“Who doesn’t love bacon and eggs?” asks Executive Chef Matt Gordon rhetorically. At his new Sea & Smoke brasserie in Del Mar, he gives spinach a sweet and savory twist. “Plus,” he says, “you meet your salad quota while eating it.” Enjoy this with a warm baguette for an elegant lunch.
Warm Spinach Salad
For the vinaigrette:
1/2 c. natural bacon, chopped
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. honey
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1 1/2 c. grapeseed or other light oil
For the salad:
1/2 c. chopped bacon, cooked
3-4 c. organic baby spinach (Bloomsdale
Savoy, if possible)
1/2 c. dried figs, quartered
1/4 c. shaved Parmesan
1 warm poached egg
Toss the bacon and shallots in a touch of oil and sauté until soft and hot. Add mustard, vinegar, honey and pepper and stir to combine. Let cool. Place cooled mixture in a blender. With the blender on high, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. The vinaigrette can be made in advance and stored up to five days in the refrigerator.
To make the salad, place 2 to 3 oz. of the vinaigrette and the bacon in a wok. Place on the stove over medium heat to warm. Add spinach and figs and toss for about 15 seconds until the spinach is wilting a bit. Transfer salad to a bowl, top with the shaved cheese and poached egg and serve immediately.
Suggested pairing: Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne or other sparkling wine
Poseidon Executive Chef Mourad Jamal lightens this brightly flavored seafood dish for summer by substituting gnocchi for garlic mashed potatoes.
Alaskan Halibut Tapenade with Spinach, Gnocchi and Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
1/2 c. kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 c. green olives, chopped
3 T. diced fire-roasted bell peppers
(available at grocery stores), seeds removed
2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 T. balsamic vinegar
4 fire-roasted red bell peppers, seeds
2 T. olive oil
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. minced shallot
1 bay leaf
4 T. rice wine
1 12 oz. Alaskan halibut fillet, cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste
7 oz. potato gnocchi
2 T. heavy cream
Salt and white pepper
1 T. olive oil
8 oz. fresh spinach
1 T. minced garlic
Mix tapenade ingredients in a small bowl
and set aside.
Purée coulis peppers in a blender. In a medium saucepan over medium-high
heat, add oil, garlic, shallot and bay leaf and cook 2-3 minutes. Add rice wine and peppers and cook an additional 15-20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and purée.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake 8-12 minutes to desired doneness.
Meanwhile, prepare the gnocchi according to package instructions. Drain and place in a pan along with the cream. Cook briefly, stirring to coat the gnocchi. Season to taste. Keep warm while preparing the spinach.
Heat oil in a skillet. Add spinach and garlic and cook until spinach is wilted. Keep warm.
Place the spinach and gnocchi next to each other on warm plates and top with halibut. Sauce the plate with the red pepper coulis and place 2 T. of tapenade on top of the fish.
Suggested beverage pairing: An Italian white or light-bodied red wine
“I LOVE USING vinaigrettes instead of heavier sauces in the summer and lighter fats like olive oil and avocado for richness,” says Chef Kurt Metzger of Kitchen 4140. “The acidity of the vinaigrette goes great with the smoky, sweet flavor of grilled fish and onions.”
Wild Striped Bass with Tomato, Avocado and Grilled Vidalia Onions and Basil-Lime Vinaigrette
2 large Vidalia onions, each cut into 1-inch-thick slices (about 5 or 6 slices each)
1/4 c. olive oil, plus more for brushing fish
3 t. kosher salt, divided use
2 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper, divided use
4 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes, each cored and cut into 1-inch-thick slices
4 ripe Haas avocados, halved, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 c. fresh lime juice
1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 c. chiffonade of fresh basil leaves
6 6-oz. wild striped bass fillets
3 c. fresh arugula
Preheat grill to high heat (400-450 degrees). Arrange onion slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with oil. Season lightly with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Grill onion 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until tender and slightly charred.
Transfer onion to a mixing bowl and separate the rings. Add tomato and avocado and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together lime juice, oil and basil. Toss with the onion mixture and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Allow the salad to marinate at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. This allows the avocados to break down a little and slightly thicken the vinaigrette.
Season fish fillets on both sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Grill fillets 6 to 7 minutes or until they begin to loosen from the grill rack. Turn and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until fish is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
Arrange one tomato slice from marinated salad in the center of each plate. Using a slotted spoon, place onion and avocado slices on top of the tomato. Top with a tomato slice. Spoon several tablespoons of vinaigrette over and around each salad. Place a fillet over salad. Toss arugula in bowl with the remaining vinaigrette. Top each fillet with a small mound of the arugula.
Suggested pairing: Split Creek Farms 2010 Chardonnay, Sonoma County
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CARLSBAD BEACH BISTRO
Throughout the summer, Executive Chef Aaron Arko showcases cheesy ravioli burst-ing with crab on Friday pasta nights at the Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach Bistro.
Three-Cheese Crab Ravioli
For crab stuffing:
1 16 oz. can pasteurized jumbo lump crab meat
1 5.2 oz. package of Boursin with garlic and herbs
1/4 c. ricotta
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1 T. fresh lemon juice
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
Pinch kosher salt and ground pepper
2 c. fresh basil leaves
1 c. fresh Italian parsley
4 garlic cloves
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 c. extra virgin olive oil, divided use
8 fresh pasta sheets, 9 in. by 11 in. (available at Italian specialty stores)
2 eggs, lightly beaten with 1 t. water
Freshly grated Parmesan
Combine all stuffing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Put the first five pesto ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Add half the oil and purée. With the motor running, drizzle in the remaining oil.
Lay four of the pasta sheets on a lightly floured work surface. Spoon 1 oz. of crab filling about 3 inches apart on the sheets. There should be six mounds of filling per sheet.
Brush the egg wash between the filling mounds. Place the remaining pasta sheets on top and gently press down around the filling.
Cut out the individual ravioli and firmly crimp the edges together with your fingers. Place on a floured pan and freeze for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water with a dash of olive oil to a gentle boil. Drop in the ravioli and cook 3-4 minutes or until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon.
To serve, place four ravioli in a warmed pasta bowl. Top with pesto and Parmesan.
Suggested beverage pairing: Pinot Grigio
Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 30 Cookies
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or other nut of choice)
6 oz chocolate chips
1/4 cup caramel
1//4 teaspoon of flake salt