"I discovered shishitos a few years ago in a stall of Japanese vegetables in the Union Square Market in Manhattan," says Jim Galileo, executive chef of GP's in Jersey City. "I asked the proprietor, 'Are they hot? What's the best way to cook them?' 'Hot pan,' he replied. I asked again whether they are hot. 'No,' he said, then added with a wink and a smile, 'Sometimes one or two speak a little different.'"
"The pure, green vegetal flavor of asparagus is the perfect harbinger of spring," says Jim Galileo, executive chef of GP's in Jersey City. "Shallots give a bit of crunchy spark. The speck—a favorite of mine for its unique combination of salt, sweet pork flavor and smoke—makes a good foil. The poached egg? The dish makes its own sauce!"
"Traditionally, the Hair of the Dog cocktail is something you drink when you have a hangover,” says Michael Carrino, chef/co-owner of the gastropub Pig & Prince in Montclair. “There are many variations, and this is mine. The Hum liqueur is a 70 proof botanical spirit made with hibiscus, ginger, cardamom and kaffir lime. I feel it helps heal a hangover after a night of TOO MUCH fun."
"I love the combination of apples, squash and scallops," says Dave Perini, executive chef of District 611 in Riverton. "What is the perfect medium to bring them together? To me, it's risotto. It does not get any better than the way the creaminess supports the ingratiating flavors of the other ingredients and provides a subtle contrast in texture."
“I love the char flavor the grill imparts,” says David Perini, executive chef of District 611 in Riverton. “It just automatically takes me to summertime. To me, nothing goes better with that beautiful char than the smoky flavors of the southwest: cumin, coriander, lime and chili powder.”
"This is a variation on a recipe from my grandmother," says Dave Perini, executive chef of District 611 in Riverton. "She used to make polenta and Bolognese sauce in a large bowl for Sunday dinner. I wanted to adapt it in way that would fit the fun concept of Neapolitan pizza and rustic Italian dishes we do at District 611."
"All the greens in this delicious salad are incredibly high in anti-oxidants," says Dave Perini, executive chef of District 611 in Riverton. "Kale, which is unusually high in fiber, helps create bulk to fill you up and keep you satisfied until the next meal. Kale is also an excellent source of nutrients, especially vitamin A and calcium. Swiss Chard is high in syringic acid, which has received attention in recent research for regulating blood sugar by inhibiting an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase."
“Crab cakes are as generic as pasta these days,” says Michael Carrino, chef/owner of Pig & Prince in Montclair. “This crab ‘tower,’ which I developed while working in Virginia, is simple to make but delicious and a little different. Using absolutely fresh crab is of the utmost importance. How you handle the crab makes all the difference. When executed correctly, crab towers are a far cry from the deep-fried messes that haunts us regularly.”
"On my annual visit to a friend’s winery in Arizona last year, I dined at an amazing restaurant, Elote Café in Sedona,” says Michael Carrino, chef/owner of Pig & Prince in Montclair. “I loved its namesake dish, elote—Mexican grilled corn—and decided to adapt it to my kitchen. This version makes a great cold dip or hot appetizer, and is my homage to a great chef, Jeff Smedstad, and an unforgettable meal."