NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From Gabrielle Hamilton, bestselling author of Blood, Bones & Butter, comes her eagerly anticipated cookbook debut filled with signature recipes from her celebrated New York City restaurant Prune.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE SEASON BY
Time · O: The Oprah Magazine · Bon Appétit · Eater
A self-trained cook turned James Beard Award–winning chef, Gabrielle Hamilton opened Prune on New York’s Lower East Side fifteen years ago to great acclaim and lines down the block, both of which continue today. A deeply personal and gracious restaurant, in both menu and philosophy, Prune uses the elements of home cooking and elevates them in unexpected ways. The result is delicious food that satisfies on many levels.
Highly original in concept, execution, look, and feel, the Prune cookbook is an inspired replica of the restaurant’s kitchen binders. It is written to Gabrielle’s cooks in her distinctive voice, with as much instruction, encouragement, information, and scolding as you would find if you actually came to work at Prune as a line cook. The recipes have been tried, tasted, and tested dozens if not hundreds of times. Intended for the home cook as well as the kitchen professional, the instructions offer a range of signals for cooks—a head’s up on when you have gone too far, things to watch out for that could trip you up, suggestions on how to traverse certain uncomfortable parts of the journey to ultimately help get you to the final destination, an amazing dish.
Complete with more than with more than 250 recipes and 250 color photographs, home cooks will find Prune’s most requested recipes—Grilled Head-on Shrimp with Anchovy Butter, Bread Heels and Pan Drippings Salad, Tongue and Octopus with Salsa Verde and Mimosa’d Egg, Roasted Capon on Garlic Crouton, Prune’s famous Bloody Mary (and all 10 variations). Plus, among other items, a chapter entitled “Garbage”—smart ways to repurpose foods that might have hit the garbage or stockpot in other restaurant kitchens but are turned into appetizing bites and notions at Prune.
Featured here are the recipes, approach, philosophy, evolution, and nuances that make them distinctively Prune’s. Unconventional and honest, in both tone and content, this book is a welcome expression of the cookbook as we know it.
Praise for Prune
“Fresh, fascinating . . . entirely pleasurable . . . Since 1999, when the chef Gabrielle Hamilton put Triscuits and canned sardines on the first menu of her East Village bistro, Prune, she has nonchalantly broken countless rules of the food world. The rule that a successful restaurant must breed an empire. The rule that chefs who happen to be women should unconditionally support one another. The rule that great chefs don’t make great writers (with her memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter). And now, the rule that restaurant food has to be simplified and prettied up for home cooks in order to produce a useful, irresistible cookbook. . . . [Prune] is the closest thing to the bulging loose-leaf binder, stuck in a corner of almost every restaurant kitchen, ever to be printed and bound between cloth covers. (These happen to be a beautiful deep, dark magenta.)”—The New York Times
“One of the most brilliantly minimalist cookbooks in recent memory . . . at once conveys the thrill of restaurant cooking and the wisdom of the author, while making for a charged reading experience.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village and the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. She received an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Bon Appétit, Saveur, House Beautiful, and Food & Wine. She has also authored the 8-week Chef column in The New York Times, and her work has been anthologized in eight volumes of Best Food Writing. She has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show and the Food Network, among other TV and she has won a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef NYC. She currently lives in Manhattan with her two sons.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Canned Sardines with Triscuits, Dijon Mustard, and Cornichons
1 can sardines in oil
1 dollop Dijon mustard
small handful cornichons
small handful Triscuit crackers
1 parsley branch
Only Ruby brand—boneless and skinless in oil— from Morocco.
Buckle the can after you open it to make it easier to lift the sardines out of the oil without breaking them.
Stack the sardines on the plate the same way they looked in the can—more or less. Don’t crisscross or zigzag or otherwise make “restauranty.”
Commit to the full stem of parsley, not just the leaf. Chewing the stems freshens the breath.
Radishes with Sweet Butter and Kosher Salt
red globe or French breakfast radishes, well washed to remove any sand, but left whole with a few stems intact
unsalted butter, waxy and cool but not cold
There is nothing to this, but still . . . I have seen it go out looking less than stellar—and that’s embarrassing considering it’s been on the menu since we opened and is kind of “signature,” if Prune had such a thing as signature dishes.
Keep the radishes fresh with ice and clean kitchen towels.
Cull out any overgrown, cottony, spongy radishes; keep your butter at the perfect temperature; and be graceful on the plate, please.
Garrotxa with Buttered Brown Bread and Salted Red Onion
peeled red onion, halved and thinly sliced into ribbons
unsalted butter, cool but softened for spreading Garrotxa from Spain
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Liberally salt the red onion and toss with your fingers to break up the ribs. Let sit 10 minutes to weep out some of their bite.
Spread bread with a generous amount of butter, wall to wall. Cut bread in triangles and arrange on plate.
Lay slices of cheese next to bread.
Heap a generous tangle of salted onion on the plate.
Drizzle whole thing—cheese, buttered bread, and onion—with EVOO just before selling. Be light-handed with the oil—3 fats on one plate makes sense here but it’s about flavor and texture, not about ostentatious macho eating. Keep it accurate.
One grind black pepper and branch of thyme to finish
Marinated White Anchovies with Shaved Celery and Marcona Almonds
1 scant cup thinly sliced, sweet, tender inner branches of celery, leaves left whole
1 short dozen marinated white anchovies
¼ cup Marcona almonds
good drizzle extra virgin olive oil
brief squeeze lemon juice
few grinds black pepper
big pinch parsley leaves, mixed into celery and celery leaves
8 eggs, still cold from the fridge
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
∂ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
flat-leaf Italian parsley
Bring large pot of water to a boil.
Pierce the eggs at the tip with a pushpin to prevent exploding.
Arrange eggs in the basket of the spider and gently lower them into the boiling water. This way they won’t crack from free-falling to the bottom of the pot when you are adding them.
Let boil 10 minutes, including the minutes it takes for water to return to boil after adding the cold eggs.
Moving quickly, retrieve 1 egg and crack it all the way open, in half, to see what you have inside. (If center has any rareness larger than a dime, continue cooking half a minute.)
If thoroughly cooked, drain eggs, rough them around in the dry pot to crackle their shells all over, then quickly turn them out into a frigid ice bath to stop the cooking. It helps with the cooling and the peeling to let the ice water permeate the cracked shells.
Peel the eggs.
Cut the eggs in half neatly and retrieve the cooked yolk from each. Place the hollow, cooked whites into a container with plenty of cold fresh water and let them soak to remove any cooked yolk from their cavities.
Blend yolks in food processor with mustard and mayonnaise. Make sure the bite of the Dijon can make itself felt through the muffle of the rich egg yolk and the neutralizing mayonnaise.
Scrape all the egg mixture from the processor bowl into a disposable pastry bag fitted with a ∑-inch closed star tip, but do not snip the closed tip of the bag until you are ready to pipe. Fit the pastry bag into a clean empty quart container like you might put a new garbage liner into the bin—folding the excess over the lip of the quart—to make this easier on you.
If you don’t already know, you can stick your middle finger up into the punt of the processor bowl while scraping out the contents with the spatula, to hold the messy, sharp blade in place.
Remove cooked egg whites from the cold water and lay, cavity side down, on a few stacked sheets of paper towel to allow them to drain. Don’t serve the deviled eggs wet, please.
When well drained, turn over eggs to reveal cavities and pipe the mixture in, more like a chrysanthemum than a soft-serve ice cream cone, please. Place on plate and finish with finely sliced parsley.
Make sure that the whites are not frigidly cold from the refrigerator—allow the whites and the yolk mixture to shake off the intense chill of the lowboy. The whites get rubbery and hard and the devil mix has a congealed mouth-feel if you serve them too cold. Please take care.
When there is more filling than egg white—use it to thicken the vinaigrette for poached leeks, as a condiment on family ham sandwiches, or stirred into the warm buttered lima beans on the veg plate.
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