The Dish: "Top Chef" winner Stephanie Izard

A celebrated chef with three Chicago restaurants, Stephanie Izard gives a lot of credit to her mom and dad.

Born in Chicago, Izard grew up in Connecticut, where her mother prepared dishes from around the world and even posted menus on the refrigerator, which helped her friends decide when to come over for dinner. After college, it was Izard’s father who suggested culinary school. 

Izard opened her acclaimed Chicago restaurant Girl and the Goat, and her menus earned her a James Beard Award, and a “Best New Chef” honor from Food and Wine.  She has since added to her restaurant realm with Little Goat Diner, and her newest, the Asian-inspired Duck Duck Goat

Here are some of Izard’s recipes from Duck Duck Goat: 

Mu Shu Pork

Pork brine ingredients

1 lb pork loin, sliced into 1/2 thick and 3 inch long strips
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
3 cups water

Directions: Whisk salt and sugar to dissolve in water. Brine sliced pork for 45 minutes. Drain and discard brine.

Dish ingredients

1 lb sliced and brined pork loin
1/4 cup wood ear mushroom, sliced
1/4 cup beech mushroom, broken into pieces
1/3 cup yellow onion, sliced
1/3 cup red bell pepper, julienned
1/3 cup lotus root, sliced 1/4 inch thick into half moons
1/3 cup snow peas, cleaned and blanched
1/2 cup mungbean sprouts
1 tbsp ginger, julienned very thin
3 whole eggs
1/8 cup light soy sauce
1/8 cup Shaoxing wine
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp sugar in the raw
Salt to taste

Directions

  1. In a bowl whisk together light soy, Shaoxing and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, crack and whisk eggs. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil. Add eggs and do not agitate. Allow eggs to cook until just firm and than fold one end over and then fold over again. Your end result will be a trifold omelet. Allow eggs to cool before slicing into 1/2 inch thick strips. Set aside.
  3. Heat a wok over high heat. While the wok heats add pork to a small bowl and mix with soy shaoxing slurry.
  4. Add oil to the wok to coat the bottom. Add pork to pan and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Remove pork and sauce to a clean bowl, set aside. 
  5. Add a small amount of oil and cook onion, bell pepper, wood ear mushroom, beech mushrooms, ginger threads and lotus root. Season with sugar in the raw and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender, tossing the pan to mix.  Add remaining vegetables and omelet slices, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add pork and sauce back to the pan, toss to coat and combine. Season with salt if necessary.
  6. Serve with fresh mandarin pancakes (recipe below). 

Mandarin pancakes

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup boiling water 
1 tsp salt 
Sesame oil 

Directions

  1. Add flour and salt to a mixing bowl. Add boiling water on top. Mix until no dry bits remain. Kneed by hand on counter until dough is cool.  This step is essential for the final product. Do not rush it.  
  2. Loosely wrap in plastic and let rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.  Roll out with a rolling pin to 1/2 cm thick.
  3. Cut with a ring cutter into 3-inch wide circles.  
  4. Brush with sesame oil and stack 2 high. 
  5. Roll stacked and oiled pancakes again to paper-thin. Griddle at medium heat and pull apart while still hot.

Green beans in black bean sauce

Sauce ingredients

1/3 cup rice bran or canola oil
1/4 cup fermented black beans
1/3 cup garlic, rough chopped
1 1/2 tbsp ginger, rough chopped
1 1/2 cups scallion, sliced
3 tbsp fermented finger hot pepper or other fermented spicy pepper, rough chopped
1/2 tbsp chili oil
1/2 cup Shaoxing wine
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp light golden soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil

Sauce directions

  1. Sweat garlic, ginger and scallions with oil until soft and fragrant.   
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring up to a simmer.  Cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes, just to meld flavors, avoid reducing.   
  3. Use immersion blender, but leave with a lot of texture. 
  4. Cool completely. 

Ingredients to complete dish

2 lbs fresh green beans, tips removed
1 cup cashews, salted and toasted
1 cup shallot, shaved into very thin rings
1/2 cup garlic, shaved into thin slices
3 tbsp rice flour
Fermented black bean sauce

Directions

  1. Toss shaved shallots in rice flour, shaking off any excess flour. Fry in 250-degree oil until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel and season with salt. Next fry shaved garlic until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel. Set aside until dish is complete.
  2. Flash fry green beans in a 350-degree oil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until beginning to blister.
  3. While green beans are being fried, heat a wok over high heat. Add a splash of oil and add 4 cups of fried beans and 1/2 cup of fermented black bean sauce. Toss to coat. Continue tossing and allowing to cook for about 4 minutes until sauce thickens a bit and adheres to beans well. Add 1/3 cup of cashews and toss to combine. 
  4. Remove cooked beans to bowl and garnish with a sprinkle of fried shallots and garlic chips. Continue wok cooking until all the beans are complete.

Scallion pancakes

Ingredients

First dough

88g finely-ground processed flour  
65g boiling water  

Second dough

440g finely-ground processed flour  
255g room temperature water  
9g salt  

For rolling out

1 cup neutral-flavored oil, such as rice bran or canola
1 batch of cooked roux, melted and well-stirred
4 cups scallions, sliced

Directions for dough

  1. Mix 88 grams of flour and 65 grams boiling water in small bowl until dough forms, knead for a minute or two to make sure that everything comes together.  Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, pour room temperature water into mixing bowl and top with 440 grams of flour and salt.  Mix on medium low speed until dough starts to come together.  While dough is in the beginning phase of mixing add in hot water dough in small chunks. Knead on medium low speed until dough comes together and leaves the sides of the bowl.  Kneed by hand until smooth and one consistent temperature, be careful not to overwork.  Wrap tightly and let rest for at least half an hour.  

Directions for pancakes

  1. Divide dough into 65-gram portions and cover with plastic wrap. Dough dries out very quickly before it is rolled out so be sure to keep it covered if you are not working with it.
  2. Squeeze a tablespoon or so of oil onto a very clean marble, stone or metal countertop and spread around. Place one dough ball in the center of the oiled surface. Gently but using force, roll dough ball until very thin and slightly translucent. The rolled dough will be oddly shaped and that ok. If the dough rips that’s also ok, it’s still usable.
  3. Once dough is rolled to translucent point, brush with a layer of roux (see recipe below) and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sliced scallions.
  4. Working from the bottom end of the rolled dough, the area closet to your body, begin gently rolling dough like a cigar all the way to the other end. Your end result with be a long “snake”. Twist the snake into a coiled pile. Smash the pile down with your palm and roll this into a 6-8 inch wide pancake.
  5. Repeat this pancake until all your pancakes are complete. Store in the refrigerator between layers of greased parchment paper until you’re ready to cook.

Directions to cook pancakes

  1. Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Add a small amount of oil and a cold pancake to the pan. Cover with a lid and cook for 4-5 minutes, before flipping and covering again. Cook for another 4-5 minutes. Remove to a plate. Serve hot.

Ingredients for roux 

1 lb. butter  
215g all purpose flour  
20g salt  
30g sesame oil  

Directions: Melt butter, whisk in salt and flour.  Cook for 5-7 minutes on medium low to get rid of raw flour taste.  Whisk in sesame oil and make sure completely.

Ingredients for slaw and dip

3 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup shiitakes, roasted and julienned
2 tbsp cilantro, torn
2 tbsp Thai basil, torn
2 tbsp scallions, sliced
1 1/2 cups ginger soy dressing, recipe below
1 cup hoisin (recipe below)

Ginger soy dressing ingredients

1 tbsp Dijon
1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/2 tbsp shallot, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black vinegar
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup rice bran or canola oil

Directions: Blend all ingredients to smooth, except egg yolk and oil. Add yolk and turn blender on low speed. Drizzle in oil until dressing is thickened. Season with salt.

Hoisin sauce ingredients

1/2 cup Tamari soy
1 tbsp fermented black beans, soaked in ½ cup warm water 
1 tbsp molasses
1 clove garlic, rough chopped
1 teaspoons sesame oil
1 fresh Thai chili, deseeded
1 dates, pitted and soaked with black beans
2 tbsp dark soy

Directions: Pit and soak date in half a cup of warm water. Reserve water on the side in case the sauce is too thick. Blend everything, except water together until it is a thick smooth sauce. If thinning is required add 1 tablespoons of reserved water. Sauce will be strongly flavored and no additional seasoning is necessary.

To serve

Slice cooked pancake into quarters. Serve with a side of hoisin sauce for dipping and a yummy pile of dressed slaw. 

Chinese spare ribs

Ingredients for ribs

½ cup Shaoxing rice wine
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup dark soy sauce
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup hoisin sauce
⅓ cup maltose syrup or corn syrup
3 tablespoons red fermented tofu, found in asian markets or online
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
½ tablespoon salt
1 cup canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
½ tablespoon salt
2 full slabs baby back or Chinese spare ribs

Marinate the ribs

  1. In a blender, combine the wine,both soy sauces, the honey, hoisin, maltose syrup, tofu, sesame oil, five spice, white pepper, and salt. Pour half into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate to use for the glaze. Add the canola oil, garlic, and ginger to the remaining half of the marinade in the blender and blend until smooth. 
  2. Slather the ribs with 3/4 of the the marinade, reserving the remaining 1/4. Lay them in a pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Tightly wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and ensure that they are fully sealed. Then wrap the ribs in aluminum foil. Put the ribs on a sheet tray and roast for 3 hours, until just fork tender. Unwrap the ribs and allow them to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat.
  4. Cut between the ribs to separate them and then brush them with the reserved glaze. Grill until a caramelized crust forms, about 5 minutes, making sure not to burn the sugary glaze.
  5. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

Taiwanese pineapple cake

Ingredients for cake filling

4 cup fresh pineapple, cubed and juices drained
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp water

Cake filling directions

  1. Whisk flour and water together in a small bowl.
  2. Blend pineapple in a food processor until it has broken into small pieces. Add to a pan over medium heat and cook until almost all the juices have cooked out. Add sugar, cinnamon and corn syrup to the pan with the pineapple. Cook until slightly thickened. Add flour, water mix to the pan. Cook until very thick and almost dry of juices, like a very thick jam. Cool completely and set aside.

Ingredients for cake batter

1/2 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 whole eggs

Directions

  1. In small bowl mix almond flour, all purpose flour and baking powder.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream butter, sugar, orange zest and salt. Add eggs and increase speed and whip for 1 minute. Lower speed and slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.
  3. Roll 1/3 of the dough between parchment paper to 1/2 inch thick. Chill rolled dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  4. Scoop 2 ounces of remaining dough into each spot in a greased muffin pan and press to shape like a piecrust. Fill the cavity of this crust 3/4 of the way up with with pineapple filling.
  5. With the chilling dough, cut out circles to fit the top of each muffin slot. Press edges to seal. Return completed cakes to the refrigerator to chill for an hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  7. Bake cold cakes for 20 minutes, until golden brown and firm. Allow to cool almost completely before removing from the pan.

Garnishes

Soy Caramel

1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp Salt

Directions: Add sugar to the pan and cook to a golden caramel. Carefully add remaining ingredients  and whisk to combine. Cook until fully thickened, strain and cool.

Cashew praline

2 cups raw cashews
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp salt

Directions: In a medium pot cook sugar, water and salt until it starts to bubble slowly. Remove from the heat and add cashews. Stir rapidly until sugar crystallizes on nuts. Sift nuts to remove any excess sugar. Return nuts to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring regularly so they don’t burn. Allow sugar to caramelize on nuts. Once a light golden caramel is achieved, lay out on a sheet tray to cool.

To plate

Place a pineapple cake on a plate, drizzle with soy caramel and sprinkle with cashew praline. Top with a scoop caramel or vanilla gelato.

Bebop and wok steady cocktail

Yields: 4 cocktails

Ingredients

8 oz Banhez Mezcal
6 oz Fresno-Pineapple shrub
3 oz lime Juice

Shaken, serve in a rocks glass half-rimmed with salt.

Top with 4 oz Ska Modus Mandarina.

Shrub

1/3 cup pineapple juice, strained  
2/3 cup fresno pickle liquid
1.5 cups simple syrup

Directions

Simply mix together!