Chelsea Market Cookbook, Our Cookbook of the Week
Publishers love to send us cookbooks here at Fork in the Road, and often those books come straight from the chefs at some of New York's best restaurants. So we decided to share the love, and each week, we'll feature a new book, a recipe, and a few thoughts on cooking from the authors. Check back every Tuesday for a new book.
All images courtesy Stewart, Tabori & Chang.
Chelsea Market Cookbook
By Michael Phillips with Rick Rodgers, 223 pages, Stewart Tabori & Chang, $29.95
Few culinary destinations inspire such awe and ire as the Chelsea Market (75 Ninth Avenue), a labyrinthine web of shops and storefronts on the edge of one of New York's most storied food neighborhoods. But in the 21st century, most of the meatpacking in its namesake district involves clubby bridge-and-tunnelers, sodden with drink, perhaps preceded by dinner at one of the area's celebrity-cheffed mega food halls or an afternoon shopping high-end retail. The market, in all its overwhelming glory, offers a tasty respite from these tawdry temptations.
In the 1990s, food startups started trickling into the sprawling brick block between 14th and 16th Streets near the Hudson. Formerly home to the National Biscuit Company (later: Nabisco), the building offered food-friendly spaces and a place to commune over a shared sense of purpose--early tenants like Manhattan Fruit, Bowery Kitchen, and Amy's Bread were at once making a living and building a modern food industry from the ashes of one bygone years before. In 2003, Jamestown Properties developed the remaining spaces into a full-fledged food-lovers' paradise. Now, it's an ideal stopover for a quick meal; a place to restock your kitchen with fresh-baked breads, fish, and fine meats; or a destination for wine and snacks for an evening passed al fresco on the High Line.
Fork chatted with Jamestown COO Michael Phillips on food-industry movers and shakers, dandelion greens, and Long Island Corn.
What is the oldest recipe in this book and where did it come from?
It's hard to tell which recipe is the oldest, but our longest standing tenants include Sarabeth's Bakery, Amy's Bread, Chelsea Thai, The Green Table, and The Lobster Place, so definitely one of those. I personally love Mary Cleaver's (The Green Table) butternut squash potato gratin, especially during the fall.
If you could give one piece of cooking advice to the world, what would it be and why?
It's important to cook what you love to eat; let your palate guide your ingredients choice.
Doing so helps you gain confidence as a chef and enhance your skills.
What cook(s), living or dead, do you most admire and why?
Some of the cooks that I most admire are James Beard, Julia Child, and Jacques Pépin. They were part of a great generation of chefs that moved food forward in America.
What's your go-to seasonal ingredient right now, and what do you love about it?
Late-season Long Island corn. I love how versatile it is and that you can grill it, steam it, add it to frittatas or even baked breads. Also, I love Maldon sea salt for all seasons. It's the perfect way to finish almost any dish.
Name one unusual/unexpected/unique recipe from the book.
We have a lot of unique side dishes in this cookbook, and one of the most unusual is Orienne Cosentino's dandelion sauté with onion and fennel. It's a great seasonal dish that really can surprise guests, especially when you add some crisped pancetta.
Click to the next page for a favored fall recipe.