As the fighting continues overseas, gathering around the table with family and friends at home can bring comfort, and if you’re searching for what to make for that special gathering, Tyler Florence, host of the Food Network’s “Food 911,” can help. He’s written his first cookbook “Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen,” and he discusses the book and some of the recipes on “Today.” Sample some of his favorites below.
BRAISED RED SNAPPER WITH GRANDMA-STYLE ZUCCHINI, PEPPERS, AND BLACK OLIVESTyler Florence
Preheat the broiler. Pull out the cores of the red peppers; then halve them lengthwise and remove the ribs and seeds. Toss the peppers with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place them on a cookie sheet, skin side up, and broil for 10 minutes, until really charred and blistered. Put the peppers into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and steam for about 10 minutes to loosen the skins. Peel the peppers and cut them into big strips.
Heat a 2-count of oil in a wide pot. Add the roasted peppers, potatoes, zucchini, olives, garlic, thyme, tarragon, and lemon slices. Sauté everything together for a few minutes over medium heat to coat in the oil and soften; season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock, wine, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and let it slowly simmer down for 30 minutes while you prepare the fish.
Rub a little olive oil and salt and pepper on the fish fillets. Add a 2-count drizzle of olive oil to a skillet and place over medium heat. When the pan is nice and hot, sear the fish, skin side down. Gently press on the fish with a spatula to crisp up the skin. Carefully transfer the fish to the pot of vegetables, skin side up. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it; don’t let the liquid boil or cook the fish too long or it will fall apart. Serve the fish and vegetables in wide, shallow bowls with a ladle of broth and a drizzle of olive oil. Home-style goodness!
9123681604816049760492red bell peppers33 red bell peppersExtra-virgin olive oilExtra-virgin olive oilsalt and pepperSea salt and freshly ground black pepperpotatoes1515 baby new potatoes, halvedzucchini33 zucchini, cut in 1/2-inch-thick circleswhole kalamata olives0.5cup1/2 cup whole kalamata olivesgarlic 3clove3 garlic cloves, slicedthyme sprigs22 fresh thyme sprigstarragon leaves66 fresh tarragon leaveslemon0.51/2 lemon, sliced paper-thinchicken stock2cup2 cups Chicken Stock (page 156)dry white wine1cup1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanclemon juice1Juice of 1 lemonred snapper fillets16ounce2 center-cut red snapper fillets, about 8 ounces each, skin on, halved on the diagonal
OSSO BUCO WITH GREMOLATA Tyler Florence
Serves 6 to 8
Put the flour in a large shallow platter and season it with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Get in the habit of always tasting your flour; once it coats the veal it is harder to adjust the seasoning. Dredge the veal shanks in the seasoned flour and then tap off the excess (extra flour will burn and make the dish off-tasting).
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and hit it with a 3-count drizzle of oil. Add the butter and swirl it around the pan to melt. Sear the veal shanks, turning carefully with tongs, until all sides are a rich brown caramel color. Drizzle with a little more oil if needed. (Do this in batches if the shanks are big and look crowded in the pot.)
Remove the browned veal shanks to a side plate. There will be a lot of flavor left over in the bottom of the pot. You’re going to use that to create your sauce.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Using the same pot, sauté the onion, celery, carrots, lemon zest, garlic, bay leaves, and parsley over medium heat. Cook the vegetables down until they start to get some color and develop a deep, rich aroma. Season with salt and pepper; add a little oil if needed. Nestle the veal shanks back in the pot. Pour in the wine and let it simmer down for 20 minutes, until the wine has reduced by half. Reducing is key for intense flavor. Add the beef broth and tomatoes and stir everything together. Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Braise for 1 1/2 hours. Then remove the cover and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. The sauce should be thick and the veal tender and nearly falling off the bone. For the gremolata, mash the pine nuts, anchovy, and garlic together in a mini chopper or with a mortar and pestle. Fold that into the orange zest and parsley. Scatter the gremolata over the Osso Buco before serving.
9123681604898274760492all-purpose flour1cup1 cup all-purpose floursalt and pepperSea salt and freshly ground black pepperveal shank44 pieces of veal shank for osso bucoExtra-virgin olive oilExtra-virgin olive oil butter3tablespoon3 tablespoons unsalted butteronion11 onion, dicedcelery stalk11 celery stalk, dicedcarrots22 carrots, dicedlemon11 lemon, zest peeled off in fat strips with a vegetable peelergarlic 4clove4 garlic cloves, mincedbay leaves22 bay leavesflat-leaf parsley0.25cup1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsleydry red wine11 bottle dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignonbeef broth1can1 (141/2-ounce) can low-sodium beef brothtomatoes11 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, hand-crushedpine nuts0.25cup1/4 cup pine nuts, toastedanchovy fillet11 anchovy filletgarlic 2clove2 garlic clovesZest 1Zest of 1 orange, finely gratedflat-leaf parsley2tablespoon2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
CHICKEN CACCIATORE WITH SOFT POLENTATyler Florence
Start by preparing the peppers because they will take the longest. Preheat the broiler. Pull out the cores of the red peppers; then halve them lengthwise and remove the ribs and seeds. Toss the peppers with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place them on a cookie sheet, skin side up, and broil for 10 minutes, until really charred and blistered. Put the peppers into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and steam for about 10 minutes to loosen the skins. Peel the red peppers and roughly chop them into chunks; set aside.
Season the flour with the garlic powder, dried oregano, and a fair amount of salt and pepper. Whisk the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour and tap off the excess. Dip each piece in the egg wash to coat and then dredge with the flour again.
Place a Dutch oven over medium heat and pour in about 1/4 inch of oil. Pan-fry the chicken in batches, skin side down, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Turn the chicken over and brown the other side about 10 minutes longer. Remove the chicken to a side plate, pour out the oil, and clean out the pot.
Put the pot back on the stove and coat with 1/4 cup of oil. Add the garlic, onion, tomatoes, lemon slices, anchovies, capers, red pepper flakes, half the roasted red peppers, and half the basil. Season with salt and pepper. This part of the recipe is going to be your base. What we are looking for is a fragrant vegetable pulp, so simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until everything breaks down. (I know it’s good, but keep your spoon out of it.)
Add the remaining roasted peppers and the remaining basil. Tuck the chicken into the stewed peppers and pour in the wine. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
9123681604812915360662red bell peppers66 red bell peppersolive oilExtra-virgin olive oilsalt and pepperSea salt and freshly ground black pepperall-purpose flour5.5cup11/2 cups all-purpose flourgarlic powder2tablespoon2 tablespoons garlic powderdried oregano1tablespoon1 tablespoon dried oreganoegg1 eggmilk2cup2 cups milkchicken11 (31/2-pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 piecesgarlic 6clove6 garlic cloves, halved lengthwiseonion11 onion, sliced thintomatoes22 ripe tomatoes, coarsely choppedlemon0.51/2 lemon, sliced in paper-thin circlesanchovy fillets33 anchovy filletscapers1tablespoon1 tablespoon capersred pepper flakes1teaspoon1 teaspoon red pepper flakes basil0.5bunch1/2 bunch fresh basil, hand-torn (1/4 bunch to flavor the base, 1/4 bunch to finish the dish)dry white wine1cup1 cup dry white wineSoft Polenta with Parmesan and Black PepperTyler Florence
In a large pot, bring the chicken stock and salt to a boil. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream. The liquid will be absorbed and the cornmeal will lock up; don’t freak, just whisk through it.
Lower the heat and continue to whisk until the polenta is thick and smooth, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and butter; continue to stir until incorporated, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, fold in the Parmigiano and black pepper and serve.
9123681609192915360662chicken stock2quart2 quarts chicken stocksea salt1teaspoon1 teaspoon sea saltyellow cornmeal2cup2 cups polenta or yellow cornmealheavy cream0.3333333333333333cup1/3 cup heavy creambutter2tablespoon2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperatureparmigiano-reggiano cheese1cup1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeseblack pepper1.5teaspoon1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
BRAISED LEEKS WITH SMOKED BACON AND TOMATO Tyler FlorenceServes 4 to 6
Preheat the oven to 350F. Trim the root off the end of the leeks and cut off all but 1 inch of the green part. Halve the leeks lengthwise. Rinse really well under cool water, checking for dirt everywhere; it gets trapped in all the outer layers.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat and drizzle with a 2-count of olive oil. Add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes to render down the fat. Add the garlic and thyme and give it a stir.
Arrange the leeks side by side in the pan and pour the tomatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and bake for 30 minutes.
91236816057560492leeks66 small leeksolive oilExtra-virgin olive oilbacon strips22 bacon strips, cut in small piecesgarlic 2clove2 garlic cloves, mincedLeaves Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigstomatoes1can1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, hand-crushedsalt and pepperSea salt and freshly ground black pepper
CHILLED ASPARAGUS WITH CITRUS VINAIGRETTE Tyler Florence
Serves 4 to 6
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Trim off the woody ends of the spears. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water for 3 minutes. Dump the asparagus in the ice water to stop them from overcooking and getting mushy. This also keeps the bright green color.
Whiz the citrus juices, zests, mustard, salt, and pepper together in a blender. Gradually drizzle in the oil until the vinaigrette thickens. Drain the asparagus and arrange the spears on a serving platter. Pour on the vinaigrette, garnish with fresh mint, and we’re home.
91236816048960492 asparagus2bunch2 bunches asparagus, trimmedorange1Juice and zest of 1 orangelime1Juice and zest of 1 limelemon1Juice and zest of 1 lemondijon mustard1tablespoon1 tablespoon Dijon mustardsalt and pepperSea salt and freshly ground black peppercanola oil0.25cup1/4 cup canola oilmintFresh mint, for garnish
BLUEBERRY-LEMON TART Tyler FlorenceServes 6 to 8
To make the pastry, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor. Put in the chunks of butter, a little at a time, and pulse just until the dough resembles cornmeal. Add the egg yolk and the ice water; pulse again for a second just to pull the dough together. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and let it rest and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. Carefully roll the dough up onto the pin (this may take a little practice) and lay it inside a 10 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the scalloped edges of the pan and fold the excess dough inside to reinforce the rim.
Put the tart pan on a cookie sheet and prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes. Lightly beat the egg white and brush the bottom and sides of the dough with it to seal any tiny holes. Bake for another 10 minutes.
To make the lemon curd filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, heavy cream, lemon juice, and zest. Pour the mixture into the tart shell. Spread the blueberries on top of the filling; they will float around and find their own space. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The curd will jiggle slightly when done. Carefully lift the tart out of the ring, then slide it off the base onto a plate. Cool to room temperature and slice.
91236816049182743all-purpose flour1.5cup1 1/2 cups all-purpose floursugar2tablespoon2 tablespoons sugarsalt1pinchPinch of saltbutter0.5cup1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, in chunksegg11 egg, separatedice water2tablespoon2 tablespoons ice watereggs44 eggssugar1.5cup1 1/2 cups sugarheavy cream0.25cup1/4 cup heavy creamlemon juice1cup1 cup fresh lemon juice, about 5 lemonslemon1Zest of 1 lemonblueberries1pint1 pint blueberries
SALT-AND-HERB-ROASTED NEW POTATOESTyler Florence
Serves 4 to 6
Preheat the oven to 375F. Toss everything together in a large bowl. Dump the herbed potatoes on a baking sheet and spread them out in a single layer. Pour any remaining oil on top. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and crispy around the edges.
9123681604816049760492red new potatoes2pound2 pounds red new potatoesextra-virgin olive oil0.25cup1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oilrosemary needles1tablespoon1 tablespoon fresh rosemary needles thyme0.25bunchLeaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thymesea salt0.25cup1/4 cup sea salt
Recipes excerpted from “Tyler Florence’s Real Cooking: An Indispensible Guide for Anybody Who Likes to Cook.” Copyright 2003 by Tyler Florence. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Clarkson Potter Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. For more information you can visit their Web site at: Clarkson Potter.