He is the executive chef and owner of several restaurants in the Hudson Valley of New York State, including his four-star Restaurant X located in Piermont.
We invited him back to create a great three-course meal for four on our $30 budget.
Kelly is the 10th of 12 children, and he credits his very full house for the competitive streak he needed for the restaurant industry. He's been in the restaurant business for more than 25 years, beginning with jobs in local restaurants when he was 14 years old.
Kelly opened Xaviar's in Garrison, New York, when he was 23 years old, never imagining that it would be the success it is today.
Chef Kelly has been featured in numerous national publications including New York Magazine, Esquire Magazine, Crain's, USA Today, W Magazine, Food Arts, Gourmet Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Food & Wine and Bon Appetit. He has also been invited to cook at The James Beard House and the Food Channel TV Network.
Kelly is also a Vintner. His wines at Xaviar's Cellars in Napa Valley are known as "Silenus" (the teacher of Bacchus in Greek mythology) and have been applauded by the NY Times and Wine Enthusiast Magazine since their introduction in 1991.
He is currently planning his next restaurant, to be located on the Hudson River in Yonkers New York. Kelly lives in the Hudson Valley area with his wife and their young son.
Peter X. Kelly's Chef on a Shoestring menu: an appetizer of Gruyere Cheese Puffs; an entrée of Halibut Confit Served with Spaghetti Squash with Basil, Tomato and Roasted Garlic; and for dessert, Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding.
Gruyere Cheese Puffs
1 1/2 cups (approximately 5 ounces) gruyere cheese, grated
16 tablespoons butter (2 sticks), chilled, cut in small pieces
2 cups water
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
8 eggs, lightly beaten
pinch of salt
baking sheet, lightly floured and buttered
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a saucepan, bring water, salt, and butter to a boil; remove from the heat. Add flour and beat with wooden spoon until smooth. This mixture is now your dough.
Return the saucepan to low heat and stir a little with a wooden spoon to dry the dough. Then place the dough in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium speed to incorporate air (this will add lightness to the dough), gradually add the eggs one at a time. Add half of the grated cheese to the mixing bowl. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, and place the dough in a pastry bag.
Pipe out 2-inch rounds onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the rounds with the remaining grated cheese.
Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the rounds on a cooling rack. Let them cool to room temperature before serving. If they get too cool, you may re-heat them at 300 degrees F for about five minutes.
Confit of Alaskan Halibut
Served with Spaghetti Squash with Basil, Tomato and Roasted Garlic
4 to 5 ounce halibut filets
olive oil, enough to cover the halibut filets plus 6 tablespoons
pinch dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 spaghetti squash
4 plum tomatoes, peeled, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil, cleaned and chopped
1 head roasted garlic (see method below)
In a large flame-proof casserole or large sauté pan, pour enough olive oil to cover filets. Gently heat the oil until the thermometer registers 110 to 120 degrees F. Hold the oil at this temperature.
Season the halibut filets with salt, freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of dried basil. Slip the filets into the oil and allow to gently cook for 12 to 18 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the spaghetti squash. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil. Split the squash in half and remove the seeds. Place the squash halves into the boiling water. Cook the squash for approximately 12 minutes or until very tender. Remove the squash from the pot and drain.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, use the tines of a dinner fork to shred the squash into "spaghetti."
Heat the six tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the roasted garlic cloves (see below) and the chopped tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for about four minutes until they release their water. Add the spaghetti squash. Cook until the squash is well-coated and heated through. Add the chopped basil and toss.
Season squash/tomato/garlic with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spoon this mixture onto the center of each of four serving plates and top with a halibut filet.
For the Roasted Garlic:
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Gently break open the head of the garlic. Separate the cloves, but leave the cloves in their skins. Place the garlic cloves in a bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Place the garlic cloves on a baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the garlic is tender. Allow the garlic to cool slightly and then slip the skins from cloves by gently squeezing the garlic cloves between your thumb and forefinger.
Place the cloves in a tightly covered container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place milk, heavy cream, and brown sugar in a saucepan; bring to a boil. When the mixture has reached the boiling point, remove from heat and set aside.
Place white sugar and water in a pot and heat over medium heat. Boil the sugar and water until the mixture caramelizes. (The mixture should turn amber in color.) Pour the caramelized sugar mixture into the cream mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Keep warm over low heat.
Place the egg yolks, salt, and vanilla extract the mixing bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On medium speed, beat the egg yolks, salt, and vanilla extract until thick.
While beating, pour half of the cream mixture into the yolk mixture to temper the yolks. Immediately pour the tempered yolk mixture into the pot containing the remaining cream mixture. Over medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture thickens. Using a fine sieve, strain the mixture to remove any lumps, and pour into four martini glasses.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Serve.