If life had continued the way we’d planned, this week we’d be salivating over the publication of our food issue. But it’s now been more than a month since we decided to move from monthly in print, to daily and digital. And, since this writer in particular is now spending more time in the kitchen than she has in years, this seemed like a good time to revisit this feature from a year ago.

We asked five of our favorite neighborhood chefs make a dish using just five ingredients (we let them have salt, spices, and oil for free). Here’s what those creative cooks came up with.

Photographs: Charles Dustin Sammann

Styling: Yani Monzón Calero

Avocado cucumber salsa
Prep it
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 cucumber, diced, peeled, and seeded
Juice of 1 lemon (1 tsp)
1 tsp red onion, diced
1 tsp fresh dill

Make it
Mix it all together. Done.

Lemon orzo
Prep it
1 box orzo
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup blanched asparagus, diced
1 cup blanched spring peas
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp fresh dill

Make it
1. Cook orzo and rinse in cold water, then drain.

2. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and dill (optional).

3. Stir in asparagus, spring peas, and feta.

4. Impress your friends.

Grilled dill pickle chicken tenders

“Here’s a five-ingredient chicken that’s as delicious as it is simple. Pair it with the salsa (recipe above), a cumin yogurt dipping sauce, or anything that floats your boat – including the (best ever) orzo. If spring were a side dish, it’d be this. Simple and light, it’s satisfying and so, so right.”

Prep it

1 package chicken tenderloins

1 16oz jar dill pickles

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp chopped dill

1 tbs olive oil

Make it

1. Marinate the chicken in pickle juice for two to four hours (longer is better).

2. Spray a grill pan with non-stick spray.

3. Pre-heat the grill pan to medium high (five minutes) and grill the chicken for five minutes on each side (longer if they’re thicker).

The chefs: Shari Drewett and MK Washko, Better Being
Mary Kathryn and Shari are business and life partners and the owners of Better Being Catering. They specialize in seasonal, health-conscious fare and have been feeding fashionistas for the last two decades (clients have included Oprah Winfrey, Helena Christensen, and Mariah Carey. Yes, really!).

Seared broccoli
Serves 2-4 as a side dish; 1-2 as a veggie main

Prep it
2 heads broccoli
8pc sun-dried tomato in olive oil
12 raw almonds, halved and toasted
Olive oil
Salt to taste

Make it
1. In a dry frying pan, toast the almonds, cut-side down, until brown.
2. Coat frying pan with olive oil.
3. Cut the broccoli into individual flower clusters, then cut each cluster in half and sear, cut-side down, until nicely brown.
4. Toss with almond halves and sun-dried tomatoes with a pinch of salt. Simple and delicious.

The chefs: Bryan Ware and Gabriel Formento Lauro, Fresh From Hell
Both Bryan and Gabriel are true Hell’s Kitcheners. Bryan – a licensed real estate broker – and Gabriel – a creative director – have lived in the neighborhood for almost two decades, and both are passionate about how good food and fresh drinks make you feel.

Pulled buffalo chicken
“This recipe is a quick and easy crowd pleaser, as you can throw it on some bread for a great sandwich, on top of greens to spice up a salad, or in a dish to serve as a dip with celery sticks and chips.”

Prep it
1 rotisserie chicken
1 cup Frank’s red hot sauce

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

3 cloves grated garlic

Black pepper to taste

Make it
1. Remove the skin and pull the chicken off the bone.
2. In a bowl, combine chicken with garlic, Frank’s Red Hot, sour cream, garlic, cheese, and pepper.
3. This is where the fun begins. Let your culinary imagination run wild. In the mood for a sandwich? Grab your favorite bread and have at it. Tired of bland chicken in your salad? This is a perfect addition to some greens. Having company over and no time to make hors d’ oeuvres? This is a great little crowd pleaser to serve with chips and veggies.

The chef: Michael Munoz, The Kitchen Gaily
Michael is a home-trained cook whose blog, The Kitchen Gaily, was created to make food fun and accessible to the masses – and to combine his passion for food with his unique style and camp humor. He is the host of the foodie, raunchy, podcast In You Mouth and a much-loved W42ST columnist.

Parmesan-crusted white asparagus with prosciutto
Serves 1. Chef’s note: because of the simplicity of this dish, use the best-quality ingredients you can find.

Prep it
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
6 fresh white asparagus, trimmed and peeled
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto (3 to 5 slices)
2 quail eggs, or 1 large egg
Truffle oil (optional)

Make it
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
2. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water, add the lemon rind, and salt.
3. Add the asparagus and simmer until tender, about eight minutes or more, depending on the thickness of asparagus.
4. Drain the asparagus on kitchen towels and set aside.
5. Arrange the prosciutto slices on a plate and set aside.
6. Rub a tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of an ovenproof dish, or baking sheet, and arrange the asparagus in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Grate a generous amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the asparagus. Broil until the cheese is golden brown, around two to three minutes.
8. Meanwhile, cook the quail eggs sunny-side up until the whites are completely set but the yolks are still runny. Set aside and keep warm.
9. Place the asparagus in the center of the prosciutto plate. Top with the quail eggs and finish with a drizzle of truffle oil, if using.
10. Enjoy with warm crusty bread and a glass of woody chardonnay or a light red like pinot noir.

The chef: Claude-Alain Solliard, Chez Josephine
Claude-Alain is executive chef at the legendary W42nd St restaurant, a Broadway tradition, and tribute to the entertainer Josephine Baker, founded in 1986 by her son Jean-Claude Baker. The French-American menu is served alongside live piano music in an intimate Parisian setting, surrounded by Josephine Baker memorabilia.

Quick marinated fennel and shallot salad
Prep it
1 whole fennel (bulb and fronds)
1 medium-sized shallot, peeled
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar or coconut sugar
2 tbsp sea salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan or local hard cheese

Make it
1. Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a simmer.
2. Add sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool to room temp.
3. Add white vinegar and refrigerate this brine.
4. Remove bottom 1/2 inch of fennel bulb with a knife, and discard. Slice entire bulb and fronds 1/4 inch thick.
5. Chop the shallot to medium-sized dice.
6. Add chopped fennel and shallot to the brine, and refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to three days.
7. Serve drained and chilled and top liberally with a good olive oil or avocado oil, and the grated hard cheese. Sprinkle with fresh thyme or chili if you like.

The chef: Charlie Marshall, The Marshal
Charlie grew up in his parents’ restaurant and on their farm on Lummi Island, in Puget Sound. His first restaurant, The Marshal, opened in 2013, named after the Wild-Wild-West protector of farms, and is the first American exclusively wood-fired restaurant in NYC. In addition to supporting local farmers and producers, Charlie also loves to remind New Yorkers that they live in the heart of a thriving, productive, and award-winning wine country, so features only NY wineries on his wine list. The Marshal has been awarded the New York Wine & Grape Foundation’s Restaurant Award, and the Snail of Approval award from Slow Food NYC. It has always been a three-star Certified Green Restaurant.

Meatball Morocco’s style

(Serves 4-6)

Prep it

½ lb each ground beef and veal

5 without-the-crust slices of challa bread

2 tbs kosher salt

½ tbs ground black pepper

3 tbs ras el hanout spice

8 big yellow onions, peeled and sliced

½ cup vegetable oil

4 whole eggs

Make it

1. In a medium-size pot under medium-low heat, add the vegetable oil. Let it heat up and add the sliced onion, then cook for 45 minutes or until caramelized.

2. In a bowl mix all the ingredients besides the challa bread.

3. Soak the bread in hot water for five minutes, then squeeze the water with your hands, chop with a knife, and add to the meat mix. Blend it all together.

4. Form meatballs 1 or 1 ½ oz size

5. Add to the caramelized onion and keep cooking for 45 minutes on a low heat.

The chef: Efi Nahon, Taboon

Efi has worked in kitchens for 25 years, in Israel, Greece, in France at a three Michelin star restaurant, and has lived in New York for 16 years. “Taboon is why I came to New York,” he says, “and it’s the first restaurant here that served modern Israeli – or middleterranean cuisine – that was awarded two stars by Frank Bruni. We cook most of our food in a wood-burning oven and we were one of the first to do that as well. Taboon and my menu are pioneers and still are.”


Calamari, zucchini and feta salad
Prep it
12 ounces cleaned squid, bodies sliced 1/4 inch thick and tentacles left whole
1/2 zucchini, cut into long ribbons
1/2 yellow squash, cut into long ribbons
1/4 cup crumbled feta
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs like parsley, chives, and oregano
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
Piment d’Espelette

Make it
1. Soak the zucchini and yellow squash in a bowl of ice water.
2. In a bowl whisk the lemon juice slowly in 1/2 cup of olive oil salt and pepper.
3. Heat one tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan on a high heat. Cook the squid for 1 minute.
4. Add the squid to the vinaigrette.
5. Drain the iced vegetables and pat thoroughly dry.
6. Add the vegetables, the cherry tomatoes, and the herbs to the squid. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Mix the salad and serve with crumbled feta on the top and Piment d’ Espelette.

The chef: Vasiliki Vourliotaki, Ousia
Vasiliki’s passion for cooking was ignited in Athens, Greece, and she has since worked alongside chefs in Germany, France, and the US.


Butternut squash bowl
Prep it
2 cups cauliflower

2 cups cubed butternut squash

1 cup cooked lentils

2 handfuls finely chopped kale

½ cup of walnut-goji berry mix



Olive oil

Make it

1. Bake the cauliflower and the squash at 325F for 18 minutes, seasoned with salt pepper and drizzled with olive oil.

2. Chop the kale and season with salt, pepper and olive oil

3. Mix it all together, add the lentils, and sprinkle with the goji berry-walnut mix.

The chef: Hunor Sandor, Pure KTCHN
I’m passionate about sport and healthy eating. That’s why I started to cook a lot of healthy dishes with the most nutritional value to keep me active all day.
I’ve decided to open a Pure Ktchn to show people what healthy cooking and eating really is and that it can be really tasty too.


A version of this article first appeared in the April 2019 issue of W42ST. Support local restaurants by ordering directly. And find out which ones are still open and delivering during COVID-19 here.

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