Okay, as a New Yorker you probably “get” food. You digest menus thoroughly; you tip deliverymen nicely; and when it comes to a cleanse, you follow the instructions for consuming almond milk, chlorophyll, and turmeric…usually. When you're responsible for a meal from beginning to end, though, perhaps your copy of Joy of Cooking (with an inscription from your mother about, like, “being an adult” and “feeding yourself”) isn't exactly getting as much use as say, Seamless Web. But don't worry your hungry little heads, we're happy to bring you four-minute recipes from those four-star cuisiniers whose tables are worth the wait: Daniel Boulud of Café Boulud, Mario Batali of Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Jean-Georges. These masters have offered up some simple dishes even we can try. Flip through the recipes for some delicious cocktails, mussels, and fritters—you may not get a Michelin star the first time around, but, please, skip that plastic cutlery.
Check out some super-easy, four-minute recipes from NYC's most famous four-star chefs!
Photo: Courtesy of Angie Mosier
Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, 110 Waverly Place (between 6th Avenue and Washington Square West); 212-777-0303.
In the Veneto region of Italy, fritters are served with wine as a snack. Inspired by this, Mario Batali suggests his Spring Onion Frittelle for entertaining family and friends since, he says, “The Spring Onion Frittelle tastes great, and makes your home smell amazing.” And, the chef says, “The best part is that you can use seasonal herbs and veggies,I love to use radicchio and Asiago in the fall.”
What should the beginner cook remember? That Seltzer water will make the fritters less dense than flat water, and to allow the fritters to fry without a lot of movement—“Let the pan do the work for you!” Batali advises.
Spring Onion Frittelle
Serves 6 as an antipasto
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup cold seltzer water
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste
4 bunches spring onions or scallions sliced to yield three cups
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the eggs, flour, baking powder, water, cheese and a pinch each of salt and pepper and whisk well to combine.
2. In 12-14 inch nonstick or cast iron pan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Stir the spring onions into the batter.
3. Drop by tablespoonfuls into the hot pan to make 2 inch pancakes. Cook until golden brown on the first side then flip to brown on the other side.
4. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set on a plate lined with paper towels, to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.
Photo: Courtesy of Quentin Bacon
Café Boulud, 20 East 76th Street (at Madison Avenue); 212-772-2600.
Daniel Boulud offers a White Cosmopolitan from Xavier Hent, bartender at Daniel. “It’s a favorite [recipe],” says the chef. “It’s warm and delicate but also immensely satisfying.”
Versions of the gougères recipe, an interpretation of a French classic, have been served at Daniel and Bar Boulud—they are the perfect amuse-bouches with any drink.
2 oz Stolichnaya vodka
1 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
¾ oz white cranberry juice
½ oz lime juice
1 orchid ice ball
1. In a shaker, combine liquid ingredients with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a carafe.
2. Place orchid ice ball in a martini glass. When ready to serve, pour contents of carafe over ice ball.
"This drink gave new life to the old Cosmopolitan, and it has become a classic at Daniel," says the chef, "The orchid frozen in a floating ice ball is one of my favorite seduction techniques."
For more from chef and bartender, purchase Daniel Boulud Cocktails and Amuse-Bouches for Her and for Him (Assouline).
Photo: Courtesy of The Dinex Group
Jean Georges, 1 Central Park West (between West 60th and West 61st streets); 212-299-3900.
This Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Avocado dish is very seasonal—“It highlights a specific time and place: New York in fall,” says Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Roasted Brussels sprouts and pecans, sure, but avocado? “The recipe uses contrast and opposite flavors and textures to achieve a dynamic harmony,” says the chef, referencing the “unctuousness” of the avocado.
Served by Vongerichten as a side, the dish may also be served alone. (And by “alone,” of course, we mean with a bottle of wine.) This festively inventive recipe will inspire questions about your culinary arts degree. Just explain that you borrowed Jean-Georges’.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pecans and Avocado
3 tbs olive oil
2 c brussel sprouts, trimmed, blanched, shocked, cut in half
1 tsp thyme leaves
¼ c pecan halves, toasted
1 ripe avocado, peeled, medium dice
Salt and black pepper
Aged balsamic vinegar
1. Heat a sauté pan with olive oil until smoking and add brussel sprouts.
2. Season with salt and pepper and cook until crispy and deep golden brown. Add thyme, then pecans and avocado and toss gently to warm.
3. Spoon into a serving dish and drizzle with balsamic.
Photo: Courtesy of Jean-Georges Management
Le Bernardin, 155 West 51st Street (between 6th and 7th avenues); 212-554-1515.
Eric Ripert’s Mussels with Tomato and Saffron is a riff on his seafood fricassee, served at Le Bernardin since the ’80s! Intimidated? Don’t be. “Mussels are great for beginners. They’re so easy,” says the chef. “You know they are cooked properly when they open by themselves, so there’s no way to fail.”
What’s his secret? “I believe good food is always based on using quality ingredients prepared using the correct technique.” Ripert says.
Mussels with Tomato and Saffron
4 pounds mussels
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ cup peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes
½ cup white wine
1 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
4 tablespoons soft butter
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Scrub the mussels well under cold running water, discarding any broken shells. Trim off the “beard” from the mussels.
2. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat with olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Add the mussels, tomatoes, white wine, saffron and parsley; toss to combine. Add the butter, cover the pot and cook the mussels until they are all open, about 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve in bowls with crusty bread on the side.
Photo: Courtesy of Angie Mosier