Sunday, November 22, 2009

big 'ol mr. knish

the knish (kah-nish), long a NYC staple, finds its origins in the LES jewish ghettos of yesteryear. i know, "jewish" and "ghettos" are two words you don't often see in the same sentence, but the world was a different place 100 years ago -- believe it.

knishes consist of two components, a dough crust exterior, and a well seasoned mashed potato interior. knishes are generally cooked in one of two ways -- either baked or fried. most people are familiar w/ the squared-off fried knishes that are sold by hot dog vendors, however, the baked knish remains more elusive. baked knishes are round rather than square, and their starchy interiors often erupt through the crust's upper limits. your best bet at locating these artisan treats is to visit a well-stocked gourmet supermarket (Whole Foods). however, if you are fortunate enough to live in the tri-state area, i strongly suggest that you visit NYC's original KNISHERY: Yonah Shimmel's (YS).

Yonah Shimmel, Knish Bakery
137 E Houston St
New York, NY 10002-1027
(212) 477-2858

fresh as hell and made w/ love, a YS knish is unlike any other. "original", "spinach & swiss", "sweet potato", and "jalapeno & cheddar" are just a sampling from the myriad of knishes this bakery has to offer. during my last visit, i enjoyed a delicious jalapeno & cheddar knish, which despite lacking the level of heat i had expected, was incredibly satisfying. the cheddar & jalapeno played nice, however, the true star of the show was the mashed potato filling. them taters tasted like 100 years of tradition, truly phenomenal.

if you eat in, they re-heat the knish in a microwave oven, which does not do it justice -- my advice: take it to go.

© 2009 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -