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Daniel Gritzer

Daniel Gritzer

Culinary Director

Daniel Gritzer is Culinary Director at Serious Eats. He was a food editor for several years at Food & Wine, where he wrote the IACP-nominated column the Gastronaut Files, and before that served as the restaurant and bar staff writer at Time Out New York.

In his restaurant days, he cooked at some of New York’s top American, Italian and French kitchens—starting at the age of 13, when he began staging at the legendary restaurant Chanterelle. After college he spent nearly a year working on organic farms in Italy, where he tended to livestock, harvested wine grapes, and planted an olive orchard and a vineyard. Five years later, he returned to Europe, this time harvesting almonds and Padrón peppers in Spain, shepherding a flock of more than 200 sheep in Italy, and making charcuterie in France. When not working on, thinking about, cooking and eating food, he blows off steam (and calories) as an instructor of capoeira, the afro-brazilian martial art.

  • Website
  • Location: Jackson Heights, NY
  • Favorite foods: It's easier to list least-favorite foods: licorice. But if I had to choose, I'd have to say animal or vegetable, mineral not so much.
  • Last bite on earth: This is far too sad to even think about.

How to Grill Whole Fish

Grilling may be one of my favorite ways to cook a whole fish—the intense direct heat does wonders to the skin, crisping it up, while the coals below impart a delicious flavor to the fish. Granted, it's not quite as easy as just tossing a whole fish in the oven, but a few key steps will guarantee it comes out perfect every time. More

From the Archives: The Best Barbecue Chicken

Is it barbecued? Is it grilled? It doesn't really matter, because this bird is delicious no matter how you classify it. Slowly grilled until perfectly cooked and juicy, and covered in a delicious lacquer of barbecue sauce, this is one chicken recipe you definitely want to add to your BBQ to-do list this summer. More

The Best Sweets We Ate in July

Pecorino ice cream-- I once worked at a restaurant where we made that and served it with roasted pears. Great stuff!

Jam Making 101: The Tools and Techniques for Success

@joydreamz Thanks for the feedback. It's true that the author says an expensive copper jam pot is her personal favorite, but she makes it clear that it is not a necessity, so I don't think anyone should read this and think they can only make jam with a $300 jam pot—I know it's not on my must-buy list, even after reading this.

Still, I appreciate knowing the finer points of what can make the difference between good jam and stupendous jam, which is what this series is about. Some folks don't have a large, wide pot, so if they're interested in making great jam, it's helpful to know that a very large, wide one would be a good choice. For those looking to buy an appropriate vessel, $20 for a cheap pot isn't asking too much I don't think. I understand that other pots can work in a pinch, but depending on the batch size, a skillet may not be big enough. If you have one that is, more power to you.

As for the food mill, it doesn't seem like a big deal to me either. The author is a longtime jam maker, and in her experience, she's found the food mill to be something that can upgrade the overall quality of a jam. It's a very basic piece of kitchen equipment, older and cheaper than others (like food processors and stand mixers) that are routinely recommended for basic recipes. That doesn't mean jam must be made with a food mill, but it helps to know what steps can help take the jam to the next level.

I understand that the "101" title could suggest that these topics will only be treated in the most elementary, bare-bones way, but—as I hope any true 101 course would—we're trying to go a little deeper into the hows and whys of the process.

Indian Spices 101: The Benefits of Frying Spices

@Kale Shepherd Whoops! Thanks for pointing it out, fixed now.

Cemita Burger With Refried Beans, Chipotle Mayo, Avocado, and Oaxacan Cheese

@Sandfan It was either La Morena or La Costena. Neither of those, in my experience, are particularly fiery. Maybe you guys get more potent ones down there? Definitely adjust accordingly ;)

Cemita Burger With Refried Beans, Chipotle Mayo, Avocado, and Oaxacan Cheese

@Sandfan I have a high heat tolerance, but not super high, and these weren't too spicy for me at all. Still, if you're concerned they may be too spicy for you, add the adobo sauce to the mayo bit by bit, tasting along the way until it reaches the right heat level for you, and put only as much chipotle on the cemita (or none at all) as you prefer. Pickled jalapeños work well in this sandwich too, if you don't want chipotles.

Burger Toppings Week: Vamos a Mexico With the Cemita Burger

@scaramoche Not sure epazote would make a good stand-in, but I'd be curious to hear what you think if you try (though, if you're in a place where you can find epazote, you have pretty good odds of finding papalo too). You could just leave it out if you can't find it and don't want cilantro. I've read that papalo is sometimes omitted when it's not in season, so, while it adds quite a bit, it isn't a cemita deal-breaker. There's enough else going on in the sandwich that it wouldn't exactly taste like it's lacking.

What's the Best Way to Store Tomatoes?

@Pagan Humidity is another really good question. I need to think about how I can try to control a variable like that...

@mktmkt42 You couldn't be more right, and guess what? I've got some new tomatoes on my counter and in the fridge, this time farm-fresh ones from my local farmers market. I'll post updates as I run more tests, especially if anything contradicts what I've already found.

Burger Toppings Week: The Amatriciana Burger

@IlTavoloBambini Good question. It's going to depend on the focaccia/schiacciata/pizza bianca you have. If fresh and warmed though, most types will be tender enough to not create a resistance issue when biting through, though I have had types that might be more difficult, in which case you may want to switch to another type of more tender bread. Also, I meant to mention this in the article but forgot: some focaccia is so thick that I'd recommend cutting it in half through the middle to create the top and bottom bread layers instead of doubling up on the thick focaccia, just to keep the bread-to-fillings ratio more or less in the right spot.

Burger Toppings Week: The Amatriciana Burger

@Kenji Can't work across the street from Di Palo's and not at least sometimes take advantage of their stuff, right?

Burger Toppings Week: The Amatriciana Burger

@sarahlizzy This is starting out tame. Only getting messier, yummier, and more decadent from here...

The Best Pesto

@TwirlyGirly Oh, as a starting point, I'd probably use about the same ratio as if I were using Pecorino Sardo.

The Best Pesto

@Bonpierce It's about 9-inches in diameter.

@TwirlyGirly I haven't made it with Pecorino Toscano, but my guess it it would work as a substitute, and may be better than Romano as it tends to be less aged and therefore milder.

What's the Best Way to Store Tomatoes?

@Solix Yeah, sorry about that. I was changing the order of how I served them blind (so that my tasters wouldn't be able to assume that refrigerated ones were always on the right), but then I forgot to preserve a standard orientation for the photos.

Requiem for an Egg Cream: In Search of a New York Classic

@mcscajun It's the strangest thing. Every time I drink a yoo-hoo, I expect carbonation, but then I always realize it isn't. And then I always forget. There's something about its flavor that suggests effervescence, I think that's what throws my memory off so consistently. Makes sense, as the bottle tells you to shake well, which it wouldn't if it had gas.

Requiem for an Egg Cream: In Search of a New York Classic

Wait, is Yoo-Hoo even carbonated? It's got an electric flavor that always makes me remember it as carbonated, but maybe it isn't.

Requiem for an Egg Cream: In Search of a New York Classic

@Josh Mandel Yeah, I'm with Max. U-Bet isn't good chocolate syrup in an objective, chocolaty sense, but it has this mineral thing that's especially noticeable when combined with seltzer that other chocolate syrup, even far superior chocolate syrup, just doesn't deliver. I'd go as far as to say that a chocolate egg cream is a bit of a riddle in that is has no egg, no cream, and really doesn't taste much like chocolate either. The name is sort of brilliant in its absolutely off-the-mark specificity. Like knowing the right way to pronounce Houston Street, the misleading name is one of several decoy moves New Yorkers have devised to quickly ID who's really from here and who isn't. The Houston St thing is a much more surface-level filter, as new arrivals quickly figure that one out and guide books correct most tourists. Egg cream appreciation, though, that's some next-level real-NYer sh*t right there.

Requiem for an Egg Cream: In Search of a New York Classic

"Why would you want carbonated chocolate milk?" said my colleague who apparently never heard of Yoo-Hoo. But I'd rather have an egg cream. Because I'm from Brooklyn, grew up around the corner from Tom's and have been going there since I was little, and absolutely want carbonated chocolate milk because it's delicious.

Fruit Roll Up: How to Grill Sliced Eggplant and 3 Ways to Stuff It

@handfulofsound Depends on the particular eggplant (both in terms of variety and age) and the cooking method, in my experience. You could always leave it on and then remove it if you think it's too tough after. I have a suspicion it helps hold the slices together when on the grill, but I don't know that for sure.

Chinese Velveting 101: Stir-Fried Chicken With Mushrooms and Oyster Sauce

@Mad Cow I wondered that too. One guess is that it's just enough oil to leave a faint oily coating on each piece, to make it seem like they'd been cooked in an oil bath instead, but I have no idea if that's right.

What's the Best Way to Store Tomatoes?

@kenji Yeah, I've been thinking about trying to get some really good ones at the farmers market in the next couple weeks and running the same test with those.

@guy I thought quite a bit about how to standardize my samples as much as possible, but it's harder than it may at first seem: tomatoes grown on the same vine do not necessarily ripen at the same rate, so you're not guaranteed equivalence between any two fruit. Also, if you pay very close attention, you will even find taste variation within a single fruit, depending on what section of the fruit you're sampling (stem end, flower end, the particular cross-section's ratio of seed and seed jelly to flesh); even a matter of which side of the fruit got the most sun will impact that portion's flavor. It's pretty complicated actually. And even if you got a fruit that was consistent throughout, splitting it into sections and putting some in the fridge and some on the counter won't be a good test because a tomato degrades much more quickly and much differently once cut into like that. Maybe with some high tech gear it's be possible to determine equivalence by measuring degrees brix and taking spectroscopy measurements of volatiles present, but that would require taking samples from the fruit too, so I don't see that as a flawless method either (not to mention I don't have access to those tools). At the end of the day, the best method I could think of was to select fruit carefully and then try multiple samples to account for variation.

@filipiak Yeah, that's exactly what she's remembering. I have my own memories of it too, since I worked for a long time on farms in Italy and have eaten my share of sun-ripened, beautiful tomatoes in the field. I actually almost never buy a supermarket tomato unless I absolutely have to.

Flavor-Packed Yogurt- and Mint-Marinated Lamb Skewers

@Ocean Yeah, I think you saw it when you followed the link, but to clarify for anyone else reading: definitely clean your grill after using it. Then clean the grate again with a wire-bristle brush the next time, and oil it too. Good grill maintenance is key to foods not sticking.

What's the Best Way to Store Tomatoes?

@cmoscardi Based on my tests, better quality tomatoes actually handle refrigeration better than bad quality ones. That doesn't mean they won't lose volatiles in the fridge, but the overall loss in quality may be less noticeable, especially on the texture side, and it may still be the better choice than countertop if you need to hold them for more than a day and your room is on the warm side (say, over 75F or so).

Chinese Velveting 101: An Introduction to Water-Velveting

@mpolo Specific recipes coming tomorrow and then for the rest of the week. Stay tuned!

Sunday Supper: Cajun Pork and Beef Cheese Pie

@Subparwelder I think we have to agree to disagree. You think that the only interpretation of a sentence comparing a food product to plastic should be understood as a literal statement that said food product is actually, on a molecular level, almost the same as plastic. I think most adults with an ability to think metaphorically understand it to be a deliberate exaggeration, since, as far as I know, there's not one single example of humans eating plastic as actual food that could ground the statement in reality. I also don't think it's necessary to find a prior example of hyperbole in the author's work to clarify this specific instance of it. Are you unable to detect a sarcastic or exaggerated comment from a stranger because you've never talked to that particular person before? I hope not. Most of us can sniff these things out intuitively. It's what makes us such a complex and interesting species.

Meanwhile, Merriam Webster defines hyperbole as "exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally," which is exactly what a comparison of margarin to plastic is. But then again, given that you think I don't understand the term, maybe I've misunderstood your characterization of my misunderstanding as "world-spanning." Perhaps right now military satellites have captured photos of my misunderstanding as it wraps itself from continent to continent.

What's the Best Way to Store Tomatoes?

@VeganWithaYoYo I think the academic studies that have been done (two of them I link to in the article) have shown somewhat conclusively that the refrigerator cold actually damages volatile compounds and texture, so it's not just a matter of the ripening process happening faster on the counter than in the fridge (they are able to use spectroscopy and other techniques to analyze these things that I don't have access to...I just use my nose, eyes, and mouth). So I don't think there's much debate about the harm the fridge does, I just think no one (at least that I found) has explored the effects of higher temperatures on tomato storage, and my test at least suggests that over time, higher temperatures may start to do more harm than refrigerator temperatures.

The Ultimate Fully Loaded Nachos

What does it take to make an incredible plate of bar-style, fully loaded nachos? For starters, at least three kinds of cheese, two kinds of beans, and two different applications of creamy, tangy dairy. It may sound like overkill, but there's a method to this madness. More