Michael's Genuine Food
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James Beard Award-Winning Chef Michael Schwartz put Miami’s Design District on the culinary map when he opened his restaurant, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, in 2007. In a town where food and cocktails are as much a part of the pulse as tans and nightclubs, Michael’s Genuine strikes a very different note. Reviving the city’s dining scene from an overabundance of “Floribbean” cuisine, the restaurant quickly won national praise for its superlative yet unpretentious fare, with Frank Bruni of the New York Times naming it one of the country’s top ten best new restaurants. In his first cookbook, Michael Schwartz shares his approachable, sought-after recipes with home cooks everywhere. More...
People often ask me if I cook at home and strangely they're always surprised when I say, "Yeah, of course, all the time." I find the question amusing because it I didn't love to cook I wouldn't be a chef. I do what I do because I live and breath food...trust me there are far easier ways to make a living!
My wife, Tamara, our three children, and I live in a great house in a residential neighborhood in Miami Beach. While our kitchen is modest to say the least (no fancy range, mammoth fridge, or granite-topped center island), it's still very much the heart of our home. One of the ironies of being a chef is that I rarely get to actually cook at work. Cooking at home--and then sitting down with my family to eat--is very rewarding. When you break it down, cooking done with care is an act of love. As a chef, this is my time to play and prepare a wonderful triggerfish that my friends caught while spearfishing, or celebrate the bounty of each season delivered to our door by a local farm as part of our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
Sunday is our family time to cook and be together. For my kids, I either something they really love, or something to open up their palates. but never anything too, too out there. This is food we all want to eat--like a BLT salad, grilled salmon, or maybe a whole roasted chicken. As a dad I totally dig seeing food and cooking through my children's eyes. My son, Harry, who is eight years old and my youngest, will experiment and try making anything, sometimes with reckless abandon. He is fearless and open to tasting everything. My middle one, Lulu, is a bit more of a finicky eater but loves to set the table and takes pride in her creative napkin folds. My teenage daughter, Ella, has been in the kitchen practically since she could walk so she has already developed her own palate and repertoire; she knows what she likes and what she doesn't.
...When I'm developing a dish, oftentimes it stems from the seasonal vegetable I picked up instead of the protein. If you go to the market and find beautiful Swiss chard, for example, build a dish around it and let it really sing. That's how the Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onion Panade was born. If the chard isn't looking so hot, but the spinach is, go ahead and change it up. Have an open mind, and look for the freshest and best items available. Cooking is an evolutionary process and I'm constantly revising dishes, putting seasonal variations on recipes.
Food is not about impressing people--in fact it's just the opposite; it's about making them feel comfortable. The perfect meal is simpler than you expected and better than you remembered. Sometimes the best ingredient is the one left out. It is my sincere hope that this book captures genuine flavors and that you enjoy these recipes at home.
with crisp bacon and poached egg
This dish was inspired by my friend and mentor Frank Crispo. To satisfy those deep creamy-pasta cravings, you're not gonna get more decadent than carbonara sauce. Pasta bathed in butter, oil, eggs, bacon, and cheese-it's a rich dish but enjoy it; you don't eat this every day.
- 1 pound dried fettuccine
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 pound (six 1/8-inch slices) bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh chives
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (al dente).
Meanwhile, fill a wide pot with 2 inches of water and add the vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Carefully crack 1 egg into a small cup and gently pour the egg into the water. Add a second egg and poach for roughly 2 minutes, or until the whites are just cooked but the yolks are still soft. With a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a plate, and blot the bottoms of the eggs dry with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
Put a deep skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the bacon and fry until crispy and the fat is rendered, about 4 minutes. Add the oil, butter, garlic, and shallot, and saute for 1 minute to soften.
Drain the pasta well, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Add the fettuccine to the pan with the bacon and toss well for 1 minute to coat it in the bacon goodness and create a thick, creamy sauce. Thin the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, if needed. Sprinkle in the Parmesan and toss again. Season with salt and pepper.
Mound the fettuccine into 4 warm bowls and set a poached egg on top of each. Garnish with chopped chives. Pass more grated cheese at the table.
Copyright © 2010 by Michael Schwartz and Joann Cianciulli. Reprinted from Michael's Genuine Food with permission from Clarkson Potter Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.
About the Authors:
MICHAEL SCHWARTZ, James Beard Award winner and former Top Chef guest judge, is the chef-owner of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in Miami and the Cayman Islands. Since opening in March 2007, the restaurant has been lauded by the press, including the New York Times, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Esquire, and Conde Nast Traveler.
JOANN CIANCIULLI has written nearly a dozen cookbooks, most recently the acclaimed LA.'s Original Farmers Market Cookbook, and has collaborated with noted chefs, including Michael Mina and Tyler Florence.
Author photograph: Ben Fink