This year’s James Beard Award winner for the best chef in all of New York City was Marco Canora who grew up in the nearby Hudson Valley. His Italian-born mother’s cooking provided his first inspiration, and his big break came at Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern. He was later chosen to open Tom Colicchio’s Craft, Craftbar and other venues.
Then striking out on his own, he opened the Italian-influenced Hearth in the East Village. Later he added Brodo, credited with launching a national craze for bone broths, and Zadie’s Oyster Room.
Here are some of Canora’s signature recipes:
Roasted pork with sage, rosemary and garlic
Pork loin is a lean, mild cut of meat. I like to add flavor and keep it moist by stuffing it with a mixture of chopped herbs and garlic. Simply make a small channel in the center of the loin with a knife, then poke the stuffing in. The meat will be flavored and basted from within while it roasts.
If you are roasting a larger, thicker loin, make two channels through the meat so the seasoning can be better distributed. Cook the loin longer.
If you want, you can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. I prefer pokr cooked so it’s still a little pink at the center. You can expect a reading before the final resting of about 135 degrees Fahrenheit. If you like your pork more thoroughly cooked, cook it until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
1 boneless pork loin (about 2 pounds)
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage plus 2 sprigs
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary plus 2 sprigs
1 teaspoon minced garlic plus 2 cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
3 tablespoons extras virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Using a long knife with a thin blade or a clean sharpening steel, make a channel lengthwise through the center of the loin running from one end to the other.
- Mix the chopped sage and rosemary in a small bowl. Add the minced garlic and 1 tablespoon oil. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, then poke it through the channel in the meat (I find it easiest to work from both ends more or less at once).
- Season the outside of the loin generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in an ovenproof skillet large enough to hold the loin. Brown the meat on all sides and on each end, about 8 minutes in all.
- Add the herb springs and crushed garlic to the pan and put it in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the loin and roast 15 minutes more, basting from time to time with the pan drippings.
- Remove the pan from the oven, cover with foil, and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes to rest the meat. To serve, cut the loin into generous slices, season with sea salt, and drizzle with the pan juices.
Braised string beans
It’s a rare thing when a little effort is rewarded with an impressive result. For this reason, braising is one of my favorite cooking techniques. By doing next to nothing, you get a huge amount of rich flavor. These slow-cooked string beans come out tender and addictively tasty every time (and they’re even better the next day, so this is scaled up to give you some leftovers). This will take about 45 minutes to cook, but it’s mostly hands off. IF you make this during the summer, and I recommend you do, see if you can find Romano beans to sub in for the string beans. They’re broader in shape and stand up well to longer cooking like this. If it’s the dead of winter and your fresh tomato selection is iffy, feel free to substitute a 28-ounce can of chopped tomatoes. Just be sure to drain the liquid out before adding the tomatoes to the pot.
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
2 pounds string beans, trimmed and halved crosswise (8 to 9 cups)
6 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
- Pour the olive oil into a large cold pot or Dutch oven. Layer in the vegetables—the onions and garlic on the bottom, followed by the string beans and then the tomatoes on top. Add a couple generous pinches of salt and pepper. Cover and turn the heat to high. Cook for 12 minutes, then stir the vegetables to coat them in the liquid they’ve released. Cover and cook for 3 minutes before stirring again.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 5 minutes, then stir and taste. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, so any remaining liquid evaporates and the flavors concentrate.
- Add the basil and toss with the string beans. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Maple and spice-roasted autumn squash
Serves 4 to 6
This is a version of a popular salad we serve at Hearth. Cubes of tender roasted butternut, red kuri, and kabocha squash are sweetened with just enough maple syrup to balance the spicy warmth of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I like the buttery red kuri squash with the sweeter butternut and creamy kabocha, but any combination of fall squash works. I leave the skins on the kabocha and red kuri squash because they’re completely edible and add more fiber and a contrasting texture. Be sure to clean the skin well with a vegetable brush or the coarse side of a clean sponge, and thoroughly scrape out the squash guts and seeds with the edge of a spoon until there are no loose bits. Cut and roast the remaining halves of the kabocha and butternut squash to keep around as snacks or to throw in whatever salad or soup you like.
You’ve got to get kabocha in your repertoire; its flesh is a silkier, slightly sweeter version of butternut squash. You should be able to find it in your local grocery store during fall and winter, but if not, use acorn squash or just double up on the butternut or red kuri.
½ kabocha squash, 1 red kuri squash, ½ peeled butternut squash, all cut into 1 ½ inch cubes (about 8 cups cubed squash total)
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ½ tablespoons Maple Syrup Vinaigrette
Spiced Pumpkin Seeds for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 325° Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, combine the assorted squash cubes and maple syrup. Season with the ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt and toss to evenly coat. Arrange the squash on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Cover the pan with foil to help the squash to cook in its own steam and become more infused with the spices. Bake until the squash is soft, about 35 minutes.
- Remove the squash from the oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes, still covered with the foil.
- While the squash is still warm, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and lightly toss; don’t rough it up too much and break down the squash. Add salt to taste and top each serving with a sprinkling of spiced pumpkin seeds.
Spiced apple, pear and cranberry crumble
For a foolproof dessert, look no further than crumbles. They’re simple, forgiving, adaptable to most fruits, and generally a dessert that everyone is excited to dig into. Most people want the serving that has a monstrous mound of topping, so I make sure no one gets shorted—this crumble is blanketed corner to corner with a crispy, honey-sweetened oat topping. This fall crumble is a sort of lazy man’s apple pie. I prefer Honeycrisp or Gala apples and Bosc pears for this because they soften but still hold their shape. Leave the skin on the apples and pears—that’s where a surprising amount of their fiber and nutrients are.
2 cups cored, chopped Honeycrisp or Gala apples (about 2 large)
2 cups cored, chopped ripe Bosc pears (about 2 large)
1 cup dried cranberries
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
½ cup chopped hazelnuts
1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup virgin coconut oil
¼ cup honey
1/3 cup oat flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- For the filling: In a large bowl, toss together the apples, pears, dried cranberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and coconut sugar. Spread the fruit in an 8 x 11-inch baking dish.
- For the topping: In the same large bowl, stir together all the topping ingredients to combine. Evenly distribute the oat topping over the fruit.
- Bake until the oats are lightly toasted and the fruit is bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving to allow the topping to get crispier.