chef-love

WHAT CHEFS COOK AT HOME

The dishes they prepare for their loved ones

It’s hard to believe that after days toiling away in professional kitchens, chefs are enticed to come home and cook for their loved ones. But, the idiom goes that the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, so five chefs shared with Furthermore the simple-yet-impressive, no-recipe-required meals they make to show their love for friends and family. Feel free to customize these dishes as you prepare them—they’re meant to be improvised according to seasonality and preferences.
 
The Dish: Chickpea Pancakes with Shaved Vegetable Salad and Garlic-Lemon Mayo

The Chef: Abra Berens, chef at Granor Farm in Three Oaks, Michigan, author of forthcoming Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables (April 2019) 
When her husband (a musician traveling with bands Wild Belle and In Tall Buildings) comes home from tour, Berens looks to prepare something fresh, fiber-forward, and brimming with vegetables. “This chickpea pancake has become his coming-home comfort food,” she says.

Make It: Whisk together one cup chickpea flour, ¾ cup club soda or seltzer, and a big pinch of salt. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the pancakes to desired crispiness. You can make them as large or small as you prefer. Serve with a shaved vegetable salad of red cabbage, radicchio, cooked or raw cauliflower, and fresh herbs dressed with olive oil or chili oil. For the mayo, combine two crushed cloves of garlic, the juice and zest of one lemon, and a half cup of mayonnaise and dollop over the pancakes. 

The Dish: Egg and Greens Breakfast Burrito

The Chef: Michael Scelfo, chef/owner at Alden & Harlow, Waypoint, and The Longfellow Bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts
We’ve been big on starting the day healthy at my house, so I’ve been finding fun ways to jazz up breakfast for [my wife and three kids],” says Scelfo. “I enjoy that [this burrito] takes me back to growing up on the West Coast, where Mexican food was available on just about every corner.” 

Make It: In a flax-based or sprouted grain wrap, add fillings of choice: scrambled farm eggs, sturdy leafy greens (like collards), cooked quinoa or potato, and any leftover vegetables. Roll up and top with fresh cilantro, avocado, Greek yogurt, and hot sauce. 
 
The Dish: Eggplant Parmesan

The Chef: Mindy Segal, James Beard Foundation award-winner and owner of HotChocolate Restaurant and Bakery in Chicago 
“I am known to make the best eggplant Parmesan,” says Segal, who serves this dish during family dinner parties. It also makes a great gift: “I’m a big collector of vintage Pyrex and CorningWare, so I’ll cook my eggplant Parm in one of these dishes and give it as a gift,” she says.

Make It: Slice eggplant(s) thinly, lay out on a rack, and salt generously (to remove moisture). In a pot over medium heat, cook whole tomatoes down with olive oil, chopped or minced garlic, and chopped onions, then run through a food mill (or pulse in a food processor) until smooth. Return sauce to pot on the stove and cook down more, adding tomato paste for richness and fresh herbs like basil and oregano for flavor. Meanwhile, pat eggplant slices dry, dredge in flour, and sauté over medium-high heat in a pan with olive oil until golden. Lastly, ladle some sauce into dish, place eggplant slices on top, and add more sauce, followed by smoked mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees F until eggplant is tender and mozzarella is bubbling, about 30 to 45 minutes.  
 
The Dish: Roast Chicken With Spiced Root Vegetables and Squash Purée

The Chef: Nina Compton, James Beard Foundation award-winner, chef at Compère Lapin in New Orleans
Compton created this dish for her husband (and business partner) Larry. “He loves a good home-cooked roasted chicken, and the root veggies are perfect during this time of year,” she says. They share this meal as a way to unwind on a rare day off.

Make It: Season a whole chicken with salt, pepper, and olive oil, then roast in the oven at 350 degrees F with some sprigs of rosemary. This should take about an hour, depending on the size of the bird. While the chicken cooks, toss chopped root vegetables (like sweet potato, butternut squash, and baby turnips) in olive oil and season with mix of cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, cloves, and black pepper. Transfer to a sheet pan and roast vegetables in oven, alongside chicken, until golden brown. For the squash purée: Peel and dice a whole butternut squash and sauté with olive oil in a large pan for five minutes. Add julienned shallots and a sprig of thyme, and caramelize for another eight minutes. Then add some vegetable stock or water to cover the squash, and cook until tender. Purée in a blender, adding olive oil, until smooth. When everything is cooked, reheat the purée and spoon onto the center of a plate. Place veggies on top and serve with chicken.
 
The Dish: Red Wine Risotto

The Chef: Hugo Bolanos, chef at Wolfgang Puck in Los Angeles
“I should make this more often, but I leave it to Valentine’s Day to really blow my wife away once a year,” explains Bolanos. Making risotto with red wine (versus the traditional white) gives it a holiday-themed hue. He tops the risotto with French black truffles, but the dish is delicious and decadent on its own.

Make It: In a large pot over medium heat, sauté diced onion in olive oil (don’t let it brown). Add 1 cup Arborio rice and stir to toast in the oil and onions. When the rice begins to look transparent, add a few tablespoons of red wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is completely absorbed by the rice. Then, add chicken stock in small amounts, stirring constantly, until rice is cooked to desired doneness, about 15 minutes. Before serving, top with grated Parmesan and season with black pepper as desired.

Photo: Getty Images