Friday, July 31, 2009

Chef Recipe: Casellula's Miso Pickles with Megan Johnson

If I could set up an electronic direct deposit to a house account at Casellula, I would. This charming bar on 52nd Street (@9th Ave.) is my newfound haven-one which breaks the perfunctory wine-cheese-bar mold with whimsical, handcrafted dishes.

A pedigreed staff (C.V. includes Blue Hill Stone Barns, Gramercy Tavern, and The Modern) helms an equally pedigreed daily artisanal cheese menu that doesn't take itself too seriously. Irreverent flourishes a la "Pig's Ass Sandwich" and a cheese flight named "Me And Ewe And Everyone We Know" could endear even the most poker-faced foodie.

No detail is overlooked; take for example, the housemade miso pickled vegetables, Moon River Chattel lighting, and a playlist that includes the likes of Phoenix and Franz Ferdinand.

More importantly, they note:
...because not every cheese goes with quince paste we take pains to pair each cheese with it's perfect condiment. We work with over 100 different compliments, including a variety of honeys, nuts, compotes, jams, pickles, nuts, herbs, pastes, candies, cookies and cakes.

Um, you had me at "hello."

Special thanks to Chef Megan Johnson for sharing Casellula's prized miso pickles recipe with pickle girl.

Casellula Miso Pickles (Recipe yields approximately 6-8 quarts)
2 cups rice wine vinegar
4 cups red wine vinegar
6 cups water
4 cups distilled vinegar
2 heaping cups Dijon mustard
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup miso paste
2 cups fresh horseradish, grated
1/4 cup whole black peppercorns
12 fresh bay leaves

1. Bring all ingredients to boil; allow to boil for at 10-15 minutes.
2. Pour brine over fresh, cleaned vegetables of your liking i.e. Asparagus, green beans, cucumbers, radishes, and baby zucchini. If you use carrots, be sure to blanch them before hand.
3. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for up to one week.