min. Every September my husband, Aaron, and his dad hand-harvest the wild rice that grows in the creek in front of our house and take it to our favorite parcher on White Earth Reservation, who inishes the rice by toasting it in a twirling barrel over a wood ire. Real wild rice like ours is delicate, light brown instead of black, cooks in a mere 20 minutes, and takes on some of the smoke from its parching ire. It’s an entirely diferent beast (and species) from the black paddy rice commonly found in stores. Rice this fresh shines with a simple treatment—in this case just a buttery tangle of roasted garden onions. (If using black rice, add 20 minutes to the cooking time.) 6 1½
Tbsp. (¾ stick) unsalted butter lb. Vidalia onions (about 1½ large onions), peeled and sliced into ½- to ¾-inch-thick rounds tsp. kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper Tbsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
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tsp. grated nutmeg cup natural wild rice, rinsed as needed until the water runs clear, or substitute wild black paddy rice bay leaves
1 Preheat the oven to 350°. Meanwhile, heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onions. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, and cook until the bottoms are very dark in spots. Turn using a spatula, then add the remaining butter. 2 Transfer to the oven and roast until the onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the thyme and nutmeg, baste with the butter, and cook until very tender, 5 minutes more. 3 Meanwhile, cook the rice: In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, 2 cups water, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and the bay leaves; bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat to very low. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain any excess water. 4 To serve, toss the rice with the excess butter from the onion skillet. Top with the roasted onions.
2 2 1½ 2 6 2½
3 2 ½ ⅔
Tbsp. malted milk powder Tbsp. poppy seeds tsp. dried thyme tsp. freshly ground black pepper tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste Tbsp. (¾ stick) unsalted butter lb. venison loin (about 3 loins), trimmed and halved crosswise small shallots, peeled and cut into thin wedges sprigs fresh thyme whole cloves cup dry, robust red wine cup chicken stock
1 Preheat the oven to 400º. In a small bowl, mix the malt powder, poppy seeds, thyme, and black pepper. Transfer the seasoning mixture to a large platter and add the venison. Roll the meat in the spices, patting the meat with your hands to help the seasonings adhere. Let rest
at room temperature for 10 minutes. 2 In a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Once hot and bubbling, add the venison pieces, and lower the heat slightly. Cook, rotating the meat one-quarter of the way about every 3 minutes, about 9 minutes total (meat will be only browned on three of its four sides). Add the shallots, thyme, and the whole cloves to the pan, stirring briely to coat in the butter. Rotate the meat to its inal side and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 125°, about 10 minutes. 3 Remove the venison to a large platter and let rest. 4 Meanwhile, place the skillet back over medium-high heat, and add the red wine. Bring to a boil, then let cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture back to a boil; cook until it is bubbling around the shallots, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cook, stirring or swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter is melted and the sauce is thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, about 2 minutes. Stir in any juices that have accumulated on the venison platter. 5 Transfer the venison to a cutting board, and clean the platter. Pour the sauce through a ine-mesh sieve onto the clean platter. Slice the venison into 1-inch-thick medallions and transfer to the platter with the sauce. Serve immediately.
While loin is the most tender cut of venison—served quickly seared and medium-rare here— Thielen uses the whole animal, making pâté with the liver, slow-roasting the shoulders, and turning much of the remaining meat into Italian or merguezstyle sausages.
One evening, my 4-year-old daughter piped up, asking if she could do something to help with dinner. I was dicing carrots at the time, and a frying pan was crackling, so my first instinct was, no, but thanks. Then, I thought, well, why not? So I set up a cutting board. One of the unarticulated pleasures of parenting is that you have to continually teach really basic things. It requires that you reverse engineer something you do without thinking—dicing, operating a garden hose, balancing on a bike—and then explain it with the cartoon clarity of an Ikea assembly pamphlet. So, I sliced the carrots lengthwise for flat-side stability. I showed her how to crimp her fingers out of range and to listen for that rewarding clunk when the steel cleaved through to the wood. That evening, I taught a person how to cut a thing with a knife. Deeply satisfying, yet it was her pride that filled the room. My 2-year-old daughter took notice, and soon the competition was on. In no time, I had two sous-chefs, even if one of them was tearing up lettuces from the perch of a booster seat.
LESSONS FROM THE KITCHEN COUNTER EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GOOD HUMAN STARTS IN OUR FAVORITE ROOM • By Jack Hitt
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At the time, my wife, Lisa, was a medical resident, and suddenly evenings in the kitchen with our daughters, Tarpley and Yancey, were my business. I was looking at a good long stretch in this room, my only companions two illiterate, ululating feral hatchlings. I could either resent that time and rush to get out of there (lots of boxed mac n’ cheese), or I could climb a new learning curve, cooking, and heft them with me. As a kid growing up in South Carolina, the kitchen was an avoided room. Even the doorway was forbidding, hidden behind a large folding screen, because on the other side one might find humiliating evidence of life—smudged walls, the pandemonium of a sink, and that busted back door that might admit people of other races, deliverymen, or clandestine midnight visitors. But, as I found out with my girls, the kitchen is the best room in which to domesticate beastly primates and to teach, well, everything: learning to wield a dangerous tool, long-range planning, focusing on a task, discovery, invention, being the star of the moment (I’ll cook), working the back bench (I’ll clean). If I’d paid enough attention, I probably could have synced up the growth chart nicked into the bathroom door frame with the emerging solo performances of complexity: peanut butter and jelly, scrambled eggs, grilled cheese sandwich, pasta and sauce. Pie. One day, when Yancey was 12 years old, she and a pal announced they would be cooking dinner for 10 and that we should invite friends. Lisa and I were impressed when she showed us a planned-out ingredient list but then worried when she asked us what the word mousse meant. Also, the tiny chef inquired, can you give me a ride to the grocery store? She and her friend blocked the entrance to the kitchen with chairs—no adults allowed—as if putting on one of their self-written plays. That evening, as 10 adults sat at the table, the little girls brought out their first course, gazpacho salad: diced tomatoes, avocado slices, bits of onion, a lemon dressing, all nested in a single leaf of Bibb lettuce. Along came a chickenbarley soup (made from a homemade stock the kids simmered from a whole chicken), and an improbably juicy pork loin. Jaws dropped when they appeared with a chocolate mousse, and we all had a passing sense of how Mr. and Mrs. Mozart might have felt after Wolfie blocked the doorway to the harpsichord room with the announcement, “I’m going to make up a sonata!”
KELLY STUART | THE GLOW / TRUNK ARCHIVE
Every few weeks or so, dinner became an opportunity for enlightenment and revelation. By middle school, the kitchen was the way all of us ordered our day—who’s cooking tonight?—with, at first, one of two answers and then four. I was initiated into the inexplicable mystery of kombucha and, later, first tasted kale because Tarpley brought it home one day. (We still debate whether racism adequately explains why versatile yummy collards are marginalized in favor of tasteless greens that chew like tulle.)
But she was also the daughter who insisted we eat something like a big holiday meal every month. Fakesgiving dinner, as she calls it, is still how our family reconvenes. Everyone’s in college now (attending, teaching) so the meals aren’t as frequent, but when they occur, the menu ends up half tradition and half experiment—and always too excessive, mostly because we can’t help ourselves but also because leftovers mean a great lunch tomorrow before everybody hits the road. 93
In Switzerland, Alice Chablaix, the daughter of a L’Etivaz cheesemaker, handles a batch of curds. Opposite page: Pascal Guenat, the director of the L’Etivaz cheese cooperative and the region’s one-man cheese police, inspects a inished wheel.
THE BREAKA W A Y CHEESEMAKERS
In L’Etivaz, Switzerland, a group of families disillusioned with Gruyère’s modernization created their own appellation with its own strict standards. Today, their descendants keep the tradition alive, making highly sought after cheese in copper kettles over wood fires, high in the breathtakingly beautiful Alps STORY & PHOTOGR APHS BY
very summer day, cheesemaker Stéphane Henchoz and his 55 cows have a routine. It begins at 5:30 a.m. in his seasonal chalet high in the Swiss Alps, when Henchoz wakes up and turns on the 20-watt bulb in his kitchen. (Utility wires are nonexistent here at 5,800 feet, so a small generator provides the power.) After a breakfast of bread and heavy cream that he eats straight from the pot, Henchoz heads of to round up the cows. The animals graze and sleep farther up the mountain, in meadows blanketed with shaggy wild grasses and iridescent wildﬂowers, some of which grow knee-high. Once Henchoz and his border collie have guided the herd back into the stables, he and his girlfriend, Natasha, begin milking. They ﬁll a huge copper vat that hangs over an open ﬂame, and spend the next hour heating, stirring, and straining, until the liquid is transformed into three 50-pound wheels of L’Etivaz cheese. If you’ve ever tasted L’Etivaz, you might have guessed that it’s crafted over a wood ﬁre using a technique that has hardly changed for centuries. A little bit smoky and a little bit ﬂowery, this rich, raw-milk cheese is an old-school cousin of Gruyère, the betterknown Alpine brand made in much larger quantities a few miles up the road. In 1932, a group of families from the hamlet of L’Etivaz (from where the cheese takes its name) founded their own producer’s cooperative; later they broke of from the Gruyère juggernaut and established their own strict standards, and in 1999 L’Etivaz became the ﬁrst food product in Switzerland to be granted A.O.C. status (it’s now called A.O.P., for appellation d’origine protégée). For Henchoz and his fellow L’Etivaz producers, this means adhering to exacting protocols. The cheese can be made only at altitudes between 1,000 and 2,000 meters (3,280 to 6,560 feet), in the mountains near L’Etivaz in southwest Switzerland. Production must take place between May 10 and October 10 while the cows graze in the pristine meadows surrounding the cheesemaker’s chalet d’alpage, a sort of mountain hut–farmhouse. The milk itself must be stored for no more than 18 hours and must never leave the property. In Henchoz’s case it travels a distance of roughly 20 feet, from the barn to the main house. Every few days, he delivers a dozen or so cheese wheels to a vast communal cellar in the village, where they will soak for 24 hours in a brine bath before being aged in three diferent rooms, at 9 6 S AV E U R . C O M
Above: Henri-Daniel Raynaud, a L’Etivaz cheesemaker, stirs his fondue de chalet over an open ire. Below: The Rozats’ mountain hut in the Alps near L’Etivaz.
three diferent temperatures and humidity levels, for a minimum of 135 days. Anyone who’s ever seen a perfectly symmetrical Swiss haystack, to say nothing of a Breitling chronograph, knows that the Swiss have a thing for order and precision. Even the woodpiles in this part of the Alps are marvels of obsessive exactitude, the logs seemingly cut and stacked to the millimeter. The L’Etivaz cheesemakers’ cooperative follows a long list of guidelines down to the type of fabric required for cheesecloths (100 percent linen only, please). “It’s how we maintain quality,” says Pascal Guenat, who runs the cooperative and is L’Etivaz’s one-man cheese police. He is often seen prowling the storage cellars in a white lab coat. Yet as I witnessed this summer while spending time with a half-dozen cheesemaking families, L’Etivaz’s magic ingredient is a certain handmade, homey realness. Even in Switzerland, there’s a limit to how much one can regulate something as natural and complex as an artisanal cheese. Currently, 72 families produce L’Etivaz, following the same rules, but the ﬁnal product inevitably varies from household to household, due to minute diferences in technique or terroir. Guenat, who every November grades each cheesemaker’s output on a scale of zero to 20, makes no attempt to suppress the inconsistencies. He jokes that a well-trained palate might be able to pinpoint the exact pasture where each wheel of L’Etivaz originates. (Extra smoky with a hint of dandelion? Must be Pierre’s. Creamy
Each spring, Frédéric and Marina Rozat and their three children relocate to a mountain house where, for three months, they make cheese to L’Etivaz’s exacting standards.
with top notes of moss? Jean-Luc’s, of course.) “In the end, a lot of cheesemaking is about instinct and feeling,” says Frédéric Chabloz, who has been producing L’Etivaz for three decades in a small, fragrant room of his kitchen. “If you get too worried about the rules, then people will taste the stress in the cheese, and that’s not good.”
arrive at the chalet of Frédéric and Marina Rozat just in time for breakfast. The Rozats are in their 30s and blond, with three even blonder children. Their main house is in the nearby town of Châteaux-d’Oex, but every year in late spring they relocate to this tableau of dreamy Alpine rusticity, complete with antique brass cowbells hanging from a rafter. The Rozats’ living quarters and stables occupy the same building, so the family sleeps just above its herd of shuling, sighing cows. While Frédéric tends the ﬁre under a cauldron, Marina sets out some just-skimmed cream (a 50 percent fat product called crème double) that we eat from a handmade wood pot, called
“In the end, a lot of cheesemaking
is about instinct and feeling. If you get too worried about the rules, then people will taste the stress in the cheese, and that’s not good.” 9 8 S AV E U R . C O M
a diètzè, using hand-carved wooden spoons that have hung in the kitchens of L’Etivaz cheesemakers for as long as anyone can remember. Skimmed of the previous evening’s milk, Alpine crème double doesn’t keep long or travel well, and it solidiﬁes when refrigerated, but when served fresh and slightly chilled, it’s a velvety, buttery wonder. As I move from chalet to chalet, I begin to see why the production of L’Etivaz has always been a family operation: With its massive equipment and ﬁnicky fabrication method, it’s not something anyone could ever attempt alone. The local school district allows cheesemakers to pull their children out of classes a few weeks early every May so that the whole clan— parents, kids, animals—can head up the mountain together. Some families have two or three chalets, at varying altitudes, so they can move their cows higher as the summer snows melt and delectable wildﬂowers sprout. And in many households the kids start pitching in at the cauldron around the same time they tackle their ﬁrst Asterix comic book. When I knock on Blaise Chablaix’s door, his milk has just reached the required 134 degrees and the curds have attained the right level of squeakiness
Above: In L’Etivaz village, the Hotel du Chamois, run by the same family since 1888. Right: At these altitudes, Wi-Fi, restaurants, and the distractions of daily life are scarce.
Right: Making L’Etivaz cheese is as precise as a Swiss woodpile. Center: ClaudeHenri Favre, a L’Etivaz cheesemaker in his chalet. Far right: For three decades, Frédéric Chabloz has been making cheese in a small, rustic room of his kitchen.
when chewed; I watch as he hoists three massive sacks of steaming white mush into cheese molds, with the help of his 8-year-old daughter, Alice. She tells me she’s already decided she’s going to be a farmer when she grows up, then ofers to give me a tour of the barn. There I’m introduced to the calves, the pigs, and the black Pekin chickens. Alice says they’re her favorites “because they make good eggs, and because they walk funny.” For all its idyllic attractions, the life of an Alpine cheesemaker requires sacriﬁces. “We’re always happy to head up the mountain every spring, but we’re also happy to return home in the fall,” says Marina Rozat. Wi-Fi, restaurants, and neighbors, among other things, are scarce at this altitude. Guenat tells me that this past June, the day after Switzerland tied France in the European soccer championship ﬁnals, the entire country was dissecting 1 0 0 S AV E U R . C O M
the match play by play. “But when I stopped by one chalet, the cheesemaker barely knew that there had been a game. He said, ‘Oh yeah, who won?’ ” There are some signiﬁcant upsides to the isolation, as I see when I join Henchoz on his spectacular herding route, which overlaps with some of Switzerland’s prime hiking trails and ofers endless panoramas of snowy peaks and piney valleys. This is a cow’s version of paradise, with unlimited green things to munch on and nary a fence in sight. Henchoz tells me that many cheesemakers rent extra cows—some that have never experienced mountain-pasture living— from larger farms to supplement their summer herds. Upon arrival they’re put through a three-week detox to ensure their milk is L’Etivaz-pure; for some, walking up and down the upper Alps’ steep paths is a challenge. “They adapt, but it can take a bit of time,” says Henchoz.
People hailing from non-Alpine areas have their own adjustments to make, particularly if they’re not accustomed to eating cheese and pure cream three times a day. I’d heard that the Swiss consume more cheese than anyone else in the world—47 pounds per capita annually—but that’s undoubtedly a lowball ﬁgure around L’Etivaz, where fondue remains a staple even in high summer. The classic fondue blend contains 80 percent L’Etivaz and 20 percent Vacherin Fribourgeois, plus a touch of dry young chasselas or another white wine from the Vaud region, an hour to the west. Unlike Gruyère producers, who continue making cheese through the fall and winter—while feeding their cows hay instead of fresh grass, among other sacrileges—L’Etivaz cheesemakers must ﬁnd alternate ways to earn a living during the of-season. Many continue farming at their main houses down in the valley; others work as carpenters or
mechanics. And while they all tend to enjoy good food and drink, they are not culinary snobs or big talkers. It’s only after a few glasses of wine that you might catch one of them describing L’Etivaz as a way of life as much as a cheese. During dinner at the picnic table in Henchoz’s tiny kitchen (his squat cement-and-stone chalet, reachable only by cable car, is one of L’Etivaz’s most remote), I meet Romain, a 27-year-old family friend who began pitching in at the chalet when he was seven. Now a building contractor, he comes back for a few days every summer to milk cows, stack wood, and spread manure, because he wants to. “It’s just another world up here—no cars, no real stresses,” Romain says. Our meal, a sublimely creamy vegetable soup called soupe de chalet, is a reminder of the direct correlation between simplicity and contentedness: Henchoz places the pot in the middle of the table and we each dip our spoons in, holding 101
The local school district allows cheesemakers to pull their children out of classes a few weeks early every May so that
the whole clan—parents, kids, animals— can head up the mountain together.
a slice of bread with the other hand to catch the drippings. As we slurp our way to the bottom of the pot, it occurs to me that I haven’t yet heard what one might expect of a tradition-bound place like L’Etivaz: that the old ways are gradually dying out, the younger generation ﬂeeing to the nearest dynamic city—in this case, Lausanne—to launch production companies or fondue-delivery apps. In fact, whenever a chalet here comes up for sale or rent, there are multiple ofers, including some from locals in their 20s. Frédéric Chabloz once considered moving away, and even scouted farms in the United States where he was wowed by agriculture’s scale and high-tech prowess. (“South Dakota— so much wheat, unbelievable!”) In the end, though, he came back to L’Etivaz for good. “The life up here is not for everyone,” he says as he tightens an iron press to perfect the shape of the morning’s cheese. “It’s a lot of work, and many people would get bored. But you’re in this beautiful place, you’re surrounded by nature and your children, you’re listening to the cowbells all day long.” He pauses. “And you’re free.” My last stop is the chalet of Henri-Daniel Raynaud and his wife, Aimée, a stone refuge at 5,400 feet, with views as far as Mont Blanc. Before lunch I watch as he and his two dogs herd cows down the steep path behind the house, his shouts of “Allez, op-op-op!” echoing of the rocks. (His grandkids have nicknamed him Op-Op.) I’m here to taste Raynaud’s fondue de chalet, a recipe that’s been in his family for generations. It’s a heavy dose of both cream and cheese, and eaten with spoons instead of fondue forks, since pieces of bread are mixed straight into the iron pot as the cheese melts. When Henri-Daniel steps into the ﬁre pit in his rubber boots and starts stirring in huge handfuls of cheese, he
Fondue de Chalet SERVES 2–4
Active: 10 min. • Total: 10 min. Adapted from a Swiss cheesemaker’s recipe, this rich, milky fondue combines L’Etivaz—a fruity, loral, raw cow’s milk cheese—with heavy cream. Chunks of soft white bread are stirred right in, so it’s best eaten with spoons, rather than traditional fondue forks. L’Etivaz can be sourced from specialty cheese shops.
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cups heavy cream oz. L’Etivaz cheese, grated cups pan de mie, or another sturdy white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
In a medium saucepan over low heat, add the cream and cheese. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cheese is fully melted, 5–7 minutes. Gently stir in the bread. Serve immediately.
Soupe de Chalet SERVES 4
Active: 15 min. • Total: 45 min. A traditional dish enjoyed yearround in the Alps of southern Switzerland, this homey soup takes its name from the mountain huts where it’s commonly made. Typically incorporating cheeses from the region, this version is fortiied with L’Etivaz (which can be found at specialty cheese shops) and heavy cream.
Left: At Henri-Daniel and Aimée Raynaud’s home, a lunch of fondue de chalet—a family recipe made with L’Etivaz cheese, cream, and bread. Above: Soupe de chalet, a creamy vegetable stew.
SOUP: MATT TAYLOR-GROSS
laughs and says, “Does it look like we’re a bunch of cavemen?” Indeed, cooking doesn’t get much more elemental than this: Not only is the whole dish made in one pot, but its ingredients come almost entirely from cow’s milk, and the technique consists of one thing: nonstop stirring. Is it a coincidence that this is the most satisfying meal of my trip? Twelve of us sit at the kitchen table, including a cousin and two family friends, plus a young Ecuadorian who’s here studying sustainable farming. After Raynaud says grace, the conversation topics range from Pokémon Go to the ﬁner points of wood stacking; there is also some gentle mocking of French people, Gruyère makers, and vegans. (“Animals were not put on earth just to be looked at,” Aimée says.) By the time dessert comes out—chocolate cream pudding and meringues, both topped with double crème—I’m no longer thinking dark, cardiovascular-related thoughts. I have surrendered to the stupor of dairy overload and am simply asking for second and third helpings. Raynaud smiles as he ﬁlls everyone’s glass with a shot of eau-de-vie. A light rain falls, the cows are in the barn, and his granddaughter is trying to climb onto his lap with her favorite stufed rabbit. Most days, he and Aimée run their farm on a fairly strict schedule, but he knows that if his afternoon tasks are delayed by an hour or two, or even three, all of Switzerland will not implode. “Today,” he says, “I might even take a nap.”
1 1 2 1
2 2¼ 2
Tbsp. unsalted butter onion, minced large carrots, inely diced large leek, trimmed, rinsed well, and inely chopped cups vegetable stock cups milk small white potatoes, such as Charlotte variety, peeled and grated (7 oz.) tightly packed cup thawed frozen spinach, squeezed of excess water and inely chopped (2¾ oz.) cups grated L’Etivaz cheese cup heavy cream Salt Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the carrot and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 minutes. Add the stock; bring to a boil. Add the milk and potatoes, and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and let simmer 20–25 minutes. Add the spinach and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cheese and let melt, about 30 seconds. Stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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DOT’S RUMTOPF A GRANDMOTHER’S HEADY MIX OF MEMORY, TRADITION, AND RUM • By Max Falkowitz
my father and I unearthed it in a garage a few years later, the crock was still half-full. Granted, an inch-thick layer of mold had subsumed the neglected fruit, but the message from beyond the grave was perfectly clear: This is not finished. In truth, Dorothy and I weren’t very close. Members of Clan Falkowitz lead rich inner lives but keep mostly to ourselves. While we shared an affinity for verboten spareribs and hand-painted glassware, our greatest connection was that we were often more comfortable feeding friends and family than talking to them. I know
The idea of rumtopf is this: Take your best fruit— your superlative strawberries and premium peaches—and don’t eat them. Instead, drown them in rum and sugar in a towering ceramic crock and forget about them for a while. Begin filling your rumtopf crock in midsummer, when perky strawberries first give off their perfume. Carry on with raspberries, and later apricots, layering the jar with more rum and sugar at every addition. As the weather begins to cool and plums reach their peak, stir them in. Rumtopf can and should be consumed year-round, but it’s traditionally a holiday thing. So when sweater weather arrives, you’re close. In go apples and pears, and by December you have a dark, lustrous elixir to sip from sherry glasses and rum-soaked fruit to spoon over spice cake—a whole sweet year concentrated into a single swig. At least, this is what you do if you’re my grandmother, Dorothy Falkowitz, who began a batch of rumtopf in 1975 and cultivated it for over 20 years. With rumtopf, which translates from the German to “rum pot,” you don’t simply preserve fruit for a season. You preserve it forever. Do it right and your crock never empties out; as the seasons progress, so do your additions of fruit, this year’s nectarines mingling with the whispers of decadeold grapes. Dorothy, a New York butcher’s daughter, had some German blood in her. Polish too, and Ukrainian, and some strains we’re not so sure about. She was also an exactingly observant Jew who kept a (nearly) strict kosher home with plates segregated for meat and dairy. (A third set reserved for Chinese spareribs and other forbidden delights sat in purgatory down the hall.) There is a word in Ashkenazi Hebrew, tznius, that means modesty but also connotes a kind of plain, understated dress and behavior that my people are supposed to find admirable. Dot Falkowitz was not tznius. The American-born child of blue-collar but upwardly mobile Jewish immigrants, she always had a taste for the exotic. Her rumtopf crock was only one such affectation; no one remembers where she first got it, but I’m placing bets on Saks or Bloomingdale’s more than any Mitteleuropean ancestry. The family is more clear on her other flights of fancy, like that time she dragged my father all over Queens in search of the squash blossoms and quail she absolutely required for a little dinner of 35 relatives and friends. Or the bourbon she slipped into some matzo ball soup on a whim, following a course of gefilte fish made from whitefish and cod that had been swimming in her bathtub earlier that day. Dorothy died in 2007, but her rumtopf lived on. When
Etched in German on the back of this heirloom is a loose recipe for an everlasting, ever evolving crock of rum, fruit, and family mythology.
she took up with this goyishe practice of rum-preserving fruit in the first place. And how she justified eating those spareribs while cooking Shabbat dinner. “It was her way of bridging the gap,” my father said, a way for a child of strangers in a strange land to keep a grip on the past while looking to the future. My rumtopf is aging nicely now. Does it taste like Dot’s? No idea. But it’s dark, plummy, and strong enough to put hair on my chest (the Falkowitz family’s measure for anything good). And if you’re just starting your rumtopf now, don’t worry about following a recipe too closely, or looking for early summer berries in November. The key to a good rum pot isn’t the particulars of the fruit you choose. It’s the time it takes for everything to commingle and surrender its individual flavors to the greater whole. And the pleasure of topping it off forever.
RUMTOPF Makes 3–4 quarts
more about her from anecdotes shared around the dinner table than any personal relationship. I had never tasted her rumtopf, and in its found state there was no way to sample it. So if I were to re-create it, I’d have to start from scratch. Which is how these things go. There’s the past you know and the past you make up to fill in the gaps. The beauty of rumtopf is its flexibility—there’s no set recipe to follow, only what the seasons provide. Etched on the back of Dorothy’s crock in German are some recommended fruits and simple rules: Every time you add more fruit, add more sugar; keep it all completely submerged with rum, weighed down with a plate if you have to, and cover it tight. To read the instructions, Dorothy relied on her scholar son, my uncle, who learned the language to keep abreast of the latest research on ancient Assyriology. I got by with Google Translate. After half an hour hosing out the crock, inspecting the remnants of ancient raisins for clues, and scrubbing the walls with bleach, I started asking my father about Dorothy. He unspooled stories of her rumtopf, the Great Squash Blossom Hunt of ’86, and her other acts of rebellion against quaint suburban Jewish life. When we finished with this batch of legends, we started talking about what made the woman tick. Why
This German method of preserving fruit in rum is more a ratio than a recipe: two parts fruit to one part sugar, covered with rum by at least an inch, with fruit continually added as it comes into season. Use the best fruit you can get your hands on (at season’s peak) and allow for resting time (at least 2 months of aging at room temperature, though longer is better). Plums and cherries are especially traditional, but don’t hesitate to make rumtopf your own; just avoid creamy fruit like bananas or papayas. Dot’s crock also suggests substituting honey for sugar, if desired. 4
lb. mixed ripe fruit, such as strawberries, sweet and sour cherries, peaches, plums, apples, pears, and pineapples, cleaned, trimmed and pitted as needed
(about 8½ cups) lb. granulated sugar (about 4 cups) (750-ml) bottle 80-proof dark (but not spiced) rum
1 Sanitize a 3- to 5-gallon ceramic crock or glass jar with scalding water and soap; dry. 2 Combine the fruit, sugar, and rum in the crock, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly against the top of the mixture and up the sides of the crock to form a seal, then add a plate on top to weigh the fruit down. Cover the crock and let the rumtopf age in a cool, dark place for about 2 months. Over this time, you can add fruit as desired, plus half the fruit’s weight in sugar, and enough rum just to cover. If any mold forms on the plate or plastic wrap, discard the plastic, wash the plate, and replace with fresh plastic. Rumtopf will keep this way until your grandchildren discover it in your attic.
ince I throw only one big party a year, and since I’ve been throwing it for 20 years, you’d think I’d be more organized. But I’m not. I usually don’t know who’s coming until a couple of days before the party—and I’ve been known to change the menu the day of. New Year’s Eve dinners are like that chez us in Paris. Our longtime, very Parisian friend, Bernard Collet, a photographer and my Emily Post guide to French customs, says that what always reminds him that I’m American is my habit of inviting strangers home for dinner. Preparty jitters often have me worrying that this jumble of old friends and new won’t work. But it does. Always. Perhaps it’s the magic of the changing year or maybe it’s the spell of Paris that makes us feel like members of the family we 1 0 6 S AV E U R . C O M
Longtime francophile, part-time local, born-and-raised Brooklyn girl Dorie Greenspan. Opposite page: Guests ravage Greenspan’s cookie plate. Recipes start on page 109.
Every New Year’s Eve, Dorie Greenspan invites a hodgepodge group of old and new friends for a perfect French fête, complete with oysters, gougères, and huge bottles of champagne by the Seine Photographs by CHRISTINA HOLMES
Clockwise from top left: Parisian stalwart, Poilâne bakery, near Greenspan’s apartment; brownie drops (see page 114 for recipe); friends witness the miracle of bubbles; the decadent marquise au chocolat (recipe at right).
all wish we were born into. Ever since I was just out of college, I’ve wanted to live in Paris. I didn’t want to just move to Paris, I wanted to be Parisian and live my American dream of a Parisian life: to be able to tie my scarf perfectly; to gracefully negotiate cobblestone streets in heels; and to be the person who always has champagne in the fridge, ready for à la minute frivolity. I wanted to be as close to French as a girl from Brooklyn could be. And if my New Year’s Eve party were the sole measure of my Gallic makeover, I’d score high— it’s a swell party. More than that, it’s a tradition that we treasure. It began decades ago when I received a postcard from a friend who’d been transferred to Paris for work. The picture on the card was of the gloriously gilded and grand Pont Alexandre III, the most ornate bridge over the Seine, lamplights glowing and the river calm beneath it. The message said something like, “We greeted the New Year here, drinking champagne and tossing our empty oyster shells into the water.” To me, a graduate student living in New York with an uncertain future, the image of Paris at midnight, champagne, oysters, and the Seine was enchanting and more fairy tale than Cinderella. From then on, when my husband, Michael, and I would toast on December 31, we’d say, “Next year in Paris!” It took a long time, but when I started working with pastry chef Pierre Hermé in Paris and writing more about France and its food, it began to seem practical. Finally, in the winter of 1997, we signed the lease on our first Paris apartment, walked to the corner, went into the Café Bonaparte, ordered champagne, and toasted, “This year in Paris!” After all these years, there are party regulars, of course, and they’re a marvelous and mixed group: French and American, expats and pats, several food and wine people, artists, writers, fashion people, designers, one mathematician, and one son, Joshua. Most
NEW YEAR’S EVE WITH DORIE: A MENU Greenspan began her career in cookbooks as a baker. As such, her holiday table often serves as a mini showcase of her current favorite desserts. A few below are adapted from her latest—and 12th—cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016).
Marquise au Chocolat SERVES 8–10; Photo P.108
Active: 30 min. • Total: 6 hr. 30 min. This dessert—a fudgy, frozen or semifrozen chocolate mousse that’s sometimes coated in ganache, then sliced— likely came from the 17th or 18th century, when royal pastry chefs lived large. I like to crumble in Speculoos cookies, like Biscof brand, before freezing, to add crunch and pretty golden lecks, but anything that works with chocolate—from candied ginger to rumsoaked raisins—is fair game. It’s at its best when semifrozen or thawed but still chilly. For the marquise: 13 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature ⅓ cup plus 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided ¼ tsp. leur de sel, or a pinch ine sea salt 1¼ cups cold crème fraîche, plus more for serving if desired ¼ cup cold milk 12 Speculoos cookies, such as Lotus Biscof, chopped
For the ganache (optional): 8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, inely chopped 1¼ cups heavy cream, or more as needed
1 Make the marquise: Line an 8½- to 9-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, smoothing the plastic against the sides of the pan as evenly as you can and leaving some overhang to help with the unmolding later. 2 Fit a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Add the chocolate and butter to the bowl; heat, stirring, until just melted and velvety. (Do not overcook.) Remove the bowl and let it rest at room temperature 15 minutes. 3 In a stand mixer itted with the whisk attachment or a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the yolks, ⅓ cup sugar, and the salt on medium speed until the mixture lightens in color and thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. 4 Add the yolk mixture to the melted chocolate mixture, and using a spatula, gently fold together. Transfer to a separate large bowl. 5 Pour the crème fraîche and milk into the stand mixer or bowl (you don’t have to clean it irst) itted with the whisk attachment, and whisk at medium-high speed until the mixture starts
to thicken. Gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. 6 Spoon the crème fraîche mixture onto the chocolate and very gently fold it in to incorporate. Fold in the chopped cookies. 7 Spoon the mousse into the prepared loaf pan, pushing it all the way into the corners and smoothing the top. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze the marquise for at least 6 hours or up to 1 month. 8 When ready to serve, make the ganache: In a medium heatproof bowl, add the chocolate. Bring the cream to a boil and pour half of it over the chocolate; let rest 30 seconds, then using a spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles. Pour in the rest of the cream, or more as needed, stirring until the ganache is smooth, shiny, and just thin enough to coat the marquise without running of completely. 9 To remove the marquise, gently tug on the plastic wrap to release it from the pan and turn it out onto a cooling rack set atop a rimmed baking sheet. Cover with the ganache, coating evenly and letting any extra run of onto the baking sheet. Let set slightly, then transfer to the freezer if desired. The marquise is good frozen, but best when thawed slightly to be semifrozen or even defrosted. Serve sliced into about 1-inch-thick pieces (wet and wipe the knife before each cut) with a dollop of crème fraîche if desired. 109
After college, I didn’t want to just move to Paris—I wanted to be Parisian and to live my American dream of a Parisian life. years our guests span ﬁve decades and every year it feels both spontaneous and rooted, a party repeated annually for the pleasure of being together in Paris.
he start of the evening plays out like this: I encourage people to go into the living room and nibble. They ignore me and stay in the kitchen, crowded, cramped, and content to sip champagne shoulder to shoulder and to serially munch gougères, cheese pufs from Burgundy, which have become my signature. It’s all I can do to shoo people out and get the meal going. While we don’t actually chuck our shells into the Seine, we do kick of dinner with oysters. They’re a constant at French end-of-year celebrations, and starting just before Christmas, wood crates of Fines de Claire, Spéciales, and Gillardeau with their trademark G somehow stamped in the shells turn up
MAKES 5 DOZEN; Photo P.112
Active: 1 hr. • Total: 1 hr. This recipe makes gougères that are custardy in the center, with a little nuttiness and crunch from optional walnuts. If you prefer a irmer puf, use four eggs instead of ive. I like a mix of cheeses, but one cheese makes great gougères, too—even a very un-French cheddar. Feel free to scoop out and freeze the dough in advance, then bake gougères directly from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time. ⅔ ½ ½ 1
cup walnuts (optional) cup water cup whole milk stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, chopped
1 1 0 S AV E U R . C O M
1 5 2 1 1
in open-air markets and even the corner 8 à Huit, France’s version of 7-Eleven. And I’ll put out jars of homemade, luxurious smoked-and-fresh salmon rillettes for the non–oyster eaters among us. The main course is always the tough choice for me—once I went with all appetizers and les français thought I’d made un pique-nique. For the past few years, ﬁsh stew’s been my go-to plat de résistance, as the French so heroically call the main course. My most recent version of the stew is a touch Asian—yuzu kosho, lemongrass, chile, and lime tilt any dish eastward. I was ﬂattered when my French friends wrote a day later and said they loved my nouvelle bouillabaisse. Although I might make last-minute changes to the party, I hold some parts of the meal to be immutable—having lots of dessert is one of them. There are always macarons, an annual gift from my friend Pierre Hermé, and I make something, too, this year three kinds
tsp. ine sea salt or kosher salt cup all-purpose lour large eggs, at room temperature tsp. Dijon mustard cup (3 oz.) coarsely grated Comté cup (3 oz.) coarsely grated Gruyère
1 In a small, heavy-bottomed skillet, add the walnuts over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, 2–4 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly, then inely chop. 2 Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 425°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. 3 In a medium saucepan, add the water, milk, butter, and salt; bring to a rapid
boil. Add the lour all at once, lower the heat, and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon or whisk until a dough forms. Keep stirring to dry the dough slightly, 1–2 minutes more. 4 Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer itted with the paddle attachment, or a medium bowl. Let sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one, beating until incorporated. (Dough may appear to separate, but it will come together by the time the last egg goes in.) Beat in the mustard, then the cheeses and walnuts. 5 Using a small (1½ teaspoon) cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each. Transfer to the oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 375°. Bake for 12 min-
of cookies and a marquise au chocolat, a royal dessert, similar to a chocolate mousse, from the 17th or 18th century. Because our celebration inevitably starts late, there’s a witching-hour scramble to get to the bridge and welcome the New Year. With luck, we ﬁnish the cheese course before midnight and march bridgeward, setting out with champagne bottles and glasses, pouring for people as we go. Our bridge is the Pont des Arts. It’s not as dolled-up as the Alexandre, but it’s my favorite, a wooden pedestrian crossing with the Louvre to one side and, on the other, the Institute of France, a domed building that many consider architecturally perfect. From its crest you can see most of the Eifel Tower; turn around and you catch the Tour Saint Jacques and the lights of Notre Dame. One year, a friend brought a Balthazar, a 12-liter behemoth of bubbly, to dinner. She claims the bottle was a thank-you for something I did, but I can’t remember ever doing anything that deserved something so spectacular. We opened the bottle at the start of the evening—it took 45 minutes to remove the handmade cork!—and when it was time to go to the bridge took the remains with us. To say that the sight of a massive bottle of great champagne making its way through the streets caused a stir is an understatement. Midnight arrived, we toasted, we embraced, we wished everyone well; and when we returned, there were people following us Pied Piper style. As our son said, “I never want to go anywhere without a Balthazar in my arms—you meet the best people!” If he wanted to, he could still travel with the Balthazar. We saved the empty bottle: It is signed by everyone who shared that evening with us and sits on a shelf in our dining room. Like the postcard that inspired the tradition, it’s a reminder that sometimes the best planning is just to make sure you ﬁnd yourself every year in the city you love best, surrounded by the people you love the most.
Greenspan has lived in various charming apartments in Paris—including her latest, the site of many a Gallic party— but each has been in her favorite arrondissement, the 6th.
Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Oyster shells; gougères; salmon rillettes; seafood soup. Right: The Pont des Arts.
utes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are pufed, golden, and irm enough to pick up, 15–20 minutes more. Remove and serve immediately.
Seafood Soup with Ginger and Yuzu Kosho SERVES 6; Photo P.112
Active: 1 hr. 5 min. • Total: 1 hr. 5 min. Flavored with wine and aromatics, this broth is similar to a nage or poaching liquid— you only need a shallow pool of it in each bowl. The broth features red yuzu kosho, a Japanese condiment made from citrus, yuzu, and chiles, which adds a round, tart lavor that is hard to replace. In a pinch, add a little more chile and lime zest. If headon shrimp are hard to ind—or you’d rather not ight with ish heads on New Year’s Eve—nix them for more shelled shrimp. For the broth: 1 Tbsp. olive oil 6 scallions, white and light green parts very thinly sliced 3 garlic cloves 1 large shallot, thinly sliced, rinsed and dried 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, tender bulb parts very thinly sliced One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced 1 thin slice red chile pepper 1 small strip lime zest Salt 1 tsp. red yuzu kosho ¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth 5 cups chicken, ish, or vegetable broth Pinch of sugar For the ish and vegetables: 24 mussels, scrubbed 1½ lb. skinless cod illet, or other irm white ish
24 6 6
medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned large, head-on shrimp, or substitute peeled scallions, white and light green parts only, each cut crosswise into 3 pieces large white or brown mushrooms such as cremini, trimmed and thinly sliced (preferably with a mandoline) shallot, very thinly sliced, rinsed in cold water and strained sweet potato (cut crosswise), peeled and thinly sliced (preferably with a mandoline) handful baby spinach Salt
For serving (optional): Lime wedges Chopped cilantro or seaweed lakes
1 Make the broth: Warm the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the scallions, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, ginger, chile, and lime zest; season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the yuzu kosho, then the wine. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 1–2 minutes. Add the prepared broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Add a pinch of sugar
and taste and adjust the salt as needed. Remove the large pieces of garlic. Broth can be chilled for 3 days or frozen up to 1 month. 2 Make the ish and vegetables: Bring the broth to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the mussels. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, uncovered, until the shrimp are pink and the mussels open, 2 minutes (discard any mussels that don’t). Remove the pot from the burner. 3 Divide the ish, vegetables, and broth between 6 shallow bowls. Squeeze with lime juice and sprinkle with cilantro or seaweed, or serve with the garnishes on the side.
Salmon Rillettes SERVES 6; Photo P.112
Active: 40 min. • Total: 1 hr. (plus overnight resting) Made with both smoked and cooked ish for textural contrast, salmon rillettes became a New Year’s staple once I discovered that my husband wasn’t the only non–oyster eater among us. Pack into jars the night before entertaining— the lavors improve with time. 2
1 ½ 8
scallions, white and light green parts minced (¼ cup), dark green parts reserved lemon cup dry white wine Salt oz. salmon illet (preferably wild
¼ 2 1
½ 2 1
Alaskan), skin and bones removed Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened small shallot, minced, rinsed, and dried Freshly ground black pepper lb. smoked salmon, cut into thin strips or small squares cup mayonnaise Tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard Tbsp. capers, rinsed, patted dry, and inely chopped tsp. honey Tbsp. minced dill Tbsp. minced cilantro Crackers or sliced baguette, for serving
1 Toss the dark scallion parts into a medium saucepan with a thin slice of lemon. Add the wine, ½ cup water, and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Add the salmon illet; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat; set aside (covered) for 10 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes or up to 1 day (cover if refrigerating overnight). Discard the cooking liquid. 2 In a medium bowl, beat the butter with a lexible spatula until spreadable. Add the grated zest of the lemon, the juice from half the lemon, the minced scallions, shallot, a pinch of salt, and 2 pinches black pepper; stir thoroughly. Stir in the smoked salmon.
Although I might make last-minute changes to the party, I hold some parts of the meal to be immutable—having lots of dessert is one of them. 3 In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, capers, honey, 1½ teaspoons lemon juice, and a pinch of black pepper; add to the smoked salmon mixture. Stir well to combine. 4 Remove the cooked salmon from the fridge and cut into bite-size pieces. Gently stir into the smoked salmon mixture, keeping the pieces as chunky as possible. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper, and lemon juice if needed. Fold in the chopped dill and cilantro. 5 Transfer the rillettes to a serving bowl or jar. Serve immediately, or preferably cover and refrigerate 6 hours or up to 3 days. Serve with sliced baguette or crackers.
Swedish Visiting Cake Bars MAKES 18; Photo P.107
Active: 25 min. • Total: 1 hr. This recipe, originally for a cake (not bars), was given to me by a Swedish friend who prized it for its lavor, and the fact that it could be made in minutes. I enjoyed it for years before discovering the pleasures of using the recipe to make bar cookies. The crisp, beautiful almond topping was a late and welcome addition as well. (Adapted from Dorie’s Cookies.) For the bars: 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more butter for greasing ¾ cup sugar ¼ tsp. ine sea salt or kosher salt 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1½ tsp. pure vanilla extract ¼ tsp. pure almond extract 1 cup all-purpose lour 1 1 4 S AV E U R . C O M
For the topping: 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting 3 large egg whites 1½ cups sliced almonds
1 Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°. Lightly butter a 9x9-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper. 2 Make the topping: Add the confectioners’ sugar and egg whites to a medium bowl. Mix with ingers or a fork until the sugar is moistened and lumpy. Stir in the almonds. Set aside. 3 Make the bars: In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, salt, and eggs until lightened in color and thickened slightly, 2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and almond extracts. Using a lexible spatula, gently stir in the lour until just incorporated. Fold in the melted butter until the batter is thick and shiny. 4 Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread in an even layer, illing the corners. 5 Stir the topping, then spread it evenly over the mixture using your ingers. 6 Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs stuck to it, and the topping is a pale golden brown, 28–32 minutes. 7 Transfer the pan to a cooling rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edges of the cake to release the sides, then turn it out onto the rack. Carefully peel away the parchment, then invert the cake again, using another rack, and let cool completely. 8 Transfer the cake to a cutting board and slice into 9 (3-inch) squares, then slice
each into two triangles. Fully cooled and then wrapped, the bars will keep at room temperature for 4–5 days.
stirring occasionally with a heatproof lexible spatula, until just melted (do not overheat).
Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops with Orange and Ginger
4 Remove the bowl and whisk in the sugar-zest mixture; it will be grainy. One by one, add the cold eggs, whisking energetically after adding each for 1–2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla, salt, and ginger mixture, which will be syrupy. Using a spatula, gently stir in the lour. Add the remaining chocolate, stirring to blend. Place plastic wrap directly against the surface of the dough and chill for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
MAKES ABOUT 20; Photo P.108
Active: 30 min. • Total: 3 hr. 45 min. (plus overnight resting) These drops were born of iddling with my favorite brownie recipe. A little more lour and chocolate, and a diferent way of baking, and presto chango, cookies. The orange and ginger are holiday add-ins. (Adapted from Dorie’s Cookies.) 2½ ¾
2 1 ½ ¾ ¼
tsp. minced fresh ginger cup plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar Finely grated zest of ½ orange (¼ tsp.) Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes oz. bittersweet chocolate, inely chopped large cold eggs tsp. pure vanilla extract tsp. ine sea salt or kosher salt cup all-purpose lour cup plus 2 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, for dredging
1 In a small bowl, combine the ginger and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, mixing with ingers to coat; set aside. 2 In a medium bowl, add the remaining ¾ cup sugar and the orange zest; mix well. 3 Fill a medium saucepan 1 inch high with water and set a medium heatproof bowl over the top (be sure the bowl does not touch the water). Add the butter and three-quarters of the chocolate to the bowl; cook,
5 Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°. If you’ve refrigerated the dough overnight, let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes. 6 Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Put the confectioners’ sugar in a bowl. 7 Using a medium cookie scoop (1½–2 tablespoons) or spoon, scoop out level balls of dough and briely shape into a ball using ingers (do not overwork or the cookies will not have craggly tops); drop into the bowl of confectioners’ sugar and toss to coat well. Transfer to the irst baking sheet. Repeat until you have 10 cookies, leaving at least 2 inches between the cookies. Cover and refrigerate the remaining dough. 8 Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the sheet, then bake again until the dough has spread and cracked, the sides look set, and the centers are a little soft, about 4 minutes more. 9 Remove and let cool 2 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough and the second baking sheet. Cookies are best eaten the day they are made.
Honey-and-Tea Jammers MAKES ABOUT 30
Active: 1 hr. • Total: 1 hr. 35 min. (plus chilling time) These are dream cookies…literally. They came to me in a dream in Paris, the city of sweets. The base is a French shortbread, or sablé, lavored with honey and loose tea. If you have 2-inch baking rings, you can make the cookies in the rings on lined baking sheets instead of using mufin tins. Build the cookies inside the rings, bake, then leave the rings in place for at least 20 minutes before lifting them of, rinsing and reusing. (Adapted from Dorie’s Cookies.) For the sablés and jam: ⅓ cup sugar 1 Tbsp. loose leaf green, black, or rose tea 9 Tbsp. (4½ oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing ½ tsp. ine sea salt or kosher salt 3 Tbsp. honey 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature 2 cups all-purpose lour ⅓ cup thick strawberry jam For the streusel: ¾ cup all-purpose lour 3 Tbsp. sugar 1 Tbsp. brown sugar ¼ tsp. cinnamon 1 ⁄4 tsp. ine sea salt 5½ Tbsp. (2¾ oz.) cold unsalted butter, inely diced ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Make the sablés: In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, rub together the sugar and tea until fragrant. Add the butter and salt, and using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until smooth, 3 minutes. Add the honey and vanilla and beat, scraping the bowl as needed, 2 minutes. Beat in the yolk on low speed. Turn of the motor, add the lour, then mix on low speed, scraping the bowl as needed, until just incorporated. 2 Divide the dough in two and shape each half into a disk.
Working one at a time, sandwich the disks between sheets of parchment and roll to ¼ inch thick. Slide the doughs and parchment paper onto a baking sheet (you can stack them) and freeze at least 1 hour or chill for 2 hours. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 months or refrigerated up to 2 days.) 3 Make the streusel: Meanwhile, in the clean bowl of the stand mixer, or by hand, whisk the lour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt briely to combine. Add the butter and toss to coat. Fit the bowl with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low until moist, clumpy crumbs form and streusel holds together when pinched, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle on the vanilla and mix until blended. Cover and chill at least 1 hour but preferably 4 hours. Streusel can be made and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or frozen up to 2 months (thaw in the refrigerator). 5 Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°. Grease 2 mufin tins (or use nonstick). Working with one piece of dough at a time, peel away both sheets of parchment paper and put the dough back on one sheet. Cut the dough using a 2-inch round cookie cutter and place the rounds in the mufin tin. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t yet completely ill the molds. 6 Place ½ tsp. jam in the center of each cookie. Sprinkle streusel around the edges (avoid covering the jam). 7 Bake, rotating the tins once, until the streusel is golden brown, 20–22 minutes (jam may be bubbly). Remove; let rest for 15 minutes before transfering cookies to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with any remaining dough, using cool tins. Cover and store at room temperature up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
Food styling by REBEKAH PEPPLER
The garden is all but abandoned in the mild
THE FRANTOIANA’S TABLE THE TRADITIONAL SOUP OF LUCCA’S OLIVE OIL MAKERS • By Micah Fredman
1 1 6 S AV E U R . C O M
and knives and traveled to find abuelas in Puebla, Chiapas, and Oaxaca, nonnas in Sicily and Napoli. On the recommendation of a Lucchese colleague I’d cooked with back home, I made my way to La Torre, a homey trattoria, where the role of family member and employee is confused daily. Betti’s nephews and cousins serve as waiters; her mother, Cesarina, washes linens one day and stuffs tordelli, Lucca’s signature pork-and-ParmigianoReggiano-stuffed ravioli, the next. The ghost of her father, once the chef of a Michelin two-star restaurant, looms about and persists in a sauce, a story, a soup. Betti and her partner, Chiara, adopt most chefs who pass through the kitchen. One day when I’m attending a party at La Torre, a local pokes her head into the kitchen, enquiring about me. “È nostra!” the dishwashing nonna warns. (He’s ours!)
winter months here at La Torre di Montecarlo, a small, beloved inn and trattoria outside of Lucca, Tuscany: overgrown black kale, white cabbage heads that have toppled over and begun to decompose, a cracked turnip surrendered to the worms. But we—me, the chef Elisabetta, who goes by Betti, and Didi, her hound-spaniel mutt—are here for the wild stuff, the native herbs and leaves that you might dismiss as weeds if you did not know better. They sprout up, uncultivated, along with the vegetables that Betti’s mother lays out in orderly rows each season. With a single stroke, Betti deftly cuts around the base of a cluster of borage leaves. She pulls several other species too, a mint with a strong peppery odor, another that appears to be a cousin of parsley. “There are other things growing down in the vineyard,” Betti tells me, unsatisfied with the garden’s offerings. “Are you sure you’re not too cold?” The thrill of the forager’s hunt is more than enough to keep me warm, so Didi and I follow Betti down the hill to gather more herbs for her favorite soup, zuppa alla frantoiana, before heading to the kitchen to start cooking. After five years working as a chef at New York restaurants like Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park, I found myself yearning to understand the roots of cuisine, not just their fine dining renditions. So I packed my backpack
Tuscany is known for its pasta and steak, its wild boar, its creamy cannellini beans, and of course its wine, but in these cold, rainy months, as I learn from Betti, zuppa alla frantoiana (olive oil maker’s soup) steals the show. The humble, traditional Lucchese soup is made in November, when that year’s crop of olives is pressed to make a highly prized mild oil. For centuries, the peasants would come to the frantoio, or oil mill, with this soup and bread in hand, their preferred means of tasting the golden green stuff. In Italy, soups in a similar vein—laden with soggy croutons, nurturing vegetables, creamy beans and lentils, everything sloshed with olive oil—pop up throughout the year, varying by season and regional ingredients: chickpeas in the southwest of Tuscany, favas in Sicily. There is one Lucchese soup that’s only made in the few weeks when the last of the winter artichokes cross paths with the first spring peas and asparagus. On the first of May, in Teramo, Abruzzo, nonnas fire up every burner on the stove to make le virtù, a pork, pulse, and vegetable stew that expresses the virtue of the cook who has the foresight to organize her winter pantry for one last hurrah at the dawn of each spring. The ingredient that connects them all? “Tanto amore,” as any nonna is quick to explain. The amore is palpable as we fire up the stove at La Torre. We cook the beans first, and while I stem the kale, Betti heats a few cups of olive oil that she flavors with sage and garlic, then mills together with the beans and a smear of tomato paste. The bean purée goes back onto the stove in a giant, worn cauldron, and Betti roughly chops the kale and cabbage, emphasizing speed and using nearly all of the cabbage core. Her ancient Tuscan techniques are breaking all the fine dining rules I’ve learned, and I’m loving it. “In this soup, it’s important that the vegetables have enough time to scompare,” Betti says, gesturing for the word with her hands, rubbing her fingers together then spreading them open as if transforming something into nothing: disappear. The winter vegetables will simmer for an hour, until they’ve reached the soughtafter mush level, at which time, just before the restaurant opens for service, we’re ready to sit down to family meal. We head to the table with toasted, garlicrubbed, olive oil–drenched bread and backup mini jugs of olive oil in hand. In this home of a restaurant, as far as I can tell, there’s no division between me, a total stranger, the grandma, the chef, and even the town drunk who has found his way to the table—tonight is La Torre’s turn in his weekly rotation of local trattorias. Everyone gets zuppa alla frantoiana. As we sit, Cesarina tells
me, with shaking voice and gestures, that over 30 years ago, her husband taught the cooks at Le Cirque how to make the soup in a demonstration that was covered by the New York Times. We pass the olive oil. It’s coziness and home in a bowl. I’m told it will be better tomorrow.
Zuppa alla Frantoiana (OLIVE OIL MAKER’S SOUP) SERVES 6–8
Active: 40 min. • Total: 3 hr. (plus soaking time) In this traditional Lucchese soup, vegetables and beans are slow-cooked until little to no bite remains, making it a rustic, comforting dish. Be sure to give any tougher vegetables all the time they need to scompare, or disappear. The quantities are ﬂexible, so use whatever you have on hand. 1 ½ 4 ½ ½
1 1 ½ 1
cup dried borlotti (cranberry) beans cup dried cannellini beans garlic cloves, 1 clove smashed small bunch sage cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling tsp. tomato paste bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (3 cups) small head white cabbage, leaves cut into large squares, core inely chopped (5¼ cups) large carrot, peeled and chopped into ½-inch cubes (½ cup) medium bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced celery stalk, chopped small yellow onion, chopped (½ cup) spring onion, thinly sliced (¼ cup) small leek, chopped and rinsed well (1 cup) medium kabocha or small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (2 cups)
small zucchini (½ lb.), sliced ¼ inch thick Herbs such as peppermint, lemon balm, salad burnet, tarassaco (a type of dandelion), and fennel fronds, roughly torn, for garnishing Crusty bread, for serving (optional)
1 In a large pot, add the beans and enough water just to cover (about 2½ cups). Let soak at least 1 hour or up to overnight. 2 The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Add 4 quarts fresh water, 3 garlic cloves, and half the sage to the pot; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a strong simmer and cook until beans are very soft but not yet falling apart, 1½ hours. Turn of the heat and let rest. (Beans can be cooked up to 1 day ahead.) 3 In a small pot, add the smashed garlic and the oil. Cook over low heat, turning occasionally, until the garlic is softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining sage and the tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until darkened slightly, 4 minutes. Turn of the heat. Remove the sage, let cool slightly, and inely chop. Return to the pot. 4 Mill or mash the beans if desired, or leave whole. Transfer the tomato mixture to the pot with the beans. Bring to a boil and season with salt to taste. Stir in the kale, then return to a boil. Stir in the cabbage and bring to a simmer; let cook 10 minutes, then add the carrot and fennel. Let cook 4 minutes, then add the celery. Cook 2 minutes, then add the onions, leek, squash, and zucchini; simmer 30 minutes. Stir in the herbs and turn of the heat. Serve with crusty bread if desired.
Nicolas Palazzi seeks the spirit behind the worldâ€™s rarest spirits.
Importer Nicolas Palazzi collects exceptional
cognacs and handmade eaux-de-vie—but his greatest finds are the families and stories behind them
• By LESLIE PARISEAU
Photographs by MICHELLE HEIMERMAN
icolas Palazzi and Alexander Rainer are walking in the cloud-shrouded Tyrolean Alps, somewhere above Innsbruck, Austria. The sun is setting; the cool air, scented with moss and barnyard. Cowbells ring, ﬂies buzz lazily about. Rainer, the co-owner of a schnaps distillery called Rochelt, is exuberant. Classically Austrian with bright blue-green eyes and cleanly cut blond hair, he makes conversation about hiking and the region’s best sausage (rostbratwurst, leberkäse) and cheese (Tiroler Alpkäse). Palazzi, a Bordeaux-born and New York– based spirits importer, is serious, broad shouldered, solid like the boxer he once was. His company, PM Spirits (Paul-Marie Spirits, named for his father), specializes in discovering, importing, and distributing small-scale, handmade spirits. In an era when so many spirits are conceptualized as brands and traded like commodities, Palazzi’s method of face-to-face reconnaissance is unusual. He approaches producers with the scrutiny and meticulous inquisitiveness of an art appraiser. “It has to be real,” he says of the liquid itself. “I have to feel excited about it— and the people behind it.” Beyond novelty, he always asks, Is this a bottle worth acquiring? Are its creators invested in their work? Palazzi is always searching for the spirit behind a spirit. When they reach the top of the range, Rainer and Palazzi trade sips of Mirabelle plum schnaps from a forest-green glass pocket ﬂask. The yellow walnut-size fruit are sourced, Rainer says, from Weinviertel, a region in eastern Austria known for its grüner veltliner. He’s bottled them “only in years when the fruit is exceptional”—2004, 2005, and a 2006 that will become a 10-year-old vintage. It’s bright, soft, and tart—the exact ﬂavor of a wild, sour plum. In a country where amateur distilling is common, Rochelt’s spirits are to homemade schnaps as ﬁrst-growth bordeaux is to table wine. Rochelt was founded in 1989 by Rainer’s father-in-law, Gunter Rochelt, who was set on perfecting the Tyrolean tradition of distilling eau-de-vie. When Gunter passed away in 2009, Rainer inherited the business along with his wife, Annia, and her two sisters, Julia and Teresa Rochelt. Their spirits are made in extremely limited quantities from
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diicult-to-source fruits like wild Carpathian raspberries, Styrian Gravenstein apples, and Burgenländer gewürztraminer grapes. Bottled in elaborate, striated green glass pincer bottles (a traditional Austrian design in which the middle is pinched together) and topped with silver stoppers designed by Otto Jakob, a German jeweler whose works are highly collectible, Rochelt’s spirits are expensive (up to $450 for a 375-ml bottle) and have never legally been brought into the United States. The pair reach a mountain hut where they sit to eat brown bread and landjäger sausage with grainy mustard. On a typi-
Clockwise from left: Innsbruck’s picturesque medieval Altstadt, or Old Town; eau-de-vie aging in a glass balloon at the Rochelt distillery, a process that imparts no lavor or color to the inal product; Helga Wiener, a Rochelt employee, cooking apple streudel in the distillery’s kitchen; muskattraube, or muscat grape, eau-de-vie.
Palazzi’s patient scouting— celebrating the unsung and obscure, the handmade and peculiar—is as rare as the spirits he seeks.
cal sourcing trip, Palazzi spends most of his time in dusty basements or cellars with dirt floors. “I usually meet people from the land who are digging holes or repairing tractors,” he says. He works most often in France and laments that producers in Cognac are famously tight-lipped, especially in older, family-run operations. Rainer, by contrast, is happy to share the secrets of the family business; he’s proud of their precision, their devotion to tradition, and the legacy they sustain. This is what Palazzi is looking for: a passion for beautiful materials over replicable merchandise. Hunting spirits, 121
Palazzi often finds himself discovering families—a pair of brothers in Calvados, a fourth-generation cognac maker, a second-generation distiller of biodynamic eau-de-vie— whose work he heard about by word of mouth. (Rochelt came to him through a request from Gabriel Kreuther, an Alsatian restaurant in New York City.) Beyond an eye for quality, Palazzi’s chief talent is having the diligence to gain the trust of people whose businesses were never built to be marketed. This kind of patient scouting—celebrating the unsung NAVARRE Grande Fine Champagne Cognac and obscure, the handmade and and Pineau des Charentes peculiar—is as rare as the spirits A fourth-generation cognac maker, he seeks. When he ﬁrst encounJacky Navarre makes his spirits ters a new producer, he thinks as in a way most producers have forgotten. Hand-harvested grapes much about the people behind it are distilled on the lees and put into as the product itself. a barrel until they proof naturally to “The stuf in the glass needs 45 percent ABV, a process that takes 40 to 50 years—yes, half a century. to be pure,” Palazzi says. “And $70–$215; astorwines.com the people behind it need to be truthful.” In the case of Rochelt, CAZOTTES Eau-de-vie he knew the spirits were worth and liqueurs in Tarn, France Laurent Cazottes inherited pursuing the moment he had a the knowledge of spirit making from sample. “I tasted it, and everyhis father, a traveling distiller. In thing was there.” He just needed pursuit of purity, Laurent pioneered the idea of growing and distilling to meet its makers.
A FEW OF PALAZZI’S RARE FINDS
he nex t day, R a iner and Palazzi sit on the distillery’s terrace, sipping through a series of schnaps. They’ve come to apricot, a Rochelt touchstone. “This one is riper, more vibrant,” Palazzi says, burrowing his nose into a tiny, handmade eau-devie glass. “This one is tighter, restrained. The ’08 is good, but the ’09 is better.” Rainer nods as if Palazzi has just passed some sort of test. Inside the distillery, apricot mash is added to a gleaming copper still. The room smells of baked fruit. “We get these apricots from Wachau, where they’re harvested on the banks of the Danube,” says Rainer. It’s unusual to source fruit this way—grower by grower, region
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his own biodynamic produce, including wild quince, sour cherry, prunelart grapes (a heritage grape from Southwest France), and greengage plums. $50–$90; astorwines.com NAVAZOS-PALAZZI Sherry-cask aged spirits in Jerez A collaboration between Palazzi himself and famed sherry purveyor Equipo Navazos, these singlecask spirits—including Caribbean rum and Spanish whiskey and brandy—are aged in some of the best cellars in all of Andalucía. $100–$110; astorwines.com FRANK CORNELISSEN Grappa from Etna, Sicily Winemaker Frank Cornelissen believes deeply in making wines ultranaturally—no crop manipulation, gentle bottling, no sulfur. The result? Funky, terroir-driven releases beloved in the natural wine community. These labels—Rosso del Contadino and MunJebel Rosso— are made using the same excellent grapes as Cornelissen’s prized wines. $50–$75; astorwines.com
In a country where amateur distilling is common, Rochelt’s spirits are to homemade schnaps as first-growth bordeaux is to table wine.
by region, year by year. In fact, Rainer’s process is much like making wine, choosing particular fruits from speciﬁc parcels of land in superlative years. “Ripeness matters,” he says. “Where it comes from matters.” He gets red Williams pears and morello cherries from Austria, wild rowanberry from Finland, forest raspberries from Armenia, and oranges from Sicily, among others. He experiments often with new fruits, new growers, and new combinations. And some years he’ll reject fruit that he doesn’t feel will make perfect spirits. This year, the apricots have shown very well. “Does anything else go in the mash?” Palazzi asks, peering into the porthole of the copper still. “Just the fruit,” says Rainer. “Follow me.” Up a ﬂight of stairs and into an attic room ﬁlled with soft light refracted through large glass balloons ﬁlled with vintage eau-de-vie, organized into neat rows, each one’s neck covered only with a small piece of linen. It’s oddly intimate and still, like walking through a museum storeroom ﬁlled with works waiting to be framed. Rochelt is singular for many reasons, but most notably for its spirits’ long resting periods. All of its schnaps are aged in these shimmering vessels, some for 12 years or more. This long period of dormancy allows the schnaps to evaporate, concentrate, and meld together in a way that couldn’t be achieved if they were cut with water right away and bottled, which is how most spirits that don’t see the inside of a barrel are made. In one corner Rainer keeps reserve bottles that will remain at their natural proof. Where many resting rooms are heady with evaporating alcohol, thick with dust, and stacked with sleeping barrels, this room smells only of fruit—brambly berries, perfumed pears, foxy grapes. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Palazzi says, wandering through the illuminated glass balloons, sniing at the linen caps, taking notes. “We lose 2,000 liters a year to the angels,” says Rainer. “But the angels have been good to us.”
Palazzi (left) and Rainer enjoying lunch on the patio at the distillery, which feels more like an intimate family home than a commercial business.
MY FATHER’S CHOWDER THE SOUP THAT BECAME A FAMILY LEGEND• By Shane Mitchell
My father, James Edisto Mitchell, painted the sea. His most compelling canvases were the abstract ones, nothing but water and light, capturing in oils an offshore vortex that only blue ocean mariners witness. He served in the merchant marine during WWII, insisted his five children tie a proper bowline, and, in his later years, intimidated younger competitors who lacked the same sharp eye for wind shifts during sailboat races in Narragansett Bay. Dad was also what I call a performance cook, usurping my mother in the kitchen when hungry shipmates or fellow artists showed up, preparing certain closely guarded recipes (onion soup, spaghetti sauce, and shrimp stew among them) with a No. 12 cast-iron skillet, stockpot, and knives no one else was permitted to touch. “Jesus H. Christ,” he would say, emphasis on the H. “Don’t ever clean my damned frying pan with soap.” Fish chowder was one of his set pieces. Dad called his version the Ultimate Newportby-Way-of-Charleston–New Orleans–New York–Paris Better-than-Sex (Almost) Mitchell Fish Chowder. It spoke volumes about his wide appetites. A companion recipe was titled the Slightly Better than Escoffier White Wine Fish Stock. He also picked up a few tricks from his buddy Percy Goodale, a former naval cook and restaurateur, who’d won chowder contests, probably thanks to liberal splashes of Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry. (Sea cooks like their grog.) Dad never wanted help cooking and he wasn’t generous about sharing techniques. He expected me and my siblings to figure things out on our own, whether it was sailing, drawing, or cooking. 1 2 4 S AV E U R . C O M
Thicker than fog blanketing Newport Harbor on a winter night, his chowder took all day to prepare, and tasted best after simmering on the back burner for another full day. Dad made stock with cod frames bought directly off the dock from Grand Banks trawlers, and charmed our local fishmonger Anthony T. Bucolo out of extra haddock or cod fillets, depending on when they landed in his shop on Waite’s Wharf. The result was rich with cream, butter, potatoes, onions, and white wine, topped with lardons. A tongue-scalding bowlful, more stew than soup, could thwart the chill of misty New England nights. A first edition of Melville’s Moby Dick illustrated by Rockwell Kent was one of the treasured books my father kept in his studio; when cooking, he often cited the chapter titled “Chowder” in
which Ishmael and Queequeg dine on Mrs. Hosea Hussey’s version at the Try Pots in Nantucket: “Chowder for breakfast, and chowder for dinner, and chowder for supper, till you began to look for fish-bones coming through your clothes.” When Dad died, we set his ashes adrift on Narragansett Bay. We recited Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar” and poured a full bottle of Mount Gay rum on the waves. A proper sailor’s send-off. I inherited his prized skillet, Moby Dick, and a hand-typed copy of the chowder recipe. Before that, however, we had a profound conversation about creativity. Throughout his career he was fiercely protective of artistic rights, whether on canvas or in a stockpot, and, more mentor than parent to the end, made me swear to guard mine as well. Like the process for making chowder, it was a legacy he conveyed obliquely. I didn’t understand at the time, but this promise would have a significant impact on my own desire for expression. That’s why I will never publish the full recipe. I wouldn’t be the Old Man’s daughter without respecting his wishes. While my relationship with him was often as stormy as the sea he painted, we always found calm over steaming bowls of this chowder. Recently, a cousin sent me a letter Dad wrote in 1979 referencing “wild dinner parties” where his chowder fed “assorted loonies roaming in and out” of his house above the harbor. “As with all things good,” he wrote, “the best things lie in the mind of the creator, and with those who experience that creation in that moment of time. This goes for things of art as with recipes.”
Still life with soup: Though the author’s father mostly painted seascapes, his own sturdy Ultimate Newport-by-Way-of-Charleston–New Orleans–New York– Paris Better-than-Sex (Almost) Mitchell Fish Chowder occasionally moved him to artistic expression. Painting by James Edisto Mitchell. 125
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Photographs by Matt Taylor-Gross
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Breakfast in the Conflict Zone Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar, December 3, 2014
nder cover of night, two soldiers in a beat-up black SUV collected me from a border town in southwest China and smuggled me into Myanmar’s Kachin State, a half hour’s drive away. I’d come as a photojournalist to document the civil conflict there—the primarily Christian state has asserted its autonomy from the largely Buddhist nation for more than 50 years—after contacting the P.R. representative for Kachin’s Independence Army (yes, the army has a P.R. team). I wanted to begin my trip photographing scenes in Myitkyina, the state capital, but the army had other plans. My escorts dropped me off at an office building, where I was kept under watch for a week, only allowed outside after dark, and only then in a hat and sunglasses. A week later, near Christmastime, I was driven to Myitkyina.
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I’d been able to spend some time capturing scenes of the revolt at the front lines near the border, but had no idea what to expect when we arrived in the capital at daybreak. In front of one of the city’s Christian chapels, I came upon a huge congregation of churchgoers, and the tension I’d felt before vanished. A handful of Kachin nuns were preparing a hot breakfast for anyone who was hungry, pulling freshly cooked noodles from giant cauldrons and using scissors to cut them into individual portions. On top went a thick, flavorful meat sauce, packed with garlic and chiles. We all stood around the church, savoring the scent and flavor of the hot noodles steaming in the chilly December air. After days of hiding away, of living in a precarious position in this precarious place, I’d stumbled upon an unforgettable moment of warmth and welcome.
DIANA MARKOSIAN / MAGNUM
Story and photograph by DI A NA M A R KOSI A N
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