Few dishes scream summer like a classic Caprese Salad, and the simple combination of fresh, in-season ingredients is enough to have us begging for more.
But there is room for more creativity within the formula of pairing fresh vegetables with either Buffala Mozzarella or the new trend Burrata. Burrata means buttered in Italian. But stringy mozzarella scraps are the main ingredient in these pouches of heaven encased in a soft shell.
Burrata with marinated green beans, almond vinaigrette, and a slice of parma
This recipe is really made by the dressing which incorporates the nutty and silky sensation known as “Umami,” the 5th taste sensation after bitter, salty, sour and sweet.
Through experimentation I discovered a long time ago that roasting the shiitakes in extra virgin olive oil releases this nutty taste, and this allows the green beans and Burrata to work together in harmony, not to mention the treat of a super chilled Pinot Gris.
2 cups of fresh cooked green beans
4 2oz balls burrata
4 slices of Parma Procioutto
For the Almond vinaigrette
1/4 cup toasted and roughly chopped almonds
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thinly
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided into 2-tbsp and 1-tbsp portions
a pinch of kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp miso paste
juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp chickenstock
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Preheat an oven to 300 degrees F. Toss the mushrooms, 2 tbsp EVOO, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Spread the mushrooms over a baking sheet and roast until crisp and amber brown, about 10 -15minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms from the baking sheet, saving the remaining oil.
Let cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, add without mixing the miso paste, lemon juice, oil from roasting, honey, chicken stock, ginger and remaining 1 tbsp EVOO.
Add the mushroom along with the almonds.
Gently mix the green beans into vinaigrette, arrange a pile on 4 plates.
Place a burrata ball on top of beans and garnish with a slice of proscioutto.
Another favorite is lobster shepherd’s pie
On Cape Cod, lobster is served in many different ways and can even be found in fast food restaurants. This is my version of a traditional shepherd’s pie. The recipe calls for Maine lobster but if you want to substitute with Florida lobster just cut the meat into medaillions first, as it is easy to remove from its shell. Maine lobster has to be cooked first since its meat is shapeless when raw.
For the mashed potatoes
2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, warm
2 tbsp butter
3 oz mild goat cheese
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper to taste
Place the potatoes in a large sauce pan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Simmer until tender, about 25 minutes and then drain. Place potatoes back in the pan and shake them over low heat to remove any excess moisture. Add the cream, butter and goat cheese. Mash with potato masher. Stir in the egg yolk and season with salt and pepper.
It’s alright if the potato mixture cools.
For the pie filling
4 Maine lobsters, 11/2 lbs each
2 tbsp olive oil
4 slices of apple smoked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup pearl onion peeled (aprox 36 of them)
1 medium celeriac root or 2 celery stalks peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
6 tsp of Parmigiano -Reggiano, grated
salt and pepper to taste
If using Florida lobsters omit this step.
While the potatoes are cooking, bring 12 quarts of salted water to a boil.
Place lobster in pot and boil 5 minutes once water has resumed to a boil.
Once cooked remove and place in an ice bath.
When cool remove meat from shell (claw meat as well as tail)
Cut meat into 1/4 inch chunks.
If using Florida lobster, remove meat from shell and gently saute the meat in a little olive oil until medium rare, about a minute. This will firm up the meat and it will finish cooking later.
Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil, over medium heat. Add bacon, moving it around the pan to prevent it from sticking. Cook until golden brown. When finished discard 90 percent of the fat in the pan. Add the pearl onions, celeriac and carrots and saute for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables begin to caramelize.
Stir in the flour, and toast for a minute. Stir in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until sauce thickens, cook for about 12 minutes, add chopped sage in the end and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Bring an oven to 325 degrees F. Divide the vegetable filling among 6 8oz ramekins making sure that there is enough sauce to cover the filling. Place the lobster meat over the vegetables. Gently mold mashed potatoes on top of lobster. Be careful not to let potatoes spill over. Sprinkle with parmesan.
Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until top is golden brown and crusty, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Along with that a light salad and a glass of your favorite Chardonnay.
For information visit www.twochefsrestaurant.com