Jamie Bissonnette’s guiding culinary principle is simple: “We use everything,” says the head chef and owner of Toro in New York City. It’s this attitude that has made Bissonnette the poster child for the nose to tail culinary movement. “Whether it’s using all of an animal or all a radish—including all the greens—we incorporate everything,” he shared with us.
So when it came to finding new gourmet uses for this season’s apple bounty, we knew he’d have some expert advice. Here, Bissonnette shares his five most unusual uses for the ingredient, from apple butter stock to dehydrated apple noodles.
There Are Tons of Different Kinds. “I think a lot of times people forget that not all apples are the same,” Bissonnette told us. “In some varietals, you get a texture that’s so dry and crisp, almost like a radish, and those are fun to use to make a slaw out of. Around Thanksgiving, we get a lot of the Roxbury Russet apples, which are a little bit drier, and they’re not sweet at all. They retain their texture really well. And we’ll julienne those and serve them with fried oysters, or make a remoulade out of it—it’s great.”
They Pair Well With Heavier Fare. “For a lardo dish, we slice some of the sweeter apples and toss them with fish sauce, Korean chili flake, lime juice, and a pinch of sugar to make a very quick kind of pickled apple, which goes really well with something fatty,” Bissonnette shared.
They Make Terrific Poaching Stock. “Everybody knows traditional apple butter,” Bissonnette says. “And when you make apple butter, you basically cut the apples whole, and cook them slowly with aromatics in cider, and when you’re done you puree the mixture to get apple butter. But that cider that’s left over becomes a little bit earthier, it loses some of its sweetness and sugar so it’s not as concentrated. The apples absorb that. So you can use that liquid as a poaching liquid for fish. You can do a quick cure with a light fish, with salt and sugar for about an hour, and poach it in this kind of apple cider stock. Or use that apple cider stock to make a dashi, and use that to poach fish for something lighter earlier on in a meal. And, of course, garnish the dish with raw apples so you still get that crunch.”
They Can Be Noodles. “One of the other ideas—and I can’t take credit for this, because I’ve never done it—but you can julienne apples on a mandolin really thin, and then immediately put them in Cryovac and compress them with a little citric acid to keep them from discoloring,” Bissonette says. “And then you can use those strips as a noodle like ramen, maybe in an apple squid noodle salad.”
They Make High-Impact Garnishes. “At the restaurant, we garnish a pickled oyster dish with apples,” Bissonette says. “The oysters are presented with pickled mustard seeds, and then we grate the apple into the top and it kind of melts into it, so it adds a bit of that sweet tart flavor without being too much.”
For more information on Chef Jamie Bissonnette visit coppaboston.com.