Scallop Crudo with Brown Butter

Never in my life would I have thought to put raw scallops and warm brown butter together!!!

And let me tell you, it’s like the best pairing ever!!! So amazingly good that I ordered 7 of the same dish, one after another; I just couldn’t get enough!! After seven orders of the same dish in a mid-level pricey restaurant, the bill added up and I had to stop myself cold turkey (haha)…

But damn, the nuttiness of the brown butter with the sweetness of the sliced scallops… GENIUS! I was blown away and I cook for a living so this really IMPRESSED me and shook me to my core because it was so simple and my tastebuds exploded!!!! I’m kind of honored that I work under the executive chef of Charlie Bird/Pasquale Jones/Legacy Records! The combination of raw scallops and brown butter was so incredibly sensational that I couldn’t think of anything better to start my 2018 Friendsgiving dinner with!!

Thank you so much Ryan Hardy!

Do you really need me to write down a “recipe” for this? It’s basically sushi-grade raw scallops and freakin’ brown butter! Don’t know how to make brown butter? Put butter in a pot, wait until it gets dark and take it off the heat and strain it. Don’t let the milk solids burn though!!!

Plans for Friendsgiving 2018

I’m super late this year for my Friendsgiving menu. I hope this doesn’t become my new habit because the anxiety doesn’t help.

But here is what I have planned so far. Most of the courses are inspirations or almost near exact replicas from NYC restaurants (i.e. the first three courses). Please forgive me for any originality, it’s been a tiring and stressful year.

Scallop Crudo
Lemon Zest • Brown Butter • Chives
(1st course)

Roasted Kabocha Squash
Stracciatella • Pedro Ximénez • Pepitas
(2nd course)

Duck Leg Confit
Red Mole • Blue Corn Tacos
(3rd course)

Maple Lacquered Duck Breast
Apple Purée • Candied Pecans
(4th course)

Fudge Brownies
Chocolate Sculptures • Vanilla Ice Cream
(5th course)

Diver Scallop & Sea Urchin Crudo

My holy trinity of raw seafood is scallop + sea urchin + salmon roe/ikura. I just LOVE these three things individually and together. I could just eat them by themselves or with some lemon and salt but this is a more creative way to eat these sea creatures in a composed dish.

So here is Diver Scallop, Sea Urchin, Salmon Roe with Black & Cherry Belle Radish and Jalapeño in a Yuzu Kosho Vinaigrette, Fennel Fronds, and Lemon Zest.

Cheesecake with Citrus

This was the third and final course to my Friendmas dinner of 2017.

I originally wanted to make a new chocolate dessert but I do that too often. Then I thought about cheesecake. I had planned this to go with blood orange because it’s perfect for winter but none of the Whole Foods Markets in NYC had blood oranges the weekend of Christmas (I looked and I called) so I had to resort to Cara Cara navel oranges instead. Then, the Whole Foods that I did the majority of my Christmas shopping at was out POM pomegranate juice!!! Because I wanted to dye the juice with pomegranate juice. Argh, the struggles of shopping in NYC…

THEN, when I was making the honeycomb, I accidentally measured the glucose in milliliters instead of grams and that basically fucked up everything. I didn’t want to make it again because I was tired so boo hoo, no honeycomb. The cheesecake by itself was still delicious. The base had enough texture to balance out the creaminess and softness of the cheesecake so all was well.

Here is Cheesecake made of Mascarpone, Cream Cheese, Crème Fraîche, Orange Zest, Lemon Zest, and Grand Marnier, with Streusel on the bottom, and Orange Jelly on top, served with Citrus Sorbet.

Ocean Trout Tartare

This was the first course to my Friendmas dinner of 2017.

I haven’t done any tartares with ocean trout before, always with tuna/salmon/yellowtail. Ocean Trout compares favorably to salmon and with a taste that is both milder and richer at the same time. So why ocean trout this time? Because I just wanted to.

Here is Ocean Trout Tartare with Meyer Lemon Zest, diced Jalapeño, and cut Chives, sitting on a bed of sliced Persian Cucumbers, topped with Rice Krispies and micro greens, served with homemade Japanese Sweet Potato Chips.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Plans for Friendmas 2017

This is actually my first Friendmas dinner party! I haven’t had a Christmas Eve off in six years!!! It’s been a weird year and it’s weird to have both eves on a Sunday.

But since I usually go all out during my Friendsgiving dinner parties, I am going light with this dinner. I came up with this menu in one evening.

Ocean Trout Tartare
Meyer Lemon, Jalapeño, Rice Krispies
(1st course)

Duck with 5 Spice
Celeriac Purée, Pommes Fondant, Shanghai Bok Choy
(2nd course)

Cheesecake with Citrus
Mascarpone Mousse,
Streusel, Citrus Sorbet
(3rd course)

Excited!!

Recipe: Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Classic pesto sauce originated from Genoa, Italy. It consists of a blend of basil, garlic, olive oil, grated hard cheese, and pine nuts. Everyone has their own way of making pesto but it’s generally the same ratio of ingredients.

In the restaurant, I usually make double the following ratios (in the parentheses):

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (1)
  • Walnuts, toasted (½)
  • Pine nuts, toasted (½)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (1)
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (¼)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 boquerones (Spanish white anchovies)
  • 2 garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 1 lemon, microplaned
  • Salt

For the broccoli rabe, wash it well if dirty. Cut off the thick fibrous ends of the vegetable. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch for 30 seconds and shock in iced water.

Once cool and drained from water, wring the broccoli rabe in a towel or rag to release as much water as possible. On a kitchen scale, measure the weight of the broccoli rabe. It’ll be easier to blend in the food processor if you chop the broccoli rabe first, just a few chops.

In the bowl of the food processor, place the broccoli rabe in first, then the walnuts and pine nuts. Turn the food processor on and add in the EVOO in a steady stream to emulsify the sauce. Add in the freshly grated parmesan, red pepper flakes, boquerones, and microplane the 2 cloves of garlic into the pesto. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt if necessary. Lastly, microplane lemon zest into the pesto and pulse a little more. Add more EVOO to desired consistency.

You can freeze the pesto if you aren’t going to use all of it within a few days because it will oxidize – taste the same but just look ugly.

Sample dishes: