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Summer Skate With French Flair

Dominique Filoni's childhood memories are centered around food, whether it was hunting for snails with his mother, or foraging for mushrooms with his uncle.

Food has always been a family affair, and so it is no surprise that he and his wife are in the restaurant business.

He and his wife Sabine operate one of Philadelphia's hottest restaurants, Savona, which features a modern French menu.

Filoni was recently named by "Food and Wine" magazine as a "Best New Chef."

And he and Sabine recently opened their second restaurant, Bianca, named for their daughter, also outside of Philadelphia.

He prepares a delicious summer meal with our $30 budget.

CHILLED PEA SOUP

Ingredients:
1 1/4 lb. peas (fresh if possible, or frozen)
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter.
1/2 cup heavy cream.
2 slices prosciutto
1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and cleaned
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Preparation for the peas:
Place chicken broth in to a sauce pot and let it come to a boil. Keep warm until needed. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook for about four minutes. Drain and plunge peas into a bowl of ice-cold water. Cool for 1 minute, then drain peas again and thoroughly dry the peas between 2 layers of paper towels. Place the peas into a food processor with 1 Tablespoon of the extra virgin oil and pour the hot chicken broth until you have a very smooth texture. Season to your taste. Place into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let soup cool in the refrigerator.

For the garnish:
Place the two slices of prosciutto in a nonstick sauté pan and cook on a low heat until golden brown and crispy, drain on a paper towel. Tear the two slices in half. Set aside.

Heat the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and the one tablespoon of butter, stir to coat with the fat, and cook, stirring until they begin to give off their juices, which takes about two to three minutes.

In a chilled bowl, whisk the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks, set aside.

To finish the soup: Add half of the whipped cream to the chilled soup. Using a hand blender, incorporate the cream to the soup. This will create a "fluffy" texture and some foam. Blend for about 20 to 30 seconds.

To serve: Divide mushroom mixture among four soup bowls. Place a spoonful of mushroom in the center of each bowl. Spoon a dollop of the remaining whipped cream on top of the mushrooms. Sprinkle the prosciutto crisp on top of the cream. Ladle the soup and finish with dots of extra virgin olive oil.

Pan-sautéed Skate, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Tomato & Capers:

Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 lb. skate wings, divided into four equal pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper to taste
1 lb. fingerling potatoes(or gold baby creamer potatoes), washed and cut lengthwise
2 garlic cloves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6 plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon capers rinsed, drained, and chopped
1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs fresh basil, finely sliced

Preparation For the Tomato & Caper Sauce:
Core and using a knife cross the bottom of the tomatoes. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the tomatoes for about 25 seconds. Drain and plunge the tomatoes into a bowl of ice-cold water. Cool for about 1 minute, then drain again on a paper towel. Peel the skin off, cut the tomatoes in quarters and take the seeds out. Make sure the tomatoes are dry then cut in small cubes and transfer into a bowl, season with salt & pepper, add the capers and 1 and 1/2 cups of olive oil. Toss well. Reserve the sauce in a warm spot.

For the potatoes:
Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees. Heat an oven- proof pan or skillet using medium heat, pour remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, add the potatoes cut side down, salt, pepper and garlic cloves. Transfer the pan to the oven, cook the potatoes until they are golden brown about 6 minutes. Turn the potatoes and add the 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Continue cooking the potatoes for another seven minutes or until tender.

For the skate:
Place flour on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Dip both side of each skate wings in the flour mixture. Shake off the excess. Season with salt and pepper again. Heat a large nonstick sauté-pan or skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil to the pan, then add the skate wings. Cook the skate until the first side begins to brown, which will take about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the skate on the other side, reduce the heat to medium, add the butter and continue cooking, basting the skate with the melting butter, until the fish is tender and opaque, for another 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the excess of fat on a paper towel.

To finish the dish:
On an oval plate, arrange the fingerling potatoes in the center of the plate, place the skate on top of the potatoes. Add the sliced basil to the tomato sauce, toss, and spoon generously on the fish. Add a splash of Sherry vinegar or lemon juice in the tomato sauce if you like more acidity.

Peach tarte tatin

Recipe will make one 7-inch tart

Ingredients:
1 sheet of puff pastry
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 to 8 peaches, peeled, pitted, and quartered

Preparation: Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface into an 8-inch circle.

Combine the sugar and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water in a 7-in cast-iron skillet. Heat over high heat until the sugar caramelizes, swirl the pan from time to time to prevent the sugar from burning.

When the caramel is golden brown, add the butter slowly with a spatula. Remove the pan from the heat, arrange the peaches in a single layer. Put the puff pastry on top of the fruit and tuck the sides into the pan. Sprinkle some sugar and brush the puff pastry with water.

Bake the tart until the dough is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let tarte tatin cool at room temperature for about 45 minutes. Just before serving, pre-heat the oven to 350-degrees, place the pan back into the oven to warm the tarte tatin. Leave in the oven for about eight minutes. Cut in four slices, serve on dessert plate. Serve with ice cream and mint sprigs if budget allows.

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