In Australia lives a man who is larger than life to me; my hero, Neil Perry.
Chef Perry is bold and innovative. He thinks so far outside the box I am not even sure he knows what cardboard is. Perry's fresh approach to cooking shuns classical “rules” and uses the best ingredients from every region to create new and exciting dishes.
Try this salad recipe, right from Chef Perry's playbook. I think you will agree that a new standard has been set.
2 English cucumbers (the long, skinny ones)
10 cherry tomatoes
1 can (8 oz) pineapple chunks, drained
1 can (6-8 oz) lychee, drained (Lychee is a sweet, white fruit packaged inside a tough outer skin. It's often used in drinks and, like this recipe, in salads.) Find it in the international section of your local store.
Fresh cilantro to taste
Fresh mint, small handful
2 green onions
- Rinse vegetables
- Set out a large, non-reactive salad bowl (plastic, glass, or wood. No metal!). As you prepare ingredients they will go straight in to the bowl.
- Chop pineapple chunks in half
- Chop drained lychee in half
- Slice cucumbers length wise and then again in half. Slice in to bite-size pieces.
- Slice tomatoes in half
- Slice shallot in half, then thinly slice
- Roll cilantro on a cutting board and dice (about a tablespoon) of leaves
- Roll mint and dice the entire handful
- Trim the root off green onion and slice into one-inch pieces, then slice in half again. Then slice the onion on a bias (hold knife at a 45-degree angle, and slice into thin diagonal ribbons).
- Put all items in to bowl, set aside, and make dressing (below)
1 clove garlic
3 green chilies
Brown sugar to taste
Juice of 2 limes
- Turn a knife sideways and smash garlic on a cutting board. Mince the garlic and add to bowl.
- Roughly chop green chilies, add a pinch of salt and lime juice.
- Add a small dash of fish sauce and mix. Add a small amount of brown sugar to taste and toss with the salad.
- Refrigerate until time to eat. Chef Perry would be proud.
Signs of spring are everywhere in Alaska. This season, known as 'breakup' by many of us, means melting snow, longer days, and for some folks, fishing. The annual halibut and sablefish (black cod) season opened last week, and right now is a great time to take advantage of fresh fish recipes, like this favorite -- Emperor's Halibut.
Since Alaska produces more than 80% of the world's halibut, it's only natural that Alaskans love to cook it, but if you're new to the halibut, look for a firm, slightly-translucent flesh that doesn't smell "fishy." The meat is very dense, so a serving size is about the size of an adult's palm.
This recipe infuses cultures of the Far East and West, with spices and herbs that keep the fresh fish flavor but also add a hint of Asia.
Serves 4 hungry adults
2 lbs fresh halibut filets
¼ cup Shaoshing (rice cooking wine)
2 Tbs brown sugar
3 to 4 Tbs black beans. The paste will do as well.
½ cup soy sauce
A small pinch of fresh ground ginger
4 green onions
Pepper to taste
- In a non- reactive bowl (remember, glass or plastic - no metal!) mix wine, black beans, soy, and ginger.
- Add brown sugar to taste. The sugar will take the mixture from a tart, salty blend to a well-rounded flavor. Use less sugar if you want distinctive Asian flavor, or more to mellow the taste.
- Slice onions into three-inch pieces, then slice lengthwise, and slice again. This will produce some nice green ribbons for garnish. If you want to get fancy, when slicing lengthwise offset the knife about 30 degrees.; it will produce an elegant tapered look (just like the pros).
- Slice halibut in to serving-size sections, and place fish in a steamer and drizzle with the sauce. Don’t be stingy with sauce; just be sure and save a bit for serving. Toss onions onto the fish.
- Cook fish in a bamboo steamer with a lid over a medium heat. It will be done when the fish flakes easily with a fork.
- Place a dash of wine in your steaming water for that extra touch.
Note: If you do not have a bamboo steamer try a vegetable steamer and a pan of water for steam. At camp I even made this using a colander.
The Flying Chef®
Looking for a fast, healthy dinner option on a busy night? This Taipei chicken recipe is just the thing. You have the choice of either using chicken thighs or breast -- thighs offer a more moist piece of chicken because this area is typically covered with skin at the grocery store -- but use whatever is your preference. Same with basil. Thai basil is a bit richer in flavor, but any fresh piece of basil is good basil, in my opinion. Serve this dish over rice or rice noodles and enjoy!
2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (breast, thighs)
12 cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tbs sesame oil
12 small pieces ginger root
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces (green tops and white ends)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 cup rice wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cups fresh Thai or regular basil leaves, washed, stemmed, and roughly chopped
- Over high heat, fire up a wok or large pan, and allow pan to fully heat up.
- Once hot, add 2 Tbs of the sesame oil. When oil starts to shimmer, add ginger, garlic, green onion, and pepper flakes, cooking until the smells meld together and cause you to get really, really hungry (about 2 minutes).
- Leave these ingredients in the pan, but move to the side of the pan, then add remaining sesame oil and the chicken. Cook the chicken, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned (even a bit crispy). This can take between 5-8 minutes.
- Add brown sugar, rice wine, and soy sauce.
- Stir all ingredients together, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and allow the sauce to reduce (it may take between 10-15 minutes).
- Once sauce is thickened, turn off heat and stir in basil leaves.
- Want crunch? Add chopped peanuts!
- Serve over hot rice or rice noodles.
Favorites from Chef Mark Bly
Looking for a copy of a favorite Flying Chef recipe? Need a tip for your next gathering? This is the place.