Welcome to The Hot Dish, a behind the scenes look at the making of the dishes of the moment.
[All photographs by Nick Solares]
"We are a modern American restaurant and I want to evoke Americana," says chef Christopher Cipollone when asked about his market salad at Piora. This is a dish that changes several times a week based on his visits to the greenmarket. He is referring not just to the contemporary sustainable-seasonal-locavore ethos that is implicit in his sourcing of ingredients, but also to an incorporation of older, distinctly American dining traditions. For example, he dresses the salad with a play on Russian dressing that has been blended from freeze dried components into a powder so as not to wilt the delicate greens and vegetables. The chef says this process also "preserves the integrity of the ingredients."
Cipollone famously did the same thing with ranch dressing back when he was at Tenpenny. But at his new restaurant, the dressing references the classic American diner. Cipollone explains: "Even though you are eating this bounty of vegetables, there is something familiar about the flavor. You might recognize it from a diner at four in the morning, and if not, it's just a really good dressing."
Cipollone also mimics bacon bits by reducing sunchokes down to sugary, caramelized nuggets that are crunchy, and both salty and sweet. The chef calls the finished ingredient "sunchoke dirt." While bacon bits are often highly processed products, Cipollone says his dirt contains "no smoke and mirrors, you are just taking the natural sugars and reducing them down."
The dish changes with every greenmarket visit and contains as many as 25 components with each vegetable prepared in what the chef feels is the most appropriate manner. "Brussels sprouts are great roasted, but something like a radish is better raw," Cipollone explains. He might also pickle, blanche, or dehydrate his produce before artfully arranging them on a plate. Here, now, Chef Cipollone assembles the 25 component salad:
· All Coverage of Piora [~ENY~]