The DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) that is on the boarder of North and South Korea boasts some of the richest farmland in the world. While visiting that part of South Korea, I was struck with the contrast of constant and intimidating military presence and the peaceful and friendly nature of the farmers that live and work there.
The spirit of Puerto Rico is playful and happy. Puerto Ricans love to gather together for big parties with lots of food, good drinks and great music for dancing. Over the 30 years that I have been visiting Puerto Rico I have made many friends there and whenever I visit we try and get together for a celebration.
Sydney, Australia is a sparkling, modern city with a friendly and casual atmosphere. An appreciation for the outdoors, their local ingredients and sustainability comes through in their food whether it’s the simply prepared-yet carefully handled dishes from farm-to-table restaurants like Biota or very refined, modern dining rooms like Sepia.
During my journey through South Australia I was joined by my friend and Le Bernardin Sommelier, Aldo Sohm. While I tried my hand at sheep herding, Aldo visited some of Australia's premier vineyards and wineries. Our closing dinner brought together the flavors of the region in a beautiful way and it inspired me to create this leg of lamb to enjoy with some of the wine we brought back.
The Northern Territory is made up of a vast wilderness where both the terrain and the people that live there are tough and beautiful. After driving through the outback, where I saw kangaroos and herds of water buffalo, I sped through crocodile infested waters to Goat Island. There, the sole resident, Kai Hansen fed me seared, ground, water buffalo meat patties with onions on toasted buns. It was a great way to fill up before a long day of fishing.
Salmon is one of the most popular fish in America. It is very easy to make salmon simply and in a delicious way at home by choosing the freshest fish available and searing it on very hot heat for a short time. The combination of the salmon and fresh peas and pea shoots creates an easy, fresh and beautiful dish.
This recipe was inspired by my visit to Tuscany and the flavors of the autumn season that were so prevalent while I was there. Searing the pork loin to lock in the juices keeps the meat moist and the rich sauce is made from caramelizing the mushrooms with garlic and sage. I like to put the garlic cloves in with the skins still on them so they sort of roast inside their case.
An ingredient like bacon automatically boosts the flavor of a recipe because of its salty, smoky, rich flavor, but it also adds important moisture to a cut of meat that is typically very lean. Also, some of the rendered fat from the cooked bacon adds a layer of flavor to the peas and lettuce. This quick simple recipe is very easy to make at home but will taste and look wonderful.
Every cook should know how to roast a chicken properly. The process is one of the most basic recipes and a good, roast chicken is one of my favorite things to cook and eat. The stuffing in this recipe contains a fantastic Middle-Eastern spice blend called “Za’atar” and is a combination of dried herbs like basil, thyme, oregano and also sesame seeds.
A capon is a rooster that has been castrated which results in tender meat and a much bigger bird. My grandmother, used to make a stuffed capon for a special family meal such as a holiday or birthday. This recipe pays homage to my grandmother but also integrates some luxurious ingredients like truffles and duck fat.
This recipe uses fresh vegetables to create a satisfying vegetarian dish full of flavor. The cauliflower cous cous is a light, healthy alternative especially for people with gluten sensitivity. The argon oil is great way to add richness and flavor to the vegetables without adding fat. Use the freshest, brightest vegetables available at the local markets to make the dish really stand out.
Traditionally, bouillabaisse is a somewhat simple fish stew but this recipe not only utilizes sustainably farmed shellfish and pastured raised chicken. The chicken cooked with the tomato, fennel and garlic is simple and delicious while the clams, mussels and the croutons with homemade aioli make it special enough to serve to guests.
Because black pepper has its own tannins, it is sometimes considered a “wine killer.” Many times, when the tannins of the pepper hit the tannins in wine, the entire flavor becomes what we call “short in the mouth,” meaning that the flavors come to a halt and the taste becomes very astringent. The steak au poivre recipe in this segment was a particular challenge because not only is the meat rubbed with lots of black pepper, we also poured a black pepper sauce over the steak. Aldo found a Bordeaux to pair with the recipe which is interesting because this particular Bordeaux is Cabernet based which has lots of tannins. Watch this webisode of Perfect Pairings to understand why this works so well.