The Dish: Boston restaurateur Seth Woods

Seth Woods is one of Boston's most successful restaurateurs. Born in Washington, D.C. and raised north of New York City, Woods got his first restaurant job as a teenager. He worked on Wall Street and got a degree from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America – the perfect foundation for both food and business. And he's put it to good use. In 1995, he opened Boston's Metropolis Café and three years later came the critically-acclaimed Aquitaine. Now, he runs a total of nine restaurants under his Aquitaine Group.    

Here are some of Woods's signature recipes: 

Filet au poivre with brandied pan sauce 

Steak ingredients

2 filet mignon steaks, center cut, 10 oz 
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
Milled sea salt
¼ cup Telicherry peppercorns, processed in a spice grinder to medium coarseness

Directions

1. Heat heavy bottom pan on high heat.
2. Season filets with milled sea salt and press in peppercorns on one side.
3. Add butter to the very hot pan and lay filets, pepper side down, on top of the butter.
4. Caramelize the side well, flip it, and finish in a 500-degree oven to Medium Rare.
5. Remove from the oven, place on a resting rack for 3-5 min. to rest.
6. Make the brandied cream pan sauce. 

Sauce ingredients

1 tbsp. melted butter from the hot filet pan
2 oz. Deville French brandy
1 ea. minced shallot
½ tsp dijon mustard
½ tsp  Worcestershire sauce
2 oz. veal stock
1 oz. heavy cream
1 T. Green peppercorns
Milled sea salt 

Directions

1. Use the filet pan from the oven with 1T. of the beurre noisette and remove the rest.
2. Add the shallots, sauce, deglaze with brandy, reduce, add veal stock and reduce.
3. Add the cream, Dijon, Worcestershire, salt, and peppercorns.
4. Reduce to consistency and adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper. 

Brussels sprouts cacio e pepe

Cabbage rolls ingredients

4 lbs brussels sprouts
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated Pecorino
1 tbsp black pepper, ground
Sea salt 

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Start by cleaning the Brussels sprouts. Trim the base and then cut them in half. Discard the base.
3. In a Mixing bowl combine the sprouts and Evoo. Gently season with sea salt.
4. Place on a baking sheet being careful not to over crowd the pan. Roast the sprouts until lightly brown and crispy. Remove from the oven.
5. Place in a large mixing bowl and toss with the black pepper and pecorino cheese. 

Grilled green onions (or ramps)

Ingredients

1 bunch green onions or Ramps 
Sea salt and milled pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil 

Directions

1. Toss cleaned green onions and oil and salt & pepper in a stainless bowl and heat a pan to smoke.
2. When hot enough add the onions and chart or cook on a grill until slightly charred.  

Potato gratin 

Ingredients

6 Idaho potatoes, medium size, sliced 1/8th inch
1 qt. heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 each garlic clove, minced fine
5 each Raspings of fresh nutmeg
1 tbsp milled sea salt
1/8 tbsp milled white pepper
1 cup aged Gruyere cheese, grated
1 ½ cups Parmiggiano Reggiano, grated  

Directions

1. Rub a ½ size hotel pan or baking dish bottom and sides with butter and garlic.
2. In a large bowl combine potatoes, cream, parmiggiano, ¾ of the gruyere nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well.
3. Layer the potatoes into the pan so there are no gaps. Pour in the cream mix. Press so there are no gaps and sprinkle the last ¼ of the gruyere on top.
4. Cover the pan with plastic wrap then foil and cook in a 350 degree over until the potatoes are soft. Remove the wrapping, top with an additional ½ C. grated parmesan cheese and cook an additional 10 minutes to brown it.
5. Remove from heat, cool for 2 hours, cut and serve.  

Sugo bolognese

Ingredients

1lb veal, ground
1lb pork, ground
1lb beef, ground
½lb pancetta, diced
2 chicken livers, fine chopped
1c onion, fine dice
1c celery, fine dice
1c carrot, fine dice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2c red wine
½ c whole milk
4 c tomato paste
1gl chicken stock
Bouquet of bay leaf and rosemary
Sea salt and pepper 

Directions

1. Render diced pancetta in a large pot or braiser until brown, add onion, celery, carrots, garlic and bouquet. Cook 6-10 min or until the vegetables are soft.
2. Add ground veal, pork and beef. Stir with a wisk to remove any large meat clumps. Cook until all meat juice is removed
3. While meat is still in the pan, Add chicken livers and cook for 2 more minutes. Add red wine and cook until dry 2-3 min
4. Add tomato paste and cook for 5 more minutes. Deglaze with the chicken stock and cover with parchment and foil. Cook at 300 for 2 hours.
5. Once finished cooking all the fat will be on the surface, remove (can be saved for next batch).


Vanilla panna cotta 

Ingredients

1 ½ qt heavy cream
¼ cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
6 ½ gelatin sheets silver
Neutral pan spray

Directions

1. Place gelatin sheets in ice water to bloom, 10 min
2. Combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean, extract and bay leaf in a 4-6qt pot. Stainless steel is best. Place over high heat and stir occasionally.
3. When the cream starts to steam, add the sugar and continue to cook until the cream begins to froth on the top. Then remove from the heat.
4. Remove the gelatin sheets from the ice water and ring out the excess water. Place the sheets in the hot cream and stir for about a minute to dissolve the gelatin.
5. Let the hot cream steep for 20 min.
6. Strain the panna cotta into a clean pot to remove the vanilla beans and bay leaf.
7. Place the pot in ice water to cool down the liquid to room temperature. Keep stirring while doing this.
8. You can portion the panna cotta in individual ramekins 4-6 oz or in a larger format for family style. If you plan to unmold the panna cotta, lightly spray before. 

Salted caramel ingredients

1 cup sugar 
3/4 cup water
1 tsp sea salt

Directions

1. In a heavy bottomed stainless steel saucepan, heat sugar over medium high heat. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or other heavy heat-proof spoon, cook sugar until it is melted and the color is of desired shade (be careful: sugar when heated is very hot, and burns quickly).
2. Remove from heat and carefully stream in water while whisking with a stainless steel whisk. Add the sea salt.
3. If there are any lumps, stir over low heat to dissolve. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container with a lid and place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, check consistency, and if too thick, stir in a little water, teaspoon by teaspoon until of desired consistency. 

Toasted almond ingredients

1 cup sliced natural almonds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Toss all ingredients in bowl and then place on a baking sheet.
3. Cook in the oven until golden brown, 10 - 12 min. 

Americano cocktail

Ingredients

1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Rosso Antico
1 oz. Sweet vermouth
Top w/ Pellegrino/club soda
Orange peel garnish
Rocks or highball glass  

Directions

1. Pour the Campari, Antico and vermouth into a rocks or highball glass filled with ice.
2. Add a splash of Pellegrino/club soda.
3. Peel orange garnish, twist skin of orange over cocktail for aroma.
4. Burn orange peel, garnish cocktail and serve.