Carina Salvi
Christopher Cipollone’s lobster, English peas, fava beans & guanciale.
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Spring/Summer Menu Preview 2014

Carolyn Jung - March 2014

Ever expectant of what lies ahead, a group of chefs plots a few of the dishes they’ll serve guests when a warm, fecund earth serves them. Carolyn Jung reports.

Christopher Cipollone
Piora, New York City

“I’m Italian-American. Co-owner Simon Kim is Korean-American. We call what we do New American. It’s not inherently Italian and not inherently Korean, but we knew it would be the subject of much talk. I highlight local ingredients and slip in Korean ingredients that I’ve been exposed to since meeting Simon. It’s opened my eyes to a new way of cooking. It’s a dream come true.”

Savory
Custard of morels, nasturtiums, fiddlehead ferns & ramps. “When it’s spring, I do a lot of vegetable-focused cooking. I go to the farmers’ market four times a week. Slow roast fresh morels in butter and garlic, then blend them with cream; strain; thicken with gelatin to make an eggless custard. Place a rectangle of the custard on a plate; garnish the top with nasturtium leaves, grilled fiddlehead ferns, pickled ramps, and roasted whole ramps. Make a nasturtium pesto with nasturtium leaves and flowers, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, and almonds. Drizzle over the top of everything. Arrange sautéed morels around the plate. It’s like a spring salad with a rich custard slightly hidden on the bottom.”

Lobster, English peas, fava beans & guanciale. “Break down the lobster. Poach the claws and knuckles in court bouillon; remove from the shells; reserve the meat. Roast the shells and lobster body with mirepoix, fennel, diced guanciale, and tomato paste; deglaze with brandy; add thyme, bay leaves, and chicken stock; reduce until it becomes a jus. Split the tail, season it with lemon zest, basil, shallots, and olive oil; grill the tail; pop it out of the shell and onto the plate, with the claws presented on top. Blend English peas and basil oil into a puree. Slick it on the plate with fava beans, corn, chanterelles, and whole English peas glazed in butter. Finish the dish with bits of guanciale candied in brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Garnish with pea leaves and popcorn shoots. Pour the jus tableside.”

Suckling pig with radishes, burdock & pears. “We get suckling pigs from a farm in Pennsylvania. We slow roast them in duck fat, then carefully peel the meat from the skin. Compact the skin in a half sheet pan, place the meat on top, and compress it overnight. When you cut it into bricks the next day, they look like candy bars. To serve, crisp the skin in a pan. For the garnish, we use burdock two ways: pickled in red wine vinegar and fried. The pickled ones get arranged on the plate. The fried ones are mixed with julienned black radishes to create a salad to go on top of the pork. Next, we roast peeled Bartlett pears and place in a blender with brown butter to create a silky puree. That goes on the bottom of the plate. Fruit and pork go so well together. Burdock root has that slight bitterness and the radishes have a nice clean flavor to give you a break from all that richness of the pork that’s been cooked in a lot of duck fat.”

Dessert
Mint, chocolate & kefir. “Combine egg whites, sugar, butter, flour, and melted chocolate in a siphon; squirt into a coffee cup; place in the microwave for 45 seconds to make a ‘cake’; tear into pieces; serve while still warm. Bake a chocolate crumble of cocoa powder, butter, and sugar; break it up in a food processor until it’s crunchy, like an Oreo cookie. Make a caramel sauce, adding cocoa powder and sea salt. Temper an egg yolk into goat’s milk kefir and add sugar; freeze in a Pacojet to create a sorbet. Arrange all the elements in a half circle on a plate with a quenelle of sorbet, some crumble, some ‘cake,’ chocolate/caramel sauce, fresh mint leaves, candied mint leaves, and a few dollops of mint pastry cream.”

Paul Berglund
The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis

“Our food is inspired by the Nordic heritage of this area. It’s not entirely traditionally Nordic, nor is it really associated with the New Nordic cuisine. It takes elements of tradition, the idea of resourcefulness from New Nordic cooking, and inspiration from Minnesota and the area around us.”

Savory
Rooftop tomatoes & herbs, house-made cow’s milk cheese, roasted cucumbers & radishes. “Our rooftop garden is not a year-round garden because of the climate, but it lasts for about five months. This is not a super complicated dish, but it features wonderful things that capture the spirit of the season. Cut the tomatoes into halves; slice and season with sea salt once on the plate. Make a vinaigrette by blending some tomatoes with shallots, garlic, red wine vinegar, and grapeseed oil. Last year, we started cooking some of the vegetables that normally are served raw, such as cucumbers and radishes. It really changes their character. Roast the cucumbers with grapeseed oil and salt in a hot oven. Roast the radishes the same way to really concentrate their flavors and mellow out their pepperiness. We make a soft-curd cheese almost like ricotta, with milk heated to just below boiling. Allow it to cool, then add rennet, which will cause the formation of curds and whey. Gently strain the curds. Place a dollop of cheese on the plate, then some cherry tomatoes tossed with the cucumbers and radishes. Scatter over fresh herbs from our garden, including parsley, chives, dill, and nasturtium flowers.”

Duck egg with grilled & pickled ramps & morels. “We get duck eggs from three local farms. They’re really rich, with a very unctuous yolk that marries well with the brightness of ramps. Crack the egg and bake it in butter in the oven. Grill ramp leaves to order, then scatter them around the cooked egg. The white ramp bulbs are lightly pickled in distilled vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Those are placed around the egg, too. The morels are stewed with shallots, butter, white wine, and thyme. They’re saucy and get even creamier when you break the yolk into them.”

Pork/beef meatballs with grilled Carmen pepper/almond relish & charred eggplant puree. “People forget there are so many ways to do meatballs, not just the traditional Nordic way seen around here with potatoes and lingonberries. There are more contemporary ways. We make the meatballs with half pork leg meat and half beef leg meat. We add bacon (15 percent of the weight of the meat) to give it a nice flavor and richness. Season the mixture with toasted fennel seeds and caraway seeds. Form golf ball–sized meatballs and pan-roast to order. We do six to a plate. Halve and seed Carmen peppers, an Italian sweet pepper, excellent for frying or roasting; sauté with grapeseed oil until soft; cut into slivers; combine with toasted chopped almonds, cider vinegar, grapeseed oil, capers, and dill. Char a globe eggplant over an open flame until blackened and soft; remove the skin; puree the flesh with grapeseed oil until smooth. Warm the puree and put some on a plate; top with meatballs and their juices; place dabs of the relish around as a condiment.”

Dessert
Swedish pancakes, Minnesota stone fruits & cardamom ice cream. “Make a crêpe-like batter of milk, cream, butter, lemon zest, eggs, salt, sugar, and 15 percent whole-wheat flour to 85 percent all-purpose flour. The whole-wheat flour adds nuttiness. Let the batter rest overnight. To order, we make little silver dollar–sized pancakes in cast-iron pans. The ice cream is a vanilla custard base of eggs, milk, and cream, with cardamom steeped into it. There aren’t many stone fruit producers in Minnesota, but we do have access to plums, peaches, and some apricots. We macerate slices of the fruits with a little sugar and mint, so they create their own syrup. Serve a stack of three or four pancakes with a quenelle of the ice cream next to it that spills into the stone fruits and their syrup.”

Daniel Ryan & Kim Floresca
[ONE], Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Daniel Ryan: “Meadowood was a magical place for us to work, but it got to be the time in our careers to move on to do our own thing. We’d never come to North Carolina before. We lucked out. It’s a beautiful state. The food culture here is different. It’s a more Southern approach, and it’s a lot about tradition. We’ve known each other for 10 years; we’re boyfriend and girlfriend. The best part of being co-chefs is that we have four hands instead of two.”

Savory
Charred artichokes & purslane salad with thistles, lemon jam & green tomato kimchi. “Spring and summer is the time we get most excited about. It speaks to the type of food we like to do, which is very refreshing and vegetal. If you catch purslane at the beginning of its growth, it has a nice tenderness to it without being the musky green everyone thinks of. We char large artichokes on the grill to get a deeper flavor. Place green tomatoes in a blender to liquefy, along with the artichoke hearts for the base of the vinaigrette made with rice wine vinegar and olive oil. This will dress the purslane, which creates the base of the salad. Next, halved baby artichoke hearts that are super tender get kissed quickly on the grill and get arranged over the purslane. The artichokes are a little acidic and the purslane herbaceous, so we add sweetness by blanching Meyer lemon rind three times, then cooking it in simple syrup. Dice some of the lemon flesh and fold that in to create a jam. Add dabs of that to the salad to create brightness. When we first got to Chapel Hill, we jarred green tomatoes with hot peppers, garlic, sea salt, and water. They ended up with a really deep flavor. Place one large slice on the salad as a garnish. The colors on the plate are very green, which is what I think of for spring.”

Tartare of shrimp with seaweed, radish, strawberry umeboshi & shrimp’s head vinaigrette. “One ingredient in North Carolina that’s incredibly beautiful is the very large heads-on shrimp that are about eight inches long. June/July is the peak season. We serve them raw. Remove the heads and roast them to get them deeply caramelized and bring out that crustacean essence. Make a shrimp stock from the heads, reduce to a very concentrated nectar, and finish by whisking in a little olive oil. Cut the shrimp into small pieces as for a traditional tartare. A typical beef tartare is flavored aggressively with capers or horseradish. Instead of those, we use strawberry umeboshi: strawberries cured with salt, sugar, and dried shiso for four to six days. Choose very large, almost underripe strawberries so there’s a little white on their heads; this will help keep their structural integrity once the salt is added. Chop up the strawberry umeboshi and fold into the shrimp. Wrap the tartare with shiso leaves by creating a pocket to hide the tartare. Shaved raw radish and local seaweed get tucked around that. Dress the dish with the shrimp head’s ‘vinaigrette.’”

Pork loin poached in black olive brine with rhubarb, lovage & cucumber (pictured). “When we worked in California, we used Heritage Farms pork. The farm is just 25 minutes from our restaurant now. Cook pork loin sous-vide in a brine of salt, sugar, and water for 45 minutes at 140 degrees so the meat is very tender. Cook rhubarb with sugar, water, salt, pink peppercorns, and black tea. Warm long ribbons of cucumber hearts—the area with the seeds—in a pan. Reduce pork stock to a light clean jus. Slice loin into medallions and place off to the side on the plate; place cucumber off to the side; hide it with lovage leaves, cooked rhubarb, and a little bit of raw rhubarb, as well as rings of Castelvetrano olives. Pour the jus tableside. You get an exciting progression as you eat this dish because every bite is new.”

Dessert
Sweet peas, zucchini cake, fig leaf cheese & lemon verbena sorbet, frozen whey & olive oil soup. “Blanch and shock shucked peas, then remove their skins. Put peas in a simple syrup with olive oil to bring out their sweetness. Compress fresh fig leaves with some cream for 24 hours to do a cold infusion. Strain the cream and use that as the base to make ricotta by adding lemon juice and buttermilk; cook one hour at 160 degrees; strain it through muslin overnight. The curds will be fresh, soft, and taste like fig leaves. Cook pea pods in some of the whey over the lowest heat possible for one hour to infuse the pea flavor into it; strain; add a little sugar; freeze into a granita. Make standard zucchini bread with almond flour, cake flour, grated zucchini, and sugar. For the lemon verbena sorbet, infuse verbena leaves in water with glucose and dextrose, then freeze. For the olive oil soup, cook olive oil with a little cream and evaporated milk; chill overnight; skim all the saturated fat off the surface to leave a green, grassy olive oil flavor still in the cream. Place some of the cheese on the bottom of the bowl. Put the cake round in the center of the bowl. Make a divot to hold the sorbet. Place some fresh peas around the cake. Pour a large amount of the remaining whey to cover the whole thing so all you see is white with the sorbet on top. Add some of the granita. Garnish with green almonds, basil buds, or pea tendrils. Pour the olive oil soup tableside over the whey and granita, which will melt it. It may sound like a lot on the plate but we think it’s a nice clean ending to the meal.”

Will Gilson
Puritan & Co., Cambridge, Massachusetts

“I’m a 13th generation New Englander who grew up on a farm. Sixteen years ago, my dad transformed a barn there into a restaurant with only 30 seats. It was very left coast-Portlandia before the trend started. I was the chef there when I was 17. I was in high school and working at a restaurant in Boston, when my dad handed me the keys and told me to do whatever I wanted. I did four courses, which is what still happens there today. No one else in my family is a professional chef. I joke that I got into cooking because I didn’t like being covered in dirt. Now, I’m just covered in animal parts.”

Savory
Local scallops with spring alliums. “We like to feature locally sourced fish that can be done crudo-style, but in a dish where the vegetables are the focus instead of the fish itself. Sometimes you have a crudo where the fish is dressed in so much oil and citrus that you lose the fish. Cure the scallops in salt and sugar for five minutes; brush off the cure; thinly slice the scallops. Plate them with all kinds of alliums: a puree of charred green spring garlic tops cooked in milk; garlic scapes pickled in rice wine vinegar and spring spruce shoots, which mellow the garlic flavor and add a nice woodsy note; and a puree of the white spring garlic bulbs. Garnish with chive blossoms and a vinaigrette made with olive oil and our in-house lemon thyme vinegar.”

Assiette of rabbit with spring greens & favas. “Remove the rabbit’s loins, leaving the skin on. Make a sausage mixture from the front legs, coriander, lemon zest, white pepper, mace, and nutmeg; pipe between the skin and loin; roll them up in plastic wrap; poach in water; at pickup, pan-fry them in butter before slicing for serving. Take bones out of the adorable drumsticks and stuff with spring onions, dandelion, baby mustard, and spring alliums like green garlic; tie off; cook sous-vide 90 minutes at 160 degrees. Take the belly meat, pound it with a mallet to tenderize. Bread it with flour, egg, and bread crumbs, then pan-fry like schnitzel. Cut thin slices to use as a garnish on the plate with the loin slices and drumstick. Cook parsnips in milk; puree; add to the plate. Toss fava beans and fava leaves with lemon juice and olive oil to create a salad. Finish the dish with a jus made from the roasted rabbit bones, with a little whole-grain mustard stirred in.”

Loin of spring lamb with sunchokes, hay-roasted carrots & artichoke barigoule. “The flavor of the lamb is just unmatched at any other time of year. We serve it with multicolored baby carrots roasted in hay from the fall. Sunchokes are one of my favorite vegetables of all time. We cook them with milk and puree them until silky smooth. Cook baby artichokes in white wine, lemon, thyme, and chicken stock, basting it with fat from the skin. Cook it until medium-rare. Put sunchoke puree on the bottom of the plate, top with slices of the roasted lamb, and then alternate carrot and artichoke, carrot and artichoke around the lamb.”

Dessert
Meyer lemon tart with fromage blanc & thyme milk sorbet. “Make a tart shell with almond flour, zests from Meyer lemon, orange, and Eureka lemon, thyme, sugar, butter, egg, and a little Grand Marnier; blind bake in a large rectangular pan. Mix fromage blanc with sugar; spread that over the tart shell; cut it into rectangles. Make an eggless ice cream in a Pacojet with strained infusion of powdered milk, whole milk, sugar, and thyme. Serve the tart with the sorbet and segments of Meyer lemon that have been preserved in simple syrup.”

Louis Maldonado
Spoonbar & Pizzando, Healdsburg, California

“My parents have run a karate studio since I was 6. Even so, when I was growing up, I had zero competitiveness in me. When I got older and started cooking, I became more competitive. I compete with myself, pushing myself harder. The confidence, self-esteem, and discipline are the biggest parallels between martial arts and cooking, as is the routine of practicing something over and over to become good at it.”

Savory
Roasted baby squash & blossoms, bone marrow bisque, sourdough croutons & herb salad. “Sauté a mix of baby squashes such as pattypan and zucchini, about a nickel to a quarter in size, in olive oil, fleur de sel, and black pepper; add squash blossoms; cook slowly. For the bisque, cook a base of bone marrow, vegetable stock, shallots, thyme, garlic, colatura [Italian fish sauce], and a bit of sushi rice for two hours; cool; allow it to sit overnight. The next day, skim off the bone marrow fat; reserve fat. Make a reduction of shallots, vinegar, and colatura; add the base; bring to a boil; place in a blender with a touch of xanthan gum and the reserved fat; blend to create a creamy sauce. Make small croutons from sourdough bread toasted in olive oil. Combine chervil, parsley, and chives for a salad garnish. I’m actually trying to get a bowl especially made for this dish so I’d be able to place the squash and blossoms around the bowl, pour the warm bisque in the middle, and garnish with the herb salad and croutons.”

Fricassée of smoked chicken leg, acorn panisse, cherry blossom honey & charred ramps. “We get 30 French-style Poulet Rouge chickens from the Front Porch Farm outside of Healdsburg in the spring and another 30 in the fall. They are seven to nine pounds each, so they are big. I like to serve the chicken in multiple courses in a four- to five-course tasting menu for two people. This would be one of the courses. Bone out the two legs, press them, and cold smoke over cherry wood for 30 to 45 minutes; cook them sous-vide at 147 degrees for two hours; at pickup, crisp in the fryer for 30 seconds. They come out like fried chicken but are very tender. A woman my Korean mother-in-law knows gets acorns, grinds them, and soaks them to get the tannins out. That’s what we use for the panisse. Bring chicken stock to a boil; add acorn flour; cook one hour; pour into a half hotel pan to set overnight; cut into one-inch squares; lightly flour each on one side; sauté in olive oil only on the floured side. They end up crisp on the outside but molten inside. Warm salted cherry blossoms imported from Japan in honey in a 190-degree oven; finish with chicken jus. The cherry blossoms will hydrate in the honey but be transparent. Place the sauce on the bottom of the plate, then three to four acorn panisse, the chicken leg cut into four squares, and some charred ramps.”

Oil-poached king salmon with charred pepper/shellfish consommé, cured salmon roe, borlotti beans & onion petals. “I was against using salmon for a long time. I always had an issue with its texture. Sometimes when you cook it, it comes out tough. But I got a sample recently from Stinson Beach, and it changed my mind. The consistency is really good, it has a higher fat content, bright red tones, and a firm texture. Poach the salmon until tender in a half-and-half mixture of olive and canola oils until heated to 130 degrees; remove with a spider; add lemon zest and fleur de sel, and that’s it. The Front Porch also grows Jimmy Nardello peppers for us. We get 50 pounds at a time and put them in the pizza oven at our pizzeria Pizzando to char and wilt until blackened. We put them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put it in a warm place in the kitchen at Spoonbar. The steam makes the peppers release their juices, so we can press out more from them. That’s the part we want. The pepper pulp goes into something else at the pizzeria. Roast heads-on prawns; crush the heads and bodies with a wooden spoon; add the pepper juice; cover with plastic; steep for one hour; strain; balance flavor with mirin, salt, and pepper. For the cured salmon roe, put the whole roe sacks under running water to break up the membrane; place the roe in a bowl; sort out the eggs from the sediment. Make a dashi with kombu, bonito flakes, white soy, and maple syrup; cool; marinate the roe in the dashi for at least 12 hours. The fresh borlotti beans are from the Front Porch, too. Cook shucked beans in vegetable stock with a bay leaf and burnt yellow onions. For service, we just rewarm the beans with their cooking liquid and some olive oil. For the onion petals, char halved Japanese spring onions on a plancha and pull off individual layers of the onions. To serve, place the salmon roe inside the onion petals on a plate; add some beans and more salmon roe inside the petals; place the salmon off to the side with more roe on top; pour the consommé tableside. It should be only slightly warmed so it doesn’t cook the roe.”

Dessert
Pastry chef Annemarie Catrambone
Peach leaf panna cotta with summer berry granita & fresh berries. “Infuse peach and nectarine leaves into a base of milk, cream, and sugar; add gelatin; let set. We get 12 different types of berries—loganberries, olallieberries, Alpine strawberries, et cetera. We’ll serve two or three different kinds raw. Then, we’ll make icy granitas from seven or eight others by juicing the berries and adjusting for sugar as needed. Place the panna cotta in a bowl; add a scoop of each type of berry ice, then the fresh berries to garnish. It’s simple, but the panna cotta takes on the green peach flavor and becomes very aromatic and almost grassy tasting. You get a very floral fruit taste without the sweetness.”

Carolyn Jung, who blogs at FoodGal.com, wrote San Francisco Chef’s Table cookbook.