New York Times

New York Times: Chicken-Skin Canapés

February 6, 2016


“The irresistibility quotient of crisp chicken skin “crackers” is right up there with potato chips. When I first tasted them during a charity event at the stall run by Ken Oringer, a chef and owner of Toro on the edge of SoHo, I kept coming back for more. He said they were easy to make at home. And they are, requiring about an hour of unattended time. Mr. Oringer served his as little sandwiches – he calls them bocadillas – filled with a kind of Spanish pimento cheese. I made mine open-faced, with the cheese as a topping. I also used them to channel Buffalo wings by spreading a little hot sauce, then a blue cheese mixture on top and using a slice of celery as a garnish. The skin shrinks as it cooks. Kept in a container or a plastic bag, the unadorned crackers can hold for several days.”

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New York Times Review: Spanish Explorers Land in Chelsea **

January 2, 2014

I can’t remember what we were eating at Toro, the new tapas restaurant in far western Chelsea, when one of the people at my table looked up in wonder.

It could have been when we were swaying like drunken sailors over the suquet de mariscos, a chowder by way of Catalonia with cool sea urchin and warm lobster bobbing in parsnip-infused milk. Or when we had finished the last shrimp in the gambas al ajillo and were scraping up the last bits of a sauce for which a tank full of lobsters must have given their shells.

Or when we were crunching through croquetas of ham mixed with unmistakably earthy meat from a pig’s head. Or when we were cutting into another croqueta, this one filled with unusually fluffy and moist salt cod sitting under two golden hoops of fried lemon peel. Or when we had emptied a sardine tin of its raw mackerel marinated in a Thai-derived green curry, rich with coconut milk and sharpened with lime juice.

But I remember his smile and his question: “How can a place this big have food this good?”