These days, it seems like every kid graduating from culinary school has a turnip tattoo and a farm-to-table business plan. But Chef Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar& Grill has been building his menus out of Greenmarket bounty since before many of these fresh young cooks were born.
And whether or not you wear whites, you’ll want to cook from Greenmarket to Gotham, his sweet new paperback recipe journal of just 36 recipes showcasing summer produce, the kind of stuff farmers are picking right now.
“I have been walking through the Union Square Greenmarket for decades—at times with a vision in mind, sometimes in search of inspiration,” writes Chef Portale in the journal. “The farmers feel like my extended family as we have grown—personally and professionally—alongside one another.”
The cookbook—er, journal’s—recipes are curated from Chef Portale’s annual summer vegetarian prix fixe menus ($28 for two courses, $34 with a Greenmarket dessert) with proceeds donated to GrowNYC’s educational initiatives. The recipes are organized not by season (in these pages, it’s all summer) but by farm: each of the 12 chapters is a three-course meal that celebrates one producer, from Keith’s Farm Corn Soup to Migliorelli Orchards’ apricot tart.
I want to make all 36 of these recipes tonight, but I think I’ll start with this one:
White Peach Salad, French Breakfast Radish, Green and Yellow Wax Beans, Shaved Baby Fennel, Mizuna, Pistachio Nuts, and Lime Vinaigrette
Chef Portle writes: As the end of summer approaches, peaches are in their prime—maddeningly determined to ripen all at once. Our sole objective was to highlight the fleeting fruits while we could. We added complexity with fennel, wax beans, and a little spice from both radishes and peppery, pretty mizuna lettuce.
4 large ripe white peaches (or nectarines, apricots, or plums)
12 oz green and yellow wax beans
1 bunch baby fennel, approximately 6 bulbs, some delicate fronds reserved
1 bunch French breakfast radish, delicate tops reserved
1/2 pint mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup pistachio nuts, toasted
2 large basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
2 tbsp finely minced chives
1 small shallot, finely minced
4 cups loosely packed mizuna greens (or baby arugula)
Lime vinaigrette (see below)
Freshly ground black pepper
Remove pits from peaches, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges, and set aside. Cook beans in boiling salted water until tender, approximately 2 to 3 minutes, then plunge into ice water. Drain, cut into 1-inch pieces, and reserve.
Using a Japanese-style mandoline, thinly slice the fennel into a bowl of ice water. Using the same mandolin, thinly slice the radishes.
In a bowl, add the peaches, tomatoes, pistachios, beans, basil, chives, and half of the shallots and toss together. In another bowl, add the greens, radish, and remaining shallots and dress with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Arrange on a chilled serving platter and garnish with shaved fennel, fennel fronds, and toasted pistachios.
For Lime Vinaigrette
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.
Wine pairing: Crémant d’Alsace “Brut” Jean-Baptiste Adam (p blan, auxerroir, p noir-1614) Ammerschwihr, France NV
GREENMARKET TO GOTHAM Recipe Journal: 36 Farm Produce Recipes By Chef Alfred Portale (June 21, 2013; $22.00; Haute Life Press) is available for purchase at Gotham Bar & Grill and at shop.gothambarandgrill.com.