New York City's restaurant scene moves at a breakneck speed, a fact not unnoticed by Joan Krellenstein and Barbara Winkler, who recently published New York Cooks: 100 Recipes from the City's Best Chefs
. In the introduction the authors acknowledge that by the time the book would hit stores earlier this month, a few of its featured chefs will have moved on, some leading other kitchens, others traveling in search of inspiration. It's a realistic admission that rings with greater solemnity in light of the recent spate of restaurant closings we've seen in this industry that often seems unstoppable. It's also what makes this cookbook feel so special: Krellenstein and Winkler have given us a time capsule that captures the enduring spirit, resolve, and creativity of our city's chefs—proof that New York cooks have what it takes to bounce back.
They've given us some of their very tasty recipes, too. Organized by cuisine—Classic American, Urban Country, Italian, and more—the recipes will thrill both the professional and the accomplished home cook. While some of the dishes are made with fine products and involve advanced technique, they often suggest shortcuts for when you're short on time and will. The authors also include a series of interviews called “On the Side”, which feature chefs’ thoughts about underrated ingredients and the best kitchen gadgets. With its lovely food photography and intimate portraits, New York Cooks
is an inspiring addition to any collection.
Out of all the book's recipes, Winkler has a particular fondness for the gravy meatball sliders from Joey Campanaro of the Little Owl. Check out the recipe below (and come back tomorrow to see the authors' favorite restaurants in New York City!).
Gravy Meatball Sliders
The Little Owl, NYC
Yield: 12 appetizer servings
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 large eggs
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped and divided
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups vegetable oil for frying meatballs
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
1 bunch fresh basil
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 can (96-ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
1 bunch arugula
Mix the ground meats with the cheese, the panko, 2 cups cold water, the eggs, three-fourths of the chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
Form the mixture into 36 golf-ball-size meatballs. In a large, shallow saucepot or cast-iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil.
When hot, add the meatballs and cook until browned all over. With a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs and set aside.
Discard the vegetable oil but leave the browned bits of meat in the pan and heat the olive oil. Add the onion, the garlic, the basil, and fennel seed. Cook for 5-8 minutes until slightly brown.
Add the can of tomatoes and half a can of water. Cook the sauce over medium heat for 30 minutes; pass the sauce through a food mill and return to the pan. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Either buy or make 36 small garlic buns. Cut buns in half and toast, cut sides up, in oven. Top the meatballs with the remaining Pecorino and remaining parsley. Place a few arugula leaves on the bottom half of the bun, place the meatball on top with a bit of sauce; add the top of bun, using a skewer or toothpick to hold it in place. Repeat until all buns are assembled; serve 3 per portion.