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The Perfect Brunch

David Burke is the executive chef and co-owner of "Davidburke & Donatella", where he serves inventive modern American cuisine. The restaurant opened six months ago to rave reviews, including a two-star review from The New York Times.

Burke came on the Saturday Early Show for the Chef On A Shoestring challenge, to cook up an easy-to-make, delicious meal that's perfect for a light summer brunch.

The following is his menu; click on the red links to get the recipes:
Short Stack Of Bacon And Mushroom Pancakes
Salmon Leaves With Spicy Avocado
Coconut Fried Strawberries

Avocados will be used in the main course, to give a cooling flavor in contrast to the spicy jalapeno. The avocado is widely considered a vegetable, since it is commonly used in salads. However, it is actually a fruit that tastes like a vegetable, and most markets display it with other typical fruits.

The salmon will be broiled. Broiling means cooking food directly under or above the heat source.

The shredded coconut used in the dessert can be found in most grocery stores. Unopened canned coconut can be stored at room temperature up to 18 months; coconut in plastic bags up to six months. Refrigerate both after opening.

The following are Chef Burke's recipes:

Short Stack of Bacon and Mushroom Pancakes

Ingredients for pancake batter:
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted unsalted butter
3 large eggs, separated
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:
In a mixing bowl, beat together the buttermilk and melted butter. When combined, whisk in egg yolks. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another mixing bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and using a rubber spatula mix them together to just blend. Do not over beat. Gently fold in the egg whites to just incorporate. Set aside one cup of batter to be used in the dessert. Add the pureed mushroom mixture to the remaining pancake batter, stir to combine thoroughly.

To cook the pancakes: Heat a non-stick griddle over medium heat. Pour just enough batter to create a small circle -- about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Cook until the top is bubbling and the bottom is golden and then flip. You should have enough batter for approximately 12 little pancakes. Reserve.

Ingredients for mushrooms:
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups variety of mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Heat butter in a non-stick sauté pan using medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and mushrooms and saute until brown, which will take about three minutes. Remember to stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add chopped parsley. Saute for another minute. Remove from heat. Take half of this mixture and reserve. Take the remaining mushroom mixture and puree smooth in a blender. Add the pureed mushroom mixture to the pancake batter. Season with salt and pepper.

Ingredients for bacon:
6 slices of bacon

Method:
Fry bacon until crisp. Cut in half and reserve.

To serve: To build the "short stack," place one pancake on a serving plate. Lay one half slice of bacon across the middle of the pancake. Top lightly with the sautéed mushroom mix. Place another pancake on top and repeat until "short stack" includes 3 pancakes. Serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Repeat this for remaining three plates.

Salmon Leaves Baked On A Plate With Spicy Avocado

Ingredients:
2 oranges
1 lemon
1 lb. salmon filet, cut into slices 1/4" thick, should be about 20 slices in total
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced 1/4" thick
8 spears of asparagus, cleaned, trimmed, and blanched (see method below)
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced thin
Chives, finely chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes, for garnish
6 leaves fresh basil, julienned
4 teaspoons olive oil, plus some to drizzle

Method:
Zest, peel, and section the oranges with all the pith removed. Reserve any juice separately from the orange segments. Reserve orange zest for garnish. Zest, peel, and section the lemon with all pith removed. Reserve any juice from the lemon. Keep the lemon segments separate from the lemon juice. Reserve lemon zest for garnish.

Rub four oven-safe dishes with a teaspoon of olive oil on each plate. Season the plates with salt and pepper. Place five slices of raw salmon on each plate in the design of a pinwheel and season fish with salt and pepper. Place sliced avocado, orange sections, asparagus, and sliced jalapeno pepper in the center of the "pinwheel" making sure to distribute evenly among the four plates. Place plates in broiler for approx one to two minutes (but no more). Remove plates from broiler and drizzle each plate with lemon and orange juice. Then drizzle with olive oil and garnish with red pepper flakes, basil, chives, and reserved lemon zest.

Method for blanching:
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the asparagus to the water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Remove the vegetable and shock in ice water. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

Coconut Fried Strawberries

Ingredients:
1 cup pancake batter reserved from appetizer recipe
1/2 cup coconut milk or Coco Lopez
1/2 cup shredded coconut
16 strawberries, washed
Powdered sugar for garnish
Canola oil (vegetable oil is fine)

Method:
In a deep sauté pan, add about 2 inches of oil into the pan. Heat the oil using medium heat. Take one cup reserved batter from the appetizer recipe and combine it with coconut milk. Then stir in the shredded coconut. Take the strawberries, dip them in the batter, and let the excess drip off. Place in the pan. Fry until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the strawberries, and drain on paper towels prior to serving. Then transfer the strawberries to your serving platter and dust with powdered sugar.

*Chef's note: You can serve these with a bowl of strawberry ice cream and garnish with fresh mint.

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