Many of us are still reeling from Bourdain’s passing last week on June 8th, myself included as he was my mentor and good personal friend. After posting my last article Remembering Anthony Bourdain it may seem trite, but I decided to pay homage to his legacy by creating Bourdain’s culinary week. These are some of his recipes that he shared with me and I’ve prepared countless times.
It’s hard to comprehend the inner demons that push someone to take their own life; we all knew him as a revolutionary icon – full of verve, so vital and alive. He’s left a massive hole in the cultural and gastronomic community, which will be impossible to replicate. Throughout his TV series, No Reservations and Parts Unknown, Bourdain’s portrayal of the foibles of the human condition and his unsolicited food travel ideology made us realize that through travel and culture food is power and worthwhile taking about.
For us that have followed him, are familiar with him, loved him and have secretly wanted to emulate him and be him, he’ll always be remembered fondly. No one will be able to mirror his style or passion for food and culture. He was an original and nonpareil.
Most of these recipes arise from his last cookbook published in October 2016, Appetites which encompasses workhorse recipes of a veteran chef cooking at home for his family, the biggest critic being his 8-year-old daughter. And surprisingly, it’s not a compilation of recipes collected through his travelogue or trailblazing dishes, but rather what he dearly loved to cook when he was at home in NYC, which was rare when he wasn’t traveling.
MONDAY – BUDAE JJIGAE – KOREAN ARMY STEW
I am positive many of you probably have never heard of this dish, let alone made it. On the “Seoul” Episode in Parts Unknown, Bourdain featured this dish, which incorporates a fusion of Korean and American fare. Food became scarce in Korea after the war in the 50’s and a lot of surplus army rations were incorporated with local ingredients. Budae literally means military base and Jjfgae is the Korean term for stew. By the intrepid list of ingredients, you’re probably already frowning at the weirdness of the mélange which will undoubtedly call for extra workouts at the gym. Warning: even with the peculiarity and dichotomy of ingredients, it’s a rather addicting dish.
4-5 slices of Spam thinly sliced
1 can of Frankfurt sausages – sliced
4 cups of low sodium chicken stock
½ cup of jarred Kimchi – chopped
1 PKG of instant ramen noodles
½ container of firm tofu – water drained and sliced about ½” thick
½ LB of shitake mushrooms
½ LB of enoki mushrooms
4 scallions – sliced on the diagonal – both green and white parts
½ PKG of Sekero Korean rice cakes– soaked in cold water for about 15 minutes
2 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
Calling for spam and cocktail canned wieners, ingredients that my elevated snobbish palate has never tried, let alone bought was a bit of a shocker, but in this dish, they work surprisingly well.
1 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP Korean chili flakes – Gochungaru
1 TBSP garlic/ginger paste
½ TBSP Gochujang – Korean chili paste
3 TBSP of Mirin – rice wine
½ TBSP sugar
Mix all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
In a large Dutch oven, assemble all the ingredients omitting the ramen noodles, rice cakes, cheese and scallions grouping them in sections. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Incorporate the rest of the ingredients and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the noodles are cooked. Add the sauce on top before serving.
TUESDAY – DO CHUA SALAD WITH HERBS, SCALLIONS, SPROUTS AND EGG
Do Chua is a Vietnamese pickle of shaved carrots and daikon with sugar, salt, and sherry vinegar. Exponentially easy to prepare and it encompasses the compelling taste of Southeast Asia embracing hot, salty, sweet and sour. The very essence umami representation. Do chua keeps for weeks in the fridge. It’s outstanding by itself or combined with the remaining salad ingredients or as the vegetable component into a Banh Mi sandwich.
1 daikon radish – peeled and julienned
3 large carrots – peeled and julienned
1 TBSP salt
2 TBSP of sugar
¼ cup of white vinegar
½ cup of sherry vinegar
¾ cup of hot water
5-6 scallions – white and green parts sliced thinly
2 cups of fresh mung beans (beansprouts)
4 hard boiled eggs – cut into wedges
1 cup each of fresh mint, basil and cilantro – chopped
Nuoc Nam 1 TBSP (fish sauce)
1 TSP Sriracha sauce
In a large working bowl, combine the carrots, daikon salt and 2 TSP of sugar and toss well allowing it to sit for about 30 minutes. Discard the liquid that has accumulated under the veggies. Place the contents of the bowl over paper towels and squeeze dry them to absorb as much of the moisture as possible.
In another large working bowl add the dried veggies with another 2 TSP of sugar, white and sherry vinegars and the hot water. Cover it with some plastic wrap and allow it to sit out at room temperature for about 1 hour. This is the first part of the pickled vegetables and keeps in the fridge for 3 weeks and can be used for many other dishes.
In a serving bowl, transfer the do chua with some tongs and ensure that you are leaving a lot of the brine behind. Whatever brine comes with the do chua will be the dressing for the salad. Add the beansprouts, scallions, eggs and herbs. Mix the sriracha with the Nuoc Nam and drizzle over the top of the salad. Toss at the table.
WEDNESDAY – POULET ROTI
“That’s roast chicken, numb nuts! And if you can’t properly roast a damn chicken then you are one helpless, hopeless, sorry-ass, bi-valve in an apron. Take that apron off, wrap it around your neck, and hang yourself. You do not deserve to wear the proud garment of generations of hardworking, dedicated cooks. Turn in those clogs, too.”
That was the intro to this recipe, out of one of his early cookbooks published in 2004, Les Halles. Rather incongruous that in his at times vitriolic and unabashed, funny verbal harangue he would have said that. If you didn’t know what Poulet Roti meant, you do know.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375F
1 whole roasting chicken
1 onion – peeled and halved
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 TBSP herbed butter
1 ½ cups of white wine
Fresh chopped parsley
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
½ cup of softened butter – unsalted
1 TBPS each of fresh basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary – all chopped finely
½ TBSP honey
Pinch of salt and fresh cracked white pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well and chill.
Remove the giblets from the cavity. Wash, dry the chicken well and salt and pepper the cavity. Tuck the wings underneath and stuff the cavity with half the lemon, half the onion, the rosemary and thyme. Carefully taking a hold of the skin, lift it inserting slices of the chilled butter in between the skin and the breastbone and around the legs and thighs, being careful not to tear the skin in the process. Rub the plain softened butter all over the chicken and season well with salt and pepper all over. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and add the other half of the lemon, the onion cut up into chunks and the wine.
Bake for about 30 minutes basting often with the juices that have accumulated in the pan. Rotate the roasting pan for even browning, as some oven have hot spots. Crank the oven up to 450F and roast for another 30 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and it should register 160F.
Allow the chicken to rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the pan juices.
THURSDAY – ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH SESAME SEEDS
When Tony said “This shit is compulsively delicious”, you better believe it’s addictingly good.
It’s one of the most outstanding ways of cooking cauliflower on God’s green earth. It will be one of those recipes that you Must. Make. Immediately. Because you may polish off the entire bowl in one sitting.
½ head of cauliflower, broken into florets
¼ cup EVOO
½ TSP ground coriander
½ TSP dried oregano
1TBSP tahini paste
1 TDP Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 TBSP white miso paste
1 TSP red wine vinegar
1 TBSP warm water
1 ½ TBSP toasted sesame seeds
Chili paste in oil – (optional but recommended)
PREHEAT OVEN 450F
In a small bowl add the EVOO, coriander, oregano, salt and pepper and whisk to emulsify. Add the cauliflower florets into a large working bowl. Pour the oil mixture and ensure that the florets are evenly coated.
Transfer to a foil covered sheet pan and arrange in an even layer. Don’t over-crowd. Roast for 20 minutes, turning the tray halfway through shaking to ensure even browning.
Meanwhile, whisk together miso, tahini paste, vinegar and a TBSP of warm water. If it seems too thick add a bit more water.
When the cauliflower has finished roasting, transfer to a mixing bowl, toss with the tahini sauce and sesame seeds to coat evenly. Transfer to a platter and add a few small dollops of the chili paste.
FRIDAY – MACAU STYLE PORK CHOP SANDWICH
Why are these pork chops so mind-numbingly outstanding? Well, make them and the you be judge. And as if these chops were not insane good on their own, they’re typically slapped between two pieces of bread and eaten as a sandwich. It’s quite possibly the best recipe in his book Appetites, and yes, they are fried and yes, they are slapped between two pieces of toasted white bread! In the book, he mentions they had a hard time photographing the dish as the crew kept eating the chops prior to the take. They are that good! You only live once, so what are you waiting for?
4 boneless chops about 6 oz each
¼ cup of Chinese rice wine vinegar
¼ cup of soy sauce PLUS 2 additional TBSP
¼ cup of Chinese black vinegar – or balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves – peeled and smashed but left whole
1 TBSP Chinese 5 spice powder
2 garlic cloves – chopped roughly (remove them before frying)
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 egg – whisked with a TSP of water
¼ cup of APF
1½ cups of Panko breadcrumbs
½ TSP Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 cup of canola oil (for frying or more if needed)
1 TBSP Sambal Oelek – chili paste
Place the chops between parchment paper or plastic wrap and with a meat mallet pound each chop to about ¼ inch thick. In a medium sized mixing bowl add the soy, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, smashed garlic cloves, black vinegar, 5 spice powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk well to emulsify. Place the chops inside a plastic zip-lock food bag and pour over the marinade. Seal and allow the chops to marinate for 1 hour but optimal up to 12.
Beat the egg in a shallow plate with a TSP of water, add the APF in a second plater and the Panko in a third. Remove the chops from the marinade and dredge them in the flour, add to the egg and finish with the breadcrumbs. Heat up the oil and ensure it is quite hot. Take a pinch of the breadcrumbs and drop them in the oil, if they sizzle in the oil then it’s reached the correct temp.
Add the chops to the oil, being careful not to splatter and fry for about 5 minutes per side. Place them on a platter with paper towels to absorb some of the oil. Toast the bread and whisk the sambal chili paste with the soy sauce and add to the top of the chops upon serving or serve alongside the meat if circumventing the bread.
The addition of water when beating the egg thins the consistency and allows the egg to adhere to the meat better. Smash the garlic, as that is added for flavor and will make for easier removal, as it will burn when frying.
You can skip the bread, since these are already fried and serve them as is with a side veg or a salad.
SATURDAY – CACIO E PEPE PASTA
Undoubtedly, Cacio e Pepe was Tony’s favorite pasta dishes. Along with his incredible lasagna, which requires time and preparation, this simple dish can be whipped up in a few minutes. It originates from Rome and it’s nothing more than pasta tossed with EVOO, plenty of fresh cracked pepper and Pecorino Romano. Pair it with his heirloom tomato salad.
3-4 TBSP EVOO
2 TBSP fresh cracked pepper
½ cup of Pecorino Romano
1 PKG of linguini or spaghetti
3 TBSP butter
Some Kosher salt
Boil some water, add some salt and cook the pasta according to package instructions, leaving the pasta al dente. Heat the EVOO gently with the fresh cracked pepper until the pepper sizzles a bit, as you are infusing the oil with the flavor of the pepper. Remove from the heat.
Add 3-4 TBSP of the pasta water to the oil and about 3 TBSP butter. With some tongs scoop the cooked pasta into the skillet with the infused pepper oil. (Reserve the pasta water). Place the skillet back over the fire and add the Pecorino Romano and another good drizzle of EVOO. Start stirring and tossing the sauce vigorously with the tongs to ensure that the cheese and contents are getting evenly distributed. Add a few TBSP of the pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce, which should stick to the pasta but not be too thick, making the pasta shiny and velvety looking. Adjust seasonings with a bit of salt and serve immediately.
Adding some of the water containing the pasta starch allows for the sauce to adhere to the pasta better. Pecorino Romano is the classic cheese here but it can be substituted for Parmegiano Reggiano. When heated excessively, EVOO can get bitter so bring it up to heat gently. Additionally, use ONLY fresh cracked pepper since it’s the backbone of this dish.
HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD
The pillar for this salad is obtaining the sweetest and ripest tomatoes, so don’t settle for less. Vine ripened can be substituted.
1 LB of the best quality tomatoes
1 garlic clove – passed through a garlic press
1 cup of fresh Italian parsley – chopped
½ cup of fresh basil – cut in a chiffonade
2 large shallots – peeled and chopped finely
¼ cup of EVOO
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 TBSP sherry vinegar
1 TSP of sugar
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
Cut the tomatoes into wedges or slices removing their core. Place them in a bowl along with the shallots, garlic, parsley and basil. In a small separate bowl, whisk the vinegars, EVOO, sugar, salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the tomatoes and very gently toss with the dressing. Allow for it to sit at room temp for about 15 minutes, tossing again before serving.
SUNDAY – TONY’S SCRAMBLED EGGS
If you aren’t familiar with Bourdain’s way of making scrambled eggs you are in for a life changing experience. These came about from his layover episode in Los Angeles. He typically gravitated to this simple yet splendid rendition on his weekends off, adding a surprising twist to his scramble although you might be flummoxed by the dichotomy of ingredients.
Adding a couple of dollops of sour cream on top after you have scrambled the eggs may sound like a conundrum but it is true genius! Because it makes for the creamiest, fluffiest and most heavenly scrambled eggs you’ve tasted in your entire lifetime. No lie.
½ cup of thick cut bacon – about 5-6 slices
4 eggs – whisked
2 TBSP fresh chives – finely chopped
2 TBSP sour cream
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
Whisk the eggs and season them with salt and pepper. Cook the bacon till crispy, preferably in a non-stick pan and drain over paper towels. Remove some of the bacon fat from the skillet and add the eggs and crumble in the bacon. Scramble the eggs stirring constantly till cooked and lastly add sour cream and the chives mixing them in well.
All the recipes featured on this post are from Anthony Bourdain and have followed the source of his cookbooks Appetites and La Salle. They haven’t been changed or adapted in any way.