Friday, February 21, 2014


I've said it over and over and over again--there is no finer teacher of cooking on television than Lidia Bastianich. Period. Lidia is full good information. She wants her readers and viewers to use recipes as a starting point offering all sorts of ideas for variations that will take the cook in new directions. There is a kind of zen calmness about her as she cooks endless numbers of pastas, ragus, sautés, and braises. Lidia can cook luxury foods with the best of them, but she also has respect for the cook on a budget extracting the most flavor from each. She always offers great tricks and techniques in order to get the best results and never cuts a corner if it means and less than ideal dish. I have watched her for about a fifteen years now and I find it fascinating to watch her cook. She is as comfortable baking as she is finishing a steaming plate of pasta. If male chefs cook to impress, as someone recently said, then female chefs cook to nurture. That is the essence of Lidia Bastianich. I have most of her cookbooks and they are well used and loved volumes in my kitchen. In LIDIA'S COMMONSENSE ITALIAN COOKING (Knopf; $35.00; ISBN: 978-0-38534944-4) Lidia is again collaborating with her art-historian daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali, who is an integral part of the Bastianich food empire. This new volume of 150 recipes is Lidia's latest collection of Italian recipes to tempt families back to the table right in the kitchen, a place she recalls, as a loving and nurturing space that set her on her own course of success. It is this strong sense of gathering family together to eat and interact that informs all her books, only this time, she's adding an extra dollop of culinary wisdom that will insure great meals.

Before I opened the book, I had seen Lidia prepare Mozzarella and Celery Salad. My mother loved celery, and munched on big stalks of the stuff throughout my childhood. I never got in the habit, but recently I find the most delicious celery available in Portland, even in supermarkets where is comes from local farms. The stuff is addictive and I'm looking for lots of new ways to use it. Lidia offers several new recipes, including this delicious winter salad which could get any meal off to a good start. Thinly sliced with leaves, toasted walnuts, fresh mozzarella and a lemon-Dijon vinaigrette create a fresh new kind of winter salad, and one I can add variations to such as beets, cucumbers, oil-cured olives, cooked cauliflower, radishes and other delicious wintry ingredients. Celery Au Gratin is another delicious use for this much underused vegetable. A Boiled Beef Salad with Gherkins, Red Onion and Parsley, only begins to hint at the flavors in this recipe, which is Lidia's simple riff on the time-consuming Bollito Misto. The Rustic Ricotta Tart, puff pastry provides the enveloping container for fresh ricotta, eggs, mozzarella, ham and Grana Padano (or Parmesano-Reggiano) cheese.  An aromatic, paper thin Potato Pizza reminds me of my first trip to Rome, where I inhaled rectangular slices of potato pizza while I walked through the Campo die Fiori open air market.

Lidia Bastianich prepping artichokes

Lidia is always finding new ways to cook pasta, and so Spaghetti with Quick Pantry Sauce is a quick, inexpensive, and creative way to use the foods we always should have on hand:  olive oil, anchovies, black olives, capers, canned tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Pipette or Elbows with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley, and Capers is a more nutritionally balanced pasta dish, and no less flavorful for it. And for a crowd, try Baked Rigatoni and Zucchini. Lidia suggests enhancing this dish with swordfish or shrimp, crumbled sausages or shredded chicken breast.

Italian cooking offers so many variations, including Eggplant and Rice Parmigiana. Based on the  classic dish, here it is made more complex and inviting with the addition of Arborio rice. There are a bunch of fine risottos that seem new to me, including Lettuce Risotto, Fava Bean and Leek Risotto, Clam and Scallion Risotto, and Garlic Risotto.  I can't wait to try Razor Clams with Garlic and Parsley because razor clams are plentiful here in the Pacific Northwest, and I love them. The dish can easily be adapted using littleneck clams or mussels in those areas where the razor clam is not available.

A Skillet Gratin of Mushrooms and Chicken shows Lidia genius with this particular cooking vessel, and would be an excellent choice for company. A slow cooked Apple Cider Vinegar Braised Pork Shoulder demonstrates the excellence of this modestly priced bone-in cut of pork, and includes small turnips and easily qualifies as a superb dinner for guests. Another dish I've made is Ham in Marsala Sauce. Packages of ham steaks are not found in markets in Italy, so Lidia's inspiration was to treat them like scaloppini. Browning the ham in one piece, she removes it from the pan and then sautés chopped leeks in the pan drippings, adding a little white flour and then a full cup of dry Marsala wine. This makes a tasty, shiny sauce for the ham. I've only sautéed ham steaks for a late Sunday breakfast or a quick weeknight meal with scrambled eggs and a salad. This elevates the ham steak to a new level of sophistication. Minimal ingredients treated with respect yield great results. Of the dessert section, Grandma Rosa's Apple Cake is an easy standout.

In LIDIA'S COMMONSENSE ITALIAN COOKING, Lidia Bastianich invites us back into the kitchen where she grew up with adults and siblings around to share their days' stories. Go into your own kitchens and cook with your family. It's easy and the food is fantastic.

Torta Rustica di Ricotta

In the Italian cuisine, dough is at the center of many dishes, whether turned into pasta, crostata,
pizza, or torta. The dough is the carrier of other delicious products, be they vegetables, meats, fish, or cheeses. In Italian tortas, ricotta is one of the favorite fillers, often with eggs to
bind it. One can flavor ricotta with just about anything; in this dish I use ham and mozzarella.
Just think of all the other meats and vegetables you can add to give this recipe your family’s special flavor twist.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 10- by- 7- inch baking dish with the butter. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 14 by 11 inches. Fit the dough into the prepared baking dish, letting the dough go up and extend over the sides.
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, three eggs, the mozzarella, ham, and grated cheese to combine. Spread filling over the dough, and fold the dough over to make a 1- or 2- inch border. Press holes in the top dough with a fork, and brush it with the remaining egg. Bake until the filling is set and the pastry is golden and crisp, about 40 minutes. Let the tart rest on a rack for at least 15 minutes, to set, before cutting into squares and serving.

Serves 6 to 8
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
All- purpose fl our, for rolling
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 pound (2 cups) fresh ricotta, drained
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup cubed low- moisture mozzarella
1 cup julienned strips deli ham
¹⁄³ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano- Reggiano

Excerpted from Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich with Tanya Bastianich Manuali. Copyright © 2013 by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


I am an unabashed fan of the Canal House cookbooks. This series of individual, small and beautifully published volumes (now up to eight) is well-used in my home. Quite unexpectedly early last fall CANAL HOUSE COOKS EVERY DAY (Andrews McMeel Publishing; $45.00; ISBN: 978-1-4494-2147-2) arrived at my doorstep. Based on the popular Canal House Cooks Lunch blog by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, this big, gorgeous volume is stuffed with about 250 recipes and 130 drool-worthy color photographs.  I was so busy with the publication launch of The Oregonian Cookbook, that a review of this wonderful book, book which I looked at night after night, got delayed. I hope that you'll go directly to your nearest bookstore and grab this cookbook because food this attractive, simple and flavorful belongs in the repertoire of every home cook.

One recipe in particular kept calling to me.  Poached Chicken with Tarragon and Chive Mayonnaise read and looked like simplicity itself. For this recipe, I even made my own mayonnaise, though the authors gave their blessing to the jarred stuff saying, "When we are in a hurry, we just doctor up good old Hellman's or Best Foods mayonnaise." This poached chicken is ideal for a summer lunch or dinner (I tried it on a warm August evening). My guests loved it, and it provided me with lunch the next day.

Keeping it simple is a hallmark of Canal House cookbooks, so in addition to a really delicious recipe for Deviled Eggs, the authors offer "Buttered" Eggs, a splendid alternative. "We simply "butter" the cut sides of hard-boiled eggs  with mayonnaise, arrange the eggs on a plate, and drizzle them with some good olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper," they explain. "We often garnish  them with something:  chopped Preserved Lemon rind, or minced chives. Sometimes it's parsley, tarragon, or dill, or bacon thinly sliced ham, or chutney." It is this deliciously simple approach that makes the recipes so appealing. In summer, Poached White Peaches in Lemon Verbena Syrup look nearly too good to eat.

With farmer's markets and better products, locally available, CANAL HOUSE COOKS EVERY DAY takes its cues for what to cook seasonally. And with Christopher Hirscheimer's extraordinarily fine photography, each ingredient or finished dish is captured at it's absolute peak.

Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs with Little Zucchini are a perfect example of the Canal House philosophy. There are only eight ingredients in this recipe, yet the technique of pan-frying chicken thighs, with only salt, pepper, some butter, a little fresh thyme, lemon juice and olive oil, deliver flavor with huge impact. Much of the same ingredients can be found in Grilled Salmon, except parsley changing places with thyme. Bratwurst with Sauteed Caraway Cabbage works for a busy work night meal. The Apple Galette would dress it up for company on a Saturday night. Fancier meals for holidays don't mean slaving for hours in the kitchen. Roast Prime Rib of Beef needs only salt and pepper. Little Yorkshire Puddings are the perfect accompaniment. End this superb meal with a Ginger Spice Cake with Dried Cherries.

Looking ahead to the post-holiday winter period of stews and braises, I came across a recipe for Rabbit Stew I am dying to make. Rabbit, button mushrooms, tomato paste, white wine, poultry stock, carrots, parsnips and peas, might be the right combination to help get over our collective ambivalence towards rabbit, which not only tastes good, but it lean and healthy.

As pleasurable to read as to cook from, once again CANAL HOUSE COOKING is a big book to use over and over again.

Poached Chicken with Tarragon & Chive Mayonnaise
Serves 4–6

When we are in a hurry, we just doctor up good old Hellmann’s or Best Foods mayonnaise.

For the mayonnaise
1 large egg yolk
¼ garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup canola oil
½ cup good, smooth, “buttery” olive oil
½ cup fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
½ cup chopped chives, plus more for garnishing

For the chicken
4 bone-in chicken breast halves
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 rib celery, halved
1 bay leaf

For the mayonnaise, whisk together the egg yolk, garlic, a pinch of salt, and about 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a medium bowl. Combine the oils in a measuring cup with a spout. Whisking constantly, add the oil to the yolks about 1 teaspoon at a time. The sauce will thicken and emulsify. After you have added about ¼ cup of the oil, continue to whisk and slowly drizzle in the remaining oil. Season with salt and thin with as much of the remaining lemon juice as suits your taste. Stir in the chopped tarragon and chives. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the chicken, put the chicken, onions, celery, bay leaf, and a big pinch of salt in a large pot with a lid and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and poach for 15–20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and put on a plate to cool. When the chicken has cooled, remove the skin and bones. (Return the skin and bones to the pot and continue to simmer the stock until it is rich and flavorful; strain the stock and save for another use.)

To serve, cut the chicken into generous-size pieces and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon the mayonnaise on the chicken. Garnish with the chopped chives (and baby arugula, if you like.)

From Canal House Cooks Every Day by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher  Hirsheimer, Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013


My cookbook shelves are groaning with baking books. I've got a few large tomes on desserts, bread baking, to go with the many individual baking books from Maida Heatter (baking's doyenne of desserts), Nick Malgieri (a great baking teacher), Rose Levy Beranbaum (a baking genius), the glorious Dorie Greenspan, and many others. But BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS BAKING: More than 350 recipes Plus Tips and Techniques (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; $29.95; October 8, 2013; ISBN: 978-1-118-453261) arrived on my doorstep quite unexpectedly and with one look, I had a new baking crush for the season. In this big, gorgeously photographed, totally modern cookbook from trusted and well-established source, you'll not only get recipes for cakes, pies, cookies, and other desserts, but breads, rolls, focaccia, pizza dough and bread sticks.

Right on the cover is my mother's favorite cookie--Pecan Sandies. This seemed to be her cookie because I don't recall my brothers or me eating them very much. She always had a bag of them close at hand. A couple of years ago, in one of those odd nostalgic moments, I bought a bag. They were okay, but not worth the calories. I baked a batch of this shortbread cookie and the smell infused my house with joy for the rest of the day. I swear the house still smelled of Pecan Sandies the next morning. They are a snap to make and are an elegant cookie to add to a dish of ice cream. There's even a chocolate variation on the same page. The book has a substantial cookie section. There are the classic cookies such as Chocolate Chip and a divine Make-It-Mine Oatmeal Cookies, which allows many variations of this classic such as Fat (pick one--I loved combining butter and peanut butter), Sugar (brown sugar or a combination of white and brown sugars or molasses or honey), Spice (cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice or ground allspice) Flavorings (vanilla, coconut flavoring, maple flavoring), Flour (white, wholewheat, with the additions of wheat bran or wheat germ) and Stir-ins (raisins or mixed dried bits, snipped dried apricots or tart red cherries, semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips, white baking pieces, butterscotch-flavor baking pieces, peanut butter-flavor baking pieces, flaked coconut, or chopped pecans, walnuts or other nuts). This is the kind of recipe to unleash your creative side, as long as you stay within the guidelines of the recipe. You can bake Giant Ginger Cookies (or Make it Mini variations) Snickerdoodles, Lemon Walnut Biscotti, or the latest French passion--Double Almond Macarons.

Bars are next with Fudgy Saucepan Brownies, Make-It-Mine Blondies (another recipe with lots of variations), Four-Layer Caramel Crunch Nougat Brownies (that photo made me weak in the knees), and numerous other brownie recipes, Maple Nut Pie Bars, Lemon Bars Deluxe, Pumpkin Bars and Oatmeal Jam Bars.

The cake section begins simply enough with a White Cake, and moves on through Chocolate Cake and Red Velvet Cake, Classic Carrot Cake, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and becomes more elaborate with Triple-Citrus Pound Cake, Hazelnut-Pear Torte with Dulce de Leche Filling. The decorated cakes section is anchored with a Make-It-Mine Birthday Cake with lots of customized variations. Some are very clever, such as the Cheeseburger Ice Cream Cake or a Spiderweb Cake. Classic Apple Pie launches the pies and tarts chapter, and you can have it with a Make-It-Mine Streusel Pie with its myriad choices (fruit fillings, crusts, spices, textures, and toppings). Shaker-Style Meyer Lemon Pie, may tempt you away from a Classic Pumpkin Pie, or a Mallow-Praline Sweet Potato Pie. There are lots of tart choices from a Rustic Chocolate Tart or a Country Peach Tart to a Double-Coconut and Pineapple Cream Tart and a Key-Lime Tart. For sheer sophistication, my money is on a Salted Almond Praline Tart. Become master of cheesecakes with no less than seventeen from Classic New York-Style Cheesecake to increasingly ambitious entries such as Blueberry-Topped Lemon Cheesecake, Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Maple-Mascarpone Cheesecake, and Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Sugared Pepitas.

The desserts section covers cobblers (Granny Smith Cobbler with White Cheddar Biscuits or Cherry Cobbler with White Chocolate-Almond Biscuits), Chocolate-Walnut Bread Pudding with Coffee-Kahlua Cream Sauce, Toffee-Pear Sticky Pudding, Brownie Pudding Cake, and Hot Cocoa Souffle with Coffee Ice Cream.

The bread section is worth the price of admission. I'm dying to make Make-It-Mine Artisan Bread, a no-knead beauty with options for various types of salts, stir-ins, and flours. A Mock Sourdough Bread dispenses with the need for a sour-dough starter, and a Whole Grain Caramelized Onion and Kale Bread is packed with good things. Quick breads, coffee cakes, breakfast sweet breads, Danish, doughnuts, and muffins provide warmth, while the "Coffee Shop" chapter will answer the question:  homemade or store-bought? There are holiday treats and other special occasion recipes, all adding up to a substantial cookbook you will be baking from for years to come.

I'm selecting the Vanilla-Scented Orange Cheesecake because orange in cheesecake is a favorite flavor marriage. Clear instructions that keep you on track, beautiful photography, and of course, the Better Homes and Gardens brand, all add up to the kind of baking excellence we all aspire to. With Christmas just around the corner, it's time to get baking. BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS BAKING will take good care of your baking needs throughout the whole year.

Vanilla-Scented Orange Cheesecake
prep: 40 minutes
bake: 45 minutes at 375°F
cool: 2 hours
chill: 4 hours to overnight
makes: 12 servings

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 8-ounce carton sour cream
4 eggs
11/2 cups finely crushed chocolate graham crackers or chocolate wafer cookies
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
Few drops orange food coloring
1/2 cup orange marmalade

1. Allow cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for crust, in a medium bowl combine crushed graham crackers, pecans, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan; set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 375°F. If using vanilla bean, use the tip of a small sharp knife to scrape out seeds; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sour cream, the 1 cup sugar, and the flour with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Using a fork, lightly beat eggs. Add eggs to cream cheese mixture, beating just until combined. Divide batter in half. Stir orange peel and food coloring into half of the batter. Stir vanilla seeds or vanilla bean paste into the remaining batter.
3. Pour orange batter into crustlined pan, spreading evenly. Spoon vanilla batter over orange layer, gently spreading evenly. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan.

4. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes for the 8-inch pan, 40 to 50 minutes for the 9-inch pan, or until a
2 1/2-inch area around outside edge appears set when gently shaken.

5. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen crust from sides of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan; cool completely on wire rack.

6. Spoon marmalade over top of cheesecake; carefully spread to outside edge.  Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

per serving: 431 cal., 28 g fat (15 g sat. fat), 134 mg chol., 293 mg sodium, 40 g carb., 1 g fiber, 6 g pro.

Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt from Baking by the editors at Better Homes and Gardens. Photographs by Better Homes and Gardens, Blaine Moats, Jason Donnelly, and Kritsada Panichgul. Copyright 2013.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


When I first arrived in New York in the early 70s, the fabled Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant had become a has-been, and like Grand Central Station itself, a relic of a more gilded age. In fact, New York City was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The city's fabled brownstone townhouses were cheap. Jobs were evaporating. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and an army of saviors, however, refused to let Grand Central disappear, which is what happened to the architecturally significant Madison Square Garden station. Grand Central's Beaux Arts structure became a cultural and historical landmark and was restored to the praise of architecture critics, and the hundreds of thousands of visitors and commuters who passed through it daily on their way to work from their suburban homes. At the same time, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority made the decision to restore The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant to its former glory and chose James Brody, a restaurant executive whose career included the restoration or launching of some of the city's most legendary restaurants (such as The Four Seasons, The Forum of the Twelve Caesars, Gallagher's, Mama Leonie's, and the Rainbow Room), to bring it alive again. The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant quickly regained its place at the center of Manhattan's restaurant life and has never looked back--still packing them in nearly forty years after rising like a Phoenix from the ashes,

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of its 1913 opening is THE GRAND CENTRAL OYSTER BAR AND RESTAURANT COOKBOOK (Stewart, Tabori and Chang; October 15, 2013; $35.00;  ISBN: 978-1-61769-061-7) Here is that rare restaurant cookbook that works for the home cook (though its handsome packaging will require careful use). Written by Sandy Ingber, executive chef of the restaurant, and Roy Finamore, a leading cookbook author, editor and photography stylist, the book's retains classic seafood recipes that established its reputation with new favorites that enhance the freshness and great taste of seafood.

I think most will agree that seafood tastes best when it is cooked simply and not smothered with lots of ingredients or encumbered with complicated cooking techniques. After all, the restaurant became famous for its Oysters Rockefeller, stews and pan roasts, fried and broiled seafood and a wide variety of oysters from around the world.  This book lists eleven pages of 253 different types of oysters (along with their sources, sizes and flavors) that have been featured on the Grand Central Oyster Bar menu. Oyster Stew has been on the menu since the restaurant opened. Keeping it classic and contemporary while maintaining the simple integrity of the seafood, each chapter in THE GRAND CENTRAL OYSTER BAR AND RESTAURANT COOKBOOK covers all the bases. Highlights include:

Starters:  From Long Island Steamers with Drawn Butter and Bloody Marty Oyster Shooters to Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and Caviar Sandwich

Fried Seafood:  Fried Ipswich Whole Belly Clams with Tarter Sauce, Fried Calamari with Marinara Sauce, Lemon Sole Goujonettes and Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Baltimore Red Sauce

Sandwiches:  Crabmeat Salad Sandwich, Maine Lobster Roll with Cole Slaw, Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich with Tartar Sauce and Lettuce, and Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Capers and Dill Butter

Cold Buffet:  Cold Poached Whole Maine Lobsters with Lemon-Dill Mayonnaise and French Bean Salad, Shrimp and Crabmeat Caesar Salad and Cold Poached Salmon with Cucumber Dill Salad and Sauce Verte

Soups, Stews and Pan Roasts:  New England Clam Chowder, Manhattan Clam Chowder, Gazpacho with Maine Lobster and Corn, Oyster Stew and Oyster Pan Roast

Today's Catch:  Dover Sole Meuniere, Broiled Brook Trout Amandine, and Shad Fillet and Roe Combo, Tomato and Bacon

Main Dish Specials:  Seared Extra-Large Sea Scallops with Sweet Pink Peppercorn Sauce, Blackened Montauk Swordfish Steaks with Spiced Pecans and Baja-Style Fish Tacos with Southwestern Slaw, Chipotle Pico De Gallo, and Mexican Crema

The dessert chapter doesn't get fancy either, just excellent recipes for the restaurant's favorite sweets, including Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Creams, New York Cheesecake, Rice Pudding and Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

There is also an excellent chapter on Sides, Butters and Sauces. I was glad to have a recipes for Wasabi Mayonnaise and Creole Remoulade.

The book features lots of vintage photos along with the many color photos of finished dishes. The large format book lays down perfectly and is easy to cook from as long you protect it from kitchen mishaps.

Most restaurants celebrating their 100th anniversary have stood the test of time and there are few in that elite club. The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant actually closed about the halfway point in its storied history. Today it is a destination, visited by tourists, its regulars, and plays hosts to hundreds of domestic and business celebrations year round. THE GRAND CENTRAL OYSTER BAR AND RESTAURANT COOKBOOK extends this fabled brand to those of us not close enough to enjoy as New Yorkers do. Here is one restaurant book that you can cook from at home. All you need is impeccably fresh seafood. The recipes take care of the rest.

Oyster Pan Roast, one of Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant's most celebrated
dishes, has been on the menu for nearly a century. 

Oyster Pan Roast

Serves 1

In his book Arthur Schwartz’s New York City Food, food maven Arthur Schwartz says that the “Pan Roast of oysters and clams [is] among the oldest dishes still served in New York, dating from the first decade of the twentieth century, when Heinz ketchup and chili sauce were new, cutting edge ingredients.”

¼ cup clam juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika, plus additional for garnish
6 extra-select or large East Coast oysters, shucked, with their liquor
3 tablespoons Heinz chili sauce
2 cups half-and-half
1 slice white bread, toasted
Oyster crackers for serving

Put the clam juice, butter, Worcestershire, celery salt, and paprika in a medium heavy saucepan over high heat. When the butter melts, add the oysters and their liquor and cook, stirring, until the oysters become plump and the edges begin to ruffle, about 45 seconds. Stir in the chili sauce and half-and-half and cook, stirring often, until it is just coming to a boil, about 3 minutes.

Put the toast into a warmed soup plate and pour in the pan roast. Garnish with a shake of paprika and serve immediately, with oyster crackers.

Variations for Stews and Pan Roasts

Cherrystone Clam Pan Roast
Substitute 5 or 6 cherrystone clams for the oysters.

Ipswich Clam Pan Roast
Substitute 3 ounces (about ⅓ cup) Ipswich clams for the oysters.

Shrimp Pan Roast
Substitute 6 peeled and deveined shrimp (26–30s) for the oysters.

Lobster Pan Roast
Substitute 3 ounces cooked lobster meat for the oysters.

Sea Scallop Pan Roast
Substitute 5 or 6 sea scallops (20–30s) for the oysters.

Combination Pan Roast
Substitute 2 extra-select oysters, 2 sea scallops (20–30s), 2 peeled and deveined shrimp (26–30s), 1 ounce Ipswich clams, and 1 ounce cooked lobster meat for the oysters.