Posts Tagged ‘Tyler Kinnett’

Drink Progressively at Harvest in Cambridge

TJ and Hadley Douglas with Gabriel Frasca at Harvest

One of the pioneers of New American Cuisine, Harvest restaurant (44 Brattle St, Cambridge, Mass., 617-868-2255, continues its innovative ways with contemporary New England fare from chef Tyler Kinnett. “The Book and the Cook” dinner series highlights recipes from a new cookbook—usually with the author appearing to explain the food and the approach as well as to guide the Harvest staff in the kitchen.

Drink Progressively coverThe series kicked off 2018 with Urban Grape’s Drink Progressively, by Hadley and TJ Douglas with recipes by Gabriel Frasca, the accomplished executive chef of Straight Wharf ( on Nantucket. As you can see from the photo at top, all three showed up for a great dinner and book signing. This was an unusual event in the series, since the book focuses principally on a system for pairing wine with food.

In effect, the book is organized along the same lines as Hadley and TJ Douglas’s wine shop in Boston’s South End. Urban Grape (303 Columbus Ave, Boston, 857-250-2509, shelves wines in a 10-point scale from light-bodied to heavy-bodied. The Douglases call the system “progressive shelving,” and the concept is pretty straightfoward. The lightest-bodied wines, Hadley and TJ say, correspond to skim milk. The wines are rated 1W (for lightest whites) and 1R (for lightest reds). They go all the way to a score of 10, which the couples likens to heavy cream. The book characterizes some selected wines in each of the categories and offers lots of fun observations about wine-drinking. Gabriel Frasca’s recipes put the system into practice for pairing wine and food.

Harvest kitchen puts recipes into practice

After sipping a 2016 La Spinetta Vermentino (a 4W, by the way) over hors d’oevres, we sat down to the business of dinner. Our opening dish of pasta with chicken sausage, broccoli rabe, and big shavings of pecorino cheese was paired with a big, buttery Sonoma Coast chardonnay (10W). Far more oaky than we usually like our chard, it was a super match for the spice of the sausage and the bitterness of the rabe.

The second course was slow-roasted salmon over braised cabbage paired with a light (2R) pinot noir from California’s Santa Rita Hills district. Typical of a cool-region California pinot noir, it had a pronounced flavor of the grape combined with light body and just enough acidity to cut through the unctuousness of the salmon.

Duck on polenta at HarvestFor the third course of duck braised in red wine served with green olives, dates, and polenta, the crew chose a powerful, full-bodied Argentine syrah from the Uco Valley. The Douglases rate it a 10R, but despite 14 months in French oak, the tannins are soft and supple. The wine does have the classic Northern Rhone characteristics of saddle leather and dark berries. By pairing the dark meatiness of the duck with the the sharpness of green olives and the silky sweetness of dates, Frasca created a dish that brings out the very best in this syrah.

Indeed, the evening proved to be a great proving ground for Drink Progressively (here’s the link to buy it) and the masterful recipe creations of Frasca. With his permission, we’ve reprinted the salmon recipe below. Note that he has a neat trick for oven-poaching the fish that makes the recipe almost foolproof. In the book version, it’s also served with an apple rosemary purée on the side.

Salmon on braised cabbage at Harvest


Wild fish is ideal here because farm-raised fish lacks both the fattiness and flavor that are emphasized in this preparation. Just make sure that the fish pieces are of similar thickness. You’ll see that I ask you to cover the baking dish with plastic wrap—this is not a joke. The salmon will not change color very much as it cooks, and it will remain amazingly moist. —GABRIEL

Serves 4

For Salmon

Four 6-ounce pieces of salmon
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

For Bacon-Braised Cabbage

6 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch batons
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 head green cabbage, cored and sliced
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons parsley leaves, sliced

Directions for Salmon

Preheat oven to 210°F.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, thyme, shallot, butter, and olive oil. Spread the mixture evenly over the pieces of salmon. Place the salmon in a buttered, oven-safe dish. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the oven. Cook for approximately 25 minutes, or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out warm. Drizzle lemon juice over the top of each fillet. Take care when removing the salmon from the dish as it will be very fragile. Serve over Bacon-Braised Cabbage.

Directions for Cabbage

In a medium saucepot, cook bacon in batches over medium-high heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve the fat in the pot. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the onion. Cook until the onion becomes transparent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes, then add the garlic, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until the cabbage has been lightly coated in the fat. Cover and turn the heat down to low and cook 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is mostly tender with just a little bite. Check the seasoning, add the vinegar and reserved bacon, and, when ready to serve, fold in the parsley.


02 2018

Harvest brings Battersby’s big tastes from small kitchen

Walker Stern of Batersby signs cookbooks at Harvest
A few times a year our neighborhood restaurant in Harvard Square, Harvest (, holds a Sunday supper in its “The Book & the Cook Series.” These 6 p.m. suppers remind us of being back in Europe, gathering for a less than formal meal at the end of the weekend, often around a big table.

Tyler Kinnett, Harvest executive chefMind you, the meals are far more elegant than our Euro repasts. They invariably feature a cookbook author who is also a chef. With input from the author, Harvest’s executive chef Tyler Kinnett (right) and pastry chef Joshua Livesay oversee a meal compiled (or sometimes adapted) from the cookbook. Their realizations are invariably spot-on. They demonstrate both the skill of the Harvest staff and their willingness to step into the background and let the visiting chef take the spotlight. Dinners usually include a signed copy of the book and some fascinating wine or beer pairings at a very reasonable price.

This most recent dinner featured Walker Stern (at top) from Battersby ( in Brooklyn. The cookbook is called Battersby: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Kitchen (Grand Central, $35). The so-called ordinary kitchen is not much bigger than our own galley setup. Two or three cooks work in a tiny spot with a six-burner stove, one oven, and a narrow prep counter. They serve 70 covers a night. We never manage more than four.

unloading fish in San SebastianThe secret of that productivity is extreme prep. The cookbook reflects that. Recipes are divided into two parts: “To Prep” and “To Serve.” Frankly, it’s the way we love to cook. More to the point, the food is what we like to cook and like to eat. Stern and co-chef Joseph Ogrodnek were CIA classmates who trained with a number of top chefs, most notably Alain Ducasse. Their taste palate skews Mediterranean, with a stronger French accent than Spanish or Italian. But one of the dishes served at the dinner was a purely Basque bowl–seared tuna served on a stew of red peppers and onions called a piperade. As the Battersby cookbook points out, Basque chefs take great pride in their idiosyncratic recipes for piperade. The Battersby version juices the pepper trimmings and adds them to the stew, which intensifies the sweetness. The flavors catapulted us back to San Sebastian. The picture at left above, in fact, shows fishermen unloading the ground fish catch at the San Sebastian docks.

Battersby tuna piperade at Harvest


Serves 4



6 red bell peppers
1 medium Spanish onion
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 thin slice Iberico ham (or prosciutto di Parma)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika


Trim off the tops and bottoms of the peppers, reserving them. Peel the peppers, cut them in half, and remove and discard the seeds and ribs. Cut the peppers into julienne strips.

Peel the onion and cut it into julienne strips. Set aside.

Juice the tops and bottoms of the peppers. If you do not have a juicer, put them in a blender, blend with just enough water to engage the blender’s blade, then strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl. You should have 1/2 cup pepper juice.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a pot that will hold all the ingredients comfortably. When the oil is just shimmering, add the onions and ham and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook over very low heat, stirring often, until the garlic and onions are very soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Add the julienned peppers and season with salt and paprika.

Cover the pot and continue to cook over very low heat. After about 5 minutes, check to see if the onions and peppers have given off a lot of their liquid (if not, continue to cook a few minutes more), then remove the cover, raise the heat to medium, and bring the juices to a simmer. Cook until the juices have almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the reserved pepper juice, and cook, uncovered, until the peppers are very soft and the mixture is saucy, about 30 minutes.

The piperade can to used right away or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.



4 (6-ounce) tuna steaks, ideally 1 1/2 inches thick
Kosher salt
Korean chili powder
Sherry vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
8 thin slices Iberico ham (or prosciutto di Parma)


Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a charcoal grill for grilling, letting the coals burn until covered with white ash.

Season the tuna with salt and chili powder. Grill the fillets until the bottoms are lightly charred and the fish is just starting to turn opaque on the bottom, 2-3 minutes or a bit longer for well-done. (The Battersby chefs like the fish rare in this dish.) Turn the fillets over and grill until cooked on the other side, 2 or 3 minutes more.

Meanwhile, gently reheat the piperade. (You can do this in a pot set on the grill.) Freshen it with a drizzle of vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the piperade among four plates or wide, shallow bowls. Top each serving with a tuna fillet and finish by topping each fillet with 2 pieces of ham. Serve.


07 2017

Pioneering pairings of food and beer

cover of Food & Beer Chef Daniel Burns is on a mission to bring beer pairing into the fine dining conversation. Burns runs the kitchen of the Michelin-starred Luksus ( It shares a space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with the bar Tørst (Danish for “toast”) operated by Danish brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø. (Jarnit-Bjergsø is also the brewer at cult favorite Evil Twin Brewing.)

Between them, they have put craft beer on a par with wine for fine dining. And they have collaborated on a fascinating new book called simply Food & Beer. Part manifesto, part cookbook, part a dialogue on gastronomic philosophy, it’s a perfect addition to the bookshelf of anyone who cares about the cutting edge in contemporary restaurant cuisine.

As part of the book’s launch, Burns did a star turn at Harvest restaurant ( in Cambridge, where he and Harvest executive chef Tyler Kinnett adapted some of the recipes from Food & Beer to pair with craft beers. All the drinks were served in wine glasses. This kept the individual portions fairly small, while giving each beer more head room to express the complexity of aromas.

Burns believes that beer can be more flexible than wine for food pairings. “Wine is a pure expression of terroir,” he explains. “Beer is not. You can take ingredients from all over the world and add any flavors you want. So as a chef, beer gives me a vast spectrum of flavors to choose from when I’m pairing beer with food.”

The meal Burns and Kinnett served at Harvest was a demonstration. A couple of dishes also hint at how to go about the beer-pairing process at home (beyond serving Bud with chili).

Licorice gravlax and a blonde

licorice cured trout for beer dinner Gravlax is a style of curing raw fish or meat using salt and sugar. To demonstrate how a panoply of flavors can be enhanced with a beer, Burns and Kinnett served a plate of licorice-cured trout with pickled beet topped by dandelion greens.

Burns was René Redzepi’s sous chef at Noma in Copenhagen, and the experience shaped his palate to favor Nordic tastes. It doesn’t get much more Nordic than gravlax, beet root, and licorice. Yet the cure was light enough that the dish turned out to be surprisingly subtle. The trout was cured with sea salt, Demerara sugar (a coarse, raw sugar), and licorice powder. Slightly bitter dandelion greens and toasted rye crumbs provided crunchy contrast to the soft trout and beet. The beer pairing was Blackberry Farm Abbey Blonde, a light ale made with a Pilsner malt. The beer has a slightly sweet, earthy flavor profile and a rounded mouth feel. One sip brought out the Demerara sugar in the trout cure and the earthy toast of the rye crumbs for a completely altered taste experience.

When Burns is choosing a beer to pair with a dish, he explains, he looks for the secondary flavors of the food. “I might put four or five flavors together on a plate,” he explained. “I want the beer to highlight maybe the third or even fourth flavor.”

Sea bass with an IPA

sea bass with beer dinner Burns prepared a small portion of sea bass with a few pieces of grilled salsify and two purées on the plate—one of fennel, the other of the minty Asian vegetable shiso. The fish and the salsify (which tastes like mild artichoke heart) were both mild. Their flavors were almost secondary to the intensity of the two purées. But it was the beer pairing that accomplished that gastronomic bait and switch.

Burns and the Harvest team picked Evil Twin Citra Sunshine Slacker for the pairing. It’s a beer we’d usually serve with bar snacks instead of real food. It’s an acquired taste, we think, because the Citra hop is so astringent. Drinking it is a little like biting into a grapefruit. But with this dish, the low-alcohol IPA expresses its secondary herbal notes nicely. It assumes a lemon-y quality that provided some punch to the anise of the fennel and the grassy-minty quality of the shiso. Call it the battle of botanicals, but it works.

With a new craft brewery opening up a few blocks from our house next month, we think we’ll get our growlers filled and see what summer bounty might benefit from being served with a little malt and hops. It’s kind of like deciding the wine to drink before picking the menu.


07 2016

Savoring Sara Moulton’s spring pea soup

Sara  Moulton and Tyler Kinnett at Harvest
Ever the prodigal daughter, chef Sara Moulton returned to her roots at Harvest Restaurant in Cambridge, Mass., for the launch of her latest cookbook, Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better.

Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101 For readers who only know Moulton from her television work—a pioneer host for nearly 10 years on the Food Network and more recently the host of “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” on public television, the woman has serious chops. She worked for seven years as a restaurant chef, cooked with Julia Child in her home for dinner parties, spent four years testing and developing recipes for the late, lamented Gourmet magazine, and ran Gourmet‘s dining room for more than two decades.

But she started at Harvest in Cambridge—a brainchild of Modernist architect Ben Thompson and his equally avant garde wife Jane. Harvest opened in 1975, and some of the biggest names in Boston-area cooking worked in the kitchen, including Lydia Shire, Chris Schlesinger, Frank McClelland, Barbara Lynch, Jimmy Burke…. Above, that’s Sara Moulton with Harvest’s current executive chef Tyler Kinnett, who interpreted some recipes for Moulton’s new book at the launch luncheon.

Since the weather was still chilly, Kinnett did a tasty turn on Moulton’s “Pea Vichyssoise with Smoked Salmon” by serving it as a warm soup with a swirl of crème fraiche instead of garnishing with crumbled chevre. He also added crisp roasted diced potatoes instead of the crunchy wasabi peas that Moulton calls for to add zing to the cold version. Kinnett cold-smoked the salmon himself to keep the flavor very mild and delicate as a perfect counterpoint to the sweet peas.

Moulton was good enough to let us pass along the original recipe, though we suggest you buy the book so you’re not stuck with a one-course meal. Here’s the link on Amazon.

The photo below is Tyler Kinnett’s version as he served it at Harvest. The recipe is for Sara’s cold pea soup, which looks very similar. One caveat on technique: Don’t over-blend the soup or the potatoes will give it the texture of wallpaper paste.


Serves 4 (7-8 cups)

Ingredients Sara Moulton pea soup at Harvest

2 cups medium chopped leeks, white parts only
1 cup medium-chopped peeled russet (baking) potatoes
1 cup medium-chopped peeled boiling potatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups fresh or defrosted frozen peas
2 1/2 cups lowfat buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces smoked salmon, medium chopped
4 ounces fresh goat cheese (or feta), crumbled
1/2 cup wasabi peas


Combine the leeks, potatoes, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and the stock, bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. Add the green peas, bring the liquid back to a boil, and simmer until the peas are tender, about 2 minutes.

Fill a blender about one-third full with some of the soup mixture, add some of the buttermilk, and puree until smooth. Repeat the procedure until completely pureed, transferring each batch to a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and chill well.

Ladle the soup into four bowls. Top each portion with one-fourth of the salmon, goat cheese, and wasabi peas.

Reprinted with permission from
Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better (Oxmoor House, 2016)


04 2016
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