Is it lunch time yet? These recipes from Chef Jesse Schenker are making our mouths water…
Chef Jesse is a former cook at Big City Tavern on Las Olas Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and currently the executive chef and owner of The Gander and recette, which he opened with his wife, Lindsay, in New York’s Greenwich Village in 2010. He shared with us three delicious recipes that have us wishing it were lunchtime all the time. Before Chef Jesse was a rising culinary star—before the James Beard nominations and the starred reviews, before the Best New Chef titles and an Iron Chef win— Jesse Schenker worked in kitchens to fuel a ravenous habit. In his new memoir, ALL OR NOTHING: One Chef’s Appetite for the Extreme, Schenker reflects on his biggest triumphs and failures, and shares—for the first time—the shocking story of his turbulent life outside his impressive resume.
Roasted Branzino, “Potato Salad”, French beans and sorrel (pictured above)
4-500g cleaned filets of Branzino, skin-on
1 c. small market potatoes (i.e., similarly sized fingerlings, red new potatoes, etc.)
½ c. butter, cut into 1” pieces
1 c. crème Fraiche
1T lemon juice
½ c. yellow wax beans, blanched and cut into ¼” pieces on a bias
½ c. green beans, blanched and cut into ¼” pieces on a bias
3T scallions, sliced thinly on a bias
½ c. sorrel
1 egg yolk
1 c. grapeseed oil
2 c. baby wild arugula
3 T red baby sorrel
1 lemon, juiced
2T olive oil
To make the potato salad, place the market potatoes in a small pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until a knife easily slides through. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat a heavy-bottom pot over medium heat, add the butter and cook until the milk solids have fallen to the bottom and browned and the butter releases an aroma reminiscent of toasted hazelnuts. Set aside to cool. Once the butter is cool, place the crème fraiche in a bowl and whisk in the browned butter and lemon juice. Salt to taste. Combine the cooled market potatoes, wax beans, green beans, scallions and dressing.
To make the mayo, place the egg yolk in the bottom of a blender with the ½ c. of sorrel. Blend. While blending, slowly emulsify in the grapeseed oil. Salt to taste.
To make the Branzino, heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add grapeseed oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Salt both sides of the filets and place in the pan skin-side down; be sure not to overcrowd the pan. Lower the heat and continue to cook the fish for 5-7 minutes, then flip the fish over to the flesh side for 10 seconds and remove from the pan.
To serve: Place 2T sorrel mayo on the bottom of each plate. Arrange ½ c. “Potato Salad” over the sorrel mayo then add the Branzino filets. Dress the baby arugula with lemon juice and olive oil, salt to taste. Cover the Branzino filets with the dressed arugula.
Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich with Arugula, Salsa Verde and Pecorino
1 Rotisserie chicken or 2 chicken breasts
1 rustic country bread loaf, sliced into 1” thick pieces.
Store bought Sheeps Milk Pecorino
2 Tbsp parsley
1/2 Tbsp thyme leaves
1 cup arugula
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp mint
1 Tbsp Cabernet vinegar
2 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 cups arugula
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
For the salsa verde, combine all ingredients in blender until consistency of chunky salsa is achieved. Set aside. For the arugula, mix all ingredients together well. Cook chicken thoroughly. Grill two slices of bread on indoor grill pan (or toast under oven broiler).
To plate, place bread down, spread a generous amount of salsa verde over bread, slice chicken breast into five pieces then lay over salsa verde. Top with dressed arugula.
Spaghetti and Clams
1 lb Spaghetti
16 oz Clam juice
8 oz Heavy cream
½ oz Leek
½ ea Onion
1 ea Garlic clove
20 ea Littleneck clams in shells
1½ C White wine
2 ea Fennel bulbs, diced
2 C Dry vermouth
Pinch of fennel seed
Cook pasta according to directions on box.
Meanwhile, heat clam juice in a pan over high heat and cook for about 20 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally—making sure it doesn’t burn—until juice is reduced by half. Add the cream and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until viscous.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in another pan over high heat and add the leek, onion, garlic and clams. Add white wine and cover. Cook for about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the leek, onion, garlic and clams, set aside in a bowl and reserve liquid in a separate bowl. Add 2 tbsps butter to the pan and add fennel, vermouth and fennel seeds. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, and reduce until sticky, about 40 minutes.
Add pasta, clams and sauce to the pan with fennel, toss and serve.