Recipes: Dine like an A-lister with Gwyneth Paltrow
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow shares some of her favourite and most memorable recipes
Okay, I wrote a cookbook. Why, you may ask? In the past 10 years or so, cooking has become my passion in life. I have always loved food, being around it, preparing it and, of course, eating it. This adoration was instilled in me by my incredible father, a supreme gourmand with a deep love for great food and wine.
I understood him more fully when I had my own children. Over the years, I had learned how to cook through trial and error, through cooking classes and through lessons with chef friends, but it had always been for fun. Now, it seems much more, well, important.
Unlike my daddy, who back in the day thought Oreos and a glass of milk were snack-worthy, I became a bit obsessed with providing my kids with healthy, unprocessed foods. This was informed by a period of eating a strictly macrobiotic diet, which, ironically enough, I had started when my father was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998.
I always feel closest to my father, who was the love of my life until his death in 2002, when I am in the kitchen. I can still hear him over my shoulder.
From 'Notes From My Kitchen Table' by Gwyneth Paltrow, published by Boxtree, €26.50
One year I was given a birthday present I'll never forget — a cooking lesson from Jamie Oliver. He came over and showed me how to make one of my favourite and most sentimental dishes, duck ragu. His recipe had more of a Moroccan bent, with raisins and oranges, and it was magical. Over the years, the recipe has become its own thing in my kitchen, but the roasting technique is all Jamie. I think this may just be my favourite recipe in the whole book. The gremolata topping, while optional, takes it to another level.
YOU WILL NEED
1 organic large duck, washed and dried
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices duck bacon (or whatever bacon
you love), finely diced
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely
2 medium stalks celery, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, stems discarded
and leaves finely chopped
3 400g cans whole peeled tomatoes
with their juice
250ml Italian red wine
100ml tomato purée
450g pappardelle (fresh or dried)
Gremolata breadcrumbs or freshly
grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
YOU WILL NEED
35g fresh breadcrumbs,
toasted and coarsely ground
Zest of 2 lemons
1½ tablespoons finely chopped
Small pinch of coarse salt
Toss everything together.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
Trim off excess skin from the opening to the duck's cavity and from the back end. Rub the entire duck with one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, inside and out. Roast it for a total of two hours, flipping it from its back to its breast (and vice versa) every half hour. Let it cool in the pan until you can handle it. Drain off the fat and either discard it or reserve for another use, such as roasting potatoes. While the duck is roasting, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole over medium-high heat and add the bacon.
Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally, or until starting to crisp. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and rosemary, turn theheat down to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomatoes and their juice and put 125ml water into one can, swish it around to get all the tomato stuck to the sides, pour into the next can and repeat again with the third. Add the tomato water to the casserole along with the wine, a good grind of pepper and a healthy pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down very low and let it simmer for one hour and 15 minutes. After the duck has cooled down a bit, remove and discard the skin and bones and shred the meat.
Fold the duck meat into the ragu along with the tomato purée and cook on a very low heat, uncovered, for at least one hour and up to four, adding splashes of water if necessary to keep it from drying out (continue to season with salt and pepper as you splash). To serve, cook the pasta, divide it between bowls and spoon a generous amount of duck ragu over the pasta. Top with the Gremolata breadcrumbs or Parmesan.
BRUCE PALTROW’S WORLD-FAMOUS PANCAKES
Now, if there is one image of my father that is the most ‘him' — that is to say, encapsulates all of his elements and delivers them in one picture — it would be him over his cast-iron griddles making his world-famous pancakes. These things have been legendary in our house for decades. He first got the recipe out of the ‘Joy of Cooking’ and adapted it over the years to utter perfection. The recipe below is so truthful to his pancakes that it's almost hard for me to eat them; I keep expecting him to walk into the kitchen. Makes 36 pancakes.
YOU WILL NEED
350g unbleached plain flour
75g granulated sugar
3½ tsps baking powder
2 tsps fine salt
75g unsalted butter, melted and
cooled, plus more butter for cooking
6 organic large eggs
Up to 250ml milk, as needed to thin
Real Vermont maple syrup, warmed,
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, butter and eggs together in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, whisking just enough to combine (small lumps are okay). Let the batter sit, covered, overnight. The next morning, heat up your griddle or favourite non-stick pan and slick it with a little butter. Add enough milk to the batter to thin it to the right consistency — the thicker the batter, the thicker and heavier your pancakes; the thinner the batter, the more delicate your pancakes. Neither is wrong. Cook the pancakes on the griddle, flipping them after bubbles appear on the surface of the uncooked side. Let them cook for two to three minutes more, then remove and eat with lots of warm maple syrup.