Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Heirloom Caprese Salad with Crostoni Bagnati

Heirloom tomatoes don’t need much, and in the summertime when they are at their peak, a simple caprese salad is an absolute staple. In the end, a recipe might be a bit silly…it’s just tomato and cheese with basil and some oils to taste. But I really like the crostoni (a large crostini) technique (Bagnati is Italian for “wet”, from the oil, and the garlic rub is very effective). Also, I think the presentation came out nice. All this to say: relax, play it by ear, and let the ingredients shine.

Ingredients, Crostoni Bagnati

  • 6 1/2"-thick slices ciabatta, cut on extreme diagonal
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for brushing)
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 6 tablespoons high-quality extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
  • Maldon sea salt or fleur de sel

Directions, Crostoni Bagnati

  1. Position a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°.
  2. Place bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet; brush tops with olive oil. Bake until golden brown and crispy, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Rub oiled sides of crostoni with cut side of garlic. Drizzle 1 tablespoon high-quality oil over each crostoni. Sprinkle with sea salt.

*Serves 6 with 2 wedges each. You can cut down a ciabatta roll for a smaller portion if you have that on hand.

Ingredients, Caprese Salad

  • 4 large multi-colored heirloom tomatoes, washed and dried
  • Maldon sea salt or fleur de sel
  • 1 large (~8oz) ball Buffalo mozzerella cheese (or Burrata)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • Balsamic reduction or glaze (I use Gia Russa), for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions, Caprese Salad

  1. Slice tomatoes into 1/2" slices
  2. Slice cheese into 1/4" slices
  3. Chiffonade the basil
  4. Stack the tomatoes and cheese large to small, alternating between tomato and cheese.
  5. Garnish with salt, pepper, oils, basil, crostoni and serve.

*Serves 4.

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Deviled Eggs

Hard boiling: Figuring out how to hard boil a fresh egg, that could peel, was surprisingly if embarrassingly challenging. But peeling alone won’t do, the white should be set but not rubbery, and the yolk should be set but not dry (and especially not green).

Some Background:

I started with the, somewhat standard, method of bringing “cool” water with the eggs to a boil, and then removing from heat and covering for 10 or so minutes. This method was inconsistent at best, and very difficult to peel with fresh eggs, yielding unsightly pot marks. I then added salt and (1/4 cup) vinegar to the water, and dropped the eggs into boiling water to simmer for 14 minutes. These results were consistent and peeled well, but because the outside cooks so much faster than the yolk at the higher heat it was impossible to get the perfectly tender whites (borderline rubbery).

Finally I attempted to steam the eggs (per Alton Brown) and after some trial and error with timing and temperature, found a simple, consistent method that yields tender whites and creamy but solid yolks with as few cooking variables as possible. Additionally, it takes less time, energy, and water with this method. I may still revisit that original method, adding the “hole punch” to aid in peeling, but right now steaming is both simple and consistent. In any case I recommend you see what works for you, there’s more than one way…

Some quick tips:

  • Store eggs in the carton on their side (with a rubber band to hold the container together) so that the yolks are better centered.
  • To test for done-ness the egg should spin on a counter top almost endlessly. If the egg only makes it a few rotations on the counter, it’s contents are still liquid.
  • To peel, crack the shell in a few places with the back of the spoon and roll along the counter top, and remove shell under running water.

As for the deviling: I offer a very basic recipe that can be modified (but needn’t be) for 8 eggs and my favorite recipe for 12 eggs with heavy influence from Michael Schwartz. I suggest a food processor for a smooth filling, and if you are making enough a pastry bag with a wide tip is both faster and prettier. I also much prefer the eggs cut crosswise, not lengthwise, for both taste (proportions) and visual appeal. The egg halves deserve a healthy amount of filling, so you will likely not fill them all…better to leave a few out than skimp.

To Hard Cook Eggs (Steaming Method)

  1. Bring eggs to room temperature or run briefly under warm water. Much like a steak a cold product will cook poorly.
  2. Bring a stock pot (with a steamer basket) with 3 cups of water to a boil over medium-high heat (about 1/2 an inch).
  3. Add eggs to steamer basket
  4. Let steam, covered, at medium-high heat for 10 minutes (for golden, creamy, barely set yolks. After 13 minutes and the whites get firmer and yolks more dry, which is okay for some applications like salads).
  5. Remove from steamer basket using tongs and transfer to ice bath for 5 minutes

Ingredients (Colin’s Favorite)

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (to taste, I like a rounded tablespoon)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 dashes Habañero hot sauce (to taste, up to 4 but I like 3)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 bunch fresh chives, minced

Tools (Colin’s Favorite)

  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Large bowl for ice bath
  • Stock Pot or large saucepan with steamer basket
  • Food Processor and Pastry Sieve with larger tip

Directions (Colin’s Favorite)

  1. Peel and slice eggs in half crosswise, using a pairing knife to carefully cut the bottom so they stand upright.
  2. Scoop out the egg yolks and place egg white halves on a tray.
  3. Add to the food processor the yolks, mayo, lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, pepper, mustard, and half the paprika. Process until very smooth.
  4. Using a spatula move the mixture to the pastry bag, squeezing the contents to the bottom and twisting the top. A larger pastry tip will work better.
  5. Fill the egg whites with the mixture, adding plenty to each egg. You may not fill all the halves, and this is okay.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining paprika and chives.

*Makes 18-24 deviled eggs (halves). Good loosely covered for a day or so.

Ingredients (Basic Recipe)

  • 8 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Tools (Basic Recipe)

  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Large bowl for ice bath
  • Stock Pot or large saucepan with steamer basket
  • Food Processor and Pastry Sieve with larger tip (optional)

Directions (Basic Recipe)

  1. Peel and slice eggs in half.
  2. Scoop out the egg yolks and place only 12 egg white halves on a tray. (I recommend using the 6 eggs or 12 egg white halves that look the best, with the yolks centered, etc.).
  3. Mash yolks and add mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Fill the 12 egg white halves (from 6 eggs) with the filling of all 8 eggs.
  5. Sprinkle with parsley and paprika.
  6. Allow eggs to refrigerate for at least an hour so flavors may blend.

Variations (Basic Recipe)

Yolk mixture may be seasoned with

  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme, parsley, chives, or dill
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar and/or, for a more ‘deviled’ flavor, 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

*Makes 12 deviled eggs (halves). Good loosely covered for a day or so.

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Deconstructed Fried Egg with Chorizo, Garlic and Thyme Oil

Thoroughly Spanish, and thoroughly stolen from José Andres. The revelation here is to separate the yolk from the white, fry the white separately and just warm the raw yolk on the dish with the hot garlic infused thyme oil. Spanish “Chori-tho” is different than Mexican varieties, and is much preferred here.


  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces Spanish chorizo sausages, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Sea salt to taste


  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Bowls for egg whites
  • Slotted Spoon, Spatula
  • 10-12 inch fry pan


  1. Gently crack open the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites, putting each yolk and each white into its own small bowl.
  2. Split open the garlic cloves by placing them on a chopping board and pressing down hard on them with the base of your hand or with the flat side of a kitchen knife. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer garlic to a plate and set aside.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Once the oil just begins to smoke, tip the sauté pan to a steep angle so the oil collects on one side to create a small bath. Carefully slide the egg white into the oil bath and spoon hot oil over the white 3 or 4 times. until the edges start to get brown, then flip the egg white over. Cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer egg white with a slotted spoon to a serving plate, set aside and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining egg whites.
  4. Pour the olive oil from the pan into a small bowl and set aside. Return the pan to the stovetop and continue to heat over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook for 30-45 seconds, flipping the rounds when the sides begin to brown. Add the thyme and continue cooking for 1 minute.
  5. Divide the egg whites between four plates. Gently spoon an egg yolk over each egg white. Divide the chorizo and thyme between the plates and garnish with the reserved garlic. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle the reserved cooking oil over each plate.

*Serves 2 for dinner, or 4 as a smaller dish or breakfast.

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Seared Alaskan Halibut over Fork-Mashed Purple Potatoes, Whole Roasted Carrots and a Lemon Dijon Sauce.

Ingredients, Purple Potatoes

  • 1 pound Purple Majesty or other purple potatoes, washed
  • 4 small shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil (we used half, and it was plenty for us)
  • Fleur de sel to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Ingredients, Lemon Dijon Sauce

  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh Herbs (I used more parsley but this is a versatile sauce)
  • 4 portions halibut fillet, each about 6 ounces

Ingredients, Roasted Carrots

  • 1 pound (medium) whole carrots, fronds removed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Baking Dish, Oven for Carrots
  • Stock pot, bowls for potatoes
  • Small Sauce pan for sauce
  • Large Saute pan for fish
  • Knife, Cutting board, and bowls for prep

Directions, Carrots

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. In a medium baking dish, combine the carrots with the water, garlic, oil and butter and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes, until tender.
  3. Uncover and roast for about 30 minutes longer, until the water has evaporated and the carrots are lightly browned in spots. Transfer the carrots and garlic to a plate and serve.

Directions, Purple Potatoes

  1. In a large pot, cook potatoes with skins on in heavily salted boiling water until tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Remove potatoes from pot, and peel them while still warm.
  3. Place potatoes in a large bowl and, using a fork, gently smash them, maintaining a fairly chunky consistency.
  4. Fold in minced shallots, lemon juice, olive oil, fleur de sel, and white pepper. Finish with parsley.

Directions, Fish, Lemon Dijon Sauce

  1. Melt butter over low to medium-low heat (do not boil) with dijon, add herbs (squeeze lemon into bowl for addition/emulsification before service)
  2. To cook the halibut fillets, heat a couple tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet large enough to hold them. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and saute until they are golden brown and cooked through, moist but still flaky when the thickest part of one is pierced with a knife tip, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  3. Add lemon juice and whisk to emulsify. Serve immediately.

*Serves 4.

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Classic. Here the asparagus is roasted, but grilled asparagus works as well.


  • 1 pound asparagus (about 19 stalks), trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 to 8 paper-thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise


  • Oven, Baking Sheet


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Snap the dry stem ends off of each asparagus and place on a heavy baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss. Roast until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Wrap each asparagus with 1 piece (about 1/2 a slice) of prosciutto, exposing tips. Arrange on a platter and serve at room temperature.

*6 servings

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Little Quail Egg Prosciutto Cups

A charming amuse-bouche for a Sunday brunch, or an elegant accompaniment to a pasta dish or salad, these are super easy and the smaller size helps manage the saltiness of the baked prosciutto. Quail eggs last quite a bit longer than chicken eggs and can be found in Asian markets and specialty stores.


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto, sliced in half crosswise
  • 12 quail eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 12-cup mini muffin tin


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray a 12-cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Nestle a piece of prosciutto into each cup.
  3. Crack an egg into center of each and bake for 6 to 7 minutes or until egg whites are just barely set.
  4. Use a small offset spatula to remove the prosciutto cups, and season with pepper. Serve immediately.

*Makes 12 bites

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Versatile Sriracha-Peanut Sauce

A versatile and excellent Asian-style sauce. Shown above is (20¢) Ramen with (Leftover) Pulled Pork. Super economical and a great way to skip the sodium-bomb of a ramen flavor packet.

I suggest waiting on the sugar and Sriracha until the end, adding only to taste (depending on whether you want a sweet or really spicy sauce). I didn’t have scallions and it turned our fine, really this is just a great base recipe. Can be made up to 3 days in advance and served either hot or cold, as a dip, salad dressing, or as a sauce for noodles or protein.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 scallions, chopped fine (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh gingerroot
  • 1/4 to 1 cup water (thicken or thin to taste)
  • 1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1-3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1-3 tablespoons Sriracha (to taste)
  • Optional Garnishes: dried hot red pepper flakes, crushed peanuts, cilantro, basil, lime, cucumber


  • 2-quart saucepan
  • Knife, cutting board
  • Microplane for ginger


  1. In a saucepan heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook scallions, garlic and ginger, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring. Simmer sauce, stirring, until smooth and cool to room temperature. Sauce may be made up to 3 days ahead and chilled, covered. If sauce is too thick after chilling, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons hot water until sauce reaches desired consistency.
  2. Serve sauce with grilled poultry or meat, on noodles, or as a dressing for spinach salad.

*Makes about 2 cups

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Peppery Spaghetti Carbonara with Tarragon and Poached Egg

Peppery Spaghetti Carbonara with Tarragon and Poached Egg. So traditionally a raw egg is mixed into the hot pasta, but in line with my current obsession, I instead poached the egg right in the pasta water.


  • 2 bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus additional for serving
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon or parsley
  • 1 large egg


  • 10-inch nonstick skillet (cast iron works)
  • Stock Pot and strainer for pasta
  • Cup for egg


  1. Cook bacon in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
  2. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a 4-quart saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/3 cup cooking water, then transfer spaghetti with tongs to a small bowl, shaking off excess water, and keep pan of water simmering.
  3. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons bacon fat from skillet, then whisk butter into fat in skillet over medium heat. Add spaghetti, reserved cooking water, cheese, and a rounded 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened and almost completely absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bacon and 1 tablespoon tarragon and toss. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Break egg into a cup and gently slide into water. Poach at a bare simmer to desired doneness (I prefer a firm white with a runny yolk, 2 to 3 minutes).
  5. Serve pasta topped with egg (transfer using a slotted spoon). Sprinkle with remaining tarragon if desired.

*Serves 1

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Grilled Banana Leaf Packets of King Salmon and Yukon Potatoes with Herbs and Mojo de Ajo

A favorite as it’s versatile, impressive, delicious, simple, and a one-dish meal. You can ditch the foil for a banana leaf that also imbues a subtle flavor, and you can use any fish here, simply adjust the cooking time for thinner fillets.


  • 4 medium size Yukon Gold potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds (Pick potatoes that are similar in size so that they cook evenly)
  • 6 – 6 ounce skinless salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup Slow-Cooked Garlic Mojo (stir before measuring)
  • Salt and coarse ground black pepper
  • Fresh herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, lemon verbena, marjoram, parsley, thyme
  • Lime wedges
  • (Optional) 6 – 10 x 5-inch pieces of banana leaf (either fresh or thawed from frozen)


  • Grill
  • Stock Pot for Potatoes
  • Non-stick Aluminum Foil


  1. Put the potatoes into a 4 quart pot and cover with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil, and continue cooking until the potatoes are just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Drain and let cool completely. Remove the peel and cut into 1/4-inch slices. You can cook the potatoes the day ahead.
  2. Cut 6 – 12 x 24 inch pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil. We prefer the easy release non-stick version for this dish. Fold each piece in half to make a 12 x 12 inch square. With the dull side up, place 3 to 4 slices of potatoes in a row down the middle of the square. (If you’re using the optional banana leaf, you would place it down on the foil before adding the potato slices.) Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Garlic Mojo over the potatoes, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the salmon fillet on top, and drizzle on another tablespoon of Garlic Mojo. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish, then place several sprigs or leaves of whatever fresh herb you’d like on top. Repeat these steps with the remaining pieces of salmon.
  3. Seal the package by bringing the top and bottom of the foil up to the center and folding the two sides together. Fold the top over a second time to ensure a good seal. Double fold both ends to create an airtight package.
  4. Slide the packages onto a medium-high grill and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and place on individual plates, along with several wedges of lime. Let each guest open their own package and add a squeeze of fresh lime over their fish.

*Serves 6

All recipes stolen/borrowed from somewhere, butchered/adapted exclusively by CHEF BOY/R/C.