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Red Snapper with Butter and Shallot Sauce

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        The Silver Palate was an iconic and tiny little take-out shop that opened on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1979.  It was the brainchild of two women: Julie Russo and Sheila Lukins.  Two years earlier, Lukins, divorced from her husband and mother to two small children, had set up a catering operation in her apartment.  She lived in New York’s famed “Dakota”,  home to Lauren Bacall, Rex Reed and most famously and tragically, John Lennon who was assassinated outside its front door in 1980.

       When the women opened their 156 square foot space at 73 rd Streetand Amsterdam Avenue, the Upper West Side was just emerging from its Wild West period.  Then, you had to decide which block to walk, so great was the drug scourge that marred the neighborhood.   How sketchy things were is almost impossible to imagine today.  Very expensive and increasingly chic, the West Side is now, on average, more expensive than the fabled Upper East Side neighborhood just across town. The Silver Palate arrived at the dawn of a new age in more ways than one.
      Working women flocked to the shop for adventurous take-out like Moroccan chicken pies and gazpacho.  Its owners pioneered recipes like Ratatouille and even made their own Raspberry Vinegar.  Then came  “The Silver PalateCookbook” , a stand-out for its inventive and easy to follow recipes.  Purchased by over two and half million people it celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2007 with a full color edition that’s a joy to read and to use.   All of which is a very long way round to get to today’s post for Red Snapper.

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