Chef Eduard Frauneder of Edi and the Wolf shares the secret to his famous flatbreads
For chef Eduard Frauneder nothing would make his East Village neighborhood feel more like home than if a Viennese wine bar set up shop. The Austrian-born chef had worked in various kitchens from the Austrian Embassy in London to the private dining room at the German Mission to the United Nations, and in 2008, Frauneder opened Seäsonal Restaurant & Weinbar, a fine dining restaurant just a stone’s throw away from Carnegie Hall.
The eatery consistently received glowing reviews, but rather than create another elegant spot, Frauneder wanted something on the opposite end of the spectrum. He craved those typical wine gardens he was used to visiting in his home city of Vienna. The Heurigens, as they are called, feature communal dining, simple food, a rustic setting, and what he calls “good spirit.” So in 2011, he and partner Wolfgang Ban opened their homage to those cozy halls and named it Edi and the Wolf, the pair’s nicknames.
But it isn’t just the atmosphere and the cuisine that harkens Frauneder back to his Austrian roots; the ingredients also pay tribute to his homeland. Frauneder’s most cherished of those is the Mangalista, a special breed of pig that was, until recently, nearly extinct.
The Mangalista dates back to the aristocratic Austro-Hungarian Empire and Archduke Joseph who crossed a Serbian pig and a Hungarian pig in order to produce a specimen that would have the optimal marbleization of fat to be juicy and flavorful. Though it had been around for over 250 years, the Mangalista fell out of favor in the 1980s.
About ten years ago, there came a Mangalista renaissance as house-made charcuterie and pork belly made their way onto restaurant plates. Now, small-scale farmers and artisans are raising these rare wooly pigs for chefs in the know. Frauneder’s favorite way to use the rich meat is as speck or lardo, which glisten atop his Austrian Flatbreads—a mainstay on the menu at Edi & the Wolf.
As with the menu, the flatbread varies by what’s in season. In fall, you can find it dotted with beautifully hued butternut squash and drizzled with pumpkin seed oil or, in the winterized version, topped with crème fraîche, garlic confit, braised cipollini onions, soft cheese and shaved apple.