Recipes from the Chef's Kitchen

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Chef Tony Spagnoli

Owner of Four Star Gourmet
Fairfax, Virginia

A Valentine's Day Menu
Salad of soft lettuce and fresh herbs
with a citrus vinaigrette

Pan seared haddock fillets with
braised fennel, black olives, and tomatoes

Chocolate Gateau filled with chocolate
truffle and with raspberry coulis


The Salad

Ingredients:
For the Salad:
1) Lola Rosa, Baby green Bibb (or greens or your choice)
2) Fresh soft herbs (sage, thyme, tarragon, oregano, or herbs of
      your preference.)

For the Citrus Vinaigrette:
1) One orange
2) One lemon
3) One lime
4) One shallot (chopped fine)
5) 2 tbsp. honey (or for a very special taste use a white truffle honey)
6) Extra virgin olive oil
7) Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
1) Chop shallot fine and place in a mixing bowl.
2) Add the juice of the orange, lemon, and lime.
3) Add honey
4) While whisking, SLOWLY begin to add olive oil to form
     an emulsion.
5) Season with salt and pepper and adjust the sweetness if
     necessary.
6) Toss greens with just enough vinaigrette to coat leaves.
7) Serve immediately.


The Haddock Entree

Ingredients:
1)  4 haddock fillets with the skin on (rockfish or red snapper
      work well also)
2)  1 bulb of fennel (may be sold as "Anise" in your supermarket)
      sliced thin
3)  1/2 lb. sliced pitted black olives (calmata, nicoise, or any good
      quality olive)
4)  4 roma tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and diced)
5)  1/2 yellow onion diced fine
6)  1 to 2 tbsp. fresh chopped or sliced garlic
7)  4 tbsp. unsalted butter
8)  White wine
9)  Olive oil
10) Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
1)  Score the skin side of each fillet to prevent fillet from curling.
2)  Salt/pepper each fillet.
3)  Add olive oil to a smoking hot pan.
4)  Add haddock fillets skin side down, moving pan at first to
      prevent sticking.
5)  Saute two minutes, flip fillets, and saute another three minutes
      or until done. (PLEASE...DO NOT OVERCOOK FISH)
7)  Remove fillets and keep warm.
8)  Add onion and saute briefly.
9)  Add garlic and saute briefly.
10) Add sliced fennel to pan and cook until it begins to soften.
11) Add black olives and saute briefly.
12) Add tomatoes.
13) Deglaze with white wine and cook until alcohol is evaporated.
14) Add cold butter to form a sauce.
15) Season with salt/pepper.
16) Place vegetable mixture in center of plate and two fillets each
       on top.
17) Serve immediately.


The Dessert

For the Raspberry Coulis:
Ingredients:
1) 1 container of fresh raspberries (or 1/2 bag of frozen/thawed
     raspberries)
2) 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3) juice of 1/2 lemon

Preparation:
1) In a saucepan, place berries, sugar, lemon juice, and water to barely
     cover berries.
2) Bring to a boil.
3) Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes, check sweetness
     and adjust.
4) Set aside to cool.
5) When cool, place berries in a blender and process until smooth.
6) Pass through a strainer to remove seeds.
7) Serve on plate under Gateau.

For the Chocolate Truffle Filling:
Ingredients:
1) 8 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate (Callebaut, Valharona, or any high
     quality chocolate)
2) 4 oz. Heavy whipping cream
3) 2 oz. unsalted butter

Preparation:
1) Chop or shave chocolate and place in stainless steel bowl.
2) In a saucepan, bring heavy cream to a boil.
3) Add heavy cream to chocolate and blend until mixture is
     homogenized.
4) Add butter and blend until melted.
5) Place bowl over an ice bath and whisk until mixture firms
     like frosting.
6) Set aside for later use.

For the Chocolate Gateau:
Ingredients:
1) Seven 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or shaved
2) Five 1/2 oz. unsalted butter
3) 4 eggs, separated
4) 4 oz. granulated sugar
5) 2 oz. all-purpose flour (or cake flour if you desire a finer product)
6) Confectioners sugar, as needed

Preparation:
1) Melt the chocolate and butter together over a Bain marie. Then
     set aside to cool.
2) Beat egg yolks until light and fluffy, then slowly add sugar, beating
     constantly until pale yellow. Fold in the melted chocolate.
3) Sift the flour over the chocolate mixture and fold just until flour
     disappears.
4) Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold the whites into the chocolate
     mixture in two parts. Pour the batter into a 10-inch cake pan that is
     buttered and lined with parchment paper. Spread batter evenly and
     tap once or twice to remove air pockets.
5) Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick comes out with a few flakes on
     it - about 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool for about 1 hour.
6) To release cake, run a knife along the inside edge of pan to loosen.
     Invert onto a serving platter, peel off parchment.
7) Slice cake in half or in thirds to form layers. Cover each layer with
     chocolate truffle. Being very neat, re-assemble cake as you go.

To present Gateau:
1) Slice gateau as desired, and dust with confectioners sugar.
2) Pour enough raspberry coulis to cover the bottom of each plate.
3) Place gateau on plate.
4) Garnish with fresh mint sprigs if desired.


Good Eating!!!