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Taste of Baltimore

Chef Spike Gjerde
Atlantic Restaurant
Baltimore, Md.

Menu:
Winter Vegetable Minestrone with Warm Flavors
Filet of Rockfish with Onion Relish and Chard
Tapioca Persimmon Brulee

Winter Vegetable Minestrone

Ingredients:
2 Yukon gold potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1/2 lb carrots
stems from 1 bunch red chard (reserve the green leaves to serve with the filet)
1 Portobello mushroom
1 Poblano chile
1 knob of ginger
1 head garlic
1/2 lb great northern beans, cooked, cooking liquid reserved
1 cup Tubetti pasta, cooked and drained
sea salt, black pepper, ex. virgin olive oil

Method:
Dice potatoes, carrots, chard stems, and mushroom. Roast poblano chile pepper, peel, and dice. Very finely dice ginger. Split garlic into cloves, roast, unpeeled, in dry pan. Cool and peel.

Cook the beans and reserve the liquid from the cooked beans. Set aside.
Also start the pasta. Cook it al dente. Set aside when done. Gently saute potatoes, carrots, mushroom, 1/2 poblano, ginger, and chard in 2 tbsp olive oil. Add water to reserved cooking liquid from beans to make 1 quart. Add this liquid to the vegetables and bring to a simmer.

Puree roasted garlic and remaining poblano chile pepper in a blender with a little of the simmering soup. Add to the soup, along with cooked beans and cooked pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over or with crusty bread.

Filet of Rockfish with Onion Relish and Chard

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb fresh rockfish (also known as striped bass) filet
1 lb red chard, stems trimmed (remember you will use the stems for the minestrone)
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup white wine or water
5 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
sea salt, pepper, olive oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sprinkle sugar in a dry saute pan and warm over medium heat. Sugar will melt and then caramelize. When it is a rich brown color, add diced red onion. Avoid the temptation to stir for a minute or two. (The onions will release their juice and keep the sugar from burning.) Add the wine or water and simmer until reduced and jam-like. Season with salt and set aside.

Heat a skillet until very hot. Brush rockfish filets with olive oil, then
season with salt and pepper. Sear in hot skillet, turn, and finish in oven.
Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in skillet and add chard leaves, turning until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, mound a small amount of chard on each of four serving plates. Place a rockfish filet on chard, then top with onion relish.

Tapioca Persimmon Brulee
1/2 cup tapioca pearls, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 fuyu or 'Sharon' persimmon
4 Tablespoons sugar

Method:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine tapioca pearls with milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla. Combine yolks with tapioca, and spoon into ramekins or individual oven-proof baking dishes. Slice persimmon and nestle a slice over each pudding. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Sprinkle each pudding with sugar and glaze with propane torch or under broiler. Serve at room temperature.