Peter Serpico Of Serpico In Philadelphia

A Momofuku alum strikes out on his own

You can take the boy out of Momofuku, but you can't take the shaved pig's head with burnt-onion mustard out of the boy.

When Peter Serpico left New York and his job as culinary director for David Chang's ever-expanding empire to open his own spot in Philadelphia this June, some observers might have been forgiven for thinking: Philadephia?

Relax, food snobs. "There are a lot of really good Korean restaurants in Philly," Serpico says, happily. "I am actually a little intimidated!"

The menu at his eponymous Serpico features exactly the kind of eclectic hodgepodge you'd expect (and wish you had in your neighborhood): hand-torn pasta sheets with snails and chicken skin; deep-fried duck leg with hoisin and a Martin's potato roll.

"We don't just slap a bunch of stuff together," Serpico says. "We taste–does it need more texture? Another component? The whole process can take a week."

At home, the chef keeps things a little simpler and mostly vegetarian–but doesn't skimp on the smartly layered flavors and bold Korean spices.

Serpico shared two of his dead simple back-pocket recipes you'll want to add to your home repertoire, too.

Miso-Buttered Corn or Eggplant: Mix white miso into room-temp unsalted butter. Smear over grilled corn. Add chopped scallions. Boom–mind blown. It works well over whole roasted eggplant, too (see the recipe).

Szechuan-Marinated Cucumbers: Dump a scary amount of Szechuan chiles, water, garlic, ginger, salt and palm sugar into a blender. Marinate the cucumbers in the mixture for an hour. Serve the cukes as pickles alongside anything and everything (see the recipe).

Save the marinade and toss it with chilled somen or ramen noodles and quick-blanched vegetables (Serpico suggests snap peas) for tomorrow's lunch or dinner.