In today’s media world of “Top Chef,” “Restaurant Express” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” chefs have become notable celebrities. The same holds true for local chefs. Here are some select recipes from some of Baltimore’s culinary rock stars.
French Onion Soup
In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and butter over medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir until softened, 10-13 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Add minced garlic; cook 2 minutes longer.
Stir in port wine. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add broth, pepper and salt; return to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. Place ciabatta slices on a baking sheet; brush both sides with remaining oil. Bake until toasted, 3-5 minutes on each side. Rub toasts with halved garlic.
To serve, place 2 oven-safe bowls on a baking sheet. Place 2 toasts in each. Ladle with soup; top with cheese. Broil until cheese is melted. Enjoy!!
Robbin Haas, Executive Chef and Owner of Encantada
Carimanolas (Panamanian street food)
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and chopped yucca root. Keep boiling until yucca flakes easily with a fork. Remove from heat and drain water. In a mixing bowl, mash boiled yucca root with a pinch of salt. Mash until texture is smooth. (Do not use blender or hand mixer.) Put to the side and let cool while cooking the beef stuffing.
Sauté beef and mash down with a masher. Add onion, garlic and spice blend. Cook until onion softens. Add carrots, cook for a few minutes. Add bell peppers, cook for a few minutes. Add stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes. In the last few minutes, add peas. Remove from heat and fold in cilantro.
Take cooled mashed yucca and make a ball of mashed yucca roughly smaller than a baseball. Flatten it out while keeping a depression in the middle of the mash. Put 1 tablespoon of cooled beef mixture in the middle of mash. Pull the mash around the center ball of beef and cover completely. (You should have a football-shaped mashed yucca with the beef center fully covered.) Place all the footballs on a wax paper-lined tray and cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Heat up 3 cups of oil in a high-sided saute pan on high heat. Brown the yucca football on all sides until crispy brown. Keep turning until fully browned on all sides. The resulting creation is carimanolas and is delicious! Lightly dust with crushed salt or chile lime salt after taking them out of the oil for an even richer flavor. Serve with your favorite salsa and wedges of fresh lime! Enjoy!
Ernesto Martinez, Executive Chef at Points South Latin Kitchen (Fells Point)
Fried Green Tomatoes
Herb Cream Cheese Filling
Wash the tomatoes, then dry them and slice the tomatoes about ¼” thick and set aside.
Herb Cream Cheese
Let the cream cheese come to room temperature. While you wait for that, take the herbs off the stems and chop them finely. Then, mix all the herbs in a bowl with the cream cheese and lemon juice. Mix until creamy and add salt and pepper to taste.
Take 1 slice of tomato and put a 1-ounce scoop of filling on it. If you don’t have a scoop, a tablespoon will work. Then, take another slice of tomato and place it on top. Press the 2 tomato slices gently together, spreading the filling outward like a sandwich and repeat. When finished, place the tomatoes in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
While you’re waiting for the tomatoes, beat the eggs in a bowl. In a separate bowl, add the flour. In another bowl, add the cornmeal and panko.
Once you have pulled the tomatoes out of the freezer, bread them using the standard breading procedure. Once you are finished, put them in the freezer while you wait for your oil to heat up.
Brian Thornton, Executive Chef at CURED Table & Tap and 18th & 21st (Columbia)
Mom Rom's Carrot Souffle
Add all ingredients in a food processor.
Put mixture in a soufflé dish (spray with Pam first) Then put the topping on.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour uncovered. (If you double the recipe, add another 20 minutes.)
Mom always made extra topping and doubled or tripled this recipe.
Ruth Rom (aka Mom Rom — home cook extraordinaire)