[RECIPE] Spring or Summer, Salad is always in Season

Courtesy GQ.

It’s peach season, the star of this new salad at a Harry’s Pizzeria® near you.

“Restraint. Use a couple of ingredients and keep it simple—that’s sort of my philosophy, not just about food but in life,” Chef recently shared with Lang Whitaker from GQ when he asked what the secret was to great salad. “Salad in particular is a delicate thing. I think it’s about the simplicity and the restraint, and then of course proportion is really important, and not overdressing the ingredients.”  Lang also has a point. Writing on (and in our case working in) the food biz requires some strategy if you’re going to be surrounded by all sorts of delicious treats all the time.  Salad can be one of those things.  I like Lang’s — every day for the last few years, he has eaten a vegetarian salad for lunch. Boom. Keeping it simple. Check out his full story “The Easy Secrets to a Good-Ass Salad” here (also with an addictive salad dude GIF on repeat) and since we’ve shared the recipe for Fi’lia’s Caesar salad before here on the blog, try this beauty from Chef’s cookbook, as pomegranates start showing up in the market to put the principles to work at home.  Since persimmon is a fall ingredient, don’t try to find a good one. Customize! Opt for Florida or Georgia peaches, coming into season now.

#MGFDsalad is a beautiful hashtag. Click to see why.

One of the most stunning images from Michael’s Genuine Food, Credit Ben Fink Photography

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad with Crumbled Ricotta and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

A salad of unusual qualities, this vividly colorful combo celebrates exotic autumn fruit of persimmon and pomegranate. The combination of tastes is awesome: peppery watercress, sweet-spicy persimmon, tart pomegranate seeds, and salty cheese, all held together by a tangy vinaigrette. Leftover pomegranate vinaigrette will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and is goes great with grilled meats.

Serves 4 as entrée, 8 as starter

1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed (about 4 cups lightly packed)
2 medium heads frisée (about 8 cups lightly packed)
2 ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled and thinly sliced (see Ingredient Note)
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup Pomegranate Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/4 cup crumbled firm Fresh Homemade Ricotta salata or store-bought ricotta salata
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

In a mixing bowl, combine the watercress, frisée, persimmons, and shallot. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the pomegranate vinaigrette, tossing with your hands to dress the salad lightly and evenly. Divide the salad equally among chilled plates. Top with ricotta and pomegranate seeds.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette​

Makes about 1 cup

2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pour the pomegranate juice into a small pot and place over medium-low heat. Cook until the juice has reduced to 1/4 cup and is thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small mixing bowl or mason jar, combine the cooled pomegranate syrup, champagne vinegar, balsamic, olive and canola oils; season lightly with salt and pepper. Whisk or shake to blend and dissolve the salt; reserve at room temperature until needed. Keep any leftover vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

[Recipe] Vidalia Onion Marmalade is Sweet on the Cypress Burger at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink

Genuine Burger Month continues its weekly special burger rotation May 8-14 with a true keeper, the Cypress Burger.  The meat is ground chuck 75% fat, 25% lean, with dry-aged beef trimmings that build deep umami flavor in the patty.  What’s stunning about the burger isn’t necessarily that the blend is particularly ingenious, rather how the few special elements it is built on come together to create magic when they’re enjoyed in unison.  The Cypress Burger is so much more than the sum of its parts: cheddar-like Jasper Hill Landaff raw cow’s milk cheese and the Vidalia onion marmalade that it smothers, jacked up on the best caramelizing onions we know.  No added sugar necessary!

Due to the Vidalia Onion Act of 1986, Vidalia is a Trademarked name and an onion can only be called a Vidalia if it’s grown in one of the 20 Georgia counties designated in the act.

The original sweet onion has been cultivated by grower artisans for more than 80 years, a discovery of Great Depression era farmers who were trying to find a new cash crop suitable for Georgia soil.  Vidalia onions became the Official State Vegetable of Georgia in 1990 and get their sweet flavor through the perfect combination of mild winters and low sulfur soil, the unique terroir surrounding Vidalia, Georgia.  It’s only available from April until August, making it a special nearby summer crop when it’s slim pickings down here in the South Florida fields and tropical fruit trees are at their peak.  Over 80,000 Vidalia onion seedlings are hand-planted per acre translating into about 5 million 40-lb. boxes sent out across the country and into Canada each year.

Enjoy the Cypress Burger’s unique combination of specialty ingredients next week at lunch and dinner, between a hard roll bun skewered with a cornichon.  You may find it hard not to sit in admiration like its butter lettuce and sliced heirloom tomato do to the side.  Ok, maybe not that hard!  Follow along at #mgfdburger #genuineburgermonth and #onlyvidalia.

Deeply delicious onion marmalade fresh from the range chills out in the walk-in cooler.

Vidalia Onion Marmalade

Built on the recipe for caramelized onions that form the base of the dip for Thick Cut Potato Chips and decorate Chicken Liver Crostini at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, this condiment has many applications beyond a burger topping.  But we challenge you to find one more epic!

Makes 1 quart

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Vidalia onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions along with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally and cook until the onions are deeply golden brown and caramelized, roughly 20 minutes. Watch carefully so as not to allow the onions to burn. Add the red wine vinegar and stir to deglaze until the liquid cooks off, about 3 more minutes. Set aside and let cool.

A Juicy & Genuine National Burger Month

All in the genuine burger family in May.

We love a good burger at Michael’s Genuine® & Drink, so National Burger Month is too irresistible a motivator to up our game and griddle you what you came for.  In addition to the Genuine Burger, now available on lunch, afternoon and dinner menus, our fresh, simple, pure neighborhood bistro will offer one new special burger each week in May to complement the classic.

The burger.

What makes for a good burger according to chef de cuisine Tim Piazza?

“The right bread, quality meat and a good pickle.”

His schedule below is subject to change, as the disclaimer goes, and it’s looking like a solid line up.  See you beginning this Monday!

May 1- Sun May 7 | All American Double
2, 3oz patties, American cheese, bacon, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and pickles on a Martin’s potato roll

May 8 – Sun May 14 | The Cypress Burger
Jasper Hill Landaff, Vidalia onion marmalade

May 15 – Sun May 21 | The Frita
Chorizo and beef patty with onions, American cheese, shoestring potatoes and secret sauce on a Cuban bun

May 22 – Sun May 28 | Lamb Burger
Feta, thick cut grilled heirloom tomato, arugula on a hard roll

 

A James Beard House (Dinner) Away from Home with Cheese of the Queen

CALLING ALL FRIENDS & FAMILY — The foundation set aside some tickets at our member rate of $160 each (reg. $210) — the procedure is to call 212-627-2308 to reserve as “friends of chef/CODE WORD FENNEL Mon-Fri, 10a-5p EDT.

Apropo, @kasekaiserina! Delectable Instagram, reposted from @cheesegrillenyc featuring Tia’s The Art Of The Cheese Plate.

“Michael is a purist. He’s classical at the same time that he is creative,” Mark explains. “It’s the same way I am with my wines.”

Mr. Tobin is certainly passionate about what he does, and we can relate. The approach is old school, non interventionist, like Chef’s.  Instead of tweaking and tweaking, it’s about what you can take away, not add to make food, and in Mark’s case, wine, perfect.

“I have incredible respect for Michael,” he continues. “His authenticity, passion and commitment makes mediocrity completely unacceptable.  He is a freak about detail and executing properly. I’m just thrilled to collaborate with him and the Cheese Queen.”

Indeed New York City-based writer, cook, and cheese specialist Tia Keenan, as her Instagram @kasekaiserina indicates, is rennet royalty and will effectively, indulgently tie this collaborative trifecta together on Friday, June 2, as we kick off Michael’s third dinner at the James Beard House. A Team chef de cuisine Tim Piazza, GM Nicole Kelly, and TGHG executive chef Bradley Herron will preside to support our featured co-hosts, part of our ongoing 10 year celebration of all things MGFD.  We’ll share the menu and link to tickets first here today, and later chat with Tia.  We want to dig into the what really has us revved up: her cheese selection.

Over the years, cheese has played a subtle yet an important role at MGFD, less even about the cheese itself but the way it is featured that crystalizes exactly what Michael’s approach is all about.  Many of you may recall the more deliberate Cheese of the Week (some blogged selections above circa 2011), where one cheese each week was highlighted with one accompaniment. No elaborate cheese plate, organized by firmness, milk, type and aging.  Just a simple presentation on a board, in its element, to let hand-crafted product shine.  It was the only item on the dinner menu encased by a bubble, special and notable in its lack of artifice and celebrated as such. Servers and cooks were able to get to know it, really understand it. And then cheese class would begin all over again the next week.  To start the dinner we are paying tribute to this legacy with Tia owning passed hors d’oeuvres, five beautiful cheeses presented as they’re meant to, almost unadorned except for one accompaniment each and the final ingredient: Mattebella Vineyards Rosé 2016:

Pipe Dreams Farm Dairy Buche Cheese with Beet Tartare
Lazy Lady Farm Sweet Emotions Cheese with Cucumber–Celery Marmalade
Jasper Hill Farm Calderwood Cheese with Carrot Mostarda
Woodcock Farm Humble Pie Cheese with Pickled Asparagus
Boucher Family Farm Green Mountain Blue Cheese with Chocolate–Onion Chutney

We’ll look forward to a peek into the cheesemakers, what drives them and the special stories behind each cheese from Tia.  The menu follows.  See you in NYC on June 2!

FIRST – Market Salad with Anson Mills Farro Verde and Nettle Meadow Farm Sappy Ewe Cheese | Mattebella Vineyards Riesling 2014

SECOND – Grilled Skuna Bay Salmon with Peas, Spring Onions, Crispy Potato, Meyer Lemon, and Crème Fraîche | Mattebella Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay 2013

THIRD – Ricotta Cavatelli with Wild Mushrooms, Taleggio Fondue, and Parmigiano–Reggiano | Mattebella Famiglia Red Wine NV

FOURTH – Slow-Roasted Niman Ranch Beef Short Rib with Roasted Peppers, Marcona Almonds, and Herb Aïoli |Mattebella Vineyards Old World Blend 2013 (Public Debut)

DESSERT – Milk Chocolate Cremoso Cheese with Hazelnut Praline, Toasted Sourdough, Sea Salt, and Olive Oil | Mattebella Vineyards Noble Late Harvest Chardonnay 2013

Spring Field Report in Pictures | Little Haiti Community Garden, Teena’s Pride Farm & Bee Heaven Farm

Chef in the heirloom tomato (and squash, celery, beets, carrots, onions, broccoli rabe, salad mix) fields with Teena’s Pride owner/farmer Michael Borek.

Friday was a great day, one of those that begin with a specific goal in mind and end netting so many more valuable takeaways.  In anticipation of Fi’lia’s LA opening, we’re producing a video to capture Genuine Culture as a tool to educate our teams at The Genuine Hospitality Group on who we are, what we do and the reasons why.  Michael and I visited three farms as they began to wrap South Florida’s main growing season to document how we source product, an important component of the genuine way.  While footage of strolls through Homestead tomato field tractor lanes and Little Haiti urban farm footpaths materialized in the lens, ideas were generated between Chef and a handful of our farmers as they discovered new opportunities for collaboration and tasted ingredients in the field.

Curiosity scared the crows.  We also found a small prop airplane in Borek’s new warehouse facility.

Enjoy the day in photos laced with informative captions below as we digest new opportunities through the genuine chef network.  Will Michael Borek identify a great Roma tomato to cultivate at Teena’s Pride for Harry’s Pizzeria®?  What about the Upland cress Little Haiti Community Garden’s Gary Feinberg is growing?  How could it be expressed on the menu at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink?  Margie Pikarsky’s heirloom peppers are beautiful to behold, as Chef recalls the “seasoning pepper” related to the Scotch Bonnet — all the flavor without the punishing heat — from our days in Grand Cayman.  Is she growing something similar, and should we shave it raw on the daily focaccia at Ella?  Let us know what you would like to see in our restaurants!