EMILY: The Cookbook | Random House Group (2024)


EMILY: The Cookbook

Chapter 1

Small Plates

To start your meal at EMILY, we offer a rotating selection of dishes that will set the stage for the food to come. Knowing that the main courses will no doubt be indulgent, we keep these small plates on the lighter side, and mostly vegetable-driven. We like to offer highly seasonal vegetables when we can to highlight offerings from local purveyors such as Myers Produce or small, emerging greenhouses like Farm One. From our experience eating at lots of pizza restaurants over the years, salads and small plates often feel overlooked or play second-fiddle to the pizza; we prefer to make our best versions of these items to shine just as brightly as everything else on our menu. To help accomplish this, we use unexpected ingredients and flavors, with a bent towards Matt’s affinity for Asian cuisine. And even though some pizza restaurants also have chicken wings on their menu, we wager that they are nothing like our customer favorite, Nguyen’s Hot Wings, cloaked in a sticky spicy sauce.

Marinated Olives with Lemon and Fennel

Makes 8 servings

Olives, lemons, and garlic have grown side-by-side for centuries in the Mediterranean region, so it is no surprise that they go so well together. It’s worth making a large batch, as they keep for a couple weeks in the fridge. While this method works with other varieties, the Castelvetrano variety, with their mild flavor and plump flesh, is our absolute favorite out of a wide range of olive options.

2/3 cup (165 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed

2/3 cup (165 ml) canola oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed under a knife and peeled

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

3 strips lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long

3 strips lime zest, removed with a vegetable peeler, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long

1 pound (455 g) Castelvetrano olives

1. Warm the olive oil, canola oil, garlic, fennel seeds, peppercorns, bay leaf, lemon zest, and lime zest in a small saucepan over very low heat until tiny bubbles appear around the garlic and zest strips, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Pour the olives into a large bowl, add the contents of the saucepan, and mix well.

2. Transfer the mixture to a container with a lid. If the oil does not cover the olives, add more olive oil as needed. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. To serve, use a slotted spoon to transfer the olives and any clinging ingredients to a serving bowl. Let stand for about 30 minutes, and serve at room temperature. (The olives can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.)

Shish*to Peppers with Sichuan Oil and Pecorino

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Part of the fun of eating shisto peppers is that only one out of ten is really spicy. This phenomenon occurs because the peppers facing the sun while growing turn out to be the spiciest. We play up the heat with a drizzle of our brick-red Sichuan oil and then balance it with the salty sharpness of pecorino Romano cheese and a splash of fish sauce. Cook these outside on the grill for a bit of smoky flavor, or just roast them in a hot oven for similar results.

8 ounces (225 g) shish*to peppers

2 teaspoons canola oil

2 teaspoons Sichuan Oil (page 208)

2 teaspoons Vietnamese fish sauce, preferably Three Crabs (see below)

Pecorino Romano in a chunk, for grating

Special equipment: Large handful of oak or maple wood chips

1. Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect grilling over high heat (500ºF/260ºC). Sprinkle the dry wood chips over the coals of a charcoal grill or into the smoker box of a gas grill. (Or position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 500ºF/260ºC.)

2. Toss the peppers with the canola oil and spread in a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. When the wood starts smoking, add the skillet to the cooler area of the grill and close the lid. (Or place the skillet in the oven.) Cook, without turning, until the peppers are lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes.

3. Remove the skillet from the grill (or oven). Drizzle the Sichuan oil and fish sauce over the peppers. Grate a shower of Romano over the peppers to lightly cover them (about 2 tablespoons), and serve immediately, directly from the skillet.

Fish sauce It would be almost impossible to make Southeast Asian food without fish sauce. Called nuoc mam in Vietnam and nam pla in Thailand, there are also Japanese, Korean, and Indonesian versions. Interestingly, while fish sauce tends to be associated with Asian cuisine, it has been traditionally used in Roman cooking as well; Matt finds it indispensable in most of our pasta dishes, where it works in tandem with tomatoes and cheese to deliver its umami punch. Our favorite is the Viet Huong brand; we also like the Three Crabs variety. Look for the three crustaceans on the label.

Smoky Carrots with Beluga Lentils and Tahini Dressing

Makes 6 servings

With bold contrasting colors of orange carrots and black lentils, this dish works well as an appetizer, on a buffet table, or even at a picnic, where it is delicious at ambient temperature. It’s best with organic carrots, preferably from the farmer’s market, perhaps with a mixture of orange, yellow, and purple rainbow carrots. We love beluga lentils because they offer an al dente texture compared to other lentils and a subtle bed of flavor to the smokiness of the carrots. Like all of our oven-roasted dishes, this one can be cooked on the grill or in the oven.

Tahini Dressing

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 or 2 cloves Garlic Confit (page 215), mashed with a fork into a purée

11/2 tablespoons water, as needed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup (110 g) beluga (also called black or caviar) lentils, sorted for debris, rinsed, and drained

Kosher salt

12 thin carrots with tops (about 1 lb/455 g)

Extra-virgin olive oil

Ground sumac (see page 6), for serving

Fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Special equipment: Large handful of oak or maple wood chips

1. To make the dressing: Whisk the tahini, lemon juice, and garlic confit in a small bowl. Whisk in enough water to make a thick but pourable dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.

2. Put the lentils in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm). Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the lentils at a steady simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 30 minutes. During the last few minutes, add 1 teaspoon salt. Drain well and set the lentils aside.

3. Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect grilling over high heat (500ºF/260ºC). (Or position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 500ºF/260ºC.)

4. Trim and discard the carrot greens, leaving a nub of stems at the top of each. Toss the carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet (or, for grilling, in a shallow disposable aluminum foil pan).

5. Sprinkle the dry wood chips over the coals of a charcoal grill or into the smoker box of a gas grill. Roast the carrots over indirect heat on the grill, with the lid closed, or in the oven, until they are barely tender when pierced with the tip of a small knife, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If you wish, cool the carrots to room temperature.

6. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the lentil mixture among individual single-serving skillets or shallow salad bowls. Arrange the carrots on top and add a dollop of the tahini to each. Sprinkle with the sumac and add another splash of olive oil. Finish each with a mint sprig. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Oki Roasted Broccoli

Makes 4 to 6 servings

This simple roasted broccoli benefits from a punch of flavorful Japanese accents. The amounts for this recipe are loose—we’re really talking about drizzles, and handfuls instead of precise amounts. Use the measurements for garnishes as guidelines, keeping in mind that you’re going for harmony and not one overriding flavor. The oki approach works with other roasted vegetables, too, so feel free to swap something else for the broccoli—we serve roasted delicata squash in this preparation during fall.

12 ounces (340 g) broccoli florets, each about 1 inch across

2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil (see sidebar)

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons Kewpie mayonnaise (see Box), in its squeeze bottle

1 tablespoon okonomiyaki sauce (see Box), in its squeeze bottle

1 teaspoon ground green seaweed (aonori; see Box)

2 heaping tablespoons bonito flakes (see Box)

Special equipment: Large handful of apple or cherry wood chips soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

1. Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect grilling over high heat (500ºF/260ºC). Sprinkle the dry wood chips over the coals of a charcoal grill or into the smoker box of a gas grill. (Or position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 500ºF/260ºC.)

2. Toss the broccoli with the sesame oil in a large ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron. Spread the broccoli out in the skillet and grill (or roast) until the broccoli is lightly browned and crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Season the broccoli lightly with salt.

3. Remove the skillet from the grill (or oven). Squeeze zigzags of the mayonnaise and Okonomiyaki sauce over the broccoli. Sprinkle with the seaweed, followed by the bonito. Serve immediately, as the bonito flakes will twist and turn from the radiated heat, which is part of the fun of eating this dish.

About Japanese Ingredients

At EMILY, we use a plethora of Japanese ingredients. Here are some of our favorites, for which the recipes in this book often call.

Toasted sesame oil is dark and has the distinct aroma of toasted sesame seeds. Avoid the pale yellow domestic sesame oil (usually labeled as expeller-pressed), as it doesn’t have the desired nutty taste.

Okonomiyaki sauce is thick and glossy, with a variety of fruits and vegetables to give it a sweet note. It’s named for okonomiyaki, a kind of savory pancake that can be filled with just about anything. In fact, okonomi translates to “your favorite things” and yaki means “grill.” The traditional toppings are squiggles of this sauce (which may remind you of a combination of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup) and Kewpie mayonnaise (see below).

Aonori is neon-green seaweed that has been ground into tiny flakes. It is used as a seasoning sprinkled over food.

Bonito flakes (also called katsuobushi) are tissue-thin slices of fermented and dried skipjack tuna with an intense marine flavor. They are usually steeped in hot water to make dashi, a classic Japanese broth (but not for our version on page 18). We like to sprinkle the flakes on top of hot foods, where the flakes look like they are coming alive, twisting and turning from the heat waves rising from the food. When purchasing, be sure to choose the larger flakes in large bags and not the smaller packaged ones that used to make “instant” dashi.

Kewpie mayonnaise is a Japanese brand that is creamier and tangier than American mayo, and it is flavored with both malt and rice wine vinegars. You’ll find it at Asian markets in a distinctive clear plastic squeeze bottle with a red flip top.

Kombu is thick, somewhat leathery seaweed that is used to make dashi, the basic cooking stock in Japanese cuisine. It comes in flat sheets that are sometimes dried into crumpled ropes. The powdery white coating on the surface of the kombu is glutamate, which gives the seaweed its special flavor. Do not rinse or wipe off the powder, regardless of conflicting advice in old Japanese cookbooks. (In the past, the seaweed could have dirt or sand clinging to it, but that rarely happens now.) To judge the amount of kombu you’ll need, weigh it on a kitchen scale, or use the weight on the package as an estimate. A little more or less won’t make much difference.

Dried shiitake mushrooms are used in both Japanese and Chinese cooking. Simmering them in liquid releases their earthy flavor. Use the entire mushroom; don’t worry about removing the stems.

Panko is Japanese-style bread crumbs with a crisper, crunchier texture than its American or Italian counterparts. No longer considered a specialty ingredient, panko is sold at supermarkets along with other kinds of bread crumbs.

Seared Brussels Sprouts with Apple and Black Sesame Seeds

Makes 4 servings

Brussels sprouts have gone from being an underappreciated vegetable to everyone’s favorite in recent years. Searing these earthy little cabbages enhances their natural sweetness, which we pair with apple cubes. A splash of fish sauce and a sprinkle of Romano knits the flavors together.

10 ounces (280 g) Brussels sprouts

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 sweet apple, such as Honeycrisp, unpeeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice

1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce, preferably Three Crabs (see page 7)

2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino Romano

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, preferably black, for serving

1. Trim the sprout bottoms and cut the sprouts in half lengthwise. Cut larger sprouts in quarters, or they will take too long to cook. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the oil in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a medium, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat until the pan is very hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, flat sides down, and cook until the undersides are seared, about 3 minutes. Flip them over, cover the skillet, and continue cooking until the sprouts are crisp-tender and charred in spots, about 3 minutes more. (If the sprouts are too hard, remove the skillet from the heat and let stand for a couple of minutes more, covered.) Stir in the apple and fish sauce and remove from the heat. Sprinkle with the Romano, followed by the sesame seeds, and serve immediately, right from the skillet.

Sugar Snap Peas with Bottarga and Lemon

Makes 4 servings

This super-simple starter illustrates our premise that fine ingredients don’t need much preparation to turn them into a memorable dish. We take fresh, sweet sugar snap peas and top them with salty golden bottarga and a dusting of sharp Romano.

8 ounces (225 g) sugar snap peas

1/2 ounce (15 g) bottarga, as needed (see below)

1/2 ounce (15 g) pecorino Romano, from a chunk, as needed

1. Set up a bowl of ice water. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the sugar snap peas and cook just until they are crisp-tender and have turned a slightly brighter shade of green, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Transfer the drained peas to the ice water and let cool completely, about 5 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels.

EMILY: The Cookbook | 	Random House Group (2024)
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