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The Lever House Cookbook

dear cooks,

When the Lever House building first opened its doors in 1952, prominent architecture critic Lewis Mumford called it "the eighth wonder of the world." New Yorkers flocked to the site to get a glimpse of the city's first all-glass skyscraper, a bottle-green gem that looked startlingly modern on Park Avenue. Fifty years later, Lever House is still creating a sensation.

Now, the glamorous vision and refined flavors of the restaurant are captured in The Lever House Cookbook. As with the design of the restaurant, Dan Silverman believes that fresh, sophisticated cuisine needn't be overly complicated, and all of the more than 125 recipes here prove that the perfect combination of ingredients results in bold new flavors. Hamachi with Soy-Sherry Reduction offers a beautiful balance of salty and sweet, while a splash of Citrus Vinaigrette brightens a rich, buttery Alaskan Black Cod. Risotto al Barolo sings when studded with caramelized butternut squash, and the recipe for Grilled Lamb Chops redefines the hefty, juicy meal. Familiar tastes such as caramel and cinnamon reach new heights in Lever House's signature desserts, like Apple Cheesecake Crisp.

With vivid photographs of the dishes and modern and archival images of the venue, The Lever House Cookbook is a timeless monument to New York style.

Risotto with Lobster,
Sweet Corn, and Garden Peas

When local white and bicolor corn become available in New York, this is one way for us to showcase it. Succulent lobster meat, freshly shucked peas, and lots of sweet corn combine to make a really wonderful summer risotto. If you can't find savory and don't want to use thyme, you could substitute fresh basil. Traditionally, risottos containing seafood do not include cheese, but feel free to add a little freshly grated Parmigiano if you like.

Serves 4

ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 live lobster (1½ pounds)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • Generous pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 4 cups Vegetable Stock (recipe below)
  • 2 ears sweet white corn, shucked, kernels cut from the cob (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup sweet peas, frozen or fresh (if using fresh peas, blanch for 2 minutes in salted boiling water; if using frozen, run under cool water for 2 minutes to thaw)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh savory or
  • thyme leaves
  • Juice of ¼ lemon, if desired

Vegetable Stock

  • 2 celery stalks, quartered
  • 2 fennel bulbs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 leeks, washed, trimmed, and halved
  • 2 carrots, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

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to prepare

Fill a large stockpot three-quarters of the way with water and add the sea salt; bring to a rapid boil over medium-high heat. Carefully ease the lobster into the pot, and cook for 8 minutes, until the shell is bright red. Using tongs, carefully remove the lobster to a side platter.

Working with rubber gloves, use a sort of sideways twist to break the legs, claws, and tails off of the body. Using a big knife, split the tails in half lengthwise. Gently wash away any visible veins or roe with cold water. On a work surface, rest the tails on their sides and, using the palm of your hand, press down on them to break off the outer shells; cut the tail meat into bite-size pieces. With the back of a knife, crack the claws and wiggle the meat out from the shell. Place the knuckles on the work surface, whack them open, remove the shell, and carefully pick out the meat with your fingers. You should have at least 1 cup of meat. 

Heat the stock in a saucepan over medium-low flame; keep warm at a simmer, but don’t let it boil.

Place a large sauté pan over high heat and add 3 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter is melted, add the shallots and cook them for 3 minutes, until translucent, stirring often. Add the rice, and stir for a minute or two, until the grains are opaque and slightly toasted; season with salt and pepper. 

Deglaze with the wine and cook until almost evaporated. Pour in 1 cup of the warm stock, stir until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, and then add another cup. Keep stirring while adding the stock 1 cup at a time, allowing the rice to drink it in before adding more, until the rice has been cooking for about 12 minutes. 

Fold in the corn and cook for 1 minute to incorporate. Add the peas and savory, and cook another minute or two, until the rice is almost tender. Taste the rice frequently at this point, keeping in mind that it will continue to cook even after you turn off the flame—it should not be dry or mushy. 

Fold in the lobster, adjust the seasoning, give a squeeze of lemon juice if you like, and finish the risotto with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Serve immediately in warm bowls.


Vegetable Stock

Makes ¾ gallon

The small amount of salt in this recipe helps draw out flavor from the vegetables as they simmer. A little salt in stock won't reduce down enough to taste overpowering.

In a large stockpot, combine all the ingredients with enough cold water to cover, about 1 gallon. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered, skimming any impurities that rise to the surface. Turn off the heat and let the stock steep and settle for 10 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the solids. Place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool the stock down quickly. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week or store in the freezer for a month.


 

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happy cooking!

 

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