Will Horowitz was born into a family with a food heritage: one grandmother was a classically-trained chef, his other grandparents owned a traditional Jewish deli. Horowitz studied everything from Buddhism to herbalism to wilderness survival before attending cooking school, and in 2012, he and his sister Julie opened “Ducks Eatery” in New York. Three years later came “Harry and Ida’s Meat and Supply Co.,” a vintage deli and food provisions shop. Now, he’s the author of the new book: “Salt Smoke Time: Homesteading and Heritage Techniques for the Modern Kitchen.”
Here are some of Horowitz’s signature recipes:
Smoked beef tomahawk (Serves 2-3)
30-35 oz. tomahawk rib eye steaks, 2-3 inches thick, cut from an older cow
½ cup rendered beef fat (or olive oil)
3 tbsp butter
1 bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 head of garlic
1 bunch thyme
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Black Trumpets (can rehydrate dried mushrooms if not in season)
2 tbsp fresh elderberries, for serving
- Cold-smoke the rib eye at 40°F for 6 to 8 hours. Nothing will visibly change in the meat, but the longer you smoke it, the heavier the smoke flavor will be. Rub it lightly with 3 tbsp of the beef fat and let it sit overnight in the fridge, or it can hang for up to 90 days.
- Let the rib eye come to room temperature and season with salt. Select an cast iron skillet that is large enough for the meat to lie at (it’s okay if the bone is sticking up). Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter. Add the steak and sear, basting often, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip the rib eye and add the thyme and garlic straight to the skillet, to the side of the meat. Baste for another minute or two.
- Place the skillet in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Stick a metal cake tester or skewer into the thickest part of the meat and test it against your bottom lip. The tester should be room temperature. If it’s cold, put the skillet back in the oven and test again after a few minutes. If using a thermometer, do not cook past 120°F allowing it to rise a few degrees more to medium rare while resting.
- When the temperature is perfect, remove the rib eye from oven and the skillet so as not to overcook, then season it with pepper. Let it rest on a rack at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes.
- Slice off the fat cap and cut it into smaller pieces for your hungry guests while they wait for the dish to be plated. Cut the meat across the grain into 1-inch thick slices.
- To prepare black trumpets, simply sauté in same cast iron in butter and beef fat over high heat. After about 1 minute toss in elderberries and chopped parsley, season with a pinch of salt and serve next to steak.
Smoked & charred carrots with lovage sauce (Serves 3-4)
3 lbs. medium carrots
½ cup white vinegar
4 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
2 tbsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
one 3-4 oz. bunch lovage, cleaned
zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
2 tsp rice or potato starch
ground black pepper to taste
- Rinse and peel the carrots; trim the greens if attached, leaving the stems. In a large saucepan, place the peels, carrot greens, vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, cracked black peppercorns, salt, and the peeled carrots. Fill with cold water until the carrots are covered by approximately three inches. Place the pan over medium-high heat.
- When the liquid begins to boil, lower the heat and cover until carrots are just soft enough to cut through with the back of a knife but not falling apart. Carefully remove the carrots onto paper towels to cool and drain.
- Toss the carrots with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and place them on a rack in a smoker set to 140°F. Smoke for 3 hours, until they have lightly browned. Let cool.
- Transfer the carrots to a dehydrator set at 120°F and dehydrate for 2 hours, until they have noticeably shrunken in size but are still moist on the inside. Cool, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- To make the sauce, in a large saucepan, bring 1 gallon of water and the salt to a boil over high heat. Set a large mixing bowl filled with ice water on the side. Place the lovage in the boiling water for no more than 45 seconds, until it turns a bright green. Quickly remove the lovage and submerge it in the ice water. Drain, then place in the blender with the lemon zest and juice and 2 tbsp of water. Blend until smooth. Add the crème fraîche and blend on low. Using a strainer, gently shake in the rice starch while the sauce is blending to give it a little more body and shine, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Place the carrots in the pan and sear for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly charred, stirring gently.
- To serve, place the carrots on a plate, top generously with lovage sauce, and finish with a sprinkle of salt.
Smoked whole watermelon (Serves 3-5)
1 whole seedless watermelon (3-5 pounds)
2 gallons water
1 cup smoker ash or 1 tbsp food-grade sodium hydroxide
1 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup dried oregano
2 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
1 cup tamari
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for basting
6 garlic cloves
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
½ cup buckwheat flour (optional, to make gravy)
- Using a sharp knife, carefully trim off the watermelon rind (which can always be pickled). In a container large enough to hold the watermelon, combine the water, ash, salt, oregano, peppercorns, and tamari. Submerge the watermelon and let it brine for 4 days.
- Remove from the brine, rinse lightly, and let air dry in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours, until the outside feels completely dry.
- Spread 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a roasting pan large enough to hold the watermelon but not oversize. Set the watermelon in the pan. Place the garlic and rosemary sprigs along the sides of the watermelon. Heat a smoker to 225°F and smoke the watermelon for 4 hours. Remove the melon and lightly score the surface of the top and sides in a diamond pattern (as on a ham), going no deeper than an inch below the surface. Baste with some of the remaining oil and juices from the pan and return to the smoker for 3 hours, rotating the pan every hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the pan from the smoker, baste again, and roast until the melon is evenly golden brown, with a light char starting to form.
- Set the watermelon in a serving dish. If you like, whisk the extra juices from the pan slowly into the buckwheat our and simmer until thickened into gravy. Slice the watermelon tableside, pour the gravy on top, and serve.
Preserved mussels & crème fraiche (Serves 4-6)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pure dark maple syrup
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
4 dozen Hollander mussels (or similar large mussels)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup shucked English Peas (1/2 lb. unshucked peas)
1/3 cup preserved lemon peels (store bought or homemade)
1 small bunch flowering chives, flowers reserved and chives chopped (up to 1 cup)
1 ½ cups Crème Fraïche
bread (a rustic sourdough works well here)
4 dozen Smoked Mussels
maldon sea salt
- To make the maple-chile oil: In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, shiitakes, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Bring to a low simmer over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to thoroughly emulsify the maple into the oils. Set aside to cool and let sit for 24 hours. Strain through a cheesecloth. (This oil can be made well in advance and stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 1 year.)
- To make the peas: In a small saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and salt to a boil over high heat. Set a small mixing bowl filled with ice water on the side. Place the peas in the boiling water for no more than 30 seconds, until they turn a bright green. Quickly remove the peas and submerge in the ice water.
- To prepare the mussels: Scrub the mussels and let them sit in fresh, cold water for 30 minutes. Set up a stovetop steamer over high heat. This can consist of simply a steamer insert in a pot or three hotel pans, one filled with water on a hot burner, one perforated pan above it for the seafood, and one pan on top working as a cover.
- Steam until they just open, then immediately remove the mussels from their shells. Lightly toss the mussels in ½ cup of olive oil until coated.
- Place the mussels in a cold smoker, keeping the temperature below 100°F for 3 hours, carefully mixing every 30 minutes so as not to oversmoke. Use oak or any fruitwood.
- Add the mussels to the infused oil and set aside in cold storage or the refrigerator to marry the flavors for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks before serving.
- To serve, place the mussel in a small jar, topped with the sumac buds and chive flowers. Spread the crème fraïche on toasted bread and a dash of sea salt and a sprinkling of chopped chives.
Duck fat grilled blueberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
3 fresh lavender sprigs (or 1 tbsp of buds)
1 whole lime
½ cup raw honey
½ tbsp ancho chili powder
1/3 tsp of vanilla extract (or ½ of a fresh bean, scraped)
½ cup duck fat
4-6 mint leaves
kosher salt to taste
4 oz. raw hazelnuts, shelled
- To prepare honey: Heat honey in a small saucepot with the lavender and vanilla until it begins to lightly bubble. Remove from heat and strain out the lavender pieces. Allow honey to cool completely. Scrape into a standing mixer with paddle attachment. Mix on low for 45 minutes. Honey should double in size and become pale yellow in color.
- For hazelnuts: Rough chop hazelnuts and toast on dry sauté pan over medium heat until lightly toasted, 3-5 minutes. Keep pan moving to avoid burning and ensure even cooking. Transfer nuts to a paper towel and lightly salt.
- To prepare blueberries: Coat blueberries in duck fat, place in a stainless steel sieve. Cook directly over fire, tossing continuously until berries begin to char and blister (using sieve like a sautée pan). Set aside and allow to cool.
- To serve: Place charred blueberries in a shallow bowl. Season with salt. Drizzle whipped honey over blueberries, lightly dust with ancho chili, chopped mint and hazelnuts.
Honeysuckle mezcal fizz
1 cup water
3-4 oz. picked honeysuckle flowers
½ cup raw honey
½ cup granulated cane sugar
¾ cup granulated cane sugar
½ cup fresh sage, picked
2 tbsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
½ tsp kosher salt
2 oz. homemade honeysuckle syrup or pre-bought Cocktail & Sons
1 whole lemon
2 oz. Ilegal Joven Mezcal
1 tbsp sage chili sugar
crushed ice & ice cubes
- For the syrup: Place all ingredients into a small sauce pot. Place over low heat for 25 minutes until just it begins to lightly simmer. Stir every few minutes. Once finished, remove from heat, seal top with plastic wrap carefully and allow to gently cool down for 3-5 hours. Place in refrigerator.
- For the sage chili sugar: Place all ingredients in food processor. Blend until all of the sage is finely mixed together with sugar and chili. Pour finished sugar in a jar and store in cool place.
- Pour syrup, mezcal and the zest and juice of half a lemon into a cocktail shaker. Place 4-5 cubes of ice in and shake for 30-40 seconds.
- Using a highball (we use a 12 oz. mason jelly jar!) rim with lemon and dip generously in sage chili sugar until nicely coated.
- Fill glass with crushed ice and pour shaken cocktail through a strainer over top.
- Garnish with thin floating lemon wheel