“Jeremiah Tower – in many ways – at Stars defined what a modern American restaurant could be.” ~ Ruth Reichel
We present Jeremiah Tower demonstrating six of his favorite dishes with recipes from the Great Chefs series.
The new movie Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent opens at theaters across the U.S. in late April and early May. Current scheduled openings are here. Read Gaetano Kazuo Maida’ review here.
Classic Cooking Videos by Jeremiah Tower followed by recipes
(We suggest you speed through the overlong intro and song)
Santa Fe Black Bean Cake
These crisp black bean cakes with their smoky taste and chili pepper heat make a wonderful appetizer or side dish. You can adjust the size and make them smaller if you wish. If you use dried black beans, soak them overnight in water to cover, then drain before using.
- Olive Oil – 2 ounces
- Onion – 1 small, coarsely chopped
- Bacon – 2 slices (alt. pancetta)
- Black Turtle Beans – 1 pound, fresh, cleaned and rinsed
- Chicken Stock – 1 quart (alt. duck stock)
- Serrano Chilies – 2, seeded and minced
- Ancho Chili Powder – 2 tablespoons
- Cumin – 1 tablespoon
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Salsa – 2 tablespoons
- Cilantro – 6 leaves, stemmed and chopped
Using a heavy-bottomed pot, heat half of the olive oil. Add the onions and bacon and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and stock enough to cover. Season with salt and simmer until tender, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Drain well. Put the beans, onion, and bacon through a meat grinder or food mill to make a paste. Season with Serrano chili, Ancho chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.
Take enough paste to roll into a ball the size of a golf ball between your palms. Flatten the balls between sheets of waxed paper to make a 1/4-inch cake. Heat a seasoned non-stick saute pan or skillet over high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Sear the cakes for about 1 minute per side; the cakes will be crisp on the outside.
To serve: Arrange the cakes on a warmed platter around a cup or small bowl of sour cream. Spoon salsa over the sour cream. Sprinkle cilantro over the platter.
Grilled Goat Cheese in Vine Leaves
Goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes are grilled inside packets of grape leaves. The cheese melts; guests unwrap the leaves and scoop out the soft cheese with large croutons. The packets can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated, then brought to room temperature and grilled at the last minute.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes – 8 pieces, in olive oil
- White Goat Cheese – 4 fresh, rounds
- Olive Oil – 1 cup
- Grape Leaves – 8, stemmed
- Croutons – 16, rubbed with oil and baked until brown
Preheat the broiler to medium. Gently pound the tomatoes until flat. Dip the rounds of goat cheese in olive oil, placing a flattened tomato on the top and bottom of each round. Wrap with grape leaves (1 to 2 leaves should cover). Drizzle olive oil on the leaves. Broil 5 minutes per side.
To serve: Place the grilled packets on a large serving plate. Mound croutons in a basket next to the plate.
Poached Fish with Tomatoes and Purple Basil
Drenched in butter which has been flavored with tomatoes and purple basil, these fillets are succulent and delicious. This is a wonderful way to cook fish fillets, leaving the fish very moist. The “cap” of parchment paper acts as a lid, yet lets steam escape (under a pan lid, the steam condenses and drips back into the pan).
- Halibut Fillets – 2, 6 ounces each
- Unsalted Butter – 5 ounces (10 tablespoons)
- Fish Stock – 1 cup
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Tomatoes – 1 large or two medium, seeded, skinned, and chopped
- Purple Basil – 1 cup, chopped
- Basil Sprigs – 2 purple
Remove the skin from the fillets. In a saute pan, melt 1 ounce of the butter. Add the fish and cover with the fish stock. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Cut a disc of parchment paper to fit just inside the perimeter of the pan and cover the mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes. Turn the fish and simmer 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat, take off the paper, and let stand for 1 minute. Remove the fish from the pan and drain on a towel or napkin.
Strain the pan juices and put in another pan; bring to a boil and reduce by one-third in volume. Add the tomatoes and basil to the pan and cook 1 minute to heat. Whisk in the remaining butter, a tablespoon or two at a time. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
To serve: Place a fillet on each warmed serving plate. Spoon the sauce over and around the fish. Garnish each with a purple basil sprig.
Chanterelle Mushroom-filled Pasta Gratin
Legendary chef Jeremiah Tower creates a dish that delights with flavor and smooth texture using only a few ingredients. Mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and sage fill pasta packets which are cooked in a bubbly sauce of heavy cream and more Parmesan cheese. Chef Tower adds a luxe touch with a drizzle of white truffle oil.
- Chanterelles – 2 pounds, fresh (alt. other fresh mushrooms)
- Garlic clove – 1, chopped
- Sage – 1 tablespoon, finely chopped, fresh
- Butter – 2 tablespoons
- Egg – 1
- Parmesan Cheese – 1/3 cup, finely grated
- Dry Bread Crumbs – 1/2 cup fine
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Gratin Assembly
- Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup, finely grated
- Pasta Sheet – 3/4 pound, fresh, cut into 3-1/2-inch-by-4-1/2-inch rectangles
- Butter – 1 teaspoon, cut into small bits
- Heavy (whipping) cream – 1 pint
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- White Truffle Oil – 3 tablespoons
- Nasturtiums – 6
To make the filling: Saute the mushrooms, garlic, and sage in the butter in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low and saute until softened, then increase the heat again and cook until almost no liquid remains. Season with salt and pepper and let cool. Finely chop the mixture. In a large bowl, toss the mushroom mixture with the egg, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Season again to taste.
To assemble the gratin: Butter a 9-inch-by-12-inch ovenproof gratin dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop each piece of pasta into a different area of the water and cook the pasta to just over the al dente stage. Remove and plunge into a bowl of cold water; remove and drain well.
Sprinkle a work surface with some of the Parmesan cheese. Lay out the pasta separately on the surface. At the bottom of each pasta piece put a large spoonful of filling. Carefully and lightly roll or fold the filling into the pasta, pressing gently to seal. Place each piece into the gratin dish in rows of four. Dot with butter. Ladle the cream over the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese over each piece. Bake 20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and the cream is bubbling. Turn on the broiler and brown the top.
To serve: With a large spoon, serve two pieces to each person, along with some of the hot cream. Drizzle lightly with truffle oil. Garnish each with a nasturtium blossom.
Ballottine of Braised Duck, Chicken Veal, and Foie Gras
The ultimate version of cabbage rolls: a stuffing of mixed meats and foie gras, topped with a ragout of tomatoes and olives and sizzled with basil oil. The rolls may also be filled with a mixture of all chicken and veal.
- Carrots – 3, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Yellow Onion – 1, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Celery – 6, stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Garlic Cloves – 3, peeled and minced
- Thyme Sprigs – 3 fresh leaves, minced
- Duck Leg Meat – 1 pound
- Duck Stock – 4 cups
- Dry white wine – 1 cup
- Chicken Thigh Meat – 8 ounces
- Chicken Stock – 4 cups
- Stewing Veal – 8 ounces
- Veal Stock – 4 cups
- Foie Gras – 8 ounces, fresh, cut into 6 cubes
- Savoy Cabbage – 1 head
- Tarragon Leaves – 1/4 cup, minced, fresh
- Pinch of ground cardamom
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Tarragon Sprigs – 6 fresh
- Blended duck, chicken, and veal stock – 1/2 cup
- Cherry Tomatoes – 3 cups, halved
- Kalamata Olives – 1/2 cup, pitted and chopped
- Grated Orange Zest – 1 teaspoon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Tarragon Leaves – 1/4 cup, fresh, minced
- Basil Oil (recipe follows)
- Parsley – 2 tablespoons, minced
- Basil Oil
- Basil Leaves – 3/4 cup, minced, fresh
- Canola oil – 1 cup
Combine all the ingredients for the mirepoix. Place the duck meat in a medium stockpot and add the duck stock. Add 1/3 cup of the wine, then one third of the mirepoix. Cover and cook over low heat for 2 hours, or until the duck is very tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the duck to a plate and cool in the refrigerator. Reserve the stock.
Repeat the same procedure with the chicken meat, chicken stock, 1/3 cup of the wine, and one third of the mirepoix. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken; let cool in the refrigerator. Add the chicken stock to the duck stock.
Repeat the same procedure with the veal, using veal stock and the remaining wine and mirepoix. Cover and cook for 1-1/2 hours. Using a slotted spoon, remove the veal; let cool in the refrigerator. Add the veal stock to the combined duck and chicken stock and set aside.
Remove the cabbage leaves from the core. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place the cabbage leaves, 2 or 3 at a time, in the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the leaves have wilted and become flexible. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in ice water until cold. Remove from the water and cut away any thick ribs. Place the leaves on paper towels to drain.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Chop the cooked duck, chicken, and veal meat into 1/2-inch cubes. Combine and season with the tarragon and cardamom. Mix well, adding salt and pepper.
Lay out one or more cabbage leaves, overlapping them to make an 8-inch surface; you may need two or three leaves per roll. Place one sixth of the seasoned meat mixture in the center and add a cube of foie gras. Carefully fold the cabbage leaves over until the filling is wrapped. Turn the packer over, making sure the edges are tucked under, and shape into a ball with your hands. Repeat to make 6 balls. Place the balls in a shallow baking dish, lay the sprigs of tarragon on top, and add 1/2 inch of the mixed stocks. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
To make the ragout: Place 1/2 cup of the mixed stock in a medium saute pan or skillet. Add the tomatoes and olives and heat over medium heat until just warm. Add the orange zest and tarragon, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve: Place the cabbage balls (ballottines) on a platter and surround with the ragout. Drizzle the ballottines with basil oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Basil Oil – Makes 1 cup
Put the basil in a medium non-aluminum bowl and cover with the canola oil. Cover and let stand for at least 48 hours. Pour through a fine-meshed sieve into a glass jar and cover. The oil will keep for at least 2 weeks.
Warm Mixed Berry Compote
The heart of California style is the idea that each ingredient should be prepared to showcase its ripe natural flavor. For this simple dessert, berries are warmed in sugar syrup, then served warm with a scoop of ice cream.
- Strawberries – 1 cup, fresh
- Raspberries – 1 cup, fresh
- Blueberries – 1 cup, fresh
- Sugar – 1/2 cup
- Water – 1/2 cup
- Butter – 2 ounces
- Vanilla Ice Cream – 4 scoops
In a large saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the strawberries and blueberries and cook 2 minutes. Take the mixture off the stove and stir in the butter and raspberries.
To serve: Spoon warm compote onto flat plates. Place a scoop of ice cream in the center of each and serve immediately.
For more videos and recipes visit the Jeremiah Tower page on Great Chefs.
Many classic recipes are available in Jeremiah Tower’s cookbooks available at Omnivore Books in San Francisco or at your local bookstore. If you cannot find them there try online at Indiebound or Amazon.
Chef Jeremiah Tower: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother? In conversation Amanda Haas at the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, November 22, 2016.