The Hippo


Mar 24, 2019








Lobster thermidor

From the kitchen of chef Stefan Ryll, assistant professor of culinary arts at Southern New Hampshire University. Serves two.
1 whole lobster, about 2 to 2½ pounds
2 lemons, halved
1 onion, quartered
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons minced shallots
¼ cup white wine
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
6 ounces bacon
1 cup julienned onions
½ pound haricot vert, blanched
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a pot of salted water containing lemons, quartered onion and bouquet garni to a boil. Add lobster to boiling water and cook for eight to 12 minutes. Remove lobster from water and place in ice water to stop the cooking process. In saucepan, melt butter, then stir in flour and cook two to three minutes for a blond roux. Add shallots and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in wine and milk. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about three to four minutes or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. This sauce will be thicker than a normal Béchamel because it will be used as a filling. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Remove sauce from the stove and stir in mustard and tarragon. Remove lobster from ice water and split lobster in half. Remove tail meat and, with the back of a knife, gently crack the claws. Dice tail meat and fold in Béchamel sauce. Stir in ½ cup of cheese and season if necessary. Divide mixture and spoon into the two lobster tail shells. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Place filled lobster on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about eight to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Steak au poivre
From the kitchen of chef Stefan Ryll, assistant professor of culinary arts at Southern New Hampshire University. Serves four.
4 tenderloin steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each and no more than 1½  inches thick
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
⅓ cup cognac, plus 1 teaspoon
1 cup heavy cream
Remove steaks from refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to one hour prior to cooking. Sprinkle all sides with salt. Coarsely crush peppercorns with mortar and pestle (or use bottom of a cast iron skillet or mallet and pie pan). Spread peppercorns evenly onto a plate and press fillets, on both sides, into the pepper to coat surface. Set aside. In medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil. As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golden and smoke, gently place steaks in the pan. For medium-rare, cook four minutes on each side. Once done, remove the steaks to a plate, tent with foil and set aside. Pour off excess fat but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean. Off the heat, add ⅓ cup cognac to the pan and carefully ignite alcohol with a long match or firestick. Gently shake pan until flames die. Return pan to medium heat and add cream. Bring mixture to a boil and whisk until sauce coats the back of a spoon, approximately five to six minutes. Add a teaspoon of cognac and season, to taste, with salt. Add steaks back to the pan, spoon the sauce over, and serve.
Spice-rubbed Quail
From Epicurious. Serves four.
8 (4- to 5-ounce) semi-boneless quail
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
Scant ½ teaspoon cayenne
Scant ½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons mild molasses
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil

Fanciful fare
Surprise your Valentine with your culinary skills


 Setting the mood for your Valentine’s dinner is easy — a linen tablecloth, candlelight, a bottle of wine — but impressing your sweetheart with culinary skills you may or may not have is a little trickier. 

“Have a little plan and do it with love and do it with fun,” said chef Stefan Ryll, assistant professor of culinary arts at Southern New Hampshire University. “I think by doing this you’re showing your love that you’re willing to go the extra mile.”
There’s nothing romantic about wearing bibs or laboring to crack a crustacean. Instead, try a recipe that uses lobster meat in another way.
“If you really want to impress your love, then you want to do more than just boil lobster,” Ryll said. “Cook something that you’re comfortable with and maybe kick it up a notch.”
Ryll suggested alternative options like lobster ravioli, lobster pot pie or lobster bisque. For a twist on something familiar, Ryll suggests a lobster macaroni and cheese with Gruyere cheese, nutmeg and bread crumbs.
Steam your own lobsters or purchase the meat separately. It costs more to purchase the meat separate, but it does save a few steps, Ryll said. He added that some supermarkets will steam your lobster for you. 
Ryll said to try lobster thermidor, “if you want to go a little fancier.” Although slightly more challenging, the French classic baked stuffed lobster will definitely impress, he said. Ryll also recommended serving the lobster thermidor with a side of roast fingerling or chive mashed potatoes.
A Valentine’s Day steak dinner can’t be like the steak you grilled during a summer cookout. For something special, try a new recipe like beef Wellington, beef medallion or steak au poivre.
“Number one when you do steaks, most people think you have to go with a certain kind of cut,” Ryll said. “There’s many different ways you can kick up your steak a little.”
Ryll recommends speaking with your butcher to learn more about different cuts, like the shoulder, which Ryll said is almost as tender as beef tenderloin.
“The key thing if you want to use steak is have a nice marinade,” Ryll said. 
He recommends steak au poivre, sauteed with a brandy pan glaze, or beef Wellington with its signature puff pastry, mushroom duxelle and prosciutto. Another tip is to pan sear your steak instead of grilling it.
“This takes a lot of work, but if you do this for your love, I think she or he will really appreciate it,” Ryll said. 
It might sound exotic, but quail isn’t too hard to come by. General Manager Craig Muccini at The Meat House in Amherst said customers can order quail and will likely be able to pick it up within two days.
“Don’t be too scared by cooking it,” he said. “Most people are just intimidated by the idea of it.”
Quail is a game bird, like pheasant, and has a different flavor than chicken with a darker meat and earthy tones, said chef Brian Murray at The Homestead Restaurant in Merrimack.
“It’s tricky to cook because it’s so small. You don’t want to overcook it, but you obviously want to cook it through,” Murray said. “They’re quick. You can bring them from the refrigerator to the table in under 20 minutes.”
Murray added that at-home cooks should think of quail almost like chicken in terms of preparation. They can be roasted, fried, braised, broiled, grilled or sautéed. Murray suggested simple prep, like olive oil and garlic, an Italian dressing or a sage rub.
“They’re ... not like a truly wild bird like partridge or grouse and woodcock,” he said. “Those are the real strong gamey flavors that would be great for a hunter, but for the average person that might be a difficult sell.” 
As seen in the February 6, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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