Jessica Freeman-Slade is an Assistant Editor at Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House. She will never stop telling you how good Jim Lahey’s bread, Ina Garten’s roast chicken, and Hugh Acheson’s Hoppin’ John can be.
I’m normally a very messy home cook—if I’m baking, you can be sure to find me with flour wiped across my cheek, or with my hands plastered in butter and sugar. But when I heard about the features that could be found in the iPad version of Tyler Florence Fresh (Clarkson Potter, December 2012), just out from Tyler Florence, getting my hands dirty seemed overrated. (If you don’t have an iPad, there’s also a version of the book perfect for viewing on the iPhone!)
Cooking with an iPad in the kitchen, while a very different experience than flipping through a book, means playing with different features while you cook. Tyler’s opening video is especially inspiring, as you watch him work with the chefs at his restaurant Wayfare Tavern and the vendors who supply him with the freshest ingredients around.
It also speeds up some tricky steps like putting together a grocery list—Tyler Florence Fresh on the iPad made it possible for me to pull together shopping lists for all the recipes I was going to make. That grocery list is automatically organized by section of the store (produce, dairy, etc.), so you remember to get everything on your list.
Then when reading the recipes, the iPad gives you little pop-up lists of ingredients for each step just when you need to start each one: (Just click on the baby chicks!)
And if I wanted to have each step display nice and large, I just turned the iPad on its size and clicked on the 1-2-3 for a large print version (this was great for flipping back and forth between steps with a single clean pinky finger):
All these brilliant shortcuts made it especially easy to put together recipes with lots of different ingredients. I test-drove cooking from the iPad when I made Tyler’s recipe for Seared Scallops with Tomato-Chile Jam, Fresh Peas, and Bacon.
This looks like a complicated recipe, with a lot of different elements to prepare, but it’s actually easy to put each part together simultaneously. Combine tomato paste, canned tomatoes, roasted peppers, and sugar simmer together on the stove for 20-25 minutes. Stir in a little red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until it has a sweet and spicy the consistency of a thick, juicy jam. (While you’re preparing the tomato jam, you can make all the other parts of the recipe, so the whole dish overall takes about half an hour—pretty quick for something as beautiful as this!)
Slice some bacon on the bias (on the diagonal) to create long ribbons called “lardons”. The longer and thinner the pieces of bacon, the prettier it will look when cooked.
Once these uncooked strips are frying up in a hot pan of grapeseed oil, they create beautiful curls of crispy bacon. Set the bacon aside on paper towels, and save the cooking fat for the very end.
Finally, time to sear the scallops! The trick to cooking scallops at home is making sure that each scallop has been patted dry and seasoned with salt. When you add each scallop, salt-side down, to a very hot pan coated with oil, they will perfectly sear (rather than adhere to the pan) to a beautiful golden-brown.
How does my version of the dish look compared to Tyler’s? Within a half hour, I was able to make a delicious sweet and spicy jam, a perfect complement to fresh peas, basil, and pea shoots, and the buttery scallops. Best of all, preparing a dish as photogenic as this one doesn’t require any special tools or preparation methods—just a hot pan and fresh ingredients! In Tyler Florence Fresh, real, unprocessed foods shine in simple yet creative and delicious dishes. I could have served this dish at a fancy dinner party, but it felt like even more of a treat on a busy weekday. It was healthy, delicious, and easy to put together—a perfect example of what you find in Tyler’s latest book. Whether you read it in its beautiful print form, or on your kitchen iPad , it’s sure to delight!
Seared Scallops, Tomato-Chile Jam, Fresh Peas, and Bacon
Recipe from Tyler Florence Fresh
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
½ cup chopped roasted Jimmy Nardello peppers, crushed to a pulp with a mortar and pestle and a little olive oil
1⁄3 cup sugar
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup fresh English peas
8 thin slices applewood-smoked bacon
16 diver scallops
Fleur de sel
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh pea tendrils
Make the tomato-chile jam. In a medium saucepan, stir together the tomato paste, tomatoes and their juices, peppers, sugar, and . cup of water. Set over medium heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Once reduced and thick, season with salt and pepper and add the red wine vinegar. Puree with a stick blender until it has a consistent, slightly chunky texture. Allow to cool slightly.
Add the peas and 1/4 cup of water to a small saucepan and set over high heat. Season lightly with salt and steam the peas for 1 minute, until they turn bright green. Drain and set aside.
Make the lardons. Set a large saute pan over high heat and coat it with grapeseed oil. Slice the bacon on the bias to yield long, thin strips. Add to the hot pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring as they cook so they curl into twisted, crisped lardons. Then transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Pour the rendered bacon fat into a small bowl and reserve.
Cook the scallops. Wipe out the saute pan and set it back over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and season with kosher salt. Coat the hot pan with grapeseed oil. Cook the scallops undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the heat and turn the scallops to barely cook on the second side, 30 seconds. Remove from the pan.
Serve the scallops with a smear of the tomato-chile jam. Season with fleur de sel. Top with the bacon lardons, steamed peas, basil, and pea tendrils. Drizzle the reserved bacon fat around the plate.