Kenneth Johnson has always had a passion for cooking. He would always cook for friends and family and decided to get into the culinary field. In 1989, he began working in New York City at none other than Bouley. He took that love to the next level and honed his skills at the New York Restaurant School where he graduated in 1989 with honors. Johnson then went on to work at some of NYC’s most highly regarded restaurants, including Picholine Restaurant, The Terrace, and Osteria Laguna.
Johnson has been invited to take part in various events at the James Beard House including the Annual Latka Cook-off and Chefs and Champagne in the Hamptons. He has also prepared banquets for The Prestigious Culinary House Members. Johnson has appeared on several television shows such as Chopped Champions, Pat Bullard Show, CBS Saturday Morning Show, Sara Maulton Dining Around and more.
In 2009, Johnson brought his 20 years of experience to Pescatore Restaurant. He has carte blanche over the design of the menu, and presents Italian cuisine with a focus on homemade pastas and flatbreads. Johnson changes the menu seasonally with a focus on local ingredients. We asked Johnson to share with us a recipe that he felt personified summer. Without further ado:
Kenneth Johnson’s Sicilian Eggplant Capanata
“Hot days with little breeze can be expected on any given summer day in Manhattan. Pescatore comes to the rescue with their favorite seasonal items ” seared tuna alla plancha with Sicilian eggplant caponata and sparkling Campari sorbet martini with Prosecco, vodka, grapefruit Campari sorbet and cranberry juice.” – Chef Kenneth Johnson
- ½ cup diced red pepper
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ½ cup diced tomato
- ½ cup sliced garlic
- 1 cup celery
- 1 cup golden raisins
- ½ cup toasted almonds
- 2 cups diced eggplant
- ½ cup chopped and pitted black olives
- 4 chopped anchovies
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 Tbls of chopped fresh thyme
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup tomato paste
- Place olive oil in pan, add slice garlic and anchovies. Cook until anchovy breaks up and garlic is golden brown.
- Then, add red pepper, onion, celery and tomato. Cook until translucent.
- While vegetables are cooking, coat all eggplant with flour and deep-fry until golden brown.
- Add eggplant to pan of vegetables. Add tomato paste, cook for two minutes and then, add raisins, olives and thyme and cook for another two minutes. Add sugar, vinegar and almonds.
- Cook until sugar and vinegar are dissolved and season with salt and pepper. Delicious!
The combination of sweet, tart, fruity and fizzing in an ice-cold martini glass comes is an ideal, refreshing drink of choice for a sun-blaring Saturday afternoon or balmy Wednesday evening. This drink can be found at Pescatore, or the brave D.I.Y.er’s can craft it at home with the following recipe for the sorbet.
- 2 oz. Sobieski vodka
- 1 1/2 oz. cranberry juice
- 1 tsp scoop grapefruit Campari sorbet
- 2 oz. Prosecco
- Take a chilled martini glass and pour in vodka and cranberry juice.
- Add the grapefruit Campari sorbet and top off with Prosecco, then serve. Cheers!
Pescatore Restaurant is located at 955 2nd Ave., New York, NY 10022
Hours of Operation
Monday 12:00″11:30 pm
Tuesday 12:00″11:30 pm
Wednesday 12:00″11:30 pm
Thursday 12:00″11:30 pm
Friday 12:00″11:30 pm
Saturday 10:30 am ” 11:30 pm
Sunday 10:30 am ” 11:00 pm