Emily co-owners share story and recipes in new cookbook

The couple behind the Brooklyn pizzeria Emily always imagined they’d write a cookbook when they were more established. With five locations and counting, the timing seems to be right.

“Emily: The Cookbook,” out Tuesday, shares recipes from Emily and Matthew Hyland’s Clinton Hill hot spot, which opened in 2014 and has since added an outpost in the West Village. It also features Detroit-style pizza from its Williamsburg spinoff, Emmy Squared, which now has additional locations in the East Village and Nashville.

There are favorites like The Colony, a round pie topped with pepperoni and pickled jalapeños; the signature Emily, with honey, pistachios and truffle cheese; Detroit-style square pies; and a whole chapter just for the Emmy Burger, which helped put them on the map.

“We wanted the recipes to stay true to what we do here and what our philosophy is,” says Matthew, the chef behind the restaurants. “Everything I cook is very personal. I try to draw from things from my childhood and places I’ve been.”

That means ingredients inspired by comfort foods like Chinese and Indian takeout and delivery pizza, and dishes that pay homage to the couple’s favorite restaurants, like Modern Apizza and the Colony Grill in Connecticut. There are also pies, desserts and cocktails named after friends, family and regulars, like the Luca, a pie for Matthew’s mentor, Luca Arrigoni of Brooklyn’s Sottocasa.

“The stories of how all the pieces got their names — that’s been such an important part of the plotline,” Emily says. “That’s really close to my heart.”

The restaurants benefit from wood-fired ovens when making their round pies. But the cookbook is full of tips for home cooks using conventional ovens that don’t get as searingly hot. A classic trick for Matthew when making pies at home is to put the broiler on when the oven hits 550 degrees and to put the pie close to the broiler.

“It makes your own tiny pizza oven in your home oven,” he says.

His other pro tip? Don’t overtop the pies.

“I think that’s a classic rookie mistake,” the chef says. “Don’t put too much cheese on. Don’t put too many pepperonis on. It will weigh down the pizza and make it hard to move. It just needs to be balanced. I love as much cheese as possible, but it doesn’t necessarily make for a better pizza.”

Since bringing on a strategic partner to help open new locations and expand to Nashville, Matthew has been able to focus more on the culinary side of things, while Emily — a fixture at the front of the house when the restaurant Emily first opened — has been pursuing her yoga passion.

The couple also has yet another location in the works: a new grilled pizza concept, Violet, inspired in part by Rhode Island’s Al Forno, is slated to open by mid-November in the East Village.

“We’re opening an homage to Rhode Island — Emily and I met there, and we spent a lot of time eating the cuisine there,” Matthew says. “The recipes come from what I remember liking being young and how I want to interpret that into a restaurant dish.”

More locations out of state may be in the works for the couple, and possibly new concepts.

“I always wanted to open a Tex-Mex place, like queso and fajitas,” Matthew says. “But that’s my next goal in a few years.”

Winning wings

Though he may be known for his pizza and burger, Matthew Hyland’s favorite recipe in the cookbook is for Emily’s chicken wings.

“I love my wings,” the chef says. “The sauce — it’s a mix between Buffalo sauce and Korean wing sauce, so it’s vinegary, rich and spicy, sweet and it’s got a ton of sesame seeds in it. And we cover the wings in Pecorino. So I really like the flavor combination of all that. And they’re nice and crispy, too.”

Here’s the recipe:

Nguyen’s hot wings with ranch dip

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 12 whole chicken wings, about 5 pounds
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Canola oil, for deep-frying
  • Nguyen Sauce (see recipe)
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Radishes, preferably French breakfast, for garnish
  • Grated Pecorino, for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Chive Ranch Dressing (see recipe), for serving

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet (half-sheet pan) with parchment paper. (This helps keep the chicken wings from sticking to the pan and tearing the skin.)

2. Season the wings all over with the salt. Spread on the prepared pan, skin side up. Roast, turning the wings halfway during cooking, until they are golden brown and show no sign of pink when pierced at the elbow joint, 50 to 55 minutes. (If you wish, the chicken wings can be served at this point. Skip the next three steps.)

3. Let the wings cool completely. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

4. To serve, pour enough oil into a large, wide, and deep saucepan to come about 2 inches up the sides and heat over high heat to 365 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place a large wire rack on a large rimmed baking sheet (half-sheet pan).

5. In batches, taking care that the oil does not boil over, add the wings to the oil, and deep-fry until they are crisp and a shade darker, about 2 minutes. Using a wire spider or tongs, transfer the wings to the rack and keep warm in the oven until they have all been fried.

6. Put the wings into a large bowl and drizzle with the Nguyen sauce. Using kitchen tongs, toss the wings in the sauce, being sure not to break them apart. Transfer them to a platter. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and Pecorino. Serve hot, with the sliced radishes and small bowls of the ranch dressing on the side for dipping.

Nguyen Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup gochujang
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic, about 5 cloves
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. black sesame seeds

Whisk the sugar and vinegar together in a medium bowl to dissolve the sugar. Add the gochujang and whisk to combine. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, sesame seeds and black sesame seeds and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is tender and fragrant but not browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add to the gochujang mixture and whisk to combine. The sauce and be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.

Chive Ranch Dressing

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 cup store-bought mayonnaise, preferably Hellman’s
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Process the buttermilk, garlic, pepper, chives and mint together in a mini food processor or a blender until the herbs are minced and the mixture turns pale green. Scrape the herb mixture into a lidded container. Add the mayonnaise and whisk well. Season to taste with salt. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Excerpt from “Emily: The Cookbook” by Emily Hyland and Matthew Hyland, copyright © 2018 by Emily Hyland and Matthew Hyland. Used by permission of Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Emily and Matt Hyland are in conversation with Sam Sifton on Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Greenlight Bookstore | 686 Fulton St., Fort Greene, 718-246-0200, greenlightbookstore.com

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