It's a tasty opportunity - feasting on delicacies prepared by celebrated local chefs.
Chef Fred Henion of Snowbird's Lodge Club is hosting visiting chefs - inviting them to create their signature dishes in the Lodge's kitchen in an ongoing dinner series, open to everyone, and tagged "Fred & Friends."No, THIS Fred doesn't live in your neighborhood, doesn't wear a cardigan sweater or remove his shoes and switch to tennie runners before he talks.
Fred Henion is a creative chef at the Little Cottonwood Canyon resort Snowbird, part of a talented team of professionals who prepare and present distinctive food at the various resort restaurants.
Fred's idea to invite a few of Salt Lake's top chefs to show their "stuff" on HIS turf - in the Lodge Club kitchen - was applauded by the attending guests. Each had paid $65 to dine on what would undoubtedly be fine food.
The evening's first series heavy hitter was Log Haven's Chef David Jones.
In gastronomic terms, Jones is to food as Mark McGwire is to baseball.
Log Haven Restaurant, Jones' domain, was voted Best Salt Lake Restaurant in 1998 by an independent panel of restaurant critics. Several reasons for their selection . . .
Margo and Wayne Provost reopened and lovingly revitalized (a million-dollar "fix-up") Log Haven after many "sleepy" years. The rustic restaurant retreat in Millcreek Canyon's serene setting was an automatic plus. And importing a superchef from the seaside mountains of Santa Cruz was a culinary coup.
Almost instantly, Jones' superb seasonal menus were the talk of the town. Deliciously, by mouth and word, Jones' reputation spread. He was profiled in Bon Appetit and Gourmet Magazine.
That's a big deal.
Hence, salivating guests made dinner reservations for the "Jones Invitational" at the lodge.
Jones went to work putting out a five-course food fest. Log Haven's sous chef, Todd Gardiner was Jones' able prep partner, adding his own acumen to the scene.
Dinner "up at Snowbird" is awesome. In summertime, the livin' and dinin' are easy. The Lodge Club restaurant is unpretentious and charming, offering an ever-present visual appetizer - the towering Wasatch Mountains. No charge.
The Lodge Club's Fred Henion searches constantly for unique additions to his menu. After studying with chef John Ash, culinary director of the reknowned Fetzer Food and Wine Center in Mendocino County, Henion returned to Utah and planted an organic garden - on a smaller scale than Ash's vast 6-acre herb farm.
Henion's garden has grown steadily in size and variety. The Lodge Club is now provided fresh, quality organic produce. Henion feels this is the cornerstone for the Lodge Club's exceptionally fresh food.
And what about Jones - the Friend of Fred?
Each of the five courses were skillfully served and beautifully plated. Jones' high-maintenance "Tangerine Reduction" and "Essence of Lobster" were a catchy menu-read - but on the edge of overkill.
Trendy tastes everywhere. Beet petals balanced in tiny peaks of piped cheese. Tasso (seasoned Cajun smoked ham) tossed in.
Fantastically fresh mushrooms - enoki, shiitake. Finest fish. Unique Napa "wrapped" entrees. Layer upon layer of flavors. Perhaps too many tastes stacked together.
BIG SERVINGS! If anyone in attendance did the "clean plate club" routine, it's doubtful they made it up the stairs and into the parking lot.
Few home cooks would attempt to whip up Fred's Friend's fare.
However, if you're a foodie chomping at the Cuisinart - attack the following special-occasion recipes with gusto.
Good luck! And remember . . . we're all gourmet cooks in training pans.
Oh, yes . . . another coincidental, hopefully inspiring, fact . . .
Before they were officially toqued (allowed to wear those poofy white hats) Fred Henion and David Jones began their careers working in restaurants - washing dishes.
Fred & Friends
Guest chef series
Chef Fred Henion welcomes Chef David Jones of Log Haven>
Yellowtail Snapper en Papillote
layered with herbed orso, lobster essence, chive flower butter and Los Cabos sweet 100 tomatoes.
Chilled English Pea Soup
with cherrystone clams, Cache Valley goat cheese, garnished with beet petals.
Steamed Sockey Salmon with Shrimp Mousse
wrapped in Nappa cabbage served with braised taso, leeks and enoki mushrooms, finished with a mustard-lemon sauce and garnished with toasted shiitake caps.
Seared Big Eye Tuna
served with grilled Maui onion polenta, layered with proschiutto di PArma and wilted pea shoots, garnished with a tangerine reduction.
garnished with a French double cream and a chocolate sorbet.
FRENCH CREAM WITH ALMOND TEA CAKE WITH FRESH
UTAH CHERRY SAUCE AND CHOCOLATE SORBET
For Almond Tea Cakes:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2-3 ounces almonds, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 ounces butter
6 ounces flour
For Fresh Utah Cherry Sauce:
1 cup apple cider
1/3 cup sugar
Dash lemon juice
1 1/2 cups freshly pitted Utah cherries
For French Cream:
1 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 3/4 teaspoon cold water
1 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
12 ounces sour cream
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 vanilla bean
Dash lemon juice
For Chocolate Sorbet:
1 pound bittersweet chocolate
5 3/4 ounces sifted cocoa powder
46 ounces spring water
22 ounces sugar
Tea Cakes: Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla extract. Sift the flour into creamed mixture; add nuts and salt. Cut into 4-inch rounds (use cookie cutter) and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine apple cider, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Add cherries and bring to a simmer before serving.
French Cream: Soften gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes. In a stainless steel mixing bowl, whisk together cream, sugar, sour cream, mascarpone and vanilla bean (or vanilla extract). Place bowl over water bath* and whisk until mixture reaches about 160 degrees F. Then, immediately whisk in gelatin until it has dissolved. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Pour into ramekins and chill for 4 hours.
To unmold: Run a knife around edge and dip into warm water for about 10 seconds. Invert ramekin.
- NOTE: The French call this cooking technique "bain marie." It consists of placing a container (pan, bowl, souffle dish, etc.) of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep cooked foods warm.
Chocolate Sorbet: Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Pour over cocoa powder and chocolate. Cover with Saran Wrap for 20 minutes. Stir until completely dissolved. Chill in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Transfer to ice cream maker container. Freeze according to in-struc-tions.
To assemble (see chart above): On dinner plate, pour cherry sauce. Place cookie on top of sauce. Invert ramekin of French cream on top of cookie. Carefully place small scoop of chocolate sorbet on top.
- From Chef David Jones, Log Haven Restaurant
- Each serving contains 2211 calories, 124g fat, 288g carb, 437mg sodium, 138mg cholesterol.
OVEN ROASTED SALMON WITH SESAME-GARLIC
CRUST AND FRESH ASPARAGUS RELISH
For Sesame-Garlic Crust:
1 1/2 cups sesame seeds
5 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
Pinch salt and pepper
For Asparagus Relish:
24 stalks pencil-thin asparagus
4 teaspoons pickled ginger, chopped
1 medium tomato
1 yellow pepper
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
For Salmon Filets:
4 7-ounce salmon filets (skinned and boned)
Crust: Mix the sesame seeds and garlic into the softened butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Asparagus Relish: Clean, peel, remove seeds from tomato and pepper; dice. In blender, mix vinegar, fresh ginger and garlic. With blender running, add oil in a thin stream. Pour vinaigrette into a mixing bowl. Stir in black sesame seeds, yellow pepper, tomato and pickled ginger. Set aside for 1 hour. Meanwhile, blanch asparagus for 2 minutes and shock in cold water to stop cooking. Drain and cut into 1/2-inch lengths. Hold until salmon is roasted.
To assemble: Spread the sesame-garlic crust on top of each filet about 1/4-inch thick. Roast filets in a 350 F degree oven 7-10 minutes until medium. While salmon is roasting, toss asparagus with reserved relish and season with salt and pepper. Serve with relish arranged attractively on top.
- Each serving contains 1259 calories, 114g fat, 11g carb, 487mg sodium, 159mg cholesterol.
- From Chef Fred Henion, The Lodge Club, Snowbird