The Dish: Chef Ryan Hardy

Growing up in Kentucky, chef Ryan Hardy had two big food influences: His mom's vegetable garden, and his father's work as marketing director for a fast food chain. His career as a chef took him through some top restaurant towns, like San Francisco, Aspen and Santa Fe.

In 2011 he came to New York and made a splash the immensely popular venues Charlie Bird, with an Italian-inspired menu, and the wood-fired restaurant Pasquale Jones. His latest project, Legacy Records, has no albums or 45's just flavorful specialties from Italy's north coast. 

Here are some of Hardy's signature recipes: 

Farro salad 

Ingredients

1 cup farro, raw (=
1/2 cup apple cider
2 cups water, more if necessary
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
2 each bay leaves
1 cup cooked farro
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, fresh from the vine
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted, shelled, whole
1/2 cup arugula leaves
16-20 each basil leaves, whole
12-16 each mint leaves, whole
6 each radish, shaved on the mandolin
4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp maldon sea salt

Directions

1.To cook the farro: Cover the farro with the apple cider, water, kosher salt and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cook, adding more water if necessary for 30 minutes or until the farro is tender and the liquid has evaporated. The end result should be something similar to the consistency of brown rice - but a whole lot easier to cook! 


At the last minute add the arugula, basil, mint, radish and maldon sea salt to maximize the crunch and texture of the salad. We love to eat this salad at room temperature to give the cheese and tomatoes the maximum flavor - but you can
serve chilled on a hot summer day. 

2.To make the salad: Combine farro, tomatoes, cheese, pistachio together with the lemon and olive oil. This base can live in the bowl for up to an hour before you wish to plate the salad. 

3. At the last minute add the arugula, basil, mint, radish and maldon sea salt to maximize the crunch and texture of the salad. We love to eat this salad at room temperature to give the cheese and tomatoes the maximum flavor - but you can serve chilled on a hot summer day. 

Warm braised leeks with walnuts, black pepper and parmigiano-reggiano

Ingredients

5 leeks, preferably Holland leeks
3 oz (3/4 cup) toasted walnuts
2 oz (1 loosely packed cup) shaved parmigiano-reggiano
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
Splash of white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup water

Directions

1. Wash leeks very well. Be sure to remove sand, trimming root end so that the leek stays intact. 

2. Cut the green tops off of the leeks right where they turn to more tender pale green further down the stalk. Blanch leeks in salted water until they are fully tender. No bite, no crunch: they are done when easily pierced with a fork. Remove leeks to an ice bath. When cool, drain on a kitchen towel. Peel off one outer layer and check for sand and grit hidden between layers. Cut leeks into "coins," roughly 1-inch thick. Reserve.

3. In a large sauté pan, toast pepper briefly, deglaze with white wine, and add butter. Add leeks to pan and season evenly with salt. Add walnuts and toss evenly to coat. Add water, and cook down until a creamy emulsion forms. If butter appears "oily or melted," add a splash of tap water and agitate the pan to reemulsify. Season to taste with additional salt and, if desired, additional black pepper and lemon juice.

4. Arrange leeks on a medium serving bowl or platter. Top with shaved parmigiano-reggiano. Serve hot.