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A Culinary Star Salmon Cook-Off

"The Early Show" hit the kitchen jackpot on Thursday as three superstar Las Vegas chefs faced off in the kitchen for a salmon cook-off.

Bradley Odgen, of Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace, Paul Bartolotta, of Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn, and Rick Moonen, of Rick Moonen's RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, will compete in the Bon Appetit magazine's "Vegas Uncork'd" annual competition in May. However, "The Early Show" got a preview of their culinary prowess when they went head-to-head on the broadcast to see who could make the best salmon dish.

Recipes Galore

Bradley Ogden - Crispy Salmon with Roasted Spaghetti Squash "Noodles"
Paul Bartolotta - Seared Salmon with Wilted Radicchio and Anchovy Sauce
Rick Moonen - Fennel Stuffed Salmon with Orange & Pink Peppercorn Vinaigrette

Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace - Crispy Coho Salmon with Roasted Spaghetti Squash "Noodles" and Charred Cara-Cara Orange Sauce with Lump Crab

(Serves 4)

Four 8 ounce Salmon filets, scaled skin on and scored, boneless
2 sprigs of rosemary (2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup grape seed oil
2 lemons, juiced
1 orange, zest with micro plane
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Cara-Cara orange sauce (see recipe below)
Roasted Spaghetti squash (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400˚ F degrees.

To re-warm squash, place in a skillet with butter, salt and pepper and place in oven for 8-10 minutes.

Pat the fillets with paper towels first and season with salt and pepper. Place two large stainless steel or cast iron skillets over a hot burner and add the grape seed oil evenly to both. Heat until almost smoking, place the filets skin side down, sauté for a couple of minutes until crispy and lightly brown. Turn heat down to low and turn fish over, add the rosemary, butter, zest, and lemon juice; baste the filets cooking another couple of minutes and remove then drain on paper towels.

To Serve:
Remove warm spaghetti squash with a fork and twirl like you would pasta; place in the center of a rectangle plate. Place the filet over the "noodles" lengthwise to cover. Spoon out and drizzle the Cara-Cara sauce (1/4 cup per dish) and serve with crab.

Charred Cara-Cara Orange Sauce
Yields 3 cups
2 Cara-Cara oranges
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup citrus juice from lemon and orange
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chives, minced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chervil, chopped

Preheat grill.
In a large sheet of aluminum foil, wrap the two Cara-Cara oranges and drizzle with the olive oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and wrap. Place over the hot grill and grill until soft and charred lightly, turning often (should take about 15 minutes). Remove and let cool slightly, place in food processor and puree until smooth and place in bowl. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and adjust with salt and pepper reserve for saucing the Salmon.

1 teaspoon sweet butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup lump crab, leg meat only

Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet over high heat until very hot, add crab and sauté for 20 seconds. Finish sauce by folding in the crab and spoon sauce over the finished dish.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash "Noodles"

4 Servings

1 1/2 - 2 pound spaghetti squash
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
3 each cardamom pods, white
1/2 teaspoon allspice whole
3 each star anise, whole
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 lemon, juiced
2 tart apples
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup apple cider (optional)

Preheat oven to 300˚ degrees. If convection oven, place on low fan.
Assemble all the ingredients. Put the spices in a small skillet, place over a low-med heat and toast lightly, remove and grind in a spice grinder.

Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise and place on a baking sheet pan or a casserole dish (scoop out the seeds, pulp and discard), place skin side down. Melt the butter and brush onto the flesh of the squash.

Sprinkle the spices over, drizzle the honey and brown sugar and season with the salt and pepper. Cut the apple in half, place in a bowl, add the juice from the lemon and toss. Place one half of the apple into the cavity of the squash. Add the apple cider. Place in middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until fork tender (basting occasionally).

Remove from oven, discard apple and let cool. Using a fork, scrape the cooked squash to make noodles, reserve for finished dish.

Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn - Seared Salmon with Wilted Radicchio and Anchovy Sauce

(Serves 6)

12 pieces Salmon Fillets (2 inch x 1 inch x 1/2 inch thick)
1 head Radicchio di Chioggia (Cut into 12 thin Wedges)
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
To taste Sea Salt
To taste Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Ingredients for Anchovy Sauce
1/2 cup Anchovies in Oil (Drained and Rinsed)
6 cloves Garlic
2 tablespoons Fresh Oregano
2 tablespoons Fresh Thyme
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley (Coarsely Chopped)
To taste Fresh Ground Black Pepper

2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar

Traditionally the anchovy sauce was made with a mortar and pestle by creating a paste with all the dry ingredients first, adding the extra virgin olive oil as needed to obtain a creamy consistency finishing with the red wine vinegar. It can also be made in a food processor. Cut the radicchio into thin wedges. Season the wedges with salt and black pepper. The radicchio can be grilled or sautéed or baked in the oven until cooked.

Season the salmon with sea salt and ground black pepper. The salmon can be seared or grilled to caramelize the exterior without overcooking the inside. Arrange the radicchio on serving plates while still hot then place the seared salmon fillets on the radicchio and drizzle with anchovy sauce.

Rick Moonen's RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay - Fennel Stuffed Salmon with Orange & Pink Peppercorn Vinaigrette

Serves 4

4 salmon fillets
1 fennel, small and diced
1/4 Gala apple, peeled, small and diced
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
Kosher salt
white pepper
1/2 lemon, zested, juiced
1 thyme, sprig leaves, chopped

METHOD: Sauté the fennel in olive oil till lightly golden. Then add butter. Season with salt and pepper, then deglaze with the wine. Once absorbed, add the parsley. Toss and remove from the heat to cool. Add the diced apple, lemon zest, juice and thyme.

3 oranges, segmented
1/4 fresh passion fruit
1/2 teaspoon dill, chopped
1/2 teaspoon parsley, chopped
1/8 red onion, minced
1/2 tablespoon pink peppercorns
Kosher salt
white pepper

METHOD: Mix all ingredients together and let rest for ten minutes. Best served at room temperature.

1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted and tied in cheesecloth
1 cup water
2 tablespoon butter, unsalted
Kosher salt
white pepper

METHOD: Add all ingredients together and bring to a light simmer. Season with salt and pepper and cover, cook till tender. Blend till smooth and pass through a sieve.

TO FINISH: Remove skin from fillet and make a slit lengthwise over the top, leaving a 1/2" on each end uncut. Place some lemon juice in the cavity and season with salt and pepper. Place the filling inside. Brush olive oil over the top and bake at 350°F for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the fillets and top with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil. Place each fillet on a small pool of fennel purée and spoon the vinaigrette on the plate.

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