5 Chef-Tested, Mother-Approved Recipes
If you’re thinking what we’re thinking, you’re searching for the perfect recipe to whip up for mom on Mother’s Day. Don’t fret—we found five. Wine Enthusiast asked top chefs to dish on their favorite childhood meals and update them to impress the matriarch of their houses and ours—and they include tasteful wine pairings that will score you extra brownie points.
Butter, New York City
Mom: Maria Guarnaschelli
Dish: Tomato Salad
Pairing: Try a glass of still or sparkling rosé.
“My mother and I have always bonded over food, and when the tomatoes start rolling in, we love making salads with them,” says Guaranschelli. “She’s a New England gal who grew up with a garden full of tomato plants. She’d love to go out and pick a few, then serve them still warm from the sun in a simple salad. I love adding purslane, raw or cooked. It’s a mild, grassy and surprisingly juicy herb.”
For the vinaigrette:
Juice of 2 medium lemons
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
1 tablespoon superfine sugar, plus additional to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 pints cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cored and cut into cubes and wedges
12–16 medium mint leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup purslane leaves and stems (if unavailable, substitute ½ cup arugula)
In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, capers, shallots, black pepper, salt and sugar. Whisk until the mixture is well blended and then slowly drizzle in the olive oil, mixing constantly. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper and sugar, if desired.
To assemble the salad, arrange the tomatoes, flesh side up, in a single layer on a serving platter and season both sides of each slice with a pinch of salt, pepper and sugar. Stir the mint and purslane into the dressing and drizzle over the tomatoes. Serves 4.
Mom: Francesca Najolia
Dish: Stuffed Artichokes
Pairing: A high-acid, crisp and light Grüner Veltliner works well with the artichokes.
“This is actually my great-grandmother’s recipe, which was handed down to my grandmother and eventually my mother,” says Goulet. “There wasn’t a family gathering without carciofi ripieni, and I remember as a child how excited everyone would get leading up to dinner. Now that I make them in the kitchen at Amali and Sopra, I truly feel grateful for them for doing the heavy lifting all those years.”
4 large artichokes
4 cups toasted, fine bread crumbs (store bought is acceptable)
½ cup olive oil
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
Zest of 2 lemons
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
5 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
Cut the top and stems off of each artichoke so it sits flat on a surface and you can see the purple near the center. Place artichokes in a steam basket in a pot on a stove, cover and steam for about 20 minutes until they’re soft enough to separate all the leaves.
Meanwhile, mix the bread crumbs, olive oil, parsley, lemon zest, cheese and garlic together with your hands until the crumbs stick together (like turkey stuffing). Add a pinch of salt.
When the artichokes are ready and you have allowed for them to cool, begin spreading the leaves away from the artichoke heart, and pack the bread crumb mixture as deep as possible in each crevice.
Place artichokes back in the steamer and steam for an additional 30–45 minutes. Serves 4.
Triomphe Restaurant, New York City
Mom: Eliane Wehrli
Dish: Nettle Soup
Pairing: Try an herbal or dry white wine, such as a Côtes de Gascogne or a Chablis.
“In Switzerland, my mum goes on long walks and sometimes she would bring back fun things to cook,” says Wehrli. “Soupe aux orties [nettle soup] was always a healthy favorite. His version, which requires pouring two soups into one bowl at the same time, is a take on another of his mother’s dishes, cauliflower soup. “Two of mum’s soups in one bowl is twice the love. The harlequin is appealing to both the eyes and taste buds, too,” Wehrli says.
For the stinging nettle soup:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
2 pounds stinging nettles
Salt, to taste
½ cup heavy cream
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook on low heat, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add in stock, whisking to incorporate fully, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes, whisking often to thicken the liquid (it should reach the consistency of heavy cream).
Meanwhile, put on gloves to avoid stings while handling the nettles. Wash them and and remove the stems. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, salt generously and submerge all of the nettles. Blanch the nettles for 30 seconds, just until wilted and bright green, then with a slotted spoon immediately plunge them into an ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Squeeze the nettles with your hands to remove excess liquid.
Transfer the nettles and soup base into a blender and purée until smooth. Set a pot over low heat and transfer the mixture to the pot. Whisk in the cream and set aside.
For the cauliflower soup:
1 tablespoon butter
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus more to taste
1½ cups low-fat or whole milk
Croutons, for garnish (if desired)
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and salt. Sweat the onions until translucent (approximately 3 minutes), then add the garlic. Add the cauliflower, broth and pepper to the mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook the soup until the cauliflower is soft, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and purée, then pour back into a pot over low heat. Add the milk and bring the soup back to serving temperature.
When ready to serve, pour the soups into one bowl at the same time to create the harlequin effect (the soups will meet in the middle and will not mix). If desired, garnish with croutons. Serves 6.
Emeril’s Delmonico, New Orleans
Mom: Patsy Schaff
Dish: Mirliton Stuffed with Shrimp, Crab and Ham
Pairing: Choose a Sancerre or an unoaked Sauvignon Blanc to match the mirlitons.
“Stuffed mirliton is the kind of dish that New Orleanians eat at home—and it reminds me of Sunday dinners at my grandmother’s with my mother and my aunts,” says Scanio. “If we were lucky, the mirliton would have come from the trellis in my [grandmother’s] backyard. If you are outside South Louisiana, mirliton will be referred to as chayote and your best chance to find it will be at a Latin market.”
¼ cup salt
2 capfuls liquid crab boil
2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter
4 cups finely chopped onion
3 cups finely chopped celery
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cups diced smoked ham, preferably Chisesi Bros.
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 pounds peeled small Gulf shrimp (70 count)
1 pound crab claw meat
6 cups coarse French bread bread crumbs or stale crumbled French bread
1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
½ bunch Italian parsley, chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Peel and halve the mirlitons (leave the seed in, it’s edible and delicious) and place them in a 12-quart stockpot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and season with salt and liquid crab boil. Cook the mirlitons at a simmer until they’re tender, about 30 minutes. Remove them from the water and set aside to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, use a spoon or a melon baller to scoop out about half the flesh of the mirliton, leaving a ½-inch shell on all sides. Set the mirlitons aside, and then coarsely chop the scooped out flesh. Set aside.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, ham, minced garlic, bay leaves and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender (don’t allow the vegetables to brown). Fold in the shrimp and the reserved mirliton flesh and cook until the shrimp are opaque. Fold in the crab claw meat, 5 cups of the bread crumbs, the Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, cayenne and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Preheat an oven to 400˚F. Fill each mirliton with a generous half cup of the filling and arrange them in shallow baking dishes or on baking sheets with low sides. Sprinkle some of the remaining breadcrumbs over each mirliton. Bake in the middle of the oven until hot throughout and the stuffing is golden brown on top, about 25–30 minutes. (If your oven has a convection setting this will facilitate browning.) Serves 12.
Recette and The Gander, New York City
Mom: Randi Schenker
Dish: Chicken Soup
Pairing: Look for a Viognier-Roussanne blend rich in stone fruit flavors to pair with the matzo ball soup.
“At Recette, we’re running a play on my mother’s chicken soup,” says Schenker. “We make a really flavorful chicken consommé, then add three types of matzo balls: Kobe beef, spring garlic and bacon, and a classic matzo ball. Basically, it’s a ramped up version of a childhood favorite.”
1½ quarts chicken stock
4 bunches lemon balm (can substitute mint)
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons soup stock
1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
½ cup store-bought matzo ball mix
2 strips of bacon
4 sprigs of spring garlic
2 ounces Kobe beef (ground into a paste)
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot. Add the lemon balm and keep covered over low heat.
In a bowl, beat the eggs slightly with a fork. Add the oil, soup stock and salt, and stir. Add the matzo mix gradually until the mixture thickens. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon until it’s crispy. Once ready, chop and set aside. Blanch the spring garlic in a pot full of boiling water until the shoots turn bright green, then shock the garlic in an ice water bath. Drain and chop.
Remove the matzo mix from the refrigerator. With wet hands, divide the matzo mix into three portions. For the regular matzo balls, roll at least 4 ¾-ounce balls, about the size of a nickel (they will expand in water).
For the spring garlic and bacon matzo balls, mix 1 tablespoon of matzo mix with 1 tablespoon of spring garlic and ½ teaspoon of chopped bacon. Roll 4 ¾-ounce balls, about the size of a nickel.
For the Kobe beef matzo balls, combine 1 tablespoon matzo mix with 1 teaspoon Kobe beef paste. Roll 4 ¾-ounce balls, about the size of a nickel.
The mixture will yield 12 matzo balls, 4 of each flavor. Using a slotted spoon, remove the lemon balm from the soup stock and bring the soup back to a boil. Add a pinch of salt. Once boiling, drop the matzo balls into the pot, cover and cook for 8 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool back to serving temperature.
To serve, place one of each kind of matzo ball into the middle of a bowl and ladle the hot stock in the center. Serves 4.
- 2Executive Chef Alex Guarnaschelli
- 3Executive Chef Rachel Goulet
- 4Executive Chef Florian Wehrli
- 5Chef de Cuisine Anthony Scanio
- 6Chef Jesse Schenker