Chef Nancy Silverton perfectly pairs charity and cuisine. Her heart for making a positive difference is authentic and always delicious. Recently, I had the delightful honor of interviewing this James Beard Outstanding Chef of 2014 while she was in Chicago for a Macy’s Culinary Council event. Chef Nancy’s cooking demo featured recipes from her new cookbook, Mozza at Home. How fitting that Macy’s and Chef Nancy Silverton helped grant the wish of a Make-A-Wish Foundation member whose dream was to cook alongside her.
Chef Nancy Silverton’s accolades and accomplishments are vast. She is founder of La Brea Bakery, an award-winning chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author. In her latest cookbook Mozza at Home, Chef Nancy shares recipes that are served room temperature thus empowering the home chef to spend more time at the table. The simplicity of Chef Nancy Silverton’s ingredients maximizes the complexity of flavors. I will forever pair broccolini with burrata. Thank you, Chef Nancy Silverton for expanding my palate with your delicious recipes!
Here are three tips for the home chef from Chef Nancy Silverton:
- To char your vegetables, spread them on a baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil on the vegetables and put the baking sheet on the floor of the oven at 500 degrees. This caramelization brings out all the flavor and color. Be careful removing the baking sheet since this process will create a steam bot.
- A key to plating a salad for a large party is to layer the ingredients in so that when people take a spoonful, they get exactly what they need.
- Host a potluck dinner and assign a dish from Chef Nancy Silverton’s new cookbook for each person to bring.
Charred Broccolini with Salami and Burrata (Recipe compliments of Chef Nancy Silverton)
2 bunches broccolini (or broccoli rabe or broccoli di ciccio; about 1 pound
2 tablespoons canola oil (or another neutral-flavored oil)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 ounces hard salmi (such as Fra’ Mani Toscana salami), sliced 1/16 inch thick (15 to 18 slices)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Scallion Vinaigrette
4 ounces burrata
Adjust the oven racks so none are near the oven floor; you’ll be putting the baking sheet directly on the oven floor. If you are using an electric oven or another oven whereto can’t put anything on the floor, adjust the oven racks so that one is closest to the floor and put a pizza stone on it, if you have one. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees
Trim and discard the dry stem ends of the broccolini; do this one at a time as each stalk will need to be trimmed at a different place. Put the broccolini on a large baking sheet, drizzle with the canola oil, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and toss to coat the broccolini. Spread the broccolini out onto a baking sheet, put the baking sheet on the floor of the oven or the lowest rack, and roast until the broccolini is slightly charred and the stems are tender (the best test of broccolini for doneness is to bite into one), 10 to 12 minutes, shaking the baking sheet and rotating it from front to back halfway through the cooking time so the broccolini browns evenly. When cooking vegetables on the oven floor, a lot of steam is produced from the water released as a result of the vegetables cooking so quickly, so just be careful of the steam that will arise when you open the oven door. Remove the baking sheet form the oven and set it aside for the broccolini to cool to room temperature.
If you are using salami 1 1/4 inches or less in diameter, cut the slices in half to form half-moons If you are using a larger salami, cut the rounds into quarters.
Put the salami in a large bowl. Add the broccolini and toss so the two are tangled together. Whisk the vinaigrette to recombine the ingredients and drizzle 3/4 cup of the scallion vinaigrette over the broccolini and salami. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss gently and massage the vinaigrette into the broccolini to make sure all the florets are coated.
To serve, scatter one-third of the broccolini and salami in a medium round bowl. Using a spoon to break it apart, spoon the burrito in random bite-size clumps over the broccolini. Scatter more broccolini and salami onto the platter, making sure the first layer of burrata is still visible, and continue layering the broccolini-salami and the burrata clumps until you’ve used all of both. Use a spoon to drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon vinaigrette over the burrata clumps and serve with tongs. Serves 6-8
1/2 pound scallions (about 3 bunches)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon red chile flakes, ground in a spice grinder or use mortar and a pestle
Trim and discard the root ends and any wilted greens from the scallions. Finely chop the scallions and put them in a bowl. Add the vinegar, salt, and ground red chile flakes. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Serve or refrigerate the vinaigrette, covered, for up to 1 day; any longer and the color of the scallions will fade. Bring the vinaigrette to room temperature before serving. Makes about 2 cups
Click here to purchase a copy of Chef Nancy Silverton’s new cookbook!
Savor the day!