Are You Savoring The Philosophy Of Fresh Cooking?

May 7, 2010 by Kenmore

Chef Michael Kornick of Chicago’s acclaimed mk The Restaurant was in the Kenmore Live Studio last night. He talked about a philosophy that many people, from Jamie Oliver to America’s farmers, are lining up behind: the use of fresh, local, seasonal ingredients.

It stands to reason: the freshest ingredients taste the best and are better for you. Chef Kornick emphasized just how amazing fresh foods can taste, and showcased some simple ways to make those ingredients the star. Here are his recipes for you to try at home!

Cured Salmon
Chef Erick Williams, mk The Restaurant

Curing salmon is a very old cooking technique. Historically, people around the world have cured meat in order not to waste precious food, and to insure against poor harvests or hunting seasons. Although for some, a salt-rich diet is a risk for heart disease, people of the past had a greater problem with protein deficiencies. In curing, the salt/sugar “cooks” the meat by drawing a large amount of liquid out, imparting flavor and seasoning it too.

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup ground fennel seed
  • 2-1/2 lbs. wild salmon (skin on)
  • Cheesecloth, one 2-ft. piece

Serves 10

1. Mix salt and sugar together in a mixing bowl.

2. Blot salmon dry with a paper towel.

3. Fold cheesecloth in half and lay on a flat work surface; put a thin layer of salt and sugar mixture on cheesecloth.

4. Lay salmon on cheesecloth directly over salt mixture.

5. Season salmon with ground fennel seed; cover with remaining salt mixture.

6. Wrap salmon with cheesecloth and place skin-side down on a dish; refrigerate for a total of three days.

7. On day one, flip salmon so skin side is facing up. Rotate salmon each day thereafter for three days, draining any excess liquid from the dish.

8. On day three, rinse salmon under slowly running cool water and blot dry, being careful to remove all salt.

9. Slice salmon to desired thickness and serve with a petite salad of your liking.

English Pea Soup
Chef Erick Williams, mk The Restaurant

English pea soup should never be confused with split pea soup, though it often is. English pea soup represents the color and flavor of Spring. Its lively green hue and sweet, gentle flavor comes forward through traces of mint in every spoonful. It is one of our favorite soups of Spring. Enjoy it simply, either alone or with the shellfish of your choice, my personal favorite being king crab.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-3/4 lb. fresh English peas
  • 1/2 lb. butter
  • One 10 lb. bag of ice

Serves 10

1. Melt butter in large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

2. Add onion and garlic and sauté until they begin to soften, about 8 minutes.

3. Add peas, then water to cover; bring to a boil. Simmer until vegetables are tender.

4.  Add mint and honey. Puree 4 cups of soup at a time in batches in a blender. Season with salt and pepper.

5. While soup is pureeing, set up an ice bath in your kitchen sink by putting a medium size stock pot in the center of the sink.

6. Add ice to the sink around the pot; add cold water to the ice.

7. Pour soup into pot in batches and allow to cool.

8. Reserve for later use. Soup can be held up to three days and served cold or hot.

Walley Pike and Spring Vegetables with Garlic Puree
Chef Erick Williams, mk The Restaurant

Walleye pike is a freshwater fish found in many of the Great Lakes. It’s slightly meaty and flaky, with a texture similar to perch but a cleaner flavor. The skin is delicious when crisp. Walleye fares well with both white and light red wines.

  • 3-1/2 lbs. walleye pike, cut into 5 oz. portions
  • English peas, blanched and peeled
  • Fava beans, blanched and peeled
  • Blanched ramps (or leeks) cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1 cup coriander vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 1 lb. spring garlic
  • 1/4 cup cooked spinach
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

For the puree
Clean spring garlic, then bring to a simmer in cold salted water and cook until tender. Once tender, strain garlic and place in blender. Add spinach and puree, adding a little water to help it blend. Slowly add grapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper.

For the vegetables
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat 45-60 seconds until warm. Add cut leeks (ramps), English peas and fava beans and warm gently in the oil. Lay out plates and turn the heat off the vegetables after four minutes. Drizzle each plate with the garlic puree; add coriander vinaigrette; add vegetables in equal portion to plates.

For the coriander vinaigrette

  • 3/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup good sherry vinegar
  • 1 shallot finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons coriander toasted and ground in a coffee grinder until medium coarse
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium mixing bowl, pour in the vinegar, shallots and coriander. Whisk the olive oil into the vinegar slowly. Add the herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

For the walleye
Season walleye pieces lightly with salt and pepper. In two large sauté pans, add canola or vegetable oil over medium heat and allow to warm. Place five pieces skin-side down of fish in each pan. Sear on the skin side for five minutes. Turn fish onto flesh side and cook two minutes. Remove from pan, add to plated vegetables and serve immediately.

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