Tag Archives: bklyn larder

We Asked the New York Times’ Melissa Clark: What’s in Your Larder?

It’s said that Americans love to talk about food but that we actually do little cooking. Which, well. Life is busy. And tiring. Takeout can save a bit of sanity.

But so can the ability to, with a few ingredients, feed ourselves and the ones we love in a pinch, in a snowstorm, or when the dinner hour sneaks up on us.

And that’s where a stocked larder, or pantry, can help. And always has. Pre-refrigeration, the larder was a cool, dark space, often underground or behind a staircase, where rich foods were stored. The word comes from the Middle English (laridum) and Old French (lardier), meaning a place for meats. Today, it’s more like a place where ingredients wait for you to claim them.

We recently called up author, cook and New York Times columnist Melissa Clark, a woman who knows her way around a larder and actually also our Larder. A Brooklyn native, she lives just a few blocks from the shop and wrote the franny’s cookbook along with Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg, the husband-and-wife co-owners of franny’s and Bklyn Larder.

“There’s this dish I make that I couldn’t make without the ingredients from the Larder, because it’s all about the ingredients,” said Clark. “If you’re not getting the good stuff, the dish isn’t going to taste good. And really the thing is, when you use high-quality ingredients, you only need a few of them.”

bucatini-pileMinus the pasta water, the recipe is a short shopping list from our shelves: Calabrian chili flakes, anchovies, Pasta Gentile, olive oil, flaky sea salt and garlic.

“I make it once a week,” said Clark. “It’s the thing I make when I have nothing else to make. It’s just so delicious and restorative.”

What makes her version special, she noted, is a technique she picked up while writing the franny’s cookbook.

“When I sauté the garlic with the anchovy, I let it become really deeply colored. That caramelization adds an incredible depth to the dish. You can make the same dish and keep the flavors bright, but I like that really deep flavor,” she said.

If anyone can make something from nothing it’s Clark. But she reiterates, that’s not what this is about.

“There are dishes where, the first time it takes you maybe 25 minutes, because you’re kind of figuring it out and measuring things. The second time it takes five minutes less. But the third time you make it, it takes exactly 2 minutes longer than it takes to boil the pasta. Because you’re in a rhythm. And developing that rhythm is the key to being able to set yourself on auto pilot and cook something delicious for dinner,” she explained.

“It’s a really important dish to have in your repertoire — that one dish you can make from your pantry, no matter how tired and cranky you are. No matter what else you’re thinking about. You just do it,” she said.

“I really think it takes three times, and then it’s yours. You can say, ‘Oh, I have kale! I have leftover broccoli I’ll throw it in.’ That dish is your dish and you can do whatever you want to it.”

Key takeaway: “Invest in quality,” said Clark.

And finally, the one ingredient that’s always in her larder?

“I’ll break out into a sweat if I don’t have anchovies,” said Clark. “It just makes me really uncomfortable.” •

A version of the recipe is available on The New York Times site. 

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Ciao, Mortadella and Provolone

Mortadella has been made in Bologna since the Roman Ages. It’s a celebration of well-fed pigs from a town nicknamed la grassa — literally “the fat,” suggesting a living high on the hog. It’s one of the most celebrated delicacies from arguably the most celebrated food region in Italy.

A type of sausage, Mortadella begins with finely ground pork. Its name is thought to come from mortarium — a mortar — which is how it was originally ground.

In 1661, Cardinal Farnese of Bologna established the rules and methods required of a true Mortadella di Bologna, and among these is a meat-to-fat ratio of seven to three and an even distribution of lardons — the distinctive white spots of fat—on each light-pink slice. (According to a number of sources, don’t stress that fat. It’s the same kind of good fat that’s in olive oil.)

Golfera, a family of fourth-generation butchers, makes its Chiara Mortadella using only pigs born and raised within 50 miles of their facility. The pigs are raised without antibiotics, and it’s the only imported Italian Mortadella we know of that’s made without preservatives.

Golfera uses a traditional recipe that combines the finest cuts of pork and high-quality fat with only ingredients made in Italy. A classic Mortadella recipe calls for white pepper, salt, peppercorns, coriander, anise and often pistachio nuts and wine.

At Bklyn Larder, we take fragrant, thin slices of Chiara Mortadella and pair them with a Ciabatta from Balthazar Bakery, Provolone Piccante and a spicy Calabrian chili mayonnaise — and then press it on the panini grill.

Golfera describes what it does as “new charcuterie, classic flavor.”

On this last day of #sandwichmonth (we’ve been having fun celebrating — check out our Instagram), we’re so delighted to bring back this Larder original. We think of it as “classic sandwich, favorite new lunch option.” •

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Want to keep reading? Our Roast Beef, Chicken Cutlet and Ham & Gruyere are pretty spectacular, too. 

Meatball & Provolone: Let’s Hear It for Crunch

Our Meatball & Provolone may be the most delicious ugly sandwich in town.

It starts out perky enough: meatballs*, tomato sauce, Grana Padano and Provolone Piccante on a Grandaisy ciabatta — which is where most shops might proudly hand it over.

meatball pre squish

You’d try and get your mouth around the two layers of bread, two layers of cheese, some hot, squirting sauce and of course the meatballs. And then the entire bite would be all the same texture. Soft.

That’s why our poor Meatball & Provolone meets the fate that it does: We take that nice, big sandwich and put it under a Panini press for two minutes.

It comes out with perhaps not its prettiest face on, but with its ciabatta crunchy, its cheese melty and with a physique that makes every bite a delicious balance of textures.

Sometimes, we’ve realized, aesthetics have to step aside for taste. And oh, is it worth it…

*Our beef comes from Happy Valley Meat Company in Brooklyn, which works with responsibly operated small family farms in Pennsylvania. Every piece of meat comes labeled with the name of the farmer who provided it — which both ensures accountability and makes for some big-time pride.