Friday, March 25, 2011

Scaramouche: In the Kitchen with Keith Froggett

Chef Keith Froggett adding the finishing touches to his Roasted Sea Scallops 
with Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc

Scaramouche has graciously posted a number of Keith Froggett's recipes on their website, enabling home cooks to sample some of the restaurant's more popular culinary creations. The Globe and Mail also featured some of Chef Froggett's recipes in a series of articles way back in 2009. Still savouring my dinner at Scaramouche from earlier this week, I went treasure hunting for some delicious recipes from their acclaimed kitchen. One dish Chef Froggett has featured on his seasonal menu was Roasted Sea Scallops with Spicy Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc, an explosion of flavour and colour, grilled a gorgeous golden brown and topped with lemon rind, chives and chilies.

Roasted sea scallops with beurre blanc sauce

The restaurant's seasonal approach to their menu highlights the absolute best locally grown produce, and give these fresh ingredients a starring role in the recipes that they create. Chef Froggett's elegant Wild Pacific Halibut with Spring Vegetable Navarin is an homage to Springtime, which is just what we want after a long chilly season of hearty fare. As Keith Froggett says, “In March, I’m thinking of wild leeks, asparagus and fava beans but they’re not here yet! It’s still very much winter here. This dish represents the rich colours, textures and flavours the colder months offer with a few spring ingredients taken from warmer climates." For lighter fare, you'll want to try Keith Froggett's paper thin Beef Carpaccio with Raw Asparagus, Blood Orange, Fennel, Lemon And Hazelnut Oil, a fabulous recipe that celebrates good beef, great flavours and spectacular presentation. Light and delicious, I can't think of a better way to begin this Scaramouche-inspired meal, except to thank Chef Froggett for being so generous in sharing these much sought-after recipes.

Roasted Sea Scallops with Spicy Meyer Lemon, Chive & Ginger Beurre Blanc
by Chef Keith Froggett
Sauce serves 10-12

2 shallots, finely diced
5 tsp white wine vinegar
5 tsp Meyer lemon juice
10 tsp dry white wine
10 tsp 35-per-cent cream
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced
1 Meyer lemon rind, finely diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lemon juice
Freshly sliced chives
Fresh red chili pepper, finely diced
Vegetable oil
5 oz. fresh sea scallops per person, at room temperature

Place the shallots, vinegar, Meyer lemon juice and wine into a stainless-steel sauce pan. Boil over high heat until almost dry. Add the cream, return to a boil and lower heat slightly.

Start to whisk in the butter in 5 or 6 increments, letting the sauce boil gently between each addition and after the last. Remove from heat and con tinue whisking for a moment longer. Add the ginger and lemon rind, to taste. Correct the season ing with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Keep the sauce in a warm place until ready to serve, finishing with the chives and chili pepper just prior to serving.

To roast the scallops, pre heat the oven to 475°F. Heat a thick-bottomed, oven proof frying pan over high heat; add a little vegetable oil. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and place them in the pan (if cooking a large number, use two pans). Put the pan in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes until the scallops are just beginning to go firm.

Remove the pan and check the under side of the scallops to see if they are golden brown. If not, place the pan over a high heat to colour the scallops.

Arrange scallops on a serving plate, golden side up, and pour a little of the sauce over them, serving the remaining sauce on the side. You can serve these scallops with some fresh asparagus, for a lovely springtime treat.

Roasted Wild Pacific Halibut with Spring Vegetable Navarin
by Chef Keith Froggett
Serves 4

Unlike its green counterpart, white asparagus has a tough, bitter peel that must be removed prior to cooking. To blanch fava beans, put them in boiling salted water for 30 seconds, drain and rinse under cold water. Then peel off the tough outer skin.

White asparagus:
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp kosher salt
8 large spears white asparagus, peeled

4 5-ounce Pacific wild halibut fillets, skin on, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 oz. wild leeks, cleaned and trimmed
4 large spears green asparagus
2 oz. cleaned and trimmed morels 
½ cup shelled, blanched and peeled fava beans
¼ cup shelled garden peas
2 tbsp chopped chives

2 large spears white asparagus, peeled
2 large spears green asparagus
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Lemon for squeezing

Combine 8 cups water, lemon juice, butter and salt in a pot over high heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, add white asparagus and poach for 5 to 8 minutes or until just tender. Remove asparagus and set aside, reserving poaching liquid.

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Season halibut with salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in an ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Place halibut in pan, skin side up, then place pan in the oven and bake about 8 minutes or until fish is opaque and cooked through.

While fish is in the oven, return pot of poaching liquid to medium-high heat and bring to simmer. Add leeks, green asparagus and morels and simmer for 2 minutes or until almost tender. Add fava beans, peas and reserved white asparagus and cook another minute or until vegetables are warmed through. Drain vegetables, toss with chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide vegetables among serving bowls.

Remove skin from halibut and season with salt and pepper. Place halibut, golden side up, on top of vegetables. Use a mandolin to shave raw asparagus over each portion.

Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Carpaccio With Raw Asparagus, Blood Orange, Fennel, Lemon And Hazelnut Oil
by Chef Keith Froggett
Serves 4

12 oz very fresh, centre cut beef filet
1/3 cup hazelnut oil
1 small firm fennel bulb
Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small head frisee separated into small pieces
8 large asparagus tips, about 4 inches long, cut into thin long slices
2 Italian blood oranges, segmented
1/2 cup toasted, coarsely crushed hazelnuts
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 oz Parmesan cheese

Trim filet of any surface discoloration, wrap and chill well for 1 hour.

Cut filet into 1/4 inch-thick slices and brush lightly with hazelnut oil.

Place 2 slices of filet between two sheets of plastic wrap. Working from the centre gently pound the filet evenly using a flat mallet or back of a pot, to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. 

Transfer to an individual serving plate, cover tightly with fresh plastic pushing it against the meat to remove air. Refrigerate. Repeat with remaining slices. This can be done up to 5 hours in advance of serving.

Cut fennel into quarters, trim the core if necessary but leave enough to keep the layers together. Shave into thin slices with a mandoline, preferably, and drop into iced water to crisp, for no more than 5 minutes.

Remove plates from the refrigerator. Remove plastic and season the filet with salt and pepper. Add a few frisee leaves, fennel shavings, asparagus slices and orange segments to each plate, taking care not to overwhelm the beef.

Sprinkle with some of the hazelnuts, a little more salt, a drizzle of hazelnut oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Shave the cheese over and serve immediately.