Long before award-winning chef Andrew Zimmerman graduated at the top of his class in culinary school, he dreamed of becoming a rockstar. But he put down his guitar and picked up a set of kitchen knives.
In 2009, he landed the top spot in the kitchen of Sepia in Chicago, where he remains as executive chef. He's been nominated for Best Chef: Great Lakes by the James Beard Foundation multiple times and StarChefs chose him as a 2011 rising star chef.
Now, Zimmerman is offering a few of his signature recipes. Here's how to make roasted duck, red kuri squash, fingerling potatoes, caramelized brussels sprouts, celery root and apple puree, and to drink, Cat's Pajamas!
Roast Duck "Apicius"
1 whole pekin duck about 5 lbs, all excess fat removed, neck and 1st joint of the wings set aside for duck
Jus (recipe below)
34/c soy sauce
6 tbsp fish sauce
Juice and zest of 4 oranges
4 cinnamon sticks
6 pc star anise
5 bay leaves
1 tsp crushed red chili
6 tbsp honey
1/4 c brown sugar
2 tbsp crushed fennel seed
2 tbsp crushed coriander seed
Pre heat the oven to 425 F.
Combine everything except the whole duck, fennel and coriander seed in a pot and reduce to a glaze.(back of spoon coated...check!) Strain. Adjust seasoning with sugar or soy as needed and add fennel and coriander. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (large enough to submerge the whole duck). Put the duck in the pot and simmer for 10 minutes to render some of the fat. Remove the duck and allow it to cool. Season the duck with salt and pepper and pull the neck skin under the duck, securing it with a pick. Put the duck on a roasting rack with the breast side up and roast at 425 for 15 minutes. Then lower the temp to 325 and roast an additional 30 minutes. Remove the duck from the oven, carefully drain off excess fat from the pan and return the duck to the pan breast side down. Roast the duck another 30 minutes. Again remove the duck from the oven and drain any excess fat from the pan. Flip the duck breast side up again and brush the spice glaze over the breast and legs. Return the duck to the oven and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes (watching the glaze...if it is starting to get too dark remove from the oven and turn the oven down to 250...if the glaze isn't staying on the duck well brush on a little more).
The internal temperature of the duck should reach 165 F. Remove the duck from the oven and let it rest at least 10 minutes before carving. Carve the leg and thigh off each side and separate them, carve the breasts off and divide each breast in half. Serve.
Reserved neck and wings from the duck
8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 small onion, chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
Chop the wings into about three pieces. Do the same with the neck. Coat the bottom of a medium sauce pan with a bit of oil or duck fat. Add the duck neck and wing pieces to the pan and brown them very well. Drain off excess fat and add one cup of the chicken stock. Allow the stock to cook down until it reglazes the bottom of the pan and then browns. Then add another cup of stock and repeat the procedure. Then add one more cup of stock and repeat again. Then add the onion, thyme and the remaining stock. Simmer the stock until it reduces by at least half. Strain the stock and return it to the pan and reduce by about half again and the butter a bit at a time whisking it in. Season with the salt and pepper. Keep warm until serving.
Duck Fat Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
1.5-2 lbs fingerling potatoes
one head garlic, top cut off
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
rendered duck fat as needed
1 tsp each minced fresh thyme and rosemary
1 tbsp chopped parsley
coarse salt and pepper
In a pot large enough to hold everything snugly, melt the duck fat and combine the rest of the ingredients, making sure the potatoes are submerged in the duck fat. Warm the duck fat to about 180 degrees and slowly cook the potatoes until they are tender (about 1 hour).
Pre heat the oven to 350 F
Cool the potatoes and remove them from the duck fat. Strain the duck fat and reserve it. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. In a saute pan or heavy roasting pan large enough to hold the potatoes all in one layer, heat about two tbsp of the reserved duck fat. Arrange the potatoes in the pan cut side down. Cook on the stovetop for about two or three minutes and then put the potatoes in the oven for about 10 minutes or until heated through and a nice golden crust has formed on the cut side. Remove the potatoes from the pan and season them with coarse salt, fresh pepper and a tsp each minced fresh thyme and rosemary and one tbsp chopped parsley.
Black Pepper-Maple Red Kuri Squash
1 medium red kuri squash
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp lightly chopped thyme leaves
1 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
¼ c Grade A maple Syrup
2 tbsp butter
Cut the top and bottom off the squash and then using a knife remove the outside of the squash. Cut the squash in half and then remove the seeds. Cut the squash into even crescent pieces about ¼-½ thick. Heat the oil in a pan large enough to hold the squash in a single layer. Lightly brown the squash on both sides on medium heat until the squash is nearly tender. Add the syrup, pepper, thyme and butter and reduce it all to finish the cooking and reduce the syrup to a glaze.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, Chestnuts
2.5 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
2.5 ounces slab bacon cut in to lardons about ¼ inch on a side and ¾ inch long
2 cups roasted and peeled chestnuts or one jar roasted chestnuts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and fresh ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Heat a large sauté pan or heavy roasting pan and add the vegetable oil to it along with the lardons of bacon. Cook the bacon until crisp tender and then drain it reserving the bacon fat. Return the bacon fat to the pan and arrange the Brussels sprouts cut side down in the pan in a single layer. Cook on the top of the stove about 5 minutes or until the cut side of the Brussels sprouts has a good light golden sear started. Slip the sprouts into the oven and roast for about 8 minutes and then pull them out and give them a stir. Return them to the oven and roast about 6 minutes more or until they are just about tender but retaining a bit of bite. Add the chestnuts and bacon back to the pan along with the butter, stir together and warm everything through. Season with the salt and the black pepper.
Celery Root and Apple Puree
2-2.5 lbs celery root, peeled and cut in small dice
3 apples (fuji, gala, granny smith), peeled, cored and cut in small dice
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
½ c heavy cream
White pepper as needed
In a medium pot, melt the butter and add the celery root and apples. Season with a pinch of the salt and cook over low to medium heat, covered, until the celery root is very tender (about 45 minutes to an hour). Warm the cream in a small pot.
Drain any excess liquid from the celery root and apples and reserve it. Puree the celery root and apples in a food processor or blender adding the cream and any of the reserved cooking liquid if needed to achieve a smooth rather thick puree, add the remaining salt and a bit of ground white pepper to taste.
2 oz. Old Weller Antique
.75 oz Averna Amaro
.5 oz Carpano Antica
.25 Luxardo Maraschino
1 dash Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
Add all ingredients into mixing glass, add ice, stir. Strain into coupe glass or over large rock in rocks glass. Garnish with orange peel.