Plus more surprising tips from the Queer Eye chef’s new cookbook

Antoni in the Kitchen

Paul Brissman

Your favorite avocado-loving Queer Eye food and wine expert has a lot to say in his new cookbook, but one of Antoni Porowski’s declarations stands out: frozen peas are the best. In Antoni in the Kitchen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; September 2019), the Netflix star stands by his love for the humble bag of frozen veggies, and also shares his favorite recipes for healthy-ish appetizers, easy snacks like a Jonathan Van Ness-approved queso dip, and weeknight meals like his Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto Chips. The Canadian chef also reveals his tried-and-true tips for stocking your pantry, shopping for ingredients, and fine-tuning kitchen skills. Take a look at these five cooking tips straight from Porowski’s cookbook.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Frozen Peas

Porowski admits to his never-ending love for frozen peas, which he likes to steam and toss with canned tuna, olive oil, and lemon juice for a quick snack. He also adds them to rice dishes, pastas, sauces, and stews. (Coq au vintagine, and Bolognese are three of his favorite ways to use the frozen vegetable.) “They’re an old-school classic, a new-school darling, super-healthy and inexpensive,” Porowski says. For an easy starter, make frozen peas with salted butter, mint leaves, and flaky Maldon sea salt.

Learn the Difference Between Parmigiano-Reggiano and Parmesan

When purchasing Parmigiano-Reggiano, Porowski says to make sure it’s called exactly that, and not just “Parmesan.” The proper Parmigiano-Reggiano name should be stenciled into the rind, which indicates that it was made in northern Italy (a law for cheese with the official Parm-Reg name). You also want to make sure the cheese has been aged for at least two years, which ensures fuller flavor.

…and Make Sure to Save the Cheese Rind

Avoid your instinct to automatically throw that leftover Parmigiano-Reggiano rind in the trash. Porowski likes to use the rind even after all the cheese is gone by tightly wrapping it and then putting it in the freezer. You can use the rind as a flavor booster in soups, sauces, chilis, and stews. Just remember to remove and discard the rind after making the dish.

Paul Brissman

Trader Joe’s Is a Great Place to Buy Ancient Grains

Porowski admits that his favorite place to buy farro is from Trader Joe’s. In his Farro Bowl With Sweet Potatoes, Arugula, and Chicken recipe, he recommends Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro, which he says is “quite good and ready in half the time it takes to cook semipearled or pearled variations you find in most other markets.”

When in Doubt, Add Cheese and Nuts

“Cheese and nuts do wonders” is one of Porowski’s top 10 culinary mantras. The comfort food-loving chef and restaurant owner says the two ingredients are great for “adding depth of flavor and texture to all sorts of dishes, especially snacks, salads, and vegetables.” Think Roasted Mushroom Salad with Hazelnuts or Roasted Potato and Green Bean Salad Topped with Feta.

Get to Know Your Cheeses and What to Pair with Them

Porowski has his own opinions when it comes to cheese pairings. The Montreal-born chef recommends pairing blue cheese with sweet grapes, dates, and figs. As for goat cheese (he prefers it soft), try drizzling it with quality honey and ground or crushed pink peppercorns. Porowski loves sharp cheddar with sweet spreads like pistachio butter and apricot preserves, or with a savory grainy mustard. Sharp, full-flavored cheeses pair well with salted roasted almonds, and the Queer Eye food expert saves “stinky” cheeses like Robiola Piemonte or Epoisse for sliced fresh baguette.

Cook the Book

Paul Brissman

Antoni’s cookbook isn’t just filled with surprising cooking tips. It’s packed with delicious recipes, too. We’re obsessed with one in particular: his Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto Chips, the perfect cozy dish for fall.

Check out the full recipe here.