New Amsterdam Market Update: Grass-Fed Beef Sliders with Pickled Onions and Ronnybrook Horseradish Crème Fraîche

A great day at the New Amsterdam Market yesterday as Alexis and Amanda from Jimmy’s 43 slung sliders and I talked up High Point Farms upcoming Harvest CSA!

Thanks to everyone who made it out and dropped by to say “hi”! It was great to see you all and give you a chance to try some amazing meat.

The sliders were super easy to put together, but unfortunately I don’t have the recipes for either the onions or the horseradish crème fraîche. If you end up giving it a go, please do let me know how it turns out!


Spaghetti and Meatballs

In general, the restaurants that are nearest and dearest to my heart are the one’s that are the least complicated. Just straightforward, quality food. Beautifully sourced and expertly prepared. No foams, no fuss.

For this reason, I have always been a big fan of Frankies Spuntino. In the years since opening their doors — first in Carroll Gardens and then on Clinton Street — Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronov’s food has never failed to put a big smile on my face. This is good, solid, tasty cooking at its best.

In June, the gastronomic duo released their first cookbook, The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual. It’s a beautiful tome to own, filled with charming fine-line drawings and direct prose. Like their food, it is exceptionally accessible.

This meatball recipe is mostly theirs, though the basic tomato sauce is my own. While making them at home, I forgot to add the eggs, but did not find that the flavor suffered. Maybe my meatballs were a little springier as a result. If I had to do it again, I think that I would do something to make the raisins and the pine nuts not so obtrusive by either substituting golden raisins for dark. Even better still, I think I would use currants. The pine nuts I might think about coarsely chopping too.


2 slices white bread (about 1 packed cup’s worth)

1 pounds lean ground beef (from High Point Farms if you have it!)

2 finely minced cloves garlic

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus about 1 cup for serving

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

7 turns white pepper

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

Basic tomato sauce


How to prepare:

1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Put the fresh bread in a bowl, cover it with water, and let it soak for a minute or so. Pour off the water and squeeze the excess out the bread as best as you can. Tear it into tiny pieces.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the bread with all the remaining ingredients except the tomato sauce and the spaghetti. The mixture should be moist-wet, not sloppy-wet. If the mixture is too moist, you can adjust it by adding more Panko.

3. Gently shape the meat mixture into handball-sized balls. Space them evenly on a baking sheet or arrange them evenly in a large cast-iron pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The meatballs will be firm, but still juicy and gently yielding when they’re cooked through.

4. Meanwhile, reheat the tomato sauce in a deep-sided pan that is large enough to accommodate the meatballs and sauce comfortably.

5. Put the meatballs into the pan of sauce and turn the heat up a little. Simmer the meatballs for no more than half an hour so they can soak up some sauce. Any longer that 30 minutes, and they start to disintegrate.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the spaghetti according to directions.

7. Top each serving of spaghetti with 3-4 meatballs and a healthy helping of the sauce. Shower the bowl with the freshly-grated Pecorino and a little finely chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Stuffed Chard with Fresh Marinara

In Patricia Wells’s book, Trattoria, she writes that many pasta dishes remind her of the Italian flag with its “proud red, green, and white” colors.

This dish is certainly that.

This recipe is an adaptation of one that I found on the Eating Well website. Since starting our meat CSA, we have been quickly accumulating ground beef recipes beyond the usual suspects (hamburgers, chili, meatloaf, tacos, meatballs).

This recipe satisfies all my criteria for a great meal at home: it uses seasonal vegetables, it is not overly complicated, it is quick to put together yet looks like I spent hours in the kitchen, and it is beautiful on the plate. Most importantly? It tastes wonderful.

I have altered the recipe slightly, using fresh herbs and garlic in the meat mixture instead of dried  I have also left the dried herbs out of the sauce, their presence being a pet peeve of mine. I like to see my marinara un-flecked with dirty-looking specks of dusty leaves. If I had to do it again, I might use less panko and employ a softer touch when forming the meat so that it crumbles a little more in the mouth.

As you can see, I am a giant fan of my Microplane grater, which makes gorgeous fluffy clouds of fragrant Parmesan.


1 pound lean ground beef (Go High Point Farms CSA!)

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 medium shallots, minced, divided

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced, divided

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Pinches of salt and freshly ground pepper

8 large Swiss chard leaves, stems removed

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more if you prefer)

1 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen’s Fire-Roasted Tomatoes)

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare:

1. Gently mix the beef, breadcrumbs, 1/2 of the shallots, 1/2 of the garlic, the oregano, crushed red pepper, salt and ground black pepper in a large bowl until just combined. Roughly divide the mixture into 8 oblong 3-inch portions.

2. Overlap the two sides of a chard leaf where the stem has been removed and place a portion of beef there. You may need to adjust the amount of meat you stuff in each leaf, depending on how big the leaves are. Tightly roll the chard around the beef. Place each roll, seam-side down, in a large nonstick skillet. Pour in broth, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a roll reads 165°F.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/2 of the shallots and garlic. Stirring often, cook until the shallots and garlic are soft, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper to taste and cook for a few seconds longer, but don’t let the pepper burn. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat a little bit and add the balsamic vinegar. Continue to simmer the sauce until it is reduced and thickened to your liking.  Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.

4. To serve, remove the chard rolls from its broth bath with tongs. You can discard the broth afterwards. Top the rolls with sauce and Parmesan cheese, if desired — and why wouldn’t you?

Tip: Start removing the chard stems by folding each leaf in half. Beginning at a point at the top of the leaf where the stem looks skinny and pliable enough to not have to remove, sever the tender part of the stem from the thicker part with a small cut. Separate the leaf from the stem by moving your knife parallel to the stem’s length, including the widest section of the rib at the base of the leaf.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the chard rolls in the sauce; reheat in a covered baking dish at 350°F for about 10 minutes.