I love playing the game “If I could live anywhere where would it be?” France gets batted around an awful lot, or sometimes sunny California, or bustling Barcelona, but really at the end of the day my heart resides in Brooklyn. I lived there for almost two decades and fell in love with the old Brownstone neighborhoods, the evening walks along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and the old school mom and pop shops that are from another time. I have been thinking a lot about those shops lately and worrying about their future post pandemic.
I certainly hope that the old world nostalgia of Brooklyn’s Court Street with its Italian delis, butcher shops, and cannoli bakeries survives as a reminder of simpler times in the city. Even after living in NYC for two decades, the rough around the edges authenticity never lost its charm. I loved walking into Staubitz Market with James knowing that they would remember his affinity for lollipops. Or Caputo’s to gather an assortment of those crumbly Italian butter cookies that all seem taste the same. Then there is Court Street Grocer’s sandwich counter… I pine for the Vegetalian or Ollie sandwich on the regular.
The 4/5 train to Brooklyn feels a little far away at the moment, so here are a couple of recipes that will make you feel like you are tasting real deal OG Italian deli goodness…
Nancy’s Chopped Salad
THE salad from Chef Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza in LA. This tastes like the vinegary crunch that you would find piled into a sub. This recipe makes a ton of salad, so find a friend or 6 to share.
Dried oregano (preferably Sicilian oregano on the branch), for sprinkling
For the dressing: Whisk together all ingredients except the olive oil, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then whisk in the oil in a steady stream. This recipe makes enough dressing for at least two of these salads, so save some for later!
For the salad:
Thinly slice the red onion and place in a small bowl of ice water; this will take some of the bite out. Right before tossing the salad drain the onions and pat dry a bit. Thinly slice the iceberg lettuce, discarding the outer leaves and the core. Repeat with the radicchio in the same way. Cut the tomatoes in half, and season lightly with salt.
Combine the lettuce, raddichio, tomatoes, chickpeas, provolone, salami, peperoncini, and onion in a large, wide bowl. Drizzle 6 Tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the salad, then sprinkle with the lemon juice; toss gently to coat the salad evenly. Taste, and add remaining 2 Tablespoons of the vinaigrette, plus salt or lemon juice as needed! Mangia!
Few things say “New York!” like a black and white cookie. I found this recipe in Gourmet back in 2005 and made them for Christmas treats. I have been getting repeat requests for these bite size versions of the big cookies ever since.
Shana just launched The Heirloomist for Kids! She will take any item dear to your child’s heart and preserve it for posterity. Take a look at how fun these images are… I love the combination of her pop art style with the loved sentimental treasures.
I hope you all find a nice cool stoop this week. Brownstone or not.
Older newsletters live HERE.