Fall favorites with Chef Contos - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Fall favorites with Chef Contos

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The cooler fall temps beg for cozy dinner recipes. Chef Courtney Contos is with us this morning with some ideas!

Gratin of Belgian Endive and Basque Blue Cheese

3 or 4 large heads Belgian endive
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
1 cup crumbled bleu des Basques cheese
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Leaves from 14 marjoram sprigs
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Peel off the outer layer of each endive and discard, then trim off the base of the stem. Cut each endive lengthwise into thirds. Place in the baking dish and sprinkle with salt. Spread the mayonnaise on the endive portions, dividing it evenly. Scatter the cheese over the top and sprinkle with the pepper flakes and marjoram.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until the endives are tender and the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the lemon juice and parsley, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Basque Mushroom Toast with Sage

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mushrooms (such as a combination of king oyster, white button, and porcini), trimmed and minced
Kosher salt
1 tablespoons Madeira or brandy
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Roncal, Manchego, and Grana Padano cheese
4 thin slices white Pullman bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
16 small fresh sage leaves

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until translucent. Raise the heat to high, add the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the mushrooms release their juices and the liquid evaporates. Add the Madera and cream and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute or two, then fold in the cheese. Let cool for about 30 minutes, until room temperature.

Divide the mushroom mixture between two of the bread slices, spreading it evenly, and then top with the remaining two slices. Heat a large cast iron or nonstick frying pan over low heat until very hot. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise on top of each sandwich. Press 4 sage leaves into the mayonnaise on each sandwich, placing 1 leaf on each quarter of the bread.

When the pan is hot, add the sandwiches, mayonnaise side down. Using a large spatula, press down on the top of both sandwiches and sear them without moving them for 1 minute, until they begin to brown. Before flipping them, spread the remaining mayonnaise on the tops of the sandwiches, using 2 tablespoons for each sandwich, and then press the remaining 8 sage leaves into the mayonnaise. Now flip and sear for 2 minutes on the second side, again pressing down on the sandwiches with a spatula. Cut each sandwich into quarters, and arrange on a platter. Serve immediately.

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