Chef Spike Gjerde was born in Iowa farm-country, and though he was late arriving at his decision to cook for a living, he clearly brought that Midwestern sense of the land with him to the East Coast.
His restaurants in Baltimore benefit from his close relationships with farmers and fishermen in and around the Chesapeake Bay. He has degrees in philosophy and Chinese, but now runs a variety of food-related businesses in Baltimore, including his Woodberry Kitchen restaurant, which earned him the James Beard Foundation's mid-Atlantic best chef award last year.
Here are recipes to some of Gjerde's signature dishes: Woodberry Kitchen chicken and biscuit, fried oyster chopped salad, roasted asparagus with fish pepper, Schmierkase dessert.
Woodberry Kitchen Chicken and Biscuit
Ingredients for Hearth Roasted Chicken
¼ cup canola oil
2 tbsp verjus
2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp fresh oregeno, minced
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp fish pepper powder, or chile powder
1 whole chicken (butchered into boneless halves)
Ingredients for Braised Greens
2 large bunches lacinato kale, or other braising greens
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pickled fish peppers, sliced
2 quarts chicken stock
½ cup verjus
Salt, to taste
Snake Oil, to taste
1. In a heavy bottomed stockpot, over medium cook the onions, garlic, and fish peppers till they start to caramelize.
2. Deglaze with the verjus, reduce by ½. Add the chicken stock and then the greens. Cook till tender, season with salt, pepper, and snake oil to taste.
24 pcs local adolescent carrots
1 oz oil
Toss carrots in oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400°F until cooked ¾ of the way.
1 cup all purpose flour
5 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp butter
½ cup buttermilk
1. Mix dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, cut in butter.
2. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
3. Combine the wet and dry mixes by hand till it comes together. Turn out onto a floured table and roll out 1" thick. Fold in half and turn 180 degrees, roll again. Repeat 3 to 4 times until dough is smooth.
4. Punch the biscuits using a square cutter, place biscuits on buttered cookie sheet. Rest for 30 minutes. Bake at 375 until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Brush with melted butter when they come out of the oven.
Fried Oyster Chopped Salad
½ lb local bacon
1 small head bibb lettuce
1 small head red leaf lettuce
¼ lb bitter greens, such treviso, puntarelle, etc.
4 oz white cheddar cheese
1/2 red onion
24 fried Chesapeake oysters (see recipe below)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lay bacon out on cookie sheet and cook in oven until evenly browned.
2. As bacon cooks prepare remaining ingredients: carefully wash and dry lettuces and greens, then chop.
3. Dice cheese and onion, reserve.
4. Remove bacon from oven, drain excess fat, cool to room temperature and chop.
5. Gently combine all ingredients and toss with half the dressing. Add more to your taste. Top with fried oysters.
24 chesapeake oysters, shucked
4 cups cornflour
2 qt sunflower or canola oil
1. Heat oil in a heavy medium-sized pot to 375°F.
2. Dredge oysters in cornflour, fry until crispy, 2-3 minutes. Drain briefly on paper towels, serve hot.
Spicy Buttermilk Dressing
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour sream
½ cup buttermilk
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 tbsp parsley, minced
1 tbsp chives, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. Snake Oil, or other hot sauce
Whisk all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl, until combined
Roasted Asparagus with Fish Pepper
1 lb fresh asparagus
Sunflower oil, for brushing
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Snap bottoms off of asparagus. Lay out on sheet pan and brush with oil.
3. Sprinkle with salt and roast until just tender and starting to brown, 4-8 minutes, depending on thickness.
Fish Pepper Egg Sauce
2 large soft boiled eggs (cook in boiling water for exactly 5 minutes, drop in ice water, peel)
2 tbsp light vinegar
½ tsp fish pepper powder
1 shallot, minced
1 small pickle, minced
2 tblsp parsley, minced
¼ cup canola oil
In a medium bowl beat the eggs with a whisk to break them up. Whisk in all remaining ingredients except oil, then drizzle in oil. Season with salt. Sauce will not be emulsified.
½ sheet with collar
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
5 ¾ cups cream cheese
2 ½ cups sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
2 ¾ cups sour cream
1 cup cherry jam
1. In a stand mixer whip egg whites to stiff peaks remove from the bowl and reserve.
2. Cream the remaining ingredients with paddle. Fold in the whipped egg whites.
3. Bake 300°F for 1 hour.
5. Glaze with Woodberry Pantry cherry jam
Fill smash glass with 2 oz DLC Woodberry cider. Add ice. Dress ice with Woodberry Kitchen house barrel aged bitters.
In shaker tin add:
1.75 oz whiskey
.75 oz verjus
.5 oz honey syrup
Shake/strain into glass. Garnish with Rosemary