Feast of Friends

Many hands make light work of a menu of seasonal recipes.

THE PROSPECT OF PREPARING a menu of professional chefs’ recipes may be daunting to the average home cook—especially when the toques belong to some of Minnesota’s most accomplished pros (Emily Streeter, Judi Barsness, Don Saunders, Isaac Becker, Steven Brown). But shared among the many hands of an at–home gourmet club, whether long–standing or assembled for just this occasion, the moil becomes manageable.

All Recipes Serve 8

Broiled Sea Scallops with Fresh Tarragon and Tomato Jam

From the kitchen of Emily Streeter, chef and owner of Emma’s Restaurant and Lounge in Minneapolis.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shallots, small dice
24 Roma tomatoes, medium dice
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper
24 sea scallops
8 scallop shells or ramekins
4 stems fresh tarragon
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat broiler.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan. Add shallots and begin to sweat (cook slowly without coloring). Add tomatoes and cook until they release their juices. Add wine and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil on high heat in a sauté pan. Season scallops with salt and pepper and sear until golden crust is formed. Turn and cook 15 seconds more.

Scallops should still be rare inside.

Place 3 scallops in each shell or ramekin and cover with tomato jam. Lay tarragon leaves over the jam and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Broil 2 to 5 minutes until golden brown and scallops are medium rare.

(For a nice touch, serve each ramekin over a mixture of rock salt, peppercorns, and herbs.)

Pan-Roasted Breast of Duck with Sun–dried Cherry Demi–Glace and Baby Field Greens with Edible Flowers Salad

From the kitchen of Judi Barsness, chef and owner of Chez Jude Restaurant, Cooking School, and Catering in Grand Marais.

8 boneless duck breasts, trimmed
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup sun–dried cherries
1/2 cup port
1 cup Pinot Noir
2 cups demi–glace, duck or veal (available at Byerly’s and Lunds)
Organic baby field greens
Roasted asparagus
Edible flowers (nasturtiums, pansies, violas)
Candied Nuts
Maple White Balsamic Dressing

Season duck breasts with salt and pepper. Slash skin two to three times on diagonal without piercing the breast meat.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large sauté pan and cook duck, skin side down first, until golden brown and crispy. Turn and cook breast meat side until golden. Place pan in a preheated 450 degree oven and roast 4 to 6 minutes to an internal temperature of 140 degrees for medium rare.

Reconstitute cherries in port in saucepan over medium heat. Add Pinot Noir and demi–glace and bring to a boil over medium–high heat. Reduce to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper; swirl in remaining butter to finish.

Slice duck on diagonal and fan on plate, resting against bed of greens dressed with warm chèvre, roasted al dente asparagus, edible flowers, and Candied Nuts and Maple White Balsamic Dressing (recipes follow). Drizzle sauce over duck.

Candied Nuts

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients except nuts in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium high heat. Add nuts and cook for 5 minutes until coated and all liquid has evaporated. Spread onto baking sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until evenly golden brown. Cool. Break apart with hands. (Nuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to one month.)

Maple White Balsamic Vinaigrette
3 cups olive oil
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup Dijon mustard
Sea salt

Combine ingredients in food processor with metal blade; process until emulsified and smooth.



Asparagus Soup with Morel Mushrooms

From the kitchen of Don Saunders, chef and owner of Fugaise in Minneapolis.

2 pounds green asparagus
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Chop asparagus into small pieces, reserving tips for garnish. Blanch in salted boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunge immediately into ice water. Drain after a few minutes.

Bring stock and cream to a boil. Add asparagus and purée in blender until smooth. Strain for smoother texture. Chill to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.

Shortly before serving, gently heat the soup in saucepan and prepare mushrooms. Garnish soup with mushrooms (recipe follows), a few additional asparagus tips, and a drizzle of olive oil.

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces morel mushrooms
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 ounces green asparagus tips
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Heat oil in a pan until smoking. Sauté morels, shallots, and asparagus together quickly. Remove from heat and deglaze with sherry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Monkfish with Ham–Hock Red Wine Sauce and Sweet Potatoes

From the kitchen of Isaac Becker, chef and co–owner of 112 Eatery in Minneapolis.


5 Monkfish fillets (or grouper or lobster tail)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Parsley, chopped
Green onions, sliced

Trim fillets and cut into medallions (three per fillet). Heat oil over high heat until it glides across sauté pan. Season medallions with salt and pepper and cook in batches. Place fillets in pan. Reduce heat to medium and add a tablespoon of butter for every three medallions. Cook fish without moving until a deep–brown crust is created; baste with butter in pan.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 bay leaves, 3 sprigs thyme, and
5 sprigs parsley, tied together with 1 leek leaf
2 cups red wine
1/4 cup port
2 smoked ham hocks
4 cups chicken stock

Warm oil in sauce pan; add vegetables and herbs. Cook until vegetables are soft. Deglaze pan with red wine and port. Boil until reduced by three–quarters. Add hocks and stock. Reduce to 1 1/2 cups and strain liquid. Remove meat from bone and shred; add to sauce. Keep hot until ready to serve.

Sweet Potatoes

4 Sweet potatoes
1/2 pound butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Bake sweet potatoes for about two hours at 350 degrees until soft. In a saucepan, melt butter in cream. Halve potatoes, scoop out flesh, and discard skins. Pass potatoes through a food mill, then fold in butter and cream mixture. Salt to taste. Keep hot.

To serve, place a scoop of sweet potatoes in the center of each plate and surround with spoonfuls of sauce. Place 3 fish medallions around the potatoes on each plate. Add parsley to the pan the fish was cooked in to soak up juices and spoon that over the medallions. Garnish with green onions.

Peach Custard Tarts with Anise, Forest Honey, and Earl Grey CrÈme FraÎche

From the kitchen of Steven Brown, chef of Restaurant Levain in Minneapolis.

Pastry Dough

1 1/2 cups all–purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt
pinch sugar
1/4 cup lard
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons ice water

Mix flour, salt, and sugar in bowl. Cut in lard and butter with pastry cutter. Add ice water as needed, and combine with fork. Form dough into ball and flatten into a 4–inch–wide disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and roll on a lightly floured surface from the center out in each direction until dough is about 1/8–inch thick. Cut to fit 8 small pastry molds. Blind bake without filling, using dried beans wrapped in foil to weigh down the dough, at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove beans and foil and cool.

Peach Custard
1 large bay leaf
2 teaspoons anise seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 cups heavy cream
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup forest honey (substitute regular honey if forest variety isn’t available)
4 Peaches, skinned, halved, and pitted

Lightly toast the spices in a hot pan until fragrant, then crush with mortar and pestle. In a small pot, combine cream and spice mixture and bring to a simmer. Slowly add eggs, sugar, and honey. Pass through a chinois or other fine sieve and cool in an ice bath. Arrange peaches pit–side up in par–baked shells and pour the custard to surround. Bake at 325 degrees until just set. Remove and, while cooling, brush with honey thinned with a little sherry to glaze. Garnish with Earl Grey Crème Fraîche (recipe follows).

Earl Grey Crème Fraîche

Allow up to two days’ preparation time.
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Earl Gray tea leaves
2 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons sugar

Heat the cream and tea in a small saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Strain into a glass or ceramic bowl and chill. Add buttermilk and cover with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid. Set in a warm but not hot place (e.g., top of refrigerator) for 24 to 48 hours; mixture should become somewhat thick. Whip to thicken slightly and add sugar to taste.