April Bloomfield hosts chef and preservation maestro Paul Virant with The Breslin this Sunday evening at Ace Hotel New York to celebrate Paul’s new cookbook The Preservation Kitchen with a 5-course dinner, dessert and cocktails in Liberty Hall. Paul and April met half a decade ago when they were both honored as Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs. They became fast friends, bonding over their love of Chez Panisse, charcuterie, pickling and rock. Back in July, Paul hosted April at Perennial Virant for the launch of her first cookbook A Girl and Her Pig. Now, she responds in kind.
The acclaimed chefs will each prepare a course, along with additional courses from chef Nick Anderer of Maialino and chef Josh Even of The John Dory with dessert prepared by The Breslin’s pastry chef Jane Tseng. Cocktail hour begins at 7pm, followed by dinner at 8. After the feast, you can stay for an afterparty featuring book signings with Paul and April on The Breslin’s mezzanine. Limited tickets are available here, and you can find out more about the event on April’s site.
To whet your appetite, we’ve included a good starter recipe for your preservation projects this fall: Preserved Lemons.
Yield: 2 pint jars
Time: 20 minutes
2 cups kosher salt, more if needed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Herbes de Provence
8 organic lemons
Wash the lemons and slice their ends off. If they’re large, cut them into six wedges. If they’re small, cut them into four wedges. If they’re somewhere in between, wing it. In a large bowl add the salt, sugar and Herbes de Provence — this is your cure mixture. Add the lemon wedges and coat them well.
In a Mason jars or a ceramic vessel, add a bit of the cure mixture to the bottom, then add the lemon wedges, sprinkling the cure mixture in between each layer as you go. Squeeze one or two of the wedges over the top and fill the vessels to the brim with the remaining mixture. If you don’t have enough of the mixture left, just cover the top completely with a layer of salt.
Cover the vessels for four to five days, after which you’ll see that the mixture has created a brine. Make sure that the lemons are still submerged. You might need to add something to keep the lemons from rising to the surface, such as a small ceramic ramekin. (Or a ceramekin, as we like to call it.)
Place the vessels in a cool spot that stays below 65 degrees, and give the lemons a stir every once in a while. Let them cure for a least a month, but preferably for four months. Once they’ve cured, they can keep in the refrigerator up to one year as long as they stay submerged in the brine.
Images come from Susie Kauck, editor of Return to Sunday Supper and prop stylist for Paul’s book from Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, from whence this recipe came.