The Culture of Andy Nusser

The Tarry Lodge chef’s favorite kitchen tool and three favorite recipes.

Base Yogurt
â—† 6 cups whole milk
â—† 2 Tbs yogurt (preferably homemade, but any plain yogurt with live cultures will do)

Heat the milk until scalding, then set aside until temperature drops to 102°F to 104°F. Whisk in the yogurt, and pour mixture into yogurt-maker containers. Place the containers into yogurt maker, and follow manufacturer’s directions to complete the process. When yogurt is finished, refrigerate.

 

Crab with Piquillo Peppers
(Serves 4)

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â—† 1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
â—† 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
â—† 2 stalks celery, diced
â—† ½ cup homemade yogurt
â—† Salt and pepper to taste
â—† 8 canned piquillo peppers, drained
â—† 1 head frisée lettuce
â—† Lemon juice
â—† Olive oil

In a bowl, mix together the first five ingredients. Stuff mixture into the piquillo peppers, and serve on frisée lettuce dressed with a splash of lemon juice and olive oil.

 

Roasted Lamb Chops with Mint Yogurt
(Serves 4)

â—† 1 tsp ground cumin
â—† 2 Tbs chopped fresh mint
â—† 1 cup homemade yogurt
â—† 2 racks of New Zealand lamb
â—† 1 lb fresh spinach leaves
â—† 2 cloves garlic, sliced
â—† Zest of one lemon
â—† ¼ cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 500°F. Fold cumin and mint into yogurt. Season lamb generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large, oven-proof sauté pan and sear lamb racks on all sides. (This will take about 10 minutes.) Place sauté pan containing racks in oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Remove racks from pan and set the meat aside. Replace the sauté pan on the stove. Allow lamb to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add fresh spinach and sliced garlic to the sauté pan. Sauté until the spinach is wilted; drain the spinach and set aside.

Pool minted yogurt on the center of the plate. Place a spoon of wilted spinach on top of the yogurt. Carve lamb racks into four pieces each, and place two chops on each plate. Garnish with lemon zest and olive oil, and serve.

 

 

Black Mission Figs with Yogurt and Aceto Manodori
(Serves 4)

â—† 2 cups homemade yogurt
â—† 8 Black Mission figs
â—†Aceto Manodori aged balsamic vinegar

Spoon ½ cup of yogurt into each of four small bowls. Top with quartered figs and splash with a generous drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.

 

The Donvier Yogurt Maker

Nusser’s not particularly brand-loyal when it comes to his yogurt makers. “All you need is a simple incubator that keeps the culture at a constant temperature. We’ve probably gone through several brands through the years, but this Donvier was a gift from my mother—and she’s made her own yogurt for as long as I can remember.” Donvier’s Yogurt Maker is available for $44.99 at Chef Central (45 S Central Ave, Hartsdale, 914-328-1376). This model makes up to 1.5 liters of yogurt in eight separate cups and features an LCD digital display with an electronic timer and automatic shutoff.

Julia Sexton is a Westchester-based food writer whose CRMA Award-winning Eater blog appears at westchestermagazine.com.

 

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