Smoked Trout Canapés with Horseradish Crème Fraîche
Glühwein (Mulled Red Wine)
INGREDIENTS 4 Servings
10 allspice berries
10 whole cloves
3 star anise pods
3 cinnamon sticks
1 750 ml bottle dry red wine
½ cup water
¼ cup maple syrup or honey
¼ cup brandy or Cognac
1 small orange, for garnish
Toast the spices: Add the spices to the bottom of a pot (or to a skillet for Slow Cooker or Instant Pot). Toast over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
Cooking: Turn the heat to low. Add the water, then pour in the wine and maple syrup and stir. Warm for 30 minutes on low heat, just barely bubbling. Do not let the wine come to a full simmer (or the liquid will reduce too much).
Add brandy and orange juice: When ready to serve, stir in the brandy or Cognac and the juice from 1 orange. Garnish with orange slices and if desired, rosemary sprigs.
INGREDIENTS 6-8 Servings
16 small slices or 8 sandwich slices of rye or marbled bread for toast points
(Or thick slices of cucumber, if preferred)
1 fresh, unpeeled head of garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 cups smoked trout (or other smoked white fish)
¼ cup grated fresh horseradish
1 tablespoon roasted garlic purée
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup crème fraîche
Drizzle of mild honey
Course sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Chives, for garnish
Prepare the roasted garlic puree:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Cut the top of the garlic head off. Place in the center of a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon water, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic with the aluminum foil and bake until tender, about 35 to 45 minutes. Press the cooked garlic cloves out of the skins into a bowl. Mash them with the back of a fork.
Prepare the toast points:
Cut the crusts from the bread. Cut each slice in half on the diagonal (for hors d’oeuvres-sized breads) or in fourths on the diagonal (for full-sized bread). Lightly brush each slice with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Place under the broiler (about 8 inches from the heat source) and toast, about 2 minutes. Take care not to burn.
Prepare the smoked trout:
Place the fish in a large bowl. Using a fork, break any large chunks of fish into flakes. Set aside.
Prepare the mixture:
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add the horseradish, roasted garlic purée, shallots, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. Process until all ingredients are puréed and well combined. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and add the crème fraîche. Pulse a few times to combine. Taste. Add the honey, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Add half of this mixture to the trout and mix. The fish should hold together, but not be too moist.
Spread one heaping teaspoon of the trout mixture onto each toast point. Add a small dollop of the remaining crème fraîche on top. Garnish with chives.
Pear Salad with Balsamic & Walnuts
INGREDIENTS 8 Servings
4 cups mixed salad greens
2 ripe pears, sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced paper thin
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts, or more pecans or walnuts
⅓ cup shaved pecorino
Balsamic Vinaigrette, for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Assemble the salad with the mixed greens and top with the pears and fennel. Squeeze a little lemon over the pears and fennel and toss.
Top with the cranberries, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecorino. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Seared Duck Breast with Figged Port Demi-Glace
INGREDIENTS 4 Servings
4 6-8 ounce boneless duck breasts, skin intact (or 2 larger duck breasts, 8 ounces per person)
Sea salt and freshly ground white peppercorn, to taste
For the port demi-glace:
6 fresh figs, halved (or dried if out of season)
1 teaspoon of whole white peppercorns
½ teaspoon finely minced chervil (or parsley)
1 cup ruby port
Sear the duck breasts:
Score the skin of the duck breasts lightly in a diamond pattern, being careful not to cut all the way through to the flesh. (This will allow the fat to render and develop a crispy browned skin)
Sprinkle generously with flakes of sea salt and a few grinds of white peppercorn on the skin side. Heat a large stainless steel sauté pan over medium-high heat until it’s very hot. Lay the duck breasts in the dry pan skin side down, searing until the skin is brown and crispy. When ready, the fat will begin to render from the duck and it will release itself from the pan. Turn the breasts over and sear on the other side until the breasts are cooked to your taste. For medium-rare, leave on the second side for 5-7 minutes. Remove them from the pan and set aside covered with tinfoil while preparing the sauce. The duck will continue to cook while resting, so be careful not to overcook.
Prepare the port demi-glace:
While the sauté pan is still hot, add the port, whole white peppercorns, and chervil or parsley to the rendered duck fat and deglaze the pan. Using a whisk, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan, and continue to whisk until the mixture is reduced and emulsified. The sauce is ready when reduced to a glaze. Add the halved fresh figs and gently stir until heated through.
[Note: if you are using dried figs, reconstitute them by adding them to the port before it begins to reduce.]
Serve with a green salad and polenta fried in hazelnut oil. Place the polenta on the plate, and lay one duck breast over it, then sauce with the port glaze, adding one or two fig halves to each serving.
Photo: Kelly Cline
Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding
INGREDIENTS Serves 8-10
For the bread pudding:
4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
(may use ½ TB good quality vanilla paste)
pinch of salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 loaf of Brioche, Challah or Panettone , cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (increase to 1 tablespoon if omitting the vanilla bean)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted
For the cider caramel sauce:
1 cup apple cider
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup heavy cream, warmed
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the bread pudding:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toast the bread cubes in the oven until they are crispy, but not burnt, about 10-15 minutes. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the vanilla bean, brown sugar and salt, stir until the sugar is dissolved and then add the apples. Sauté the apples until caramelized and the sugar becomes a thick syrup consistency. Set aside to cool.
Combine the heavy cream, milk, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Remove the milk from the heat and slowly temper the eggs with the hot milk, whisking as you combine the two. Whisk in the cinnamon and nutmeg and remove the vanilla bean. Pour the liquid over the bread cubes in a large bowl; add the caramelized apples, walnuts or pecans and mix to combine. Let sit for about 1 hour to completely soak all of the bread with the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a baking dish with either non-stick baking spray or butter. Place the soaked bread cubes into the prepared baking dish and gently press to create and even layer on the top. Bake in the preheated oven until the custard is set and bread is puffed and golden brown on top, about 45 minutes.
For the cider caramel:
Place the apple cider in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil over a medium flame and simmer until the liquid has reached a dense syrup-like consistency and has reduced to approximately 1/4 cup. Set aside to cool slightly.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and lemon juice in a tall non-reactive metal saucepan. With one hand work these two ingredients together until it feels like wet sand. With a wooden spoon, stir the sugar constantly over low heat only until the sugar is completely dissolved. This step prevents the caramel from becoming grainy. Remove from heat and using either a pastry brush or your hand, clean the insides of the pan so that there are no stray granules of sugar on the sides. Do not stir.
Return the pot to the stove and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Cook, without stirring but swirling the pan occasionally, until a golden caramel color is reached. In a separate pan or in the microwave, heat the cream to slightly warmer than room temperature. Remove the caramelized sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the warmed cream. It will spatter and boil up, so it is best to stand back when adding the cream. Place back on the heat and whisk to remove any remaining lumps of sugar. Quickly pour into a clean glass or metal bowl to cool. Whisk in the butter, salt and reduced apple cider. Let cool to room temperature.
Serve the bread pudding warm, drizzled with caramel sauce and topped with whipped cream. Bread pudding is delicious eaten cold, too. For easier slicing, refrigerate the bread pudding for a few hours and then reheat before serving.