Two local Chefs in a friendly competition using strawberries as the key ingredient in their recipe creations.
The event was sponsored both by Bon Appetit magazine and Cadillac and I was fortunate enough to be invited and to be one of the judges of the challenge, thanks to my friend Courtney of Coco Cooks.
To kick off our day we were treated to a wonderful lunch at Braxton Seafood Grill along with other media, the Chefs, representatives of Cadillac and our hostess Mary Nolan of Food Networks Chic and Easy. It was fun and informative to be able to visit and speak with them on a casual basis.
Courtney and I both chose the grilled seafood platter for lunch consisting of shrimp, scallops, salmon and a crab cake. A decadent chocolate truffle cake was our dessert.Judging the challenge was difficult because each Chef went a different direction, one decided to do a dessert and the other a savoury dish. Above is Chef Noguier’s, Peekytoe Crab Salad with Strawberry, Rhubarb, Pickled Turnip and Radish. What I loved about his dish was his use of lemon confit, it really made all the flavors pop!
But in the end it was Chef Virant’s dish that blew everyone away! For me it was the amaretto that he put in the sabayon, also known as zabaione in Italian, which is a very smooth and light whipped custard that usually is made with Marsala wine. The strawberries and all the almond flavors were a match made in heaven!
Almond Crepes, Pan Roasted Strawberries, Amaretto Sabayon
Sweet Almond Crepe
9 ounces milk
1 ounce sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 ounces butter
1 ounce almond flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces all purpose flour
Combine milk, sugar, extract, butter, almond flour and salt in a saucepan. Heat until the butter melts.
In a mixing bowl combine eggs, all purpose flour and mix well. Carefully pour the hot milk mixture
into the egg mixture, mix well. Allow batter to rest for an hour. Cook 2 ounces of crepe batter at a
time in a 10 inch skillet. Set aside.
4 egg yolks
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup amaretto
1⁄4 cup + 2 tablespoon heavy cream
Combine yolks, sugar and amaretto in a mixing bowl. Cook over a simmering water bath, whisking
constantly, until the mixture is thick. Set aside to cool. While the base cools, whip the heavy cream to
soft peaks. Fold into chilled base and set aside.
Pan Roasted Strawberries
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1⁄2 pound strawberries, washed, hulled
1 tablespoon amaretto
Salt to taste
Heat a large saute pan and add butter. When the butter melts, add the sugar and strawberries. Cook for
1 minute on high heat, deglaze with amaretto, season with salt and set aside.
Preheat an oven to 350F. Divide the strawberries onto 8 crepes, fold them in half and heat in the oven
until warm. Place two crepes on each plate, dust with powdered sugar, spoon sabayon over and serve.
The garnish was sugared marcona almonds.
I hope you give this a try, I’m still dreaming about how good it was!