PartySugar Behind The Bash: Star Chefs 2007

Earlier this week, we attended the Star Chef's Rising Stars San Francisco tasting at the St. Francis Hotel. Star Chefs is an online community devoted to serving the food industry, and their event was a showcase/contest open to industry insiders and the public alike. Young chefs from 16 of the cities top eateries were invited to share their dishes and the audience then voted on their favorite.

With small serving tables, each uniquely decorated in a theme that reflected the decor of the respective restaurants, the chefs plated up small bites of two dishes each. Everyone concurred that the top 3 dishes were the Moroccan beef cheeks, the deconstructed pineapple upside down cake, and the delicate trout - which won. Created by Chef Mark Dommen of One Market, it was a sublime balance of textures and intricate flavors. To take a look at all of the dishes we ate and to check out the gourmet recipe from Chef Dommen, read more



Lightly Smoked Sea Trout 'Mi Cuit'
From One Market

Vinaigrette:
4 ounces pancetta
½ cup grapeseed oil
4 small shallots, chopped
¼ cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup wildflower honey
¼ cup vegetable stock
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Potato Rösti:
1 large Yukon gold potato
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Trout:
1 pound Tasmanian ocean trout
Apple wood smoking chips
Sea salt
To Assemble and Serve:
4 medium organic chicken eggs
Fresh ground pepper
Fleur de sel
1 Tablespoon crème fraîche
½ bunch watercress, cleaned and picked
1 Tablespoon tarragon, chopped
1 Tablespoon chives, chopped

  1. For the Vinaigrette: cut the pancetta into small pieces and place in a small saucepan over medium heat to render the fat. Drain the pancetta, reserve on a paper towel-lined plate, and add grapeseed oil and chopped shallots to the pan. Lower the heat and sweat the shallots until they are translucent. The shallots will pick up some of the color left behind form the pancetta, but they should not caramelize during this process.
  2. Next add the sherry vinegar, honey and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then turn down and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the pancetta back to the vinaigrette and season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Set aside.
  4. For the Potato: boil the potato in salted water until cooked but still very firm, being careful not to overcook. Drain the potato, allow to cool, peel, and julienne. Place the julienne potato into a bowl and season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  5. Heat four blini pans over medium heat, placing a Tablespoon of grapeseed oil in each pan. Divide the potato mixture into each pan, pack down the potatoes to form rössti cakes and cook until a golden crust forms.
  6. Turn the potato rösti over and cooking until a golden crust forms on that side. Remove the rösti from the pan, place on a plate lined with a paper towel and keep warm.
  7. For the Trout: filet the Tasmanian ocean trout, removing all bones but keeping skin in tact. Place trout in a cold smoker and smoke over apple wood chips for at least 30 minutes. Remove the filets from the smoker and remove the skin and any of the fat on the skin side of the filets.
  8. Spread a piece of plastic wrap out on a cutting board and wrap the filets together to form a tight tube. Repeat the process with several more layers of plastic wrap until the filet takes the shape of a long sausage. Place the wrapped ocean trout in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  9. Preheat the oven to 150ºF and place a pan of hot water in the oven to create some humidity or light steam.
  10. Leaving the trout wrapped in plastic (this will help hold the shape and keep the trout perfectly round) slice in to 2 ounce portions by cutting directly across the tube. Place the plastic wrapped trout portions on a sheet pan, season with salt and cook in water bath in the oven for 18-20 minutes. The trout will cook at this temperature, but it will still have a slightly raw appearance.
  11. To Assemble and Serve: while the trout is cooking, bring a medium sized sauce pan of water to a boil, add a cup of white wine vinegar to the boiling water, and gently slip the eggs in one at a time to poach. Turn down the heat and cook until the whites are firm but the yolk is still runny. Remove from the water and season with fresh ground pepper and some fleur de sel.
  12. To plate the dish, divide the crème fraîche evenly among four plates. Top the crème fraîche with a warm Potato Rösti.
  13. In a small bowl, toss the watercress with some of the pancetta vinaigrette and divide among the four plates placing it on top of the potato rösti.
  14. Remove the Tasmanian ocean trout from the oven and remove the plastic wrap.
  15. Place the trout on top of the watercress and then the poached egg on top of the trout. Finally, heat the pancetta vinaigrette, finish it with the chopped tarragon and chives, and spoon around the plate.

Serves 4.

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