The Dish: Chef Jody Adams

The Dish: Jody Adams

From winning a James Beard Award to the coveted title as “Best New Chef” from Food and Wine, Jody Adams has won her share of acclaim. But it all began at the family dinner table.

Born and raised in New England, she credits her mother with giving her an appreciation of both fresh local ingredients and flavors from across the globe. She started her career working at Boston-area restaurants and eventually opened a place of her own: the acclaimed “Rialto” in Cambridge. 

Now, she’s on to new ventures, including “Porto,” offering Mediterranean-style seafood and “Saloniki” -- a Greek fast casual restaurant near famed Fenway Park.

Here are some of Adams’ signature recipes: 

Baklava wafers with raspberries, lemon curd and Greek Yogurt

Makes 12 ounces

Ingredients 

 ¾ cup sugar
1 pinch Kosher salt
4 large eggs, beaten, at room temperature
Grated zest 2 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

Directions

  1. Combine the sugar, salt eggs, lemon zest and juice in a non-reactive saucepan and beat well.  Add the butter and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens into curd, about 10 minutes.  Be sure to keep scraping the bottom of the pan during the time this takes you; you don’t want the eggs to scramble before the curd forms.  If you’re the nervous type, make the curd in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water).  The curd will just take a little longer to thicken.
  2. Pour the curd into a bowl and press of piece of plastic wrap against the surface so a skin doesn’t form.  If you want the curd to be super smooth, push it through a strainer before cooling.  Refrigerate until cool, at least 1½ hours.

Baklava Wafers

Makes 48 wafers 

Note: 

You will only need 12 wafers for the dessert (plus extra if you want to serve more on the side) .  Make the full recipe and give some wafers away, or make half a recipe and refreeze leftover phyllo.

Ingredients

4 ounces unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped toasted walnut
½ cup sugar
Finely chopped zest of 2 lemons
10 sheets phyllo dough, (about 1 package)
3 tablespoons honey

Note: You need 4 sheet pans for this recipe: 2 sheet pans for the baklava and 2 for covers while baking.  If you decide to reuse the covering sheet pan from the first batch for the second batch (they bake sequentially, not at the same time), be sure to cool it first.

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  2. Combine the walnuts, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and toss.
  3. Line one of  two 18″ X 13″ sheet pans with parchment paper.
  4. Remove the phyllo from the package and cover with a damp tea towel to keep from drying out.
  5. Lay a sheet of phyllo over one of the parchment papers.
  6. Brush with butter and then sprinkle with the nut mixture.
  7. Repeat 2 more times, then top with 2 more sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter (but not adding nuts).  Trim the overhanging edges of dough from the pan.  Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the phyllo into 24 rectangular wafers.
  8. Top with a second sheet pan, making sure the under surface of the top pan comes in contact with the top sheet of phyllo.  This will help keep the wafers intact by preventing the dough from puffing up too much.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the top sheet pan, then reverse the baklava pan so the edge closest to the rear of the oven now faces the front.  Bake until golden and crisp, an additional 10 minutes or so.
  9. Brush with honey.
  10. Repeat the entire process in another sheet pan to make a second batch of baklava.
  11. Once cool, store in an airtight container.

To assemble 

For 6 servings 

Ingredients

2 cups Greek yogurt
1 pint raspberries
12 ounces lemon curd
12 Baklava wafers, plus extra for serving on the side (optional)

Directions

  1. Set a wafer on each of 6 plates.  Top with a spoonful of yogurt and lemon curd.  Sprinkle with raspberries.  Top with a second wafer.

  2. Serve extra wafers on the side

Grilled citrus octopus

Ingredients

1 3-pound octopus
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 lemon--zest removed and saved, cut in half
Juice of 1 orange
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions

1. Rub the octopus with one lemon half, season with salt and allow to macerate for 30 minutes. 

2. Juice the second half of the lemon and combine with the orange juice.

3.  Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute, or until aromatic.  Do not brown. Add the octopus with the citrus juices, 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, cover, and turn the heat to low. The octopus will slowly release its liquid. Cook for 50-60 minutes, until a fork slides through it easily. Allow to cool.

4. Remove the head, cut in half, and discard any internal material.  Remove the eyes.  Cut the tentacles into individual pieces through the natural dividing points at the top of the body.  Cut out and discard the beak at the center where all the legs meet.  Remove the eyes and the beak, and slice the head in half.

5. Put the pan with the octopus juices back on a medium burner and cook until reduced to syrup.   Reserve.

6. Preheat a grill to high.

7. Mix 3 tablespoons olive oil with the lemon zest in a large bowl.  Add the octopus pieces and toss well.  Grill over high heat just to mark them.  Toss with the reduced juices and oregano.   Serve garnished with parsley leaves and lemon wedges and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

Lobster Bucatini with green and red tomatoes

Makes 4 main course servings 

Ingredients

Kosher salt
4 1-pound lobsters
1/3  cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped into ¼ inch dice
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 pinch saffron
1 ½ pounds green unripe tomatoes cut in half and charred under the broiler.  Skin removed and meat chopped into ¼  inch dice.
1 cup  canned riced tomatoes
2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes cut in half and charred under the broiler.  Skin removed and meat chopped into ¼  inch dice.
1 pound imported Italian bucatini
4 tablespoons rough cut basil leaves

Directions

1. Fill a large pot with 1 inch of salted water.  Invert a colander in the pot.  Bring the water to a boil.  Put the lobsters in the pot and cover tightly.  Steam for 5 minutes, then open the pot carefully (steam is hot) and using a pair of tongs change the lobsters’ position.  Quickly replace the lid and steam for 3 more minutes.  Remove the cooked lobsters from the pot and allow to cool. 

2. Separate the tails, claws and arms from the body of each lobster..  Remove the lobster meat from the shells and discard the shells.   Cut the shelled tails in half lengthwise and remove the digestive tract, the dark vein-like structure.  Cut the tail into 1 ½ inch chunks.  Cover and refrigerate the meat. 

3. Remove the outer carapace from the bodies and discard.  Chop the bodies into 2 pieces.

4. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the lobster bodies, season with salt and pepper and cook until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the bodies to a plate, reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and cook 6 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, ginger, fennel seeds, hot pepper flakes, saffron, and cook until aromatic, about 3 minutes.  Add the lobster bodies back with the green tomatoes, strained tomatoes, and 1 cup water, cover and cook until the green tomatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add the charred red tomatoes and with the lid off, cook 10 minutes more.  Remove from the heat and discard the lobster body pieces.  The sauce should be fairly thick.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook 7-10 minutes, or until al dente. 

6. While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.  Add the lobster and cook to just head through.  Add the tomato sauce to the lobster pan and heat through

7. Scoop the cooked pasta out of the boiling water and transfer the pasta to the pan with the sauce, add the basil and toss well.  Serve immediately.

Saffron peppers with mint and chilis

Ingredients

4 sweet red peppers
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into slices ¼-inch thick
2 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
¼ teaspoon saffron
½ teaspoon Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Kosher salt freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons torn fresh mint

Directions

1. Roast and peel the peppers.  Cut each pepper in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, stem and any membrane.  Cut the peppers into quarters. 

2. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, hot red pepper flakes, paprika and saffron and cook until the garlic releases its perfume, another couple of minutes.  Add the peppers and sherry vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat to low and cook another 3 minutes.  Stir in the mint and serve. 

Hippie salad

Ingredients

2 cups shaved cabbage
1 cups shaved Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup of shaved sliced celery stalks and leaves—peel the stalks before slicing
1 cup shaved cauliflower
1 cup shaved fennel
1 cup shaved watermelon radishes
1 cup well scrubbed, shaved sunchokes
1 cup peeled and shaved Autumn squash
1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 honeycrisp apple thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 cup parsley leaves
1 cup mint leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pomegranate seeds

For the vinaigrette

2 teaspoons grainy mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
honey

Directions

  1. Combine the vegetables in a large bowl. Toss well.
  2. Add shaved apples, walnuts and herbs and toss.
  3. Whisk the mustard, vinegar, orange and zest in a small bowl to form an emulsion. Continue whisking while adding the olive oil in a thin, steady stream until it is completely absorbed and the vinaigrette is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add enough vinaigrette to the salad for a light coating and toss gently until everything is dressed. Taste, then season with salt and pepper and more dressing if necessary.
  5. Arrange the salad on plates and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Drizzle each serving with honey.

Greek Negroni

Ingredients

1 oz Skinos
1 oz Salers
1.5 oz Dolin dry vermouth
1 dash Bittermens Boston Bittahs

Directions

  1. Build on rocks, quick stir, garnish with a lemon twist (express oils, rim, leave in drink)