Rather than resting on their three-Michelin-starred laurels, Chef Daniel Humm and general manager Will Guidara decided to present the best of what local food producers offer at Eleven Madison Park. I Love New York includes nearly 150 recipes -- for the home cook -- listed by outstanding ingredient and the producer who grows or raises it best in the New York City vicinity. At the bottom of the interview are two recipes perfect for summer.
Louise McCready Hart: After decades celebrating French and then Italian cuisine, chefs are now hyperlocal. Both this book and EMP's menu since September of last year focus on NYC and its immediate vicinity, both in terms of actual ingredients and featured recipes and dishes. When exactly did you decide you wanted to turn to New York cuisine and farmers?
Daniel Humm: Will and I were in Paris about two years ago, and we were reflecting on how so many of the greatest restaurants that we had been to throughout the world have such a strong sense of place -- they are anchored by the place in which they're located. Yet the best restaurants in New York have such a strong sense of place elsewhere -- in Tokyo, in Lyon, in Paris. So we began to explore our own backyard, finding a richness not only in New York's food culture but also in its agriculture. We decided then that we would embrace that, that we would anchor ourselves here in New York.
LMH: Why and when did you decide to structure the book by ingredient, and thus supplier, followed by recipes?
DH: In visiting so many farms around New York to look for the best possible ingredients for the restaurant, I quickly realized that I wanted to write a book that focused on the people that grow and raise these incredible ingredients. And I wanted to use one of their standout products as a way to tell their stories. The recipes are meant to further highlight how you can cook locally and seasonally by just focusing on the best ingredients you can get your hands on.
LMH: This book is intentionally more "user-friendly" than other restaurant sponsored cookbooks and you even invite readers to submit questions. Do you have any favorite questions that readers have sent to firstname.lastname@example.org?
DH: Most recently, we got an email from someone saying "I love the book, but what about rhubarb?" It highlighted the point for me that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of what this region has to offer.
LMH: Can guests at EMP expect any more changes of the same magnitude as last year's menu overhaul to the restaurant this year?
DH: For the time being, we're enjoying this new perspective. It was a big change for us and we are still settling into it, although we're constantly tweaking and editing.
Ham and Egg Sandwich
8 slices rye bread, 1/4 inch thick
1 pound sliced Consider Bardwell Farm Rupert cheese
(An aged raw cow's milk cheese made in the style
1 pound thinly sliced smoked ham
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Build each sandwich by starting with a piece of bread, followed by cheese, ham and then more cheese. Using a 21/4-inch round cutter, punch a hole through the layers of ham and cheese and the bottom piece of bread; remove the circle of ham, cheese, and bread. Top with an unpunched slice of bread. Spread butter on both sides of the sandwiches. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat (use two skillets if necessary to hold all four sandwiches). Place the sandwiches, hole-side down, in the skillet, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until golden brown, three to four minutes. Flip the sandwiches and crack the eggs into the holes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the egg is cooked and the cheese is melted, 10 to 12 minutes.
Fresh Goat's Milk Curd with Summer Berries and Beets
Roasted Baby Beets
7 baby beets
2 cups olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rinse the beets and place them in a small baking dish. In a bowl, combine the oil with the vinegar, sugar, and two cups of water. Season with salt. Pour the mixture over the beets and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and roast the beets until tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Peel the beets. Leave four of them whole and quarter the remaining three.
Fresh Goat's Milk Curd
4 cups goat's milk
2 cups cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and cream and bring to 183°F over medium heat. Season with salt to taste. Add the lemon juice and allow the temperature to climb to 190° to 195°F. It will take 15 to 20 minutes for the curds to develop. Gently stir the mixture with a spatula until the curds
separate from the whey. Remove from the heat and carefully drain the curds in a colander lined with a quadruple layer of cheesecloth. Set over a large bowl and drain overnight. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate.
1 baby beet
Cracked black pepper
Shave the baby beet on a mandoline into 1⁄16-inch slices. Spoon fresh goat's milk curd into the middle of each of four plates. Gently toss the shaved beet, raspberries, blackberries, red currants, whole and quartered roasted baby beets, and strawberries with olive oil and salt to taste. Arrange around the curd along with the flowering mint. Finish with additional olive oil and pepper.