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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

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.

What's the Best Way to Store Tomatoes?

@mattcoz I kept some of the leftovers of my samples once they were sliced, and it was remarkable how rapidly they degraded once cut, compared to the others that were still whole. I think wrapping tightly in plastic helps, and probably refrigerating too (because once it's cut, the tomato is no longer protected by its skin), but I'm not sure there's a great way to keep them tasting good for long.

How to Make the Best Pesto

@auntturtle I haven't used pecans, but they're one of my favorite nuts; I'm sure they (as well as pistachios) would be delicious.

@imscott While the mortar & pestle requires more work that a food processor, I don't think the task warrants using the food processor first (it's really not that hard to do). And in some ways, it's easier to break down whole leaves in the mortar & pestle than to try to break down little bits that have been food processed.

What's the Best Way to Store Tomatoes?

@sourdough If you have a cooler room available, like a basement or root cellar (or a beer/wine fridge), then yes, I think that would likely be a great option.

Sunday Supper: Cajun Pork and Beef Cheese Pie

@Subparwelder / @ilone Deep breath folks. I think it's pretty clear that a statement like "margarine is one molecule away from plastic" is not meant as a literal statement about the chemical composition of margarine. Rather, it's the writer's colorful way of saying that she prefers what tends to be a less processed product, in this case butter. I appreciate your passion and also hear your point that it's important not to spread alarmist misinformation, but in this case it's very clear, at least to me, that the statement falls under the umbrella of a literary device and not an assertion of scientific fact. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbole

5 Delicious Cheeses You Should Throw on the Grill

@chinchulin Oh that's funny, the provoleta I've seen was cooked in a skillet on a grill (that's how I saw Francis Mallmann do it), which I guess makes it both pan-fried and grilled. But then again I haven't seen enough versions of the dish to know all iterations of it.

5 Delicious Cheeses You Should Throw on the Grill

Sorry about those in-text links. I just fixed them all.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@AnnieNT Thanks for the explanation! I'd been trying to find out what I needed to do to prepare it. I'll give it a try this weekend!

How to Make the Best Pesto

@cyboteur I can't think of any downsides to grating the garlic first, assuming you're willing to add that extra step.

@nutbound Wish I had known that as I wandered the Bowery in search of one.

@lemonfair One of my sources for the in-flower thing was La Cucina Ligura by Alessandro Molinari Pradelli, part of a pretty great Italian cookbook series that I picked up in Italy. More specifically, it says the basil should be in flower, grown on the terraces and balconies of old Ligurian homes in emptied tins once used to hold tomatoes, fruit in syrup, and fish preserved in salt or oil. Gotta love the Italians!

The Best Pesto

@jloffredo This should be enough for 1 pound of pasta (454 grams), which for me is about 4 servings. But I don't sauce my pasta heavily, so it depends a little on how much you want. I also add a little of the pasta cooking water when tossing it with the pesto, so that stretches the sauce too. If in doubt, you could increase recipe by 50% or 100% and just save extra pesto for another use.

How to Make the Best Pesto

@zozaren Not silly at al. Actually, I didn't write about it, but I had the darndest time finding a large mortar and pestle for the SE test kitchen to test this recipe. I went all over the restaurant supply shops on the Bowery in NYC looking for one, but the stores only had small ones. Which I think shows just how abandoned the mortar and pestle is as a kitchen tool. If you're to follow strict Italian tradition, the mortar should be marble and the pestle wood, but good luck finding that (maybe an antique on Ebay or something?). I finally tracked down a ceramic one, the last in stock at Sur la Table (had to buy the display one because they didn't have it in boxes anymore). Anyway, I think you can use a granite one, that's what I have at home and have never had an issue with it. The only thing that could maybe make it hard is if the surface of the mortar is very bumpy, like a Mexican molcajete, but who knows, maybe that would work too...I haven't tried it.

How to Make the Best Pesto

@Jessica Michele Pumpkin seeds are another thought.

How to Make the Best Pesto

@Anonnonnie It's true that the mortar and pestle seems to darken the basil a little more from oxidation, though I didn't think the difference was all that drastic, which I think the photos support (though blanching does help retain color for sure). Kenji isn't 100% a food processor proponent. This is a comment of his on his pesto pizza article: "I actually make mine in a mortar and pestle too when I have the inclination and don't need to make a large batch. But for me it's diminishing returns. Food processor pesto gets you 90% of the way there for 10% of the work, which most of the time is a good tradeoff. Sometimes I want to go for 100% though." So really the question comes down to deciding whether a food processor really gets you 90% of the way there or not. I can argue it either way. Certainly considering the speed and convenience it does, especially for large batches. But that last 10%, oh man, to me that last 10% in the case of pesto turns out to be kind of significant. I'm not going to tell someone not to use a food processor, because I've made and eaten plenty of good pesto made that way. But after these tests I have to give the mortar and pestle the distinction it's due: It really does make a different, more beautiful sauce.

How to Make the Best Pesto

@kjeweler It's worth a try, though I suspect getting out the food processor, using it, and having to clean it, plus still using the mortar & pestle wouldn't save much time (the pine nuts didn't take very long actually, but did require some focused crushing). As for holding overnight, you may get a little more infusion of flavor, but I think on a mechanical level, crushing the basil-leaf cell walls with the mortar and pestle is very different from the chopping in a food processor, and even extra steeping time won't extract all that juice (plus, while the pesto can be held overnight, it's a sauce that's best fresh, so I'm not sure it's worth the tradeoff if the only reason to hold overnight is to steep).

How to Make the Best Pesto

@Liam781 Yes, you definitely don't want Asian pine nuts. I was able to find Spanish ones fairly easily in NYC when I tested this recipe, but I too would default to walnuts if I could only find the Asian pine nuts. I've known too many people who have been afflicted with "pine mouth" from those...

How to Make the Best Pesto

@VeganWithaYoYo This would be blasphemous to traditionalists, but I wonder if either miso or nutritional yeast would be an interesting cheese substitute in a vegan pesto... Might be delicious.

How to Make Pillowy (and Pretty) Angel Biscuits

@cycorider Maybe one day Kimye will launch a candy bar, and you'll get the food combo you were looking for. I predict it'd be layers of Airheads and fruit leather flavored with artificial fruit flavor; the weird part is this will then be dipped in the thinnest microscopic layer of really high quality chocolate, so that with each unsatisfying bite, you'll have to ponder whether there's something actually substantive to it after all. And you'll never know.

Coconut, Vinegar, and a Whole Lotta Pork: An Introduction to Filipino Cuisine

@mikelipino I don't know-- Thai food is huge in the US now, and it's loaded with fermented fish sauce, green papaya, and other things that might not seem like Americans would typically like. And Korean food as absolutely taken off, with all its red chili peppers, fermented flavors, etc. Tamarind is hardly a challenging ingredient, peanut butter should be something most Americans like and are familiar with, and like I said, fish sauce has already broken through in other cuisines. I don't see any reason why Filipino food can't break through and become more widely known. If anything, I think the thing holding it back is the assumption that Americans won't like it.

How to Toss Food in a Skillet

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