One of NYC’s most philanthropically dedicated and talented chefs tells us what he’s loving right now.
Executive Chef Ben Pollinger’s unique cooking style artfully blends the freshest seafood with the finest ingredients from a global pantry. His seasonal cooking received critical acclaim in 2008 when The New York Times’ Frank Bruni awarded his restaurant, Oceana, three stars calling, Pollinger’s cooking an "exhilarating voyage.” Pollinger has maintained Oceana’s Michelin star four consecutive years and received outstanding reviews from The New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo and Crain’s Gael Greene. Pollinger generously donates his time to various charitable organizations, such as City Harvest, Share Our Strength, Autism Speaks, and the James Beard Foundation. He also serves on the Curriculum Advisory Committee at the French Culinary Institute and as an adviser to the Alaskan Seafood Marketing Institute, and the Gohan Society. Chef Pollinger will be participating in the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program’s Annual Benefit on February 16 at Chelsea Piers. The event funds scholarships and programs for disadvantaged youth. To learn more about CCAP visit their website www.ccapinc.org.
Exotic ingredients, exciting flavors— this exquisite dish has it all and is sure to impress.
Sautéed shad roe with sauerkraut and bacon vinaigrette. Shad roe is such a fleeting seasonal delicacy, so rich and full of flavor. It takes well to the smokiness of bacon, which I turn into a vinaigrette and brighten with pickled mustard seeds. I serve it with sweet-and-sour sauerkraut, its natural sharpness mellowed with apple cider. I top it off with an herb salad for fragrance.
Shad Roe with Sauerkraut and Bacon-Mustard Vinaigrette
Sauerkraut: 1 quart sauerkraut, lightly rinsed 1 cup mirepoix diced small ½ cup apple, diced small 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 cup apple cider 1 tbs minced chives
Bacon Mustard Vinaigrette: 3/4 cup very small dice bacon, rendered ¼ cup pickled mustard seed 2 tbs plain mashed potato ½ cup hot chicken stock ¼ cup white wine vinegar ½ cup EVOO salt pepper
For the roe: Season roe. Dredge in flour. Sauté on medium heat in canola oil.
For the sauerkraut: Sweat mirepoix in canola oil until cooked. Sweat garlic briefly. Sweat apple briefly. Add kraut and cook over burner until heated through. Add cider, return to boil. Cover with foil and cook in oven at 350° for 25 minutes. Cool and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Fold in chives.
For the vinaigrette: Mix all ingredients together. Finish with a salad of frisee, chives, parsley, tarragon and chervil lightly dressed with the vinaigrette.
When your next cavatelli craving hits, check out this cozy joint for a real dose of delicious Italian.
Spigolo. A great Italian spot on the Upper East Side of Manhattan run by chef/owner Scott Fratangelo. Scott cooks up really great flavorful food in a warm environment.
The fairytale of cookbooks will transport you to another world, and will transform your cooking.
La Riviera d’Alain Ducasse. It is his first cookbook; a real beauty. It’s the cuisine from Le Louis XV in Monte-Carlo, and of life on the Riviera. It really made an impression on me when I found it in the library in cooking school, though it’s only in French. I said, “Wow, I need to cook there"—then just over a year later the opportunity to do so dropped in my lap. It was like a storybook fantasy come true.
Not your average cuisine or for the conservative, Iceland will open your taste buds up to a whole new world… if you’re up for the challenge.
Reykjavik, Iceland. It has such a disproportionately large number of great, interesting restaurants for such a small city. Very progressive. Must-try's: Dill, Nautholl, and The Grill. There are great young chefs who have recently had the world opened to them applying great new global ideas to their traditional Nordic cooking. In general the seafood is pristine, the butter amazing, the lamb so tasty. You can also get the real authentic foods that the Vikings ate 1,000 years ago–seriously. It’s amazing to see them and try them in a cultural context—puffin, putrefied shark, horse, various meats preserved in sour whey. These are not for shock value; this is what you ate when you lived on a volcanic rock in the middle of the North Atlantic before modern times. Try Saegraefinn for these.