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Jewish Chefs Highlighted in New Philadelphia Cookbook

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
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Sampan's beef lettuce cups with tomato salad are featured in a new cookbook. Photo from the book by Jason Varney, reprinted with permission.

In the world of food, it is an exciting time to be living in Philadelphia. Between mutiple James Beard Award winners and a locally-based Iron Chef, it's safe to say that we’ve long outgrown our "cheesesteak" status.

So, it’s fitting that our recent accomplishments be documented in a bound cookbook: Philadelphia Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the City of Brotherly Love by April White.

White describes what's happening in our city today as a "restaurant renaissance." 

"One of the things that is fueling this renaissance is the collaboration between the city's chefs," she told me in an email. "There's less of a sense of cutthroat competition in Philadelphia than there is in other cities' restaurants scenes. Instead, chefs here are working together, learning from each other and building on each other's successes." 

The book is separated into courses like a menu. An intimate introduction about each chef and restaurant is paired with a recipe and gorgeous food photography by local talent Jason Varney. But what I find most interesting is the number of Jewish chefs and restaurant owners. The list is quite impressive:

Marc Vetri’s Amis, Vetri and Osteria
Michael Shulson’s Sampan
Michael Solomonov’s Percy Street Barbecue and Zahav
Mitch Prensky’s Supper
David and Sam Mink’s Oyster House
Jonathan Adam’s (formerly) Pub & Kitchen 
Peter Woosley's Bistrot La Minette
Lance Silverman’s Sabrina’s Cafe
Ellen Mogell’s Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat
Rob Wasserman’s Rouge
Stephen Starr's Alma de Cuba, Parc, Buddakan, Talula's Garden, El Rey, The Dandelion and Franklin Fountain
 
"I don’t think there has ever been a more exciting, more vibrant time to be a chef in Philadelphia," Shulson says, "and I’ve been cooking here for over a decade! Philadelphia Chef’s Table is a book that records a special time in a special place, and I’m proud to be a part of it."
 
In honor of the book, published in September, Shulson shared one of his recipes:

Beef Lettuce Cups with Tomato Salad
by Michael Shulson
 
“When I cook Asian food, I don’t want to do what Chinatown does. I think, ‘What is a Michael Schulson take on this?’ ” the Sampan chef-owner says. “I ask, ‘What do people think of when they think of a lettuce cup?’ Then I deconstruct it. It doesn’t look like the lettuce cup you would expect.”

Ingredients
 
1/4 cup sake or dry white wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup grape seed oil
12 ounces skirt or flank steak
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 Thai red or jalapeño chile, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 basil leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chiffonade
1/2 cup bean sprouts, chopped
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and white pepper, as needed
1 head Bibb or iceberg lettuce, leaves cut into 2-inch circles
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions

In a large bowl, combine sake or white wine, soy sauce, and grape seed oil. Marinate steak in mixture, refrigerated, for 1 hour.

Light grill or preheat broiler. Remove steak from marinade. (Discard marinade.) Grill or broil steak for 7 minutes on each side (medium rare) to 12 minutes per side (well done). Allow meat to rest for 5 minutes. Slice beef into 1-inch cubes, slicing across the grain.

In a bowl, combine onion, tomato, chile, garlic, basil, cilantro and bean sprouts. Toss with vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and white pepper.

Place lettuce rounds on a serving plate. Top each with salad and a piece of meat. Garnish with peanuts.
 
Serves 4

While you may not master each dish, with Philadelphia Chef’s Table you have the recipes to chefs’ successes, your favorite dishes from our city’s best restaurants.

Be Inspired,

Stephanie
The Bubbi Project

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