Friday, March 5, 2010

Cooking with Top Chef 3.5.10

This week, Jenn Murphy of Sweet Water tries out another recipe from Top Chef Season Six and then switches shows and cooks up something from Top Chef Masters. Take it away, Jenn!

This is the first dish of Jenn Carroll's that I've cooked during my Top Chef experimentations. There is something about her style that intimidates me - and this dish certainly includes a lot of elements for one plate (at least for a home cook like me.)

I am extremely happy that I decided to tackle this recipe though.

This was Jenn's version of a deconstructed meatloaf (though it seems more like a deconstructed meat lasagna to me - either way, it's good so I'm not complaining.)

The tomato sauce is the best sauce I've ever made...and so simple, so very, very simple. I was licking that stuff off my plate.

The bechamel was brilliant and a perfect balance to the basic flavours of the tomato. I am always a fan of adding chilis to my Italian cooking, so this bechamel made perfect sense in my mind (and in my mouth.)

The lasagna tossed in lemon butter lifted all the other flavours and added an element of freshness.

And of course, a well sauteed steak never goes amiss.

The outcome of this dish is worth the effort for sure.

Another word about the sauce: If you try cooking nothing else from this recipe, make the sauce! I beg you! I love it so much that I plan to make it again on its own as a soup. I might add something akin to the bechamel to make a cream of tomato.

I'm drooling

Flat Iron Steak, Mascarpone Bechamel, Tomato Sauce and Parmesan
adapted from Jenn Carroll's recipe on

Tomato Sauce
1/2 head garlic finely sliced
2 shallots sliced
1/4 lb butter
1/2 bottle white wine
1 16 oz. can san marzano tomatoes with juicw

Sweat garlic and shallots in a large saucepot until transluscent. Deglaze the pot with wine and reduce mixture. Add tomatoes and juice and cook out acidity. Blend until smooth. Pass through chinois. Season with s&p.

1/8 lb butter
1/8 lb flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
*1/2 cup creme fraiche
pinch nutmeg

Combine butter and flour in a pot to make a roux. Cook out flour. Slowly add milk whisking constantly. Simmer until thick. Whisk in mascarpone and creme fraiche. Season with nutmeg, s&p and crushed chili flakes to taste.

Herb Puree
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
1/2 bunch fresh basil
1/2 bunch fresh oregano

Blanch herbs in salted water. Shock in ice bath and drain. Blend until smooth. Season with s&p.

*4 sheets of fresh lasagna
1/4 lb butter
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

Cook pasta. Melt butter and mix in lemon juice and zest. Toss cooked pasta in lemon butter.

*The original recipe calls for handmade pasta. I intended to make my own but the mangled hand demanded that I take a store bought shortcut.

8 oz. flatiron beef (2 steak portions)
ground chili flakes or very finely diced hot pepper

Heat pan on stovetop. Dry steak thoroughly. Season with S&p. When pan is well heated add steak. Sear on all sides and cook to medium rare.

To Plate
Lay tomato sauce on plate. Steak on top of sauce. Pool bechamel on either side of steak. Lay lasagna on top of steak. Herb puree on lasagna. Garnish plate with grated parmesan and pecorino.


Anita Lo's Soft Scrambled Eggs with Shitake and Oyster Sauce

I've been wanting to try this recipe since I saw Anita Lo make it on Top Chef Masters.

Top Chef Masters is, by the way, relatively new to me because I, as a Canadian, am treated to second rate television programming and am forced to wait patiently for my Bravo produced food porn until it is picked up by the Canadian Food Network.

Yes, I realize I could just watch it online. I get some sick pleasure from making myself wait.

So yeah, I watched Anita make this dish - with one hand tied behind her back - and it just seemed so beautiful and simple and elegant. Many of the Masters' dishes have intimidated me but this one just called out to me to try.

...I also tried out Art Smith's fried chicken this week - I'd say it went over pretty well since I had none left to photograph. It even won my dad over!

But back to Anita's egg dish. It was definitely the most simple of all the Top Chef dishes I've attempted thus far and it is definitely one of the tastiest. The slight Asian flavour of the oyster sauce is beautiful in the creamy eggs and the meaty shitakes are a wonderful contrast.

A plating explanation:
I tried to plate the dish the same way Chef Lo did. The problem? Chefs have these fancy tools that seem to just cleanly pop the tops off the eggs and leave you with a nice clean edge and a lovely little egg bowl for you dish.

I had only a sharp knife a tiny bit of patience. This is what I ended up with - the ghetto egg cup.

......damn, maybe I should have just tried to play it off like I was going for a rustic plating?

I heartily suggest everyone give these eggs a try. Delicious and simple.

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Shitake and Oyster Sauce
adapted from recipe by Anita Lo found on

4 eggs (tops removed and bottoms saved if you want to be ghetto-fancy)
1/3 cup heavy cream
*1 tbsp chives chopped
1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp butter
4 shitake caps very finely diced

*I couldn't find chives so I used the green parts of scallions.

Whisk together eggs, cream, chives, oyster sauce. Taste and season with s&p. In saute pan melt 3 tbsp. butter over high heat. Add shitakes to butter. Season with s&p. Remove from heat. Add eggs to pan with mushrooms. Over low heat whisk egg mixture slowly to form curds. Stop when eggs are still soft and creamy. Garnish with chopped chives.

1 comment:

Travel Eat Love said...

Both of these look delicious! I haven't tried any Top Chef recipes but will have to do that!